Logitech Quickcam E 3500
A webcam lacking in wow
- Good picture resolution for asking price, user-friendly interface
- Poorly designed monitor clip, lacking 'wow' factor
The Quickcam E 3500 doesn't do anything terribly wrong, but there's nothing to make it stand out from the crowd either. If you're after a functional webcam with minimal bells-and-whistles, you could probably do worse.
Price$ 59.95 (AUD)
The Quickcam E 3500 is a midrange webcam that would be most charitably described as a jack-of-all-trades. It performs its primary function fairly well, and offers a decent assortment of effects and features for the asking price. While by no means a bad product, it's completely devoid of anything special. If we were forced to sum up the E 3500 in one word, we'd have to go with "meh", accompanied by an ambivalent shrug of the shoulders.
In terms of design, the E 3500 is a bit of a mixed bag. With its prominent spherical head and inbuilt monitor clip, it looks like every other webcam on the market — dull yet functional. However, the 'universal' clip was incompatible with our LCD monitor and failed to hold the device firmly in place. A light tug on the USB cable was all it took to send the webcam toppling earthward. Thankfully, the clip also doubles as a desktop stand, although the ultra-low vantage point won't suit every user (particularly those with double-chins or nostril hair). Other inbuilt features include a manual focus ring and a top-mounted snapshot button. While the focus ring is a nice touch, it seems to be somewhat superfluous: the lens auto-adjusts itself without any intervention from the user.
Despite touting its plug-and-play abilities on the back of the box ("communicate instantly!", "just connect the webcam to get started!"), the E 3500 actually requires a lengthy software installation before you can access any features. Surely that's false advertising? In any event, once the Quickcam program is up and running, you can quickly adjust video/audio effects, preferences and settings via an unobtrusive, column-sized window. You can also upload clips directly to YouTube and swank up your mugshot with a bevy of video effects.
In terms of video quality, the E 3500 performed averagely for a webcam in this price range. It sports a 1.3-megapixel sensor that can capture video up to a resolution of 640x480; the same as Microsoft's Lifecam NX-3000. It can also be used to capture still images at 1280x960 pixels: good enough for Facebook perhaps, but too grainy for glossy prints.
Image quality is roughly comparable to an inbuilt notebook webcam; which is to say it gets the job done without being wildly impressive. Colours remained sharp and accurate in bright environments, but degraded quickly in dim lighting due to excessive noise levels. Aside from this common caveat, the E 3500 remains a fairly solid performer. It won't knock your socks off, but it won't give you cause for complaint either. We were particularly impressed by the level of detail in close-up images, with the individual whorls in our fingertips plainly visible. Not bad for a $60 webcam.
Audio was also quite good. The inbuilt microphone managed to filter out background noise with considerable success, and attaining optimum results is relatively painless thanks to the inclusion of an audio tuning wizard. This automatically guides you through the setup process and allows you to test your chosen settings.
All up, the E 3500 is an adequate webcam that left us feeling wholly underwhelmed. Average. Vanilla. Run-of-the-mill. Good but not great. We think you get the picture.
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