Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Creative Labs Webcam Notebook
- Miniscule size, simple to use
- Poor image quality in low light
Its ease of use and solid specifications make the Webcam notebook a good choice for those on the move.
Price$ 80.00 (AUD)
As its name would suggest, the Creative Webcam Notebook is specifically tailored to satisfy the needs of the mobile user. Barely larger than an AA battery, the camera attempts to provide all the functionality of a regular webcam in a diminutive and portable form.
Preparing the camera for use is a breeze. Simply attach the camera via a simple clip-on mechanism, plug in the USB cable, run the installation CD and away you go. Some users may find the plethora of installation options awaiting them a little daunting at first, but referring to the Quick Install guide should answer most queries.
The unit itself displays specifications you would expect of any decent webcam, a worthy achievement considering its vastly reduced dimensions. With a 640x480 CMOS sensor and a maximum frame rate of 30 fps the \Webcam Notebook is a solid performer. In regular daytime use the camera achieves crisp imaging and accurate colour reproduction. Focusing is manual and can be quickly altered via a simple ring. Creative also provides options for fine tuning the lighting settings with several presets. In low level lighting, however, we found these settings disappointing and the camera struggles to reproduce an accurate image. Unless your subject is in direct light, the camera displays poor dynamic range and a soft haze of blue noise.
Being stuck firmly to the notebook screen, the Webcam Notebook provides little in the way of physical adjustment. It can be rotated 180 degrees to show what lies behind your screen but no lateral adjustment is catered for. Presumably most users prefer to sit in front of their screen, so this shouldn't be much of a problem.
The Creative Webcam Notebook is compatible with all the major instant messaging programs and set up is simple. Creative's included software is also relatively easy to use and provides some useful options including motion detection and automatic web page updating. The software rounds out a solid package from Creative and the Webcam Notebook is a worthwhile purchase for anyone wanting a webcam on the go.
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