The Good Carl Zeiss lens and Logitech's RightLight technology combine to deliver superior image quality, especially in low light; 2-megapixel sensor lets you shoot video up to 1,600x1,200 resolution; included QuickCam software is polished and easy to use; flexible stand works equally well on top of a monitor or a laptop or resting on a desk.
The Bad QuickCam software isn't optimized for Macs, so you're left without the audio and video optimization technology and, less importantly, the goofy video effects and filters.
The Bottom Line The Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 offers a winning combination of stellar image quality, easy-to-use software, and a sturdy, stable stand. It's our Webcam pick for desktop and laptop users alike.
Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000
Editors' note: Check out CNET's HD Webcam shoot-out: 720p Webcams compared for a head-to-head look at newer and more affordable HD webcams.
The Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 is nearly identical to the QuickCam Pro for Notebooks Webcam, except for the fact that it's a better fit for laptops. This $99 desktop Webcam is larger than its laptop sibling, but its flexible, two-hinged stand works equally well resting directly on your desk or atop your desktop's LCD or your laptop's screen. As was the case with the laptop Webcams I reviewed last month, the QuickCam Pro 9000 delivers better image quality than competing desktop Webcams from Creative and Microsoft. Logitech's RightLight technology provides a well-balanced, vibrant, and clear image--even in low light. While Creative's Live Cam software has more features, unless motion capture surveillance or time-lapse Webcam photography interest you, you're better off with the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000. With its easy-to-use software, stellar image quality, and sturdy, flexible stand, it earns our Editors' Choice award.
Installation is straightforward. Install the bundled QuickCam software and then plug in the Webcam. An audio-tuning wizard lets you optimize the volume for audio input (microphone) and out (speakers). You can adjust sliders for brightness, contrast, color intensity, and white balance, but I found the best results by enabling RightLight and leaving it at that. I found many complaints online about installation hiccups, particularly with Window XP machines, but I experienced no trouble installing the QuickCam software and drivers on either Vista or XP. I did have trouble when I installed the beta 11.5 drivers in an effort to test out the High Quality Video announcement that Logitech and Skype announced last week (more on that later), but the QuickCam 11.0 software that came on the bundled CD presented no such difficulties. Also, be sure to close out of the QuickCam software when using the Webcam to video conference with a program like Skype. I had a conversation repeatedly come to an abrupt end until I noticed the tiny QuickCam icon staring at me from my PC's system tray and closed it.
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