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AVLabs Ezy-CAM PRO 1.3 MP AVL425 review: AVLabs Ezy-Cam PRO 1.3MP AVL425

As AVLabs proves with its Ezy-Cam Pro 1.3MP, your Webcam can become an important tool for security, especially for the home or small business.

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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.

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6.5

AVLabs Ezy-CAM PRO 1.3 MP AVL425

The Good

Security features such as remote monitoring and motion detection. Great image quality. Allows for plenty of customisation. Good focus at close range.

The Bad

Poorly designed stand. Complicated software suite. Dim sound. Light-on user guide. Lack of online support and user groups.

The Bottom Line

As AVLabs proves with its Ezy-Cam Pro 1.3MP, your Webcam can become an important tool for security, especially for the home or small business.

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.

Design
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.

Features
AVLabs offers a very brief setup guide for the Ezy Cam -- even having tested a number of models previous to this we required a bit of research to get it fully operational. It actually requires you to custom install all drivers, which takes longer but can be good if you are not in need of the Ulead products -- our experience with Ulead has been that it can take over as your dominant image viewer if you're not careful.

It comes with Video Mail for creating video clips that you can then attach to e-mail; Video Monitor, which captures motion images as a security monitor; and Amcap, an easy-to-use testing program that will check if your USB digital video recorder is working right. This is on top of the Ezy-Cam Pro and Ulead software, which comes with a whole swag of editing options -- but no fun stuff like the Creative Live! Cam Video IM.

It allows for image adjustment but to get the full swag you will have to purchase a higher-end model.

It does have exposure, white balance, brightness, and noise ratio settings and has a motion detector -- great once again for home or office security and for its remote monitoring abilities.

The video works at 30fps at VGA resolution, and also has a number of controls for gamma, brightness and sharpness.

Performance
Overall, we found the images this little Webcam takes to be quite good. With 1.3 megapixels you would expect this, though we did find a few hues of red and blue entered the image under different light conditions. We did get amazing clarity, however, when conditions were right, and found the interpolation AVLabs has used with its video and still image capturing to be extremely good. Lag was also not much of a problem when moving at average speeds.

The remote monitoring and motion detection capabilities are probably the stand-out features of this Webcam, however. Both work extremely well, with the motion detector picking up movement easily, and the remote monitoring allowing great surveillance of any room under a range of lighting conditions.

AVLabs offers the least support of all the models tested -- only one year. With this in mind, along with its AU$89.95 price tag, we would have expected a little more. But AVLabs has come from a different background to the more entertainment-based Creative and Microsoft, and its sights are still clearly set on the security-conscious market.

We would suggest sticking to something that is much easier to set up that is a bit more agile in its offering -- and its point of view (literally) if you are looking to use your Webcam purely to keep in touch.

Otherwise, if you're tech savvy and want security above all else, then this could be worth a go.

Webcams are not just about keeping in touch. As AVLabs proves with its Ezy-Cam Pro 1.3MP, your Webcam can become an important tool for security, especially for the home or small business. And unlike most business models of technology, a Webcam such as the Ezy-Cam means you don't need to blow your budget to enjoy the benefits of modern security.

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