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Gadget Review

Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Pro

By Kailas Narendran
COLUMNIST

The Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Pro is an innovative product in the wide market of computer video cameras. It takes the next step in the market, creating a compact camera designed around the portability of the laptop. The camera comes in a compact form, easily fitting into the palm of your hand, and packs up easily for travel. It even has fold-out legs that allow it to clip to your laptop screen -- very nifty! It integrates with Yahoo Messenger to make your text chats a little more interesting. While the image and sound quality are okay (what you would expect from a quick cam), the software that comes with the camera is marginal.

Design matters

I really liked the fact that this camera is designed well. It has a fully integrated microphone, small form factor, and understands that you don’t always use your laptop on a flat surface. The compact design allows for easy transportation, even with the carrying case (not that you really need it). The fold-out monitor clip is a very cool feature. It isn’t too sturdy, but gets the job done nicely when you’re sitting in once place.

The device is USB-based, so it’s fast and easy to use. The microphone is integrated and it has a nice little status LED to tell you when it’s ready to go.

Softwhere?

Stewart Also once said “The problem with software is” it sucks. I can’t count the number of times I see a cool device that comes with mediocre software. Included with the Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Pro are video editing software and Logitech’s Image and Video archive software. Being a Windows user, I hate it when software creates all sorts of system directories and crap that I can’t delete and reorganize (like this software does -- you get the Logitech Gallery as a system folder).

The video editing software is not that great. I found it to be quite clunky, but you can make decent stuff with it. It has a lot of features crammed into it, but has a very hard-to-use interface.

I tried using this camera for shooting a video in a very non-ideal lighting situation. I found that the automatic image correction algorithms were very slow and didn’t work too well outside of ideal conditions. Adjusting the parameters manually while shooting was a bit challenging, but yielded satisfactory results. The company boasts digital zoom and panning.

Anything digital isn’t really much to talk about since you just sacrifice resolution to zoom around the image.

My two cents

I think this is a really cool device that does what it is supposed to do.

While the software does leave something to be desired (what software doesn’t?), the hardware and design are pretty solid. I found the unit for as low as $81 through http://www.ecost.com/. You can find out more from http://www.logitech.com/.