Webcams have become an essential product for many as it permits face-to-face conversations with your friends or loved ones abroad. For laptop owners, they provide better image quality than their integrated cameras. These days, USB webcams come in many sizes, shapes and different features that you may or may not need. Several models even have built-in effects if you want to add spice to your usual, boring conversations. At IntelliReview, we make buying the best webcam easier. Our unique ranking algorithm picks the most popular webcams on the market using numerous reviews from many different websites. The number of positive and negative reviews then determines the ranking of each product. Using this power of the social web, we offer a refreshing and valuable look at how to spend your money wisely when purchasing a webcam online. While other websites give listings of all their products sorted by price or a raw number of reviews or ratings, IntelliReview goes beyond that to "cherry pick" the leading models available. Start shopping below, knowing you are only dealing with quality products which provide excellent value.
Pros: Superb image quality, Advanced features
Cons: Pricey, Flimsy stand
Review: A 2-megapixel sensor, Carl Zeiss optics and RightLight 2 technology that delivers crystal clear precision and superb image quality even in low-lit conditions defines the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000. It allows you to shoot videos in HD quality and capture images up to 8-megapixels. You can also experiment and be creative with Logitech's Video Effects which consist of fish-eye distortions, neon splashes and a lot more. With regards to installation, it is painless. Just install the software and plug it in. The only criticism is its stand which feels flimsy and unstable. This feature-packed webcam is compatible with most operating systems and applications like Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger. It is armed with a built-in microphone with RightSound technology, a premium autofocus that keeps your images sharp, Intelligent Face tracking which gives you the freedom to move and a universal clip that enables you to easily attach it to your netbook, laptop or desktop. With Logitech Vid, you can also add friends and call them instantly. For a webcam, the price of the QuickCam Pro 9000 is a bit steep but its quality and wide compatibility make it a great choice for face-to-face conversations with your family, friends and colleagues.
Pros: Clear picture. High sound quality. Strong adaptable arm.
Cons: Bulky design. Some experienced short term lifespan, 2-3 mos.
Review: This webcam offers great light and picture quality while still providing an excellent microphone sound. Though this product has a high audio quality, it is still capable of being adjusted to work from a separate microphone, if prefered. The software is easy to install, intuitive and compatible with a variety of systems including, Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Linux or just about any other operating system that is UVC (Universal Video Class) compatible. The Logitech C310 HD Webcam is also compatible with varying programs, both PC and Mac, including, Logitech Vid HD, Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, Photobooth, Quicktime, iChat, Facetime and Google video chat. Panning is only capable through up and down motions, not left or right motions. Another disadvantage to the Logitech C310 HD Webcam is its bulky design, which isnt the most aesthetically pleasing. Other users found the webcams USB cord was too short to reach their USB outlets, for a laptop user, this shouldnt be an issue. Video and still frame pictures are easily uploaded to share through email, Facebook, Twitter Youtube or other similar sharing sites. This webcam also offers basic image enhancing features such as color manipulation, fisheye lens and other playful settings. The autofocus and autoexposure work very well in delivering a crystal clear picture for the viewer and the video receiver, even in complete darkness. However, there are no manual focus or exposure capabilities to further adjust the resolution. The adjustable stand and attachment arm have proven versatile and sturdy, though some laptop users have struggled with it attaching to the top of their screens due to the thin width. Though the majority of others disagree, stating the attachment arm will fit most any monitor, notebook or LCD screen. The Logitech C310 HD Webcam has mostly extremely positive consumer reports and an affordable price; most call it a bargain experiencing a higher quality product than expected.
Pros: Easy to set-up, Great picture quality, Clear audio
Cons: Lousy software
Review: With its 720p HD video, Auto Focus and high-quality lens, Microsoft's LifeCam Cinema Webcam makes a great option for video recording and video conference. It incorporates ClearFrame Technology which offers better low-light performance and TrueColor Technology which aims to deliver accurate colors and brighter video. It also has an integrated digital microphone that does a great job in eliminating background noise and providing clear sound quality. Using Windows Live Photo Gallery and Movie Maker, you can easily edit your photos and videos and upload them to your favorite sites like YouTube and Facebook. This Webcam is designed for use with traditional monitors, flat-screen displays and laptops. It works seamlessly with Windows Live Messenger, Skype, Yahoo Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger. Thanks to Windows Live Call Button, you can instantly call your family and friends with just one touch. In terms of construction, it is built with an aluminum body for increased durability and a flexible stand which allows easy adjustment and provides a stable platform for your webcam. The only drawback is its LifeCam software which enables you to add video effects and have fun but does not unleash your webcam's full potential. For the most part, the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema is a great webcam. It is easy to install and it comes with a reliable name youve come to trust.
Pros: Compact size, Great low light performance, Outstanding image quality, Easy installation
Cons: Short cord, Weak stand
Review: The Logitech QuickCam Pro is small in size but big in quality. It incorporates a 2-megapixel sensor and Carl Zeiss optics that produce detailed and crisp images and features Logitech Vid which allows you to call your friends, family and co-workers in an instant. With Logitech Video Effects, you can even add face accessories, video masks, avatars and other fun filters to your video. This compact webcam supports plug n' play for easy installation and works flawlessly with Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Skype and other applications. Its Premium autofocus and ability to record at 720p HD quality give your loved ones the opportunity to see you in clear, widescreen video while its RightLight technology promises better low-light performance. Although it is designed for laptops, you can also use it with your desktop computer. However, it would be better if its cord is made longer so you have enough room to move around and if they could make the stand sturdier and more stable. The Logitech QuickCam Pro comes with a convenient travel case and features a built-in mic with RightSound technology that offers great audio. Overall, its excellent image quality and incredible low-light capability make it a perfect accessory to your notebook.
Pros: 720p HD recording, Autofocus and Auto Image Correction, 360-degree field of rotation on base
Cons: Shifting between square and widescreen when recording video not possible, Video has motion blur effect, Mounting system may require the webcam to be in a fixed location
Review: Video quality is very important to webcam users, especially if they use the devices to talk to family and friends over the Internet. While any ordinary webcam may be able to capture standard-definition video however, the results are often average at best, and disappointing at the worst. To get the best in webcam video, an HD-capable device such as the Logitech HD Webcam C525 is a definite must-have. The Logitech C525 may appear to be a run-of-the-mill webcam, but behind the ordinary looks, this webcam delivers impressive image quality both static and moving. Video calling and recording appears excellent with 720p quality; translated to snapshots, the C525 likewise dazzles with crystal-clear 8-megapixel resolution. The C525 is also capable of shifting between SD and HD recording, as well as between square and widescreen aspect ratios. What's more, the Logitech C525 is also equipped with several smart features that add to the high-definition experience. Unlike other webcams, the Logitech C525 has an autofocus feature that keep things in sharp focus all the time, even when placed directly in front of the camera lens. Alternatively, you can even set it to face tracking and have it follow your movements automatically. It has an auto lighting correction system, which adjusts images to compensate for both under- and over-lit conditions. This makes both your video and your snapshots look more natural and with better color. Lastly, considering that the C525 is designed for social networking applications, that is, IM programs, the inclusion of a microphone to the unit is a nice touch. The base of the Logitech C525 has some clever tricks of its own. First, the main body of the webcam can pivot on the base with a full 360-degree field of rotation, so you can see behind the webcam easily. Second, the base also serves as the C525's holding case. Simply turn the camera in, and fold it up into the base, turning the unit into a compact size that you can easily slip into your bag or purse without fear of the parts breaking off. The extra-long USB cable also allows the webcam to turn freely while preventing tangles and snags from happening. Although the Logitech HD Webcam C525 can capture video in both normal and widescreen, you can only choose one or the other when recording, as doing so will cut the recording process off. Some users also noted that while the C525 does indeed capture HD video, the results appear to have a mild motion blur effect instead of being truly crystal-clear. Finally, the Logitech C525's unique mounting system has the webcam simply sliding onto the top of your monitor instead of clipping on, which may present a challenge if you use a laptop and need to move around, as the webcam may fall off.
Pros: High definition camera for video calls, 720p HD resolution, very good image quality
Cons: Autofocus issues, HD demands high system resources
Review: The LifeCam HD-5000, Microsoft's entry to the high-definition webcam market, has the ability to record up to 720p widescreen HD. Its lens captures images with superb color and clarity and shoots videos at 30 frames a second. With its excellent ability to handle white balance, light-colored elements contrast very well with dark ones without appearing to shine. Likewise, the camera can handle low-light conditions as well. Auto-Focus is a letdown though, so it is better to turn it off. Thankfully, deactivating it (it is turned on by default) is easy with the LifeCam settings software that installs on the system when you install the drivers. The camera body is quite small, measuring just about 1.61 inches wide and 4.25" long. It attaches to the frame of your monitor snugly so there's no danger of it falling off. The cable is long and also has a wire-tie attached to it to control the length if needed. Being an HD camera, it needs significant system resources. Minimum system requirements needed to run the camera at high definition are an Intel Dual-Core Processor at 1.6GHz and 1GB of RAM, while the recommended specs are pegged at a 3.0 Ghz processor and 2GB RAM. In addition, it needs 1.5GB of free hard disk space. A driver installer CD is included in the package but due to a recent firmware update from Microsoft, it is probably better to download the latest drivers from the product support page. Lastly, the LifeCam HD-5000 supports Windows 7, Vista and XP SP2 or higher. It even works with an Ubuntu-based desktop. Skype and other VoIP applications are supported as well.
Pros: Simple set-up, Excellent image quality, Advanced features
Cons: No clip, Expensive
Review: The Quickcam Orbit AF by Logitech offers a convenient way to stay in touch with your family and friends. Its Carl Zeiss optics together with its true 2-megapixel sensor delivers the best possible image quality while its RightLight 2 technology and advanced autofocus provide crystal clear precision even during close-ups and low-lit situations. No matter how far or close you are from your screen, its Motorized tracking technology ensures that you're always in the center of the picture. Plus, you can program it to record when movement is detected and you can choose whether you want to manually or automatically zoom and pan. This full-featured webcam is capable of capturing 16:9 widescreen video in 720p HD quality. It also has an onboard mic with RightSound technology that negates the need for buying an actual headset. Using the bundled software, you can enhance its image quality, take snapshots of up to 8 megapixels and call your loved ones easily. You can even be silly with your kids and add effects like fish-eye distortions and neon splashes to your videos. The Quickcam Orbit AF is compatible with most applications including Skype, Yahoo Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and Windows Live Messenger. It cannot be attached on top of your laptop or screen but it comes with a 9-inch stand that enables you to adjust its height to your preferred level. In general, it costs a little more than most webcams but its astounding image quality along with its advanced features makes it a smart buy.
Pros: 720p Widescreen HD Capture, Autofocus and Face Tracking, Aluminium construction makes unit strong and lightweight
Cons: Best used with only the basic drivers installed, 720p capture needs bright light, frame rate drops in low light
Review: Take your online conversations to the next level with the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p HD Webcam. This handy webcam lets you connect with family and friends in pure 720p high definition widescreen, giving them a clearer picture wherever you may be. Designed for use with both Windows Live as well as Skype, this webcam is a true powerhouse. Microsoft's LifeCam Cinema webcam captures frames at a steady 30 FPS using a glass-element lens for additional image sharpness. There's less worry of keeping yourself in frame because the LifeCam Cinema combines an autofocus system with its intelligent face tracking technology, while its TrueColor feature enhances and complements the webcam's high resolution imaging output quite well for both video and even still-camera capture. A noise-reducing microphone at the top of the camera makes online IM sessions sound much better. Already small and lightweight, the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema webcam is constructed with an aluminum body, giving it exceptional strength and durability. The area around the lens is ringed with a slight plastic lip to keep it safe in the event of accidents. Below the main body of the webcam and attached to it via a ball-and-socket joint is the flexible rubber-coated foot that can also double as a clip to let the LifeCam Cinema webcam to hang on to monitors of any thickness. This rubber stand is very stable, and allows the camera to pan a full 360 degrees around, or nearly 90 degrees upward. Lastly, the LifeCam Cinema has a relatively long USB cord with a built-in management clip to take up the slack. Although the hardware element of the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p HD webcam is solidly made and has very little negative points if at all, the software drivers of this device does have some issues to contend with, specifically during the installation process. Some users comment that it's much better to use the webcam with only the basic driver installed instead of the special LifeCam software, as the latter tends to make video capture lag a bit. Others observed that the LifeCam tends to suffer a bit when used in non-traditional settings, such as for surveillance equipment, because it can only reliably record in 720p 30 FPS in daylight; at night, the frame capture rate can drop to as low as 10 FPS. However, if used for the purpose it was designed for, the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema may be the last webcam that you will ever need.
Pros: 720p video capture, Works with major OSs and IM programs, Noise-cancelling Microphoe built in
Cons: Average low-light compensation, Loose stand clip
Review: If you frequently use the video chatting feature of IM programs for teleconferencing, then you would know that webcams are not known for having exceptional image quality. More often than not, most off-the-shelf webcams only have a working image resolution of 640 X 480 pixels, and perform quite poorly when it comes to low-light conditions. If you have such a device and are looking to get an upgrade, then you may want to take a look at the Live! Cam Chat HD Webcam from Creative. The uniquely-punctuated name aside, the Creative Live! Cam Chat is capable of delivering high-resolution video of up to 720p with its 5.7 Megapixel lens, and butter-smooth video playback at 30 FPS. It is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and even Linux, and integrates easily with IM programs like Skype and Windows Live Messenger. Using software that you download off their site, you can capture video and share it on different networking sites at the click of a button. If your bandwidth can support it, you can even stream directly in HD using the webcam. Non-techies will love the plug-and-play aspect of this webcam. Simply connect the Live! Cam Chat to an available USB port on your computer using the extra-long cable, and the device will automatically install itself to your system. This is great news for people who will be using this webcam on notebook computers, a majority of which do not come with optical drives to install drivers with. The stand that comes with this model also doubles as a clip which you attach to the bezel of your monitor. The Creative Live! Cam Chat also comes with a built-in noise-cancelling microphone, dramatically improving the sound quality that people you are talking with will receive. As good as the overall performance of the Creative Live! Cam Chat is, it still finds itself needing a bit of improvement in some areas. For example, although the webcam captures video in HD, it still does need a fair amount of light for the image to show up clearly, though not as much as the amount of light needed by ordinary webcams. Another thing to consider is the insufficient amount of tension in the stand clip, which may lead to the webcam falling off, especially if attached to a smooth monitor bezel. Still, for its capabilities and the good price point that this webcam is going for, the Creative Live! Cam Chat webcam is a solid choice for a computer peripheral.