When the first WebCam Go was released, it was a neat idea that lacked quality images. However, the unique crossbred nature of the camera--a fully functional Webcam that, when unplugged, could function as a simple digital camera--was intriguing and won points from us. However, when we fast-forward about a year, today's WebCam Go Plus leaves us, well, nonplussed in the face of other Webcams now available. When the first WebCam Go was released, it was a neat idea that lacked quality images. However, the unique crossbred nature of the camera--a fully functional Webcam that, when unplugged, could function as a simple digital camera--was intriguing and won points from us. However, when we fast-forward about a year, today's WebCam Go Plus leaves us, well, nonplussed in the face of other Webcams now available.
Yanking the USB camera from the PC, we produced images that were only a slight improvement over the original--but that isn't saying much. With 6MB of memory, the WebCam Go Plus can store more than 200 images at a resolution of 640 by 480 pixels and more than 400 images at 320 by 240. In addition, Creative Labs' innovative audio-recording feature lets you annotate your shots. But do you really need a narrator for your JPEG slide shows? The downside of this camera, though, is that all our test images were dark, grainy, and almost unusable--a direct result of the lack of a flashbulb. But the curse of not having a flash is hardly new to these hybrid cameras.
The WebCam Go Plus has an encouraging set of bullet points. Sporting single-shot, multiple-shot, and timed single- and multiple-shot modes, along with its unique, built-in, voice-recording mode, this camera doesn't leave you lacking options. But with such a wide array of selections, odds are that there will be a lot of head-scratching while attempting to navigate the controls.
Thankfully, you also get a sizable collection of software thrown into the mix to alleviate the pain of your confusion. ArcSoft PhotoImpression 2000 and VideoImpression are used to capture and manipulate still and video images, and both are simple to comprehend. But because of the WebCam Go Plus's poor video quality, you shouldn't expect your next video project to receive any praise at Sundance.
WebCam Go Plus's additional control applet is teeming with even more features. We appreciated the ability to simply upload images and video to the Web, and we derived an extra bit of pleasure from the motion-detector mode. Adjust the motion-detector settings in software and voilà!! You've just turned your PC into a home security system or a nanny-cam, which can monitor any activity around the unit if this option happens to strike your paranoid fancy.
Once we finished installing the bulk of the bundled software, we connected Go Plus to our machine to use as a Webcam. While Creative's Webcam Monitor software was simple enough, it was a memory hog that had our test machine's 96MB of RAM straining to produce a dark, grainy image at the low resolution of 320 by 240.
Although we would like to applaud the company for its innovative ideas, Creative Labs should go back and focus on the basics. As it stands, we hesitate to spend the $149 list price when there are other cameras that take better images for the same cost.