Installing the Logitech QuickCam Pro 5000 is a snap; we were up and running in less than five minutes. In addition to MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), and Yahoo Messenger, the installation 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. All of the bundled apps are straightforward and easy to use, though two brief setup guides are included.
Instead of a clip-on stand or a claw, the QuickCam Pro 5000 has a flexible tail that allows it to sit atop a CRT or LCD monitor or a laptop display. You can flatten the tail to prop up the camera on a desk. We saw the same style of tail on the Logitech QuickCam Fusion, but the Pro 5000's is more flexible and holds its shape better.
Despite its large size and bulbous shape, the camera is very adjustable: you can tilt it 45 degrees up, 10 degrees down, and 360 degrees to the side. All of these adjustments must be made by hand, unlike with the Creative Live Motion, which allows you to control the view via software. We don't mind the manual adjustment, however.
Although the QuickCam Pro 5000 is easy to position, we did run into a couple of minor snags. The privacy shield isn't securely affixed to the camera, and it comes off too easily. Also, the camera itself comes off the stand when tilted too far in one direction. In each case, you merely snap the dislodged item back into place.
On top of the Webcam is a large, unlabeled snapshot button, which takes a picture if the QuickCapture software is open. A small, sensitive microphone built into the front of the camera can record a normal-level conversation from 6 feet away. Logitech also includes a headset for better sound recording and voice chat.
The included QuickCam software lets you adjust many settings, including brightness, saturation, contrast, white balance, hue, sharpness, gamma, and backlight. You can also change exposure, gain, and ambient-light settings. With low-light-boost and color-boost settings, Logitech helps you achieve optimal performance under different light conditions. In the less-useful-but-cute department is the Avatars feature, which tracks the movements of your nose, eyebrows, and mouth and applies them to a cartoon character such as an alien or a shark.
The QuickCam Pro 5000 performed well in our tests, but bright whites were blown out, especially in dimly lit environments, even when we employed the low-light boost setting. Digital noise was minimal, but we did notice it in dark areas. Colors were vibrant, rich, and accurate, and using the color-boost feature improved the color quality. Video images were equally clear, with good color, though quickly moving objects (such as a waving hand) were somewhat blurry, even in well-lit conditions.
Video records at a maximum of 30 frames per second at resolutions of 160x120, 320x240, and 640x480. You can capture still images at any of those resolutions and at 1.3 megapixels; however, the latter image size is achieved through interpolation.
The Logitech QuickCam Pro 5000 comes with a two-year hardware warranty, which is better than the standard one year for input devices. You can get service and support online or from a toll-free phone number. Logitech's support Web site also offers software updates, driver downloads, and user discussion forums.