So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Creative Labs Live! Cam Video IM Pro
- Decent quality image, wide range of controls, fun
- Maximum resolution is software enhanced
A great webcam that offers reasonable image quality and all the features you'd expect out of such a device.
Price$ 89.95 (AUD)
The lengthily named Live! Cam Video IM Pro is one of Creative Labs' mid-range webcams. It's got a heap of functionality and decent video quality to boot. Anyone looking for a simple to use webcam that includes some fun extras can't go far wrong with this product.
The heart of the Live! Cam Video IM Pro is a 640 x 480 VGA sensor. This is used to good effect for video and stills. Images can be scaled by Creative's software up to 1280 x 960 (1.3 megapixels), and they don't look too bad. Video can be captured at the native resolution of 640 x 480 at 30fps, or scaled to 800 x 600 which drops the frame rate to 15fps. Video is clear and sharp, with few signs of blurring and a good colour balance. Creative include a wide range of controls, such as gamma, backlight adjustment and exposure, which is useful for anyone using the webcam in low light.
If you don't want to use Creative's software then the webcam is fully compatible with MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and others. Creative even bundle a clip-on microphone so you can engage in voice conversations. However, it's Creative's software that provides the most fun. This allows a whole host of extra features that you don't find with cheaper models. In addition to JPEG photo capture, and WMV or DiVX video capture, Creative offers motion detection, remote monitoring and time-lapse video.
To spice up the video capture, Creative includes a whole range of video effects filters. These range from bizarre psychedelic motion filters to the ability to superimpose your head on Ayers Rock or the Eiffel Tower. We were even able to get into the Christmas spirit with Creative's 'sparkle' filter! If you get bored of the twenty or so filters that come bundled, it's possible to download more for free from Creative's website.
The motion detection feature is similar to those we have seen on other devices. Areas can be set on the screen to monitor, and when motion is detected an alarm sounds and the camera starts recording. It can even be set to email stills of the intruder to a give email address. If you're really feeling adventurous then it's also possible to configure the camera to be viewed remotely over the Internet, though you'll need your own website to do so. Face tracking is also included, though its usefulness is debatable. The idea is that the camera zooms into the area of the screen that contains the user's face, though we found it wasn't entirely accurate and would constantly zoom back and forth all over the place.
One other fun feature is the ability to record time-lapse video. In this mode the camera takes a still shot at give intervals, and then merges them into a WMV video. This is perfect for taking those long shots of flowers blooming you might have seen on nature programs, or the high speed cloud movement sometimes seen on weather forecasts such as Channel 10's Skywatch.
Overall it's hard to see what else anyone could really need from a webcam; Creative has done a great job at including a multitude of features with respectable image quality.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Brilliant but not quite a breakthrough
- 2 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 3 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 4 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
- 5 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
Latest News Articles
- Ring expand local offering with new Stick Up Cam
- CES 2019: Arlo expand into the smart home, confirm Arlo Ultra pricing
- Arlo announces 4K HDR wire-free security camera system
- Navman introduces the MiVUE dash cam
- Uniden adds Artificial Intelligence functionality to Wired surveillance range
PCW Evaluation Team
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
- CES 2019 Round-Up:
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Samsung’s Galaxy S10 will launch on Feb 20
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies