The Trust Spacecam 120 has been on the market for several years now offering consumers a cheap but easy colour web cam outfit for very little money. This product appears to have got an award from PCHome, giving it a silver award of 5 stars and claiming that its an ideal first time purchase. ** This is a long review! **
** Nar's Quick Skip Review Specification List **
* Power LED indicator
* CMOS sensor
* Adjustable focus for clearer picture
* Screw in Camera stand
* Video ArcImpression Software included
* Photo ArcImpression Software included
* USB cable provided
* Suitable for Windows 98, 2000, ME & XP
* Maximum video speed of 30 frames per minute
* 352 X 288 (100k) pixel resolution
* 24 Bit colour
* Auto white & balance control
* Powered by PC
* Multi Language Manuals included
* Easy CD Rom Installation
Three years ago I paid £14-97 on the Price Rewind banner at an Asda large store although it is even cheaper to purchase on the internet now; EBay seems to be about the only place nowadays as this camera is very old, so you're looking at around £5 tops! This camera is housed in a white plastic tray and then packaged in a tight cardboard packaging which is colourful, detailed and informative not just in English but in six further languages. Installation is quite easy to do: by means of slipping the CD ROM into your CD player or in my case my CD burner (my CD drawer isn't working at the moment!) install the CD ROM and a main menu comes up displaying a range of downloads including an MSN Messenger download as well as a virtual tour - but you must be connected to the internet for this to occur.
The main installation menu appears to me as being a bog standard menu but it is highly coloured in gold with bright red lettering, and with my poor eye sight these days I get all the help I need. Sub titles are therefore very clear to see on this installation page. Offline, or without internet connection you can install the product. There are 2 drivers that you need to install for this product and once this has been achieved, fit the camera together by screwing the stand into the base of the camera and plug the USB cable in. Unlike other cams I have seen in use before, the USB cable is permanently connected to the camera. I found that I didn't for example have to reboot the system for the installation to take effect - you really can just plug and "play" the moment you install the product. Once you have installed the product there is a menu helper which helps you around this package. You can turn this option off once you have become more experienced with the web cam and its additional effects and specs;
VideoImpression - one of the main software applications is really just a short basic movie maker which allows you to record and edit your own videos. I doubt whether I will make a feature of this facility unless I demonstrate how to take apart a Sebo vacuum cleaner and put it back together again! The software is basic but includes 20 colour templates, 4 Audio templates (which sound a bit suspect to me, particularly a dog that growls which sounds to my ears like a human trying to copy a dog rather than the real thing!) 5 Video templates and 20 Still Image templates.
VideoImpression is a good starter of kit. It doesn't embarrass itself and neither does it sparsely introduce the user to using these images available on this programme. However since I won't be using it at the moment all I can say is that the main recording page that comes up IS basic looking and is void of lots of controls. Obviously for the more experienced user of video software, this version may appear to be too basic, but you can use other installed programmes of video and photo imaging software if you wish. Thankfully it is easy to use though and it has been engineered to be as less confusing to use as possible. The webcam can handle 30 images per minute and you can make as long as any video is possible as any memory stored is totally dependent on your hard driver/PC memory.
PhotoImpression is really the main application programme you can use if you want to take still images. Having one of those micro "Mini Breeze" web cams that I was given last year as a stocking filler, that particular product also came with the same software, so it's good to have the same again software which is instantly recognisable.
A series of bullet points in the left hand side of the main page clearly identifies what the user can do. For example there are a few lists of main menu choices, such as "Get Photo," which allows you to capture images from the camera itself or any other programme you have installed such as a scanner. To actually start taking pictures itself you need to click on the bottom sub heading menu "Camera/Scanner." Effectively this is the starter button if you want to start taking images. Click on the second icon, which effectively means "Capture" and another window pops up to start the camera "rolling" in live mode.
A second window pops up to reveal the "Live" camera in action, showing off what you intend to capture. Now the speed of which this camera runs at could best be described as working in "slow motion," and this can be off putting, particularly if for example it's yourself that is trying to capture yourself on memory. Of this second live window though, hit Preferences and you'll find the contrast, brightness, hue and gamma settings which can be set to your own preference. You can of course hit reset or default at any time, but it is a lot of fun playing about with the settings. According to what you play around with, the picture will change unless you reset the system. "Edit" obviously allows you to edit the image(s) that you have taken. You can crop the picture, add you own pixel height and width size as well as a host of other detailed features such as the usual paint box; pen, airbrush, red eye, sharpen, lighten, brush and colour palette, pattern and gradient fill, Intensity of Tool amongst other options. "Create" is the next sub heading you can click on. This in effect means that you can Create an edge, or a series of edges that come with the programme. 24 edges are available and 45 frames are also available to use. You can additionally download more from the website. "Save" allows you then to transfer saved photos and images to your hard disk. What I admire about this installation programme is that I didn't have to manually specify the images I save to go directly to My Pictures programme on my PC. The software obviously directs pictures that belong with other pictures on your computer. Additionally you can also "send" the images to an email address or to your desktop direct from this main page. "Print" allows you to print your chosen images. You just need to specify the paper source and the size. Of the specified choices given, you have options such as "Standard Printing," "Greeting Card Printing" and "Thumbnail Printing."
I'd say that this camera is highly light sensitive. Even with contrast settings and capture details muddled about with, the lens is largely dependent on any light source that you have around you at the time. The quality can be patchy depending on what you are shooting the camera at, but then again this I feel is down to the overall resolution quality this camera can handle and not the quality of lens or overall product failing to satisfy. Sometimes the images can also be blurry and you have to mess about with the settings on the screen as well as adjust the purple dial on the lens itself on the camera. So far I haven't had that many complaints about my blurring image!! However to consumers who are looking for a top quality camera, you should really shop elsewhere - this product has been chopped down in price for a reason - I feel that reason alone is simply for the limited resolution capacity this camera can handle.
Now depending on what kind of PC you have, I have a PC which has in total four to five USB hubs. I found that putting the USB cable through the front of the Tower unit didn't work, so the cable had to be reinstalled around the back of the Tower before initial installation could be met. This may not be applicable to your system but I thought I would mention it as it was an initial problem with my PC.
The stand for this camera is curvy, organic looking and coloured in dark grey and white. Watch as you connect the camera screw into the stand as threads of plastic come away the moment the two connect together. Taking the camera and the stand into consideration, the build quality is not worth mentioning other than the fact that it looks at times to be quite garish and cheap. If you screw the camera anymore into the stand you may split the centre seam which runs around the whole camera pod - so be careful!! The stand for this camera is cheap and light, but at least you can adjust the angle, forwards and backwards on this camera stand. I guess you can flick the whole unit left and right manually though if you want the camera to turn.
So what are the cons? There is no microphone added to this camera, but then given the price I would be highly suspect if there was. There are other rivals out there, particularly at Argos at the moment which has microphones added, but at times the resolution quality isn't outstanding there is still some case for the Trust Cam 120 to be considered if you have an older computer with built in microphones. For 2008 the prices for this formidable but slightly cheaper quality plastic bodied camera is still worth considering if the prices are cheap!
The manual points that you cannot use this camera with an Apple Mac. Other problems may surface if you have Windows 98 and need additional support which must be done online once you have registered the product. Once you have registered (this product comes supplied with a registration card for this purpose) you can download any updates for this software and have alerts sent to your email address.
Incidentally, there are two manuals supplied, both in different languages, the first manual thankfully displaying all you need to know first and foremost in English depending on whichever manual comes to hand first. The pages are small on this booklet and so is the information - Trust could well have done with making the lettering bigger. Photos are largely absent save for the look of the Photo & Video Impression main pages and bizarrely what your Install Shield Programme window looks likes when you first come to install the product onto your PC. Information on the installation and the overall use of the camera is fair to good I'd say but grab a magnifier if you have poor eyesight. Further information is available online and you can download manuals and driver support if you lose the manual that comes supplied.
* Minimum Requirements *
* Pentium 166 Mhz MMX CPU
* One free USB port
* 32 MB of system memory
* 100 MB free of disk space
* CD-Rom Drive
* Windows 98, 2000, ME & XP
* For full function facility you will need internet connection.
If I had seen this product priced more than £20-00 for example, I wouldn't have bothered but if I'm completely honest it was the price that I was looking for rather than the latest of specifications. Despite the official award that came with this product I've given it 3 out of 5. ©Nar2 2008.
Well for those of you who don't know what a webcam is the best way to describe it is as a video camera that can take either still or moving pictures and send them from one computer to another over the power of the internet. The pictures are sent in real time and depending on the quality of the camera the picture can look as good as a TV with little interference and a high quality picture.
Many people have asked why did you buy a webcam ? well if we are being honest I didn't actually buy it as it was given to me as a gift but the person who bought me it knew I was wanting one. The main reason I wanted one was just for the novelty as many of my friends had then and I could always see them but they could never see me. They just make the conversations online much more fun I think and you can have much more of a laugh over webcam than you can with just a messenger service.
Well as the product description tells you this review is on the Trust 120 Spacec@m. As I didn't actually buy it I don't know exactly how much it cost but I have seen them priced from between £10 - £15 and for what you get I think its great value for money for what you get.
The camera is very simple looking but very attractive at the same time and is basically a sphere with a camera in the middle of it which has a purple focus band around it which enables the user to get the picture they are transmitting into focus and is very easy to use. The camera comes with a stand and mine sits on top of my monitor and is connected up to my PC via a USB cable.
The webcam also has a little light above the camera which when on turns green and tells you that you webcam is taking a picture or video. This is quite helpful as there is nothing worse than sitting down and working and suddenly realise that you are being watched!!!!!!! Oh yeah and it can send pictures up to 30 frames a second... isn't that absolutely amzing??????????????
The camera was really easy to install which I was very surprised with as I had heard that many people have had problems installing these funky little gadgets. All you have to do with this model is place the CD that comes with the installation software into your CD drive and your away just follow the on screen instruction and your away.
Once you have you webcam set up and installed you need to check it is working..... Obviously. Now I have only ever used my Trust 120 Webc@m with the MSN messenger facility an have never experienced any problems. You just open messenger and click o the tools facility and then webcam settings. This opens up a box in which you can see the picture that will be transmitted by the webcam and you can use thios to check that the camera is focusing on what you want as well as enabling you to change various things to do with the picture quality which is very helpful indeed.
As previously mentioned this webcam does have the capacity to take still pictures but I have never used this option so I can't really comment ion how well it works although I know people who have used it and the pictures they have sent have been of an ok quality.
Now it must be said that this webcam is definitely not the greatest on the market but in my view it does a job and a very good one at that. If all you want is to have a webcam for a bit of a laugh so you can muck about with mates on line then this is probably perfect for you. The picture quality is good but this does depend on your internet connection. If you have broadband then the picture is really good but dial up connections can result in a lot of skipping or freezing of the picture.
This webcam I my eyes is great fun and has many uses and me and my mates play some great games over webcam that you may want to try if you get really bored like me and my mates do. Here are just a few.
* Guess what song I'm singing - basically you sing a song over webcam (They cant hear that's obviously the point) and they have to guess the song. Of course air guitar can be used and is particularly effective for Bon Jovi songs.
* Do you like my new .......? - You know when you buy something and you cant wait to show people well webcam is the answer. Get you mates on line and show them you new footy boots they will be so jealous I can guarantee!
* Stone, scissors, paper - That wonderful child hood game can now be played over the internet. Now this one can be particularly difficult to master but doesn't mean its not fun infact the fact its so hard makes it more fun. A warning though its only possible to play this when both people have webcams, obvious I know but still, and it doesn't really work umless you have a broadband connection
Now before you rush out and buy this wonderful little contraption here are the system requirements
Pentium 166MHz MMX CPU
One free USB Port
32MB of system memory
100 MB of HDD Space
Windows 98, ME, 2000 or XP
Finally all I have to say is that this camera is great fun and really easy to use and at such a low price I recommend that everyone goes out and buys one in preparation for the Ciao Stone, Scissors, Paper Interenet Challenge. I hope you have as much fun if you buy one as I do with mine.
:: Packaging :: The packaging did not prove to be particular eye catching. Has a picture of the cam itself which in itself looks very nice and if looks could make a camera good this camera would be up there. :: Installing :: It was easy enough just plug it into the USB port insert the installation disk and load up your computer. Well it was easy for me because well I can open my disk tray but I know that my mum can even do that but she wouldn’t be buying a web-cam really would she so it wouldn’t really effect her would it? Wouldn’t it? Anyway. The installation really is just a next, next, next case not a lot to read really it kind of installs itself anyway puts all the files into the right places and sets up picture software to capture the pictures and edit them plus gallery software which will allow the users to easily set up galleries, picture folders plus you get video software to take and make films with. :: Software :: Photo Impression 3: This software does everything including the following headers of: Get Photo: You can use this software to pull of pictures of the camera or other installed hardware like scanners. Ill only talk about acquiring from the camera itself, you have to click on the button itself on the screen that is not that big so you can only take picture of yourself how ever far your mouse can go. I would of liked to see them install a timer system that could click down so you can take full body pictures of yourself. Edit: Facilities available are; paintbrush, pen, airbrush, eraser, clone, smudge, red eye, blur, sharpen, darken, lighten, eyedropper, bucket fill, pattern fill, gradient fill, brush palette, colour palette and intensity of tool. The layout of editing could not be easier just pick the picture then the area you wish to edit then the tool and just clic
k over. With helpful little windows popping up all over the place offering you tips, these of course can be switched off when you become a pro at using the software. Create: Not much to do here you can crop lot of different pictures and put them into one plus you can create pretty pictures using shapes and drawing tools nothing a lot different to other software’s like paint and paint shop pro. Save: Just lets you save the file or save under a different name. Print: Set up properties to print out a hard copy, you pick the size and paper source. Video Impression 6: Nothing to complex about this just lets you record, save, and send videos. As far as I can tell there is no limits on the time of the video except the amount your hard disk can hold. :: Quality :: Its grainy its sandy to be blunt its down right awful. Pictures I find give such low quality, you can see what you are taking pictures of it just proves to be at such a low quality it always looks bad. Its highly effected by light. When its too dark its shows very black when light it has big spots of bright white light. The video graphics are the same as the pictures its just basically a lot of pictures taken very fast. As for the frame rate this ok with it suppose to off been at 30 frames per second I say best of my knowledge it is close to this. :: Value for Money :: £30 for this camera is not worth it its such low quality and lags the computer so badly its just not worth the fuss and the cash you have to pay for it. :: Overall :: Just a poor camera, think next time I am going to get a camera that doubles up as a web-cam but primarily a camera. **Thank You** Take Care © David James Clark DavidJamesClark@hotmail.com (any question e-mail o