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: 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: Clear picture, Solid construction, Easy to install, Useful tripod mount
Cons: USB cable is not detachable, Mic and included software could be better, Limited camera movement
Review: Nurturing social ties can be difficult when youre a thousand miles away. If you dont want to mope around the house or lose that connection you have with special people then video chatting with them can help brighten your day and reduce loneliness. This form of communication can be fun and intimate, given the right tool. Take the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, for example. It not only provides a way to make video calls from anywhere in the world but it does it in a highly acceptable manner. You can get a clearer view of your family and friends through its support for Full HD 1080p video via Skype or HD 720p videos using other instant messaging applications. Make sure that you have the latest version of Skype though in order to experience 1080p HD video calling. Enhanced video quality is made possible by Logitechs Fluid Crystal Technology and the camera supports H.264 compression technology for trouble-free recording and uploading. The C920 features Carl Zeiss optics and a 20-step autofocus that guarantees crisp images. Its ability to capture 15-megapixel snapshots is another advantage, making sure that no moments are ever forgotten. The software needs little improvement but it can be installed quickly and it is very user-friendly, allowing you to get the clearest picture and sound. You can easily adjust exposure, focus, brightness, saturation, contrast and even sound quality. Having dual stereo mics, audio remains acceptable for video chat and other similar purposes but a separate mic is highly recommended if you plan on using it for something that demands professional quality audio. The Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, similar to other webcams, has a design that makes it easy to clip onto any screen. Since the camera can only be tilted up and down, most users would find the tripod mount extremely useful. The 6' USB cable is also long but unfortunately, it is not detachable. Needless to say, a detachable cord would have been easier to pack when traveling.
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: HD CMOS image sensor, TrueColor and ClearFrame technology enhances color and eliminates lag, Flexible and tripod-compatible mount, Skype- and Lync-compatible
Cons: Only records video in 720p HD, Puts high demand on system resources
Review: Connecting with friends and family has never been easier than with the Microsoft LifeCam Studio Webcam. Armed with an enhanced video sensor capable of capturing HD video, this webcam is the top-tier offering in Microsoft's LifeCam series. The LifeCam Studio Webcam features an HD CMOS sensor that shoots high-quality video even in difficult lighting conditions. Unlike conventional webcams, the LifeCam Studio uses actual advanced high-precision glass lens elements, giving recorded video superior clarity. The sensor is likewise equipped with TrueColor Technology and ClearFrame Technology, providing every frame of video with extra color and eliminating lag in between. Capping things off, the LifeCam Studio has a built-in high-fidelity digital microphone built into the camera body. The stand that is built into the Microsoft LifeCam Studio Webcam is quite impressive in itself. While other webcam mounts are only simple bulldog clip-type devices, the one on the LifeCam Studio is a rubberized, flexible foot that is shaped into a hook at the front end for latching onto laptop screens. The back end of the mount has a built-in screw-type tripod mount, allowing the LifeCam Studio to be used with ordinary tripods. Since the LifeCam Studio Webcam is a Microsoft product, it's virtually guaranteed to work with the company's communications software such as Skype or Lync with minimal setup required. Because it uses a USB connection to connect to a computer, all that's ever needed is to plug it into an open port, and it's ready to use. The Microsoft LifeCam Studio Webcam is a quality imaging peripheral that's a great addition to any computer system that's also set up for communications. However, the LifeCam Studio is limited only to 720p HD video by default, and only captures 1080p in still images. All things considered though, 720p isn't that bad, especially since communications software only does video chat in VGA (640 X 480) resolution. The LifeCam Studio webcam requires third-party software â which isn't included in the package - for it to be able to actually record in 1080p. This webcam also takes a significant chunk out of computer system resources, more so when recording in HD. This means that you would need a pretty beefy computer to get the most out of the LifeCam Studio.
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.