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Cheap Webcam Review
Cheap Webcams Video.The quality of the visuals and the audio (more on that below) are clearly the most important performance criteria.
Expert webcam reviews on CNET praise the clear video images on the low-cost Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 but criticize the choppy video at high resolutions and grainy video at low resolutions on the pricier Microsoft Lifecam VX-7000. An expert webcam review of the Microsoft Lifecam VX-3000 on PCMag.com says this entry-level model is OK for video chats although the video quality is mediocre.
Users posting webcam reviews on Best Buy like the adjustable lighting feature on the HP Deluxe Webcam, which nicely displays your face even in darker rooms. The Logitech C500 likewise earns praise in webcams reviews on Amazon for its ability to adjust to dim lighting and on Best Buy for its ability to focus (one user notes it doesn't blur when there's movement in the background, like a puppy running helter-skelter).
The Creative Live Video IM Pro does an especially good job of focusing by tracking your eyes and nose and cropping your image accordingly, according to a webcams review on Buy.com. Its cousin, the Creative Live Cam Notebook Pro, relies on a manual focus, which users posting reviews of discount webcams on PCWorld.com say delivers decent visuals but note that good lighting helps.
The Ezonics EZCam II, on the other hand, takes hits in user webcams reviews on CNET for very poor image quality even in bright light. An expert webcams review of the Ezonics EZCam II on CNET is more pointed, noting that the stated resolution for this webcam is 640x480 but the highest useful resolution is only 352x288; at anything higher, the review continues, the webcam drops frames. The CNET review also says the Ezonics EZCam II's focus is poor, as is its ability to pick up detail.
Cheap Webcams Sound.User and expert assessments of cheap webcams audio quality is generally positive. A webcam review on Pocket-Lint commends the microphone on the Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000, saying it's better than most of the built-in mics you get with a laptop. On Newegg, a webcams review notes that the Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 microphone can pick up your voice from across the room, which also means it picks up irritating background noises. The Logitech C500 microphone earns applause in a webcams review on Amazon for its success in screening out background noises. Praise for the audio quality of the HP Deluxe is equally high in webcams reviews on Walmart, where a user writes that the sound is loud and clear even if you're far away from the device. Audio on the Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000, on the other hand, takes a few hits from experts on PCMag.com and users on CNET who gripe about low volume and buzzing.
Cheap Webcams Ease of Setup.Based on user comments and the absence of complaints, it's fair to say that cheap webcams are easy to get going. Many Logitech C500 webcam reviews on Amazon mention both the ease of setup and its quality performance. Several Best Buy webcams reviewers say all you have to do with the HP Deluxe is plug it into the USB port, and webcams reviews on Walmart report that the required software installation is a breeze. Some webcam reviews on Amazon grumble about problems setting up the Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000, although on the whole consumers say this webcam is easy to install; ditto for the LifeCam VX-3000. The EZonics EZCam II is criticized in user reviews of cheap webcams on CNET for being particularly challenging to set up with Windows XP.
Low-cost Webcams Ease of Use.Setting up your cheap webcam is only the first step; next, you must be able to use it. Most cheap webcams score well with consumers on ease of use. Webcams reviews of Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 on Amazon are strongly positive, as are Logitech C500 reviews on Amazon. The same goes for the HP Deluxe, according to webcams reviews on Walmart But once again, the EZonics EZCam II falls short; several CNET user reviews complain this webcam is both difficult to install and to use.
Cheap Webcams Durability.The length of time you can reasonably expect to use your cheap webcam could be months or years. Most consumers write webcam reviews (positive and negative) fairly soon after their purchase, so it's impossible to assess durability. The HP Deluxe and Logitech C250 come with one-year warranties that include technical support. More expensive models generally feature longer warranties; the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 (starting at $100, Amazon), for example, comes with a two-year warranty. The three-year warranty on the Microsoft LifeCam VX 5000 is unusual for cheap webcams.
Don't Bother Cheap Webcams
Ezonics EZCam II
Although the Ezonics EZCam II provides a decent color display and a multiple digital zoom feature, experts and consumers fault this webcam for its poor focus. They also say that despite its 30 frames/second capability and 640x480 pixel resolution, the frames seem to move more slowly and the camera doesn't pick up items in low-light situations very well. Read more »
Microsoft LifeCam VX-7000
Despite its high price, compact size, 4X zoom feature, 30 frames/second, and 800x600 pixel resolution, experts and users report that this camera leaves much to be desired in terms of visual quality at lower resolutions and choppiness at higher resolutions. The software packaged with this webcam also requires you to spend a great deal of time downloading programs you may never use. Read more »
Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 Review
Ezonics EZCam II Review
Microsoft LifeCam VX-7000 Review
Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 Review
Creative Live Cam Video IM Pro Review
HP Deluxe Webcam Review
Logitech Webcam C500 Review
February is an excellent month to take advantage of sales on electronics, home theaters, romantic gifts and more.
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