Product Type: Logitech web cams
Decent webcam but has its flaws
Logitech B500 1.3MP Webcam
Member Name: pmcds
Logitech B500 1.3MP Webcam
Advantages: Oh so simple to use
Disadvantages: Not the best image quality, low mps, widescreen can appear flat
Logitech have a decent name for themselves. I wouldn't necessarily say they are an elite brand, as they produce plenty of products that fall short of the mark. Some of their wireless mice or keyboards for example are better thrown on the dump rather than fought with as you try to maintain their connection.
This particular wireless camera is a decent model. There are plenty of better ones available, so if you're looking for an immaculate, all singing all dancing webcam that will solve all of your distance conferencing problems then this may not be the one for you. If however you need something that will plug into your PC nice and easily and can provide basic distance comms then it's worth a shot at this one.
The 1.3 megapixel image isn't the best. At work, I have used this to try and take images for ID cards and what comes out often isn't the best. This has a bit to do with the quality of the printer that we have, but the image on screen is also somewhat inferior to many other webcams I have seen. Part of this is the device's ability to stretch out and perform an almost landscape/widescreen function. Now, this may be of particular note if you're after something basic for conferences. To include a room full of people without having to move a webcam can often be difficult, particularly if your distance involves two or three people round a PC one end a similar thing the other end. The visual quality doesn't have to superb (which isn't with this) but it provides it in real time and won't go on the blink, at the same time as presenting you with the possiblity of actually being able to see everyone in the room.
This widescreen element does have its benefits, and the built in microphone on it also helps. However, it's not very sophisticated, so it will also pick up extra noise and not just your voice, so anticipate plenty of keyboard clattering and mouse clicking, or if you're using it for Skype at home then any domestic noises will also be picked up and not filtered. It's particularly adept at blocking out voices in favour of rustling paper - a touch frustrating...
But it's compatible with pretty much anything. Simple USB 2.0 technology, works well with Windows 7, plug it in and it works pretty much instantly. Of course, it helps if you have software you can integrate it with, but this isn't essential, and I find that if you have a computer without a built in webcam then this sort of thing is ideal. It comes with a CD Rom for installation purposes, but in all honesty I typically ignored that, plugged it in and checked to see what happened. The USB tech was enough, I put the CD in for the basics but really it didn't need much work. It has a flexible neck that is also very sturdy and reliable - you can manipulate it quite accurately without fearing it will break. There's a cover for the lens that retracts back over the top, making it practical, and the base is good enough that it can easily hook over an object or sit at an angle. The auto adjust button helps the focus when using it so this is also considered.
The simplicity is perhaps the biggest selling point for domestic purposes. I guess there are better webcams out there now, and most laptops now have built-in cameras, but don't discard something like this if you see for a cheap price. It's still a reliable solid model. Prices on this range quite dramatically I find. I've seen available for not much more than £10, but similarly in excess of £30. You can pick up higher megapixel webacms that are pretty rubbish in most other aspects for around the £10 mark, but a decent one will set you back a bit more. Worth a look, but consider other products as well. In a fast moving market, value is time relative.
Summary: Average webcam that will soon be out of date I fear
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