Not your average webcam

In addition to the included 23cm stalk mount, the Logitech QuickCam Orbit features a pair of motors that can tilt and pan the lens head remotely. Add the face-tracking software and you have a product that can spot your ugly mug in the frame and physically track you as you move about. This means you can slump, slouch and swivel around on your chair as much as you like, rather than being stuck inside a narrow field of view.

Aside from the usual driver installation and sound setup routines, no configuration is needed for it to do this — just plug it into a spare USB port and go.

We have to say that there’s something very disconcerting about a webcam that follows you about the room, but can’t deny that it works surprisingly well. It may not be perfect — it’s a bit jerky, it can be confused by bright areas or objects moving in the background, and it doesn’t work too well in poor lighting. However, it has a pretty good stab at following its subject and managed this task at surprising distances. Stay still for long enough and it can also zoom in to keep more of your face in frame, although this is a digital function rather than a true optical zoom.

The QuickCam Orbit comes with the usual array of adjustment options — brightness, contrast, saturation and exposure — as well as the option to disable the automatic functions in favour of manual positioning via the software. It’ll work with any of the video-enabled instant-messaging tools (such as MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger), as well as NetMeeting or webcam server utilities. It’s a shame, though, that there’s no software for controlling the QuickCam remotely via the Web.

Logitech QuickCam Orbit
Price: $279
Vendor: Logitech Australia
Phone: (02) 9972 3711

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Laurence Grayson

PC World
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