Creative Labs Vista Pro
- Cheap, Snapshot button located on camera, helpful software
- USB 1.1, CMOS sensor, only 15 fps at 640 x 480, grainy image
A cheap no-frills webcam, useful for simple video conferencing.
Price$ 69.00 (AUD)
Creative have an extensive range of webcams, including the high end (and not to mention expensive) Live! Ultra, capable of capturing 640x480 video at a full 30 frames per second (fps) - all the way down to the no-frills Vista series of webcams. Despite its low price, the Creative Vista Pro is reliable, easy to use and works with all the video enabled software we threw at it. If you want to just video conference with friends on your favourite instant messaging program, or grab a couple of shots here and there, the Vista Pro is a cheap, but dependable, solution.
The Vista Pro clips firmly onto any thin support, such as an LCD monitor or a laptop screen. The legs also fold away, allowing the camera to be placed on any flat surface, although we did find the camera to feel unstable when sitting on top of a CRT monitor. To focus the image, users can adjust the focus of the camera by turning the manual focus ring, located around the lens. After plugging in the camera through the included 6" USB cable, we were taken through a simple install process.
The software bundle ncludes Creative's WebCam Center - an all purpose webcam control software that allows video capture, remote monitoring, motion detection, and time lapse video recording. The remote monitoring function allows users to set up the cam as a security device, recording still images and uploading them to a user provided FTP. The interval for recording the still images can set up for a shot every second. Creative also include ArcSoft Multimedia Email and Ulead Photo Express, an easy to use and simple image editing application.
The image sensor used in the Vista Pro is a 640x480 CMOS sensor, which is of a lower quality sensor when compared to CCD sensors. This image sensor is limited to capturing video at 30 fps at 320x240, or 15 fps at 640x480. By comparison, the Creative Live! Ultra is capable of a full 30 fps at 640x480. Running at 320x240, we found the video quality acceptable and the graininess not as apparent due to the lower resolution. When capturing at 640x480 at 15 fps, video lags quite considerably and the graininess is evident.
We tried the camera in a variety of applications, including MSN, Yahoo! Messenger and AIM. The device is recognized as a Video For Windows (VFW) device, and therefore works in any video capable software. This is very handy if you intend on using your own software for streaming video to the internet, or recording effects in your favourite open source software.
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PCW Evaluation Team
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
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