The majority of the cheaper webcams on the market seem to follow a similar formula, and hence produce similar results from a range of cameras that look similar to each other. The Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p HD Webcam looks sleek and different than the wider crowd of webcams, whilst producing absolutely stunning results.
The overall design of the camera is such that it both looks and feels good, and is sturdy in use. There is an aluminum casing that makes it strong but light, and the base is easy to use on almost any surface, including a flat panel or laptop monitor.
A microphone is included in the camera, but isn’t that great. It works, but is noisy and not good for recording actual videos that you will want to keep. It functions well enough for using on a VOIP program, but for anything else an external microphone is better.
The software that is included with the camera took two attempts to install, but once it installed it came with a number of interesting features. These allow you to alter the video image as it is recording or sending, but these were really only usable if the computer was only recording video. With too many other programs running in the background, having these features turned on will cause the software to hang and freeze and even crash.
Colors are represented well on this camera, remaining vivid and strong. Even in low lighting the color remains clear, though the ability of the camera to focus in lower light starts to suffer a little. However the image is impressively clear once it has managed to focus, even in very low light levels.
The HD video features are a little hard to use and slow the system significantly. They are also not needed in order to run the camera for a video chat on a program like MSN or Google messenger, and so were never fully calibrated ready for use. At lower quality this remains an incredibly high quality webcam that gives brilliant video.
It is important to note that this camera is heavy on the system resources. In fact it is so heavy that it requires a minimum of a dual core processor which very few web cams do. It also demands more memory and free space than many do. That said, even meeting the minimum is not enough to give a satisfactory experience-in order to run this camera well you need to have a very good computer that has good specs.
It also required a number of restarts for both the camera and the microphone to work. Otherwise, the camera itself would continue to record video, but the sound would start to fail. Removing the device and restarting the software seemed to help this issue and reset the sound recording.
This is a very high quality camera with a good lens and the ability to record really lovely, high quality videos. However the bugs that currently exist with the software need to be resolved before this could be considered a truly wonderful camera, no matter how good the hardware itself actually is.