Apple iSight review: Apple iSight

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.2
  • Installation and interface: 8.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Service and support: 6.0
Pricing Unavailable

The Good Stylish design; flawless integration with iChat and iMovie; minimal setup required; great image and color quality.

The Bad Image settings such as focus, color, brightness, and contrast aren't adjustable; doesn't work with all instant-messaging applications; pricey.

The Bottom Line With great image quality and integration, the Apple iSight is the best choice for Mac owners who use iChat, but it isn't ideal for users of other messaging clients.

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Apple iSight

The Apple iSight is hands down one of the best Webcams we've seen. Its sleek style, great image quality, sensitive microphone, and flawless integration with iChat and iMovie make it the perfect complement for any Mac computer. The $149 iSight is more expensive than other Webcams we've seen, but it's one of the few options for Mac users who use iChat and iMovie; if you need to use a messaging client other than AOL Instant Messenger or iChat or if you need to video message with PC-based users, check out the $99 Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Pro , which, despite poorer image quality, is compatible with Macs and PCs and all video chat clients.

Unlike most other Webcams, the iSight comes with no software and requires no more installation that connecting it via FireWire. On your Mac, iChat AV automatically launches when the iSight is plugged in, and if you don't already have an iChat account, iSight will launch a dialog box that guides you through the account setup. You can use iChat with existing AIM and .Mac accounts, but not with Yahoo, Jabber, or Bonjour. On iChat, there's a little green camera icon next to your screen name; the icon will also show up for any of your buddies who have video capabilities--just click the green button to start a video chat. We also found it simple to use iSight with iMovie; plug it in and select it as your camera.

As with most Apple products, the iSight is sleek and attractive. Its silver case will best match a PowerBook, and it offers three different mounting options: a magnetic LCD mount, a plastic stand for eMac and desktop computers, and a special mount for PowerBooks and iBooks. Though getting it mounted takes some doing, the camera is fairly adjustable afterward; you can move it about 20 degrees to the left and right and 20 degrees up and down.

Most other Webcams let you manually adjust focus, color saturation, brightness, and contrast, but the iSight takes care of focusing and adjusting for you. Though some may bemoan the lack of control, the camera took only a second to adjust when moved, and the image quality was always great.

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Where to Buy

Apple iSight

Part Number: M8817Z/B Released: Jun 23, 2003
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jun 23, 2003
  • Camera Type web camera
  • Total Pixels 640 x 480 pixels