I literally hate webcams. But all my friends don't. Which is why, to shut them up, I got the cheapest webcam I could find at the time, that still had some well-known brand behind it. Really not a fan of Microsoft, but since it was small, and apparently good enough for my purposes, I bought it.
Given that it was Microsoft branded, I knew that having driver issues upon installation is very unlikely which is from Vista up, is true. The cam itself is quite tiny, and it's probably its best feature too. A glossy black front and a matte grey rear finish with a clip-on stand padded with soft and rubbery material. The usb cable comes out from the rear side and it is surprisingly thick, so much that it will be next to impossible to keep the webcam steady on a desk. But in all fairness, it probably wasn't designed for that anyway. Clipped onto an LCD monitor (stand-alone or laptop), sits very nicely and securely, and when turned on, a green square light will let you know you're live.
The videos will be in VGA quality with 640x480 pixels resolution. While that's very modest, the image itself is quite nice and enjoyable on the other side of the conversation, or so I've been told. The frustration will come only when is used for more than just 10-20 minute sessions. The first thing you will notice is the occasional flickers, then the white balance will go haywire, and you'll see yourself in green, yellow or any other colour but the natural one. It's something that seems to be happening regardless of the chat app used, Skype, YM or Google Hangout.
- lightweight, small and easy to mount on any screen
- video, while VGA is quite clear
- no additional drivers needed, it's practically plug and play
- compatible with all major video-chat apps
- image quality might drop after extended sessions of use, white balance issues (a white sheet of paper sorts it out temporarily), and occasional flickering
- not suitable for desktop mount due to ridiculously thick usb cable
- no internal microphone: comes with a compact mono-headset and a connection cable with built-in microphone
The Microsoft Lifecam VX 700 isn't a top of the range webcam but it's not a basic model either - but it's probably the lower end of the scale. I bought it in Asda for £10, when the only other options were paying £5 for a VERY cheap looking own brand one or £30+ for a very fancy looking one. It was for my dad, who doesn't have a built in camera on his laptop, so we could chat on Skype, as I live 60 miles away.
Setting up was a doddle - just plug in the integrated USB cable and off you go. Everything worked right away with no drivers -probably because it is a Microsoft product - including the built in mic which we were pleased to find was very good quality for it's size. The camera gives a good picture over Skype and I'm really pleased with it and so is my dad. You do need Windows XP or above the box says so it may not be suitable for older computers.
It takes still pictures at 0.3 mpx which is not something my dad does and most mobile phones take better ones, but as a webcam it's spot on. As it's square it sits nicely on the top of the laptop screen and holds tight, in fact you can leave it on there like my dad does, even when he closes the laptop.
If you're looking for a nice easy to use webcam for around £10 I don't think you'll get better than the Microsoft Lifecam VX 700. 5/5 because it's a joy to use.
I bought the MS Lifecam VX 700 y'day at Asda's, paying £10. I had expected to pay some £20+ for a webcam but the only other camera on sale at Asda at that time was an own-brand at around £5. Right away I was impressed with the simple plug-in-and-go; no drivers, CDs, updates. Plugged it into the USB and almost immediately it was ready for use. 2 mins later I was on Skype and the pic and sound were pretty good indeed'. During a Skype video call you are prompted to take pics in the normal way. This latest model has a built-in microphone but no zoom. I haven't yet discovered a way to adjust focus (there are no instructions at all) but I'll search for my answer in the tech forums.
If you are using Windows XP, this camera will not work on the 64-bit version so check that out before buying one (Google something like ' is my computer 32-bit or 64-bit?') There are 2 ways of searching and if the first method draws a blank, the second will have the info.
If you are looking for a cheap but cheerful little webcam, this one is simplicity itself and can be used even when not linked to Skype.
After only one day's use, I can't yet vouch for its reliability but chose 4*
Well let me start by saying web cams are not something I think very highly of. Only because I hate seeing myself on camera loll. After much nagging from a very old friend in America I decided to go out and by one, so we could chat on msn. I did not want to spend a lot of money, as I knew it would not be something that I would use that often, so I browsed through Argos and saw the Microsoft VX700. It was reasonable priced at £14.79p. So I decided to purchase this as it seemed cheap enough. In all honesty I did not expect it to be that great in quality considering the price and how much you can pay for other web cams.
So I took the small box home and opened it up. The Cam was smaller than what I thought it would be, it's the same size as my little finger, so on noticing this I automatically thought "what have I bought", I did not think this small thing would live up to much expectations.
The Cam is very easy to install you just plug it into the USB port and it installs all the software needed automatically, which was great no need to run any discs. It only took about 15 minutes for it to install all the software onto my pc. Also included in the pack was a set of headphones with a microphone attached. Which was good as it meant I did not have to spend even more money.
So now for the test, I logged into my msn and started my camera rolling with my friend in America. The picture quality was really good on it. I could see a clear picture of myself and the sound coming through the headphones was also really clear. The camera was on for ages and did not once falter.
The camera is also easy to adjust to get to the right position. It has a slide at the back that just clips onto your screen and then you can adjust it to the correct angle from there to get the best position.
The headphones are also really simple to use, they just plug into the back of your hard drive, and the wire is pretty long too so they will reach from the back. They are the headphones that slot into your ear. The microphone is attached to the wire, which then clips onto an item of your clothing. You collar is the best place to attach this for maximum effect.
The only problem I did find with this camera was that I could not figure out how to take pictures with it, this was not in the instructions either, so I assume that it does not have the software to do this. So I spoke to my friend in America who is a computer whiz and he could not understand why I could not take pictures either, and told me I would have to download a separate program to enable me to take a picture and record videos. So he directed me to the site demonoid.co.uk and downloaded a program called cyberlink youcam. With this I was able to now take pictures and also record videos. The profile picture you see now is actually taken from this web cam, so you can see the quality yourself.
I would definitely recommend this product if you would just like a good camera at a cheap price like I did. It does the job, even though you do have to download an extra program. For the price it was well worth doing.
This product also comes with a 3 years manufacturers guarantee. The video resolution is 640x480 pixels. And the live video is 30 frames per second.
Thanks for reading also on ciao under kineticspade x
I bought this webcam on offer so it cost me about £8 or £9, which I think is an adequate pricing for this product- I don't think it is worth the £15 or £16 it is selling for in Argos or Amazon at the moment.
The main pull of this webcam above others though is that it requires no software- which is great for scatty people like me who often lose software CDs or if your computer is a bit old and doesn't get on with many newer programs. The webcam worked straight out of the box, all I had to do was plug in and play and it was immediatly recognised by my chat software.
The webcam gently clips onto your laptop screen and although it might seem a little unsecure I tried moving the screen back and forth and it stood fast without falling off. When I did drop the webcam out of my own sillyness it worked fine again when connected so it does seem reasonably hardwearing.
The picture is average as you'd expect for the price range- lots of detail picked up by the camera and not much lagging or skipping, but the picture comes across as quite dim sometimes using a normal ceiling light so you may want to use a lamp or two in addition to get the brightness you want.
I've not had any occasion to use the microphone yet bar testing that it works- it is similar to a handsfree headphone set up though, and received sound clearly and easily when used.
Overall a great little bargain webcam that even the least technologically minded person could get used to.