Logitech's QuickCam for Notebooks Deluxe offers more image adjustability options than many of its competitors, and with improved IM integration, it's definitely worth its $60 price. This easy-to-use Webcam provides loads of software and functionality for basic photos, video, and video instant messaging.
Installing the Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Deluxe is easy: insert the installation CD and follow the prompts. In addition to , AOL Instant Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger, the CD includes drivers and plenty of software: Logitech's QuickCapture app for taking still photos and videos, an application for sending e-mail with video, and Logitech's desktop messenger software, which automatically checks for software updates. You can select the software you'd like to install or install all of the programs at once. All of the software is easy to use and fairly self-explanatory, but other than a quick-setup guide, there's no documentation. However, Logitech does offer support through its Web site and a toll-free phone number.
The QuickCam's stand is made strictly for the thin flat panels of laptops. Its spring-loaded base clamps onto the top of the LCD, but if the edge is beveled or it's more than half an inch thick, you'll have to engage in some creative positioning; we found that it works fairly well to put the camera and its stand in front of the screen, then hook the stiff cord over the back. The camera isn't easily adjustable; it tilts only 45 degrees forward, and it doesn't swivel from side to side. On a positive note, the focus ring surrounding the lens is very sensitive and easy to adjust.
The folks at Logitech teamed up with Microsoft to create an amazing video-conversation feature for ; Logitech provides the technology that synchronizes the audio and video streams. The sound quality is decent, but we experienced occasional lapses on both the transmitting and receiving ends. The image quality is unmatched; there is almost no lag, and the picture is only slightly pixelated. We were impressed with the QuickCam's performance with other instant-messaging clients; with both Yahoo Messenger and AOL AIM, the image was slightly jerky and pixelated, but had good color.
Using the QuickCapture software, we found that the QuickCam's photo and video performance were above average. In a refreshing contrast to many Webcams we've seen, Logitech offers a control panel that allows you to adjust the standard settings--brightness, contrast, and saturation--as well as a low-light filter and color boost. As a result, we were able to adjust the settings to achieve full color in all but the dimmest lighting situations. QuickCapture also includes zoom and face-tracking capabilities.
The QuickCapture software lets you snap pictures that range from 160x120 pixels to 1.3 megapixels, but the 1.3 megapixels are of poor quality because the large size is achieved through interpolation. QuickCapture also will take VGA video up to 640x480 pixels. In our tests, video quality was smooth and clear, with a well-synchronized audio track. Audio quality with the camera's surprisingly sensitive, built-in microphone sounded clear and picked up a voice from three feet away.