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I bought one of these about 3 months ago when my wife went away to Mexico for a month on business. Skype was going to be our best method of keeping in touch so i needed to get hold of a Webcam!
I have a laptop and most webcams seem to be designed for desktop PCs with few specifically designed for laptops to choose from. Most webcams come in a relatively ugly ball or sphere design which sticks out on the top of the monitor. This webcam is different, its designed for laptops, the device itself is alot more subtle with the camera designed as a cylinder which sits horizontally along the top of the laptop screen. There is a clip on the rear of the webcam which can be adjusted to fit screens of different thicknesses (you could also use it on an LCD desktop PC monitor). The webcam also has a rotating function which allows you to adjust the angle of the camera.
This webcam connects via USB and comes with an installation CD with drivers. It also has a small soft case to store the webcam when you're not using it.
The picture quality is good for a webcam, not at all grainy. On a fast cable broadband connection the video is almost real time. I have noticed it getting a bit jumpy on slower connections and some WIFI networks. This webcam also has a microphone which picks up voice well without picking up lots of background noise, ideal for video calling.
This webcam is 'certified' for use with MSN messenger (being a Microsoft product) but it will also link up well with other such programmes. I use this fine with Skype. Skype automatically recognises this as my webcam and lets me make video calls with it. Again, on slow broadband connections Skype can drop the call occasionally, i'm not sure if this has anything to do with the video/camera or Skype itself.
All in all this is a good webcam. It is a bit more expensive than some others on the market (£30) but its worth it to get a webcam which is designed for a laptop and doesnt stick out like many others would.
With my boyfriend at university far more often that he should be, a really great way that we keep in touch is over MSN. To make the experience more personal we both decided to buy webcams.
The first time I went into John Lewis to see what they had in I was amazed at the amount of different webcams you could get. All strange shapes and all looking just as scary.
For convenience we both own laptops as opposed to desktop PCS, and I noticed that there weren't very many webcams specifically designed for webcams, which I personally thought odd seeing as loads of people nowadays own laptops.
I did however see two [that was about 8 months ago, they may be more models now] webcams specifically designed for laptops/notebooks.
The first one I came across was a Logitech one which I thought looked ridiculous as it stuck out the top of the laptop quite a way.
I then noticed the Microsoft LifeCam NX-3000.
It comes in a rounded shaped hard clear box which is bigger than it needs to be but nevermind, it had a red card insert with a photo of it and the name of it and a few specifications and the likes.
Inside the box you get the webcam in a grey plastic holder, a software disk, a brief set of instructions and a small black pouch to keep the webcam in.
This actually looks really stylish. Its rectangular, about 3 inches long, and more sits along the top of the laptop rather than sticking out the top. On the back is a clip that moves depending on the thickness of your laptop. It's a nice matt silver and black colour so will fit the theme of most laptops.
It connects to the laptop via USB. The USB wire comes out the back and then you'd put it behind the laptop screen and then into the USB port.
It has a large-ish button on the top of the webcam that when pressed brings up a list of your contacts in MSN so you can select which contact you want to go on the webcam too.
You have the option to make a video call which pretty much dominates the screen and you can hear and see the other person and they can both hear and see you. I think the most common way people would use it is to just show the webcam where the contact can see you next to the chat box, as it doesn't take over the screen.
It comes with a software disk that you need to install to use it, it also comes with a few 'features' that aren't really much use. When I bought it, it came with an old software disk [I don't remember the version number now] but I downloaded an updated version from the Microsoft website and that has a lot more, and better features like frames and effects that are actually quite funny and smart masks etc.
I think the video quality of this is really good. It's not exactly HD but compared with the grainy webcams I was used to seeing before this made a really nice change. It does however depend on connection speeds. If you're connections running really quickly the pictures really smooth and will be in 'real time' if you like. Similarly with the sound, its quite clear and smooth as long as the connections good. If the connection isn't so fast, there's a slight delay but it still works fine.
When I bought it, it cost me £30, from John Lewis. I think this is when it was first released as they're a bit cheaper now.
Admittedly this is my second model as I was a bit rough with the first one and snapped the clip off the back and resulted to blue tacking it to my laptop for about 2 months before going out and buying another, but overall this is a really really great webcam for laptops and I recommend it to anyone.