|Microsoft LifeCam Show (Black)
|List Price: $99.99
Our Price: $44.00
You Save: $55.99 (56%)
Enjoy ultimate mobility and share more with the ultra-thin, ultra-sleek LifeCam Show.
- World-class High Defi nition optics with a glass element lens
- Vibrant, rich video quality, even in dim lighting
- High Defi nition 2.0 megapixel sensor with 8.0 megapixel photos (interpolated)
- Built-in unidirectional microphone with noise cancellation
- 5¡Á digital zoom: Realistic, up-close zoom capability
- Good video quality, lousy applications
The fun part (if you can call it that) about the LifeCam show was finding all of the great little magnetic connection/mounting options available. There's still nothing large enough to clip onto an LCD monitor so I needed to resort to the stand. My monitors don't have flat surfaces on the back so I couldn't use the stick-on magnets.
The software that comes with the camera seems pretty useless. In fact, I'm not even sure what it does. It took forever to install, and then I had to reboot. The LifeShow app would never run (it always said connecting) and the call button on the camera only works with Windows Live Messaging and I kept getting prompted to install that. So I quickly removed all of the software and the cam kept on working so I was happy!
I was satisfied with video and microphone but keep in mind that my primary chat application for video is either skype or chat in gmail. It would have been very nice if I could have configured the call button on the camera to work with any app I wanted....more info
- A decent camera for the price
The Microsoft LifeCam Show is a pretty good little camera, with some good design features. The picture quality is quite adequate for a camera of its size. The frame rate isn't fantastic, but it's adequate for video chatting.
The first thing I appreciated about this product was the driver installation. The usual hardware installation process goes something like this:
- Install the drivers from the CD
- Plug in the hardware and try to use it
- Try to find the support area on the manufacturer's website
- Enter the product model number and serial number, which are usually hidden on the bottom of the device (which is a lot of fun when it's a big multi-function printer)
- Download and install new drivers
- Use the product, which now works correctly
With the LifeCam Show, the process was:
- Run the install program from the CD and *watch it download the current drivers*
- Plug in and use the device, which works correctly first time
ALL HARDWARE VENDORS: Please read the above and DO THIS FOR ALL YOUR PRODUCTS!!!
It took a while longer than simply running the install from the CD. But I did some other work while the downloads were running, and the stress-free install process was worth the wait.
The camera comes with three mounting options:
- A stand that puts the camera at about head height when placed on a desk
- A clip to attach to a laptop screen or monitor
- Two sticky-back dots that can be placed on a monitor or other flat surface
All of the mounts use a magnetic bump that fits into a magnetic ring on the camera. I found the "grip" to be adequate for normal use; the camera did not come loose unless I shook it pretty hard. A nice touch is that there are mounting rings on both the front and back of the camera.
The monitor clip fit my laptop, but just barely. Listen up, Microsoft: a lot of laptop covers are pretty thick these days. Make the clip more adjustable.
Reviewer "Paul" complained that he couldn't use the sticky dots because the back of his monitor isn't flat. Neither is mine. I put the dot on the front of the monitor. It worked just fine there.
Another very nice touch with this product is a plastic case for the camera. This cam is small enough to toss into your briefcase or computer carry case. It's nice to have something to protect the camera so it doesn't get scratched in transit. Webcam manufacturers... are you paying attention?
This camera does just about everything right. If the video speed was better, it would be an ideal product.
- Great for a non-techie
Ok, so I am barely computer litterate & have never used a webcam before. I had no problem loading up, plugging it in or getting it to work. I was especially impressed with the compact , sleek design. It is really portable( it even has a handy protective carrying case.) I also like all of the different mounting options (a stend, a monitor clip for a laptop, several magnet mounting pieces) and that you can aim the camera either tword the kwyboard or forward into the room ( you can also use it handheld, to a limited extent)
The video picture looks really good, but with a little studdering in the image.
All in all I like this camera & will get good use out of it....more info
- WOW!!! Mac Users! This ROCKS on a Mac!
OK, so this tiny clip on camera is bundled with all sorts of MSN toys for a pc. Great. But before we hooked it up to my wife's laptop, I plugged it into our Apple laptop and get this: NO stupid loading of extra apps or software: plugged in, went right to iChat and it worked flawlessly!
for $99, this is a true sweetheart of a small and strong camera. My daughter immediately confiscated it for her Mac laptop and I waved goodbye... to her girlfriend on the other end.
With iChat, a true no-brainer. Newer MacBooks may have a camera, but for all of the rest of us, The microsoft LifeCam works with Skype, iChat and looks like all of the other chat programs. This is a review a few hours into opening the box, so excuse the lack of PC review, but for an Applehead, by far the best camera we've played with: exceptional clarity and again, simple.
So highly recommended, I can't tell ya!...more info
- Microsoft LiveCam
I am very happy with this product. I have only had one glitch. The microphone settings keep changing everytime I use the microphone and so I must go back to the settings and change them again. It seems like there should be a saved setting that does not change....more info
- Does what a webcam should and does it well.
I am not using this webcam for the same reason that most people probably do. Instead of video chatting with friends and family, I set this up facing out my back upstairs window so that my mother and friends could enjoy a live view of the beautiful hills and wheat fields behind our house. I'd used a couple cheaper webcams beforehand and the results were never quite fantastic. When the opportunity came to get a better camera up, I took it, and was quite pleased.
The first thing I really like is the easy configuration. Really, not much configuration was necessary out of the box because the focus, brightness, contrast and color was quite accurate. It worked without any issues with Yawcam to broadcast the image and a wide range of resolutions were available.
It came with several different types of stands which made finding a way to set it up extremely easy, so I was quite pleased with that. Overall, it's a small, decent, and attractive piece of hardware. Although, for my use, someday I will find a small USB-capable point and shoot camera with a larger sensor and better optics....more info
- low framerate, obnoxious installer and applications
I installed this on two Windows XP Professional SP2 systems.
I followed the instructions to the letter, installing the CD FIRST, before plugging in the camera.
I am a 30 year software developer who has tested dozens of webcams over the past 5 years and writes videoconferencing software for Windows using DirectX.
1. The installer is obnoxious. On the first XP system, it displayed the progress box, with the progress bar filling and emptying, for 30 minutes, and it never finished. Twice during installing, the spoolsv.exe service (part of Windows....) crashed. I never could get the installer to work.
2. On the second system, it worked, but then, lo and behold, I am besieged by badgering to install Windows Live Messenger. I unchecked the box during installation, which tells it I DO NOT WANT that installed.
And STILL it drops a shortcut for Windows Live Call on my desk top, which, when I click it, tells me I should install Windows Live Messenger.
Delete C:\Program Files\Microsoft LifeCam\icepick.exe to nuke this app, and delete the shortcut, to get rid of this.
3. Every time you log in, you get the annoying tray icon application, and sometimes a popup window from the LifeCam application. Argh!!!! Logitech does this too. You have to dig into the registry, find the "Run" folder, and delete the entry for the LifeCam in there, to stop this.
4. The EULA license agreement you have to agree to, in order to finish the installer, specifically says that you are required to let this thing automatically connect to the internet and download software updates for itself. BULL TO THAT. Right there, I do NOT want this thing on my computer.
NOW, it gets out of the realm of invasiveness and annoying behavior, into real performance problems...
5. Managing video from this camera with generic applications like Amcap causes very weird behavior. Large black blotches all over the screen, sluggish PC performance. (this is a Core 2 Duo Dell Latitude that I just got 3 months ago, with a real NVidia video module in it, and 1 Gig of RAM... it is no slouch for performance)
6. IT CAN ONLY DO 15 FRAMES PER SECOND.
That, right there, rules it out as a decent camera in my book. If you want to do sluggish webcam chats with Yahoo or something, fine. But if you want any kind of smooth video, forget it. Any decent camera these days just HAS to do 30 fps.
7. CPU load is high. A simple 15 fps 352x288 capture to the screen, like in AMCAP, consumes 15% CPU on my Core 2 Duo machine. Compare that to only 6% for a Logitech QuickCam Pro For Notebooks, which produces every bit as good video, at TWICE THE FRAMERATE (30 fps).
Video performance poor.
Privacy/software updating invasiveness.
Obnoxious foisting of Live Messenger onto the user.
Stick with Logitech.
- Easy to use, comes with a lot of fun features but for it's price under lowlight conditions is where the LifeCam underperforms
With the webcam war between Microsoft and Logitech, Logitech has so far been on top with its quality web cameras especially in low light conditions and video quality.
This time around, the Microsoft LifeCam Show is now available with it's thin and sleek design. The LifeCam show comes with a 1 ft. stand, a magnetic stick and also a clip on for laptops. Also, boasting a good number of fun features, easily outnumbering the amount of features found in Logitech's QuickCam software and even Apple's visual effects.
The ease of install is simply installing the program on CD, which I tested on one Laptop and it took around 10+ minutes (which is not bad compared to other webcam software programs that have to load all the special features).
The first test was through AIM (easy to use on AIM) and video quality showed quite a bit of artifacting and noise in low light room conditions and increasing the quality in full video was about the same when viewed from a laptop. On the opposite end, I tested to see how things looked when viewed on my 24" iMac and it was soft and not as clear compared to a similarly priced Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000.
I then did a test on two well known video-streaming sites which I did a broadcast using the Microsoft LifeCam Show and overall, a similar look as I had on AIM.
On good light situation, with proper amount of sunlight in the room, thinks looked a bit better and although you have control over brightness, saturation, sharpness, etc. I was not able to come up with very clear video.
Even using the Microsoft software, in a smaller screen, things look clearer but still too dark.
Then I started to do some mobile lifecasting with the product and I wish the wire was a bit longer, so when walking around or placing your laptop in your bag and just doing a lifecast, you really need to keep the lifecam closer to you (pinned to your bag arm strap or your shirt) rather than the extra line to hold the camera up while walking.
As for the special features, their are many which were quite fun (from rain, lightning, static images to moveable images and facial changes). I must admit though, that some of the effects that require body movement hung and I was waiting for minutes. Granted, I was testing this on a 3 year old laptop with only 2GB of ram but loading some effects took much longer than I would like.
And as for software, you get the Microsoft camera program, you get the ability to install Microsoft Live chat, etc.
Overall, the product is easy to use, it looks sleek and cool, a lot of effects to keep people happy, in fact my wife and my child loved the many effects included. But for many people who are looking for a camera for lifecasting or streaming broadcasts, the camera doesn't do well in low light conditions. You definitely want to have a lot of light nearby. But otherwise, the camera may be too dark for some. Also, I wish the cord was much longer for those who want to do mobile lifecasting and tend to keep their laptops in their bag while walking or for those who want to lifecast and need the additional length.
So, overall, it's a good camera but when compared to a Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 which is similarly priced, the LifeCam show doesn't function well in low light conditions even when you have tweaked the controls....more info