Quantcast Logitech Quick Cam for Notebooks Pro Review

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  1. #1
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    Default Logitech Quick Cam for Notebooks Pro Review

    Introduction

    Since I have several friends who live abroad, and chat with them regularly, I needed to purchase a webcam. I was initially confused by the plethora of models available in the market today. I considered buying webcams from Creative, Microsoft and Logitech, before settling for the Logitech Quick Cam for Notebooks Pro.

    src="http://www.NotebookReview.com/assets/6110bargainspots.JavaScript">

    Factors that tilted my decision towards the Logitech included the excellent design and build, as well as the built-in microphone, the 1.3 megapixel camera, and the $20 rebate at the time. I purchased this webcam from Amazon.com for about $60 after rebate, which is a relatively high price for a webcam.

    In this review, I will discuss some of the main features and functionality of this webcam.

    Build and Design

    This was one the main factors that led me to buy this webcam. The build quality is awesome. Its brushed aluminum finish and rectangular shape represent a welcome departure from the more conventional eyeball shaped webcam designs.

    It is similar in size to a typical USB drive. Its small size makes it very portable, an important factor to consider while purchasing a webcam for notebooks. Its precise dimensions are 2-3/8 inches tall, less than an inch wide and 3/8 inches deep.

    There is a blue LED light at the top of the unit, to indicate that the unit is active (recording video or taking pictures).

    Attached to the USB cord is a Velcro band, which is extremely useful for securely winding the cord when not in use. Speaking of the cord, I find it to be a tad short. Users of large desktop-replacement notebooks may find it problematic to fix the webcam on top of the screen, depending on the placement of the USB ports.


    The Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Pro (view large image)


    Front View (view large image)


    Side View (view large image)


    A Samsung Blade, the QuickCam and a Sony Micro Vault (view large image)

    The mounting clip behind the camera can be attached to monitors 6 to 16mm wide. The mounting clip may not fit all notebooks, especially those with a thick screen, like some of the IBM Thinkpads. This may cause the webcam to slip and fall off, of such notebooks. It does however, stay put on my HP Pavilion dv8000t notebook. The clip also helps the webcam stand by itself on a level surface, which makes it suitable for use with desktop computers as well.

     


    The QuickCam attached to my HP Pavilion dv8000t notebook screen (view large image)

    Functionality

    Installation was a breeze. Basically, you just plug in the webcam to an available USB port on your notebook, download the latest driver from the Logitech website and you are good to go. Chat software such as Yahoo! Messenger and Skype, instantly recognize the webcam and work seamlessly with it.

    The 1.3 mp sensor provides fluid video and can take decent pictures as well. This webcam features Logitech's RightLight technology, which provides true-to-life video images under any light conditions, including low light. Skin tones are accurately reproduced, much better than other webcams I've used in the past. Various image settings, such as Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, Gamma correction, etc. can be changed to suit the ambient lighting conditions.


    Various Image/Video/Audio Settings

     

    The following picture was taken at 1.3 megapixel resolution, with bright morning sunlight streaming into the room.


    In bright morning sunlight (view large image)

    Two features that I find to be particularly helpful are the Low Light Boost and Color Boost functions. The pictures below illustrate these features.


    without Low Light Boost (view large image)


    with Low Light Boost (view large image)


    Without Color Boost (view large image)


    With Color Boost (view large image)

    Video can be captured at 160x120, 320x240 and 640x480 resolutions. The 15-second clip below was taken at 320x240 resolution.

    height="350" width="425">

    A 15-second clip featuring my HP dv8000t notebook

    A feature that I really like is the Face Tracking. The sensor can intelligently track the face of a person during a video conversation. Thus the person does not have to remain in one position to be seen at the other end, and can always remain in the field of view. However, I notice that this face tracking feature is effective only in well lit conditions.

    The field of view is another distinguishing feature of this webcam. It features a 78 degree field of view, meaning, more people can be fit in.

    One rather serious issue with this webcam is that it gets extremely hot; so hot that I am quite concerned about a possible meltdown of the component hardware and/or electronics inside the webcam. But it does not seem to affect performance so far. In fact, due to its diminutive size, I now think that the metal body was designed to efficiently conduct heat away.

    Microphone

    The built-in microphone is awesome. I can talk from as much as ten feet away without a headset, and it still picks my voice clearly, without any echo or distortion. This webcam features Logitech's RightSound technology, which effectively cancels echo, thus delivering crisp audio through the speakers. And more importantly, this liberates me from using a headset during a video chat session.

    Over Voice chat, the best method to gauge the quality of a microphone is to hear people (who live in other continents) telling you that you sound loud and clear. Initially I was quite skeptical about the effectiveness of a built in microphone. But, till date, no one has complained about lack of audio clarity.

    Software

    Logitech has included its Video Effects software. This allows the user to create his/her unique avatar, which can mimic facial expressions and movements, during a video conversation. It does this by tracking several key points on the face and translating them into expressions for the avatar. Face accessories are also available (anything from sunglasses to sombrero hats and diving masks) that can also be added to the image, to modify the look of the person. But, this software is something of a resource hog and can only be successfully used on more powerful computers.


    A screenshot of me, using the Video Effects software (view large image)

    I personally feel that that the Video Effects software is nothing more than a novelty, something that can be used by people with a lot of time on their hands, or kids wanting to impress their friends.

    Logitech also includes its QuickCam software, used for changing image settings, as well as taking pictures and videos. The QuickCam software interface is simple and intuitive.


    QuickCam software interface - QuickCapture

    I do not use any of the Logitech software, since like many of us, I prefer a lean boot up, with a minimal number of programs/processes running in the background.

    Accessories

    Supplied accessories include a rigid, crush-resistant travel case and a single earphone with microphone, for private conversations, as opposed to using speakers.

    The travel case is well built, but I had a hard time fitting the web cam and the earphone, into the case.


    The QuickCam with its travel case (view large image)

     


    The supplied earphone (view large image)


    The QuickCam and its headphone, in the travel case (view large image)

    The webcam also comes with a 2 year limited warranty.

    Conclusion

    src="http://www.NotebookReview.com/assets/6110bargainspots.JavaScript">

    This webcam works well with several chat programs such as Skype, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger. It is a cute little webcam, and aside from the heat issue, I find it to be one of the best webcams out there, and a perfect solution to Voice/Video chatting.

    Pros:

    • Excellent build quality.
    • Compact design.
    • Built in microphone, with good audio quality.
    • Good picture clarity and video quality.
    • Easy to install.
    • Face tracking feature.

    Cons:

    • Gets super hot during use.
    • Pricey.
    • Short USB cord.
    • Cannot rotate camera.

    Thanks for reading my review. Let me know if you have any questions that I could answer.



  2. #2
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    Default Re: Logitech Quick Cam for Notebooks Pro Review

    I had just purchased this same web cam last week myself and can atest to the excellent build quality of this product. It is extremely easy to setup and use. And it definitely looks tons better than those conventional eye ball shaped web cams out there. I use a Thinkpad T60p and it clipped onto my screen without problem. But for those of you that have problems due to the thicker screen lid, it also comes with a base stand that elevates the web cam by about 10 inches. Its ability to capture clear audio sound is a definite plus.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Logitech Quick Cam for Notebooks Pro Review

    jetstar, thank you for this thorough review. You wrote "the mounting clip may not fit all notebooks, especially those with a thick screen". When I look at the design of the clip I am concerned how it would fit notebooks with a rather narrow bezel around the display, for example a ThinkPad X60. Outrigger wrote that the camera fits his ThinkPad T60p but I don't know if the bezel is wider than that of the X60. If the bezel is too narrow there is a danger that the clip might slide down and crush the display itself, possibly damaging some pixels. Is this concern justified or would the camera fit displays with a narrow bezel?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Logitech Quick Cam for Notebooks Pro Review

    Excellent review.

    The only thing I might add is a little emphasis on the need to download the latest drivers from Logitech. QuickCam 9.5 caused a BSOD on my system at bootup, because the noise canceling feature was incompatible with some driver. This is a known issue with that software and "lvckap.sys".

    QuickCam 10 fixes the problem, but install it instead of 9.5. After doing an upgrade, my camera performance was so bad (most likely due to software version conflicts) that I just took them back.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Logitech Quick Cam for Notebooks Pro Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Outrigger View Post
    ...And it definitely looks tons better than those conventional eye ball shaped web cams out there.
    Yes, it looks awesome, doesnt it?! That's what really sold me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred from NYC View Post
    ...When I look at the design of the clip I am concerned how it would fit notebooks with a rather narrow bezel around the display, for example a ThinkPad X60. Outrigger wrote that the camera fits his ThinkPad T60p but I don't know if the bezel is wider than that of the X60. If the bezel is too narrow there is a danger that the clip might slide down and crush the display itself, possibly damaging some pixels. Is this concern justified or would the camera fit displays with a narrow bezel?
    I do not think this should really be an issue, since the mounting clip is very tight, and I seriously doubt if it will slide down and crush the display, or damage the pixels. But, you may have a point if the bezel is really really narrow and the screen is very thin...then, there might be distortions on the screen. The Sony Vaio TX series comes to mind. But if I remember correctly, the Sony Vaio TX screen is designed to take a lot of pressure. I'll keep your point in mind. I have a friend who owns a Thinkpad X60. I'll test this out and get back to you.

    Thanks for all the feedback guys, I appreciate it.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Logitech Quick Cam for Notebooks Pro Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred from NYC View Post
    If the bezel is too narrow there is a danger that the clip might slide down and crush the display itself, possibly damaging some pixels. Is this concern justified or would the camera fit displays with a narrow bezel?
    Fred

    I do not believe it would damage the LCD itself because the inside of the clip is actually covered by some kind of felt so it won't be the hard plastic gripping tightly on your LCD. And also, the clip itself is not as tight as I thought it would be so it was pretty effortless for me to clip it onto the LCD screen. But since now I use my laptop even more than my desktop and I don't do video conference all too often, therefore no need for the web cam to be plugged in most of the time, I just have the cam clip onto the pencil like stand that it came with because you can't close the lid with the cam still attached.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Logitech Quick Cam for Notebooks Pro Review

    If you "record"a video to a hard drive, how much memory does it take. or how long of a video can you record (MB/minute of video??), assume lowest settings/resolution.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Logitech Quick Cam for Notebooks Pro Review

    I recorded a video for 1 hour and 15min at 640 x 480 and it only took 159MB of hard drive space.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Logitech Quick Cam for Notebooks Pro Review

    Quote Originally Posted by doug2255 View Post
    If you "record"a video to a hard drive, how much memory does it take. or how long of a video can you record (MB/minute of video??), assume lowest settings/resolution.
    The 15 second video clip featured in this review, (taken at 320x240 resolution) is about 2.5MB or so.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Logitech Quick Cam for Notebooks Pro Review

    Thanks for the repiles, but why so much differnce? Just the resolution?
    Outrigger has 1hr 15 min for 159MB, whereas jetstar , for the same 1 hr 15 minutes would be 750MB. (if my math is correct?).

    I am trying to find a cheap way to record a couple hours of a video surveillance. I do not have a camcorder and this surveillance video would not warrnet purchasing one.

 

 
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