If security if foremost on your mind when it comes to thinking about a Webcam, then the AVLabs Ezy-Cam Pro 1.3MP is probably the model for you. But be warned, this camera is not for the faint-hearted. Extra funtionality, at its low cost, means users are faced with a complicated software set that can take a while to get used to.
AVLabs is better known for its audio and video peripherals, so it is no surprise that video recording is top on its features list for the Ezy-Cam. It has designed special night-vision cameras and surveillance cameras, and this is one of its first releases to approach the video messaging market.
For this release it has teamed up with image software creator Ulead to offer image library and editing functionality that allows it to both be used in the office as a budget communications and surveillance device and the home, where the family might want to take a few pictures, send a few e-mails and do some basic, fun photo editing. It is also compatible with Windows Live Messenger for those wanting to stay in touch with the click of a button.
The design of this little Webcam is really nothing to write home about. It is quite a basic little "eye" with a very responsive quick-snap button for taking pictures on top. It can rotate 180 degrees horizontally, depending on where the focal ring sits. This, quite annoyingly, has a little handle to the side, which tends to get in the way when you are turning it, stopping rotation to either side. It also means, when turning with one finger, your hand will enter the image you are trying to focus on. If you can master doing this you can adjust the focus from 30mm to infinity which will allow for some of the sharpest images seen in our Webcam round-up, especially for macro-style shots.
The Ezy-Cam has a CMOS sensor that captures 640 x 480 pixels, but this does not seem to cut out all the blooming that can appear in images.
We would recommend only considering this model if you have a desktop computer, or if you are looking to mount it to the desk itself. The triangular stand cannot be adjusted and we could not see how it would fit well onto a notebook computer (despite the vendor saying it is suited for one). It also has no vertical tilt so it really needs to sit at head height.
It has a built-in microphone but we would recommend getting an additional headset as the sound can be a little faint.
It supports USB 2.0 and requires Windows XP to run.