The Logitech HD Webcam C310 isn't the most expensive Webcam in Logitech's arsenal, but it certainly does a fantastic job of shooting 720p HD videos and 5-megapixel still images for $50. Installation is quick and we established video chats using a number of programs including Skype, Google Chat, Windows Live Messenger, and more with no problems, thanks to the accompanying Webcam software. With only minor hardware irritations to report, the Logitech HD Webcam C310 makes an excellent option for anyone shopping for a high-quality, affordable aftermarket Webcam.
The C310 USB camera mounts interchangeably between a laptop or a desktop, and the basic design consists of a small oval Web camera attached to a swiveling plastic base mount. With two swivel points directly at the foot of the camera and on the heels, it sits comfortably on a thick desktop flat-panel monitor, but the limited range of horizontal movement could be a nuisance for laptop users.
In addition, the camera itself weighs next to nothing and provides little to no stationary support against the host computer, so even the slightest jolt can send the camera flying off the base. We're also disappointed that the camera is incapable of swiveling left to right, so panning across a room requires you to lift the camera off the computer and ultimately leads to a shaky shot.
Once you have the Logitech C310 stationary, the installation process is a breeze. The companion disc that comes in the box is for Logitech's LifeCam desktop software, and we appreciate the fact that it automatically checks for updates online prior to program installation, a feature lacking on the competing Microsoft LifeCam HD-5000 series.
Logitech recommends specific system requirements to support smooth 720p video calling and recording that includes a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of memory, at least 200MB of storage, and Windows 7 installed. We used a clean 2.13GHz Intel Core i3 Gateway laptop for testing and experienced some video lag likely due to the slower CPU clock speed, so we definitely stand by Logitech's basic requirements. Anecdotally, Logitech makes no mention of Mac compatibility, but online users report both the camera and integrated microphone work perfectly fine in Mac OS X Snow Leopard due to its compliance to USB Video Class (UVC) standards.
The Logitech Webcam software acts as a central hub for controlling the basic functionality of the Web camera, in addition to a couple fun extra features. The main menu offers the option to take a quick snapshot, view a gallery of archived pictures, or make a video call using a number of preinstalled apps: Logitech Vid HD is its proprietary video chatting software, but there's also Gmail Voice and Video chat, Skype, Windows Live Messenger, and Windows Live Movie maker, with a convenient "Get More Apps" button in the right corner that takes you to even more applications.
The Quick Capture function appeals to the vanity in all of us and offers a "photobooth" environment to take snapshots or videos of you and your friends. It's easy to toggle between photos and videos, and you can also control specifics like resolution, standard versus wide-screen lens, and minute visual settings like exposure, gain, contrast, and color intensity. You'll also notice three distinct Logitech additions: Follow My Face, RightSound, and RightLight.