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Antec ISK110 VESA Case Review .............................. ....................

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Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR Camera

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AMD Radeon HD 7970 .........................

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Cougar GX G1050 1050W PSU

Antec HCG900 900W PSU

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AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Thuban CPU ...............

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ASUS M4A79T Deluxe Motherboard

Antec Midi Tower Case and PSU

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Abit IS7-G Motherboard Review 

AOpen AX4C Max Review

Promise S150 TX4 RAID Controller

Silent Power Supplies Reviewed

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  ..

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Leadtek K7NCR18D-Pro

Aopen CRW4850 CD Burner Review

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Intel Pentium4 3.06GHz CPU with Hyper Threading Review

Hyper-Threading Technology Guide

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PURE Digital ZXR-500 Speaker System

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Chieftec Winner Series: WX-01BD Case Review ..........

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80mm -> 60mm Fan Adapter

TDK USB Bluetooth Adaptor

Socket-A Cooler Roundup 

Promise FastTrak SX4000 RAID Card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Webcam Pro eX 26th December 2002

Webcams have been with us for some time now without fulfilling the promise of providing video conferencing on every workstation. After the relative failure of this technology in the corporate workplace, webcams started being pitched at the home user. To achieve this they had to offer more features and low prices. Creative's latest offering promises both of these.

So what do you actually get along with the basic unit?

A headset is included and the webcam has the ability to take pictures at up to 1025x768 like a camera. Here are the official specs:

Features & Specifications

  • 640 x 480 CCD sensor

  • Video capture at resolutions from 160 x 120 up to 640 x 480

  • Still image capture at resolutions from 160 x 120 up to 1024 x 768 with software interpolation.

  • Manual focus lens - from 8 cm to infinity

  • USB connection

  • Maximum frame rate 30fps

  • Capable of 24bit colour

Video Mode Performance

Video Resolutions (5-30fps)

  • 160 x 120

  • 176 x 144

  • 320 x 240

  • 352 x 288

  • 640 x 480

Still Image Resolutions

  • 160 x 120

  • 176 x 144

  • 320 x 240

  • 352 x 288

  • 640 x 480

  • 800 x 600 (Interpolated)

  • 1024 x 768 (Interpolated)

Warranty

  • 2-year limited hardware warranty

 Quite impressive features given the price. Setup was very straightforward and there were some useful programs for video editing on the CD. It is expected that users will use Microsoft's NetMeeting with this product which is unfortunate as to date we have tried to use this with 9 different PCs in different cities in the UK without success (I am sure it works for someone somewhere) so we used Yahoo Instant Messenger instead which worked fine.

The audio sounds great despite the tacky look of the headset and the microphone is of sufficient quality to avoid distortion and warbling. Full duplex mode went without problems (this does depend on your sound card though). As with all webcams the picture was a little disappointing (this is one of the best ones we have seen). Here's a shot of the video conferencing software in action to show what I mean:

You can click on all the images for the larger picture. Images produced by the camera were grainy and sluggish (except at low resolutions) although perfectly acceptable for recognising the person being spoken with.

Testing its digital capture ability we compared it with our Fuji digital camera. Obviously this is an unfair comparison give the price disparity but is useful for evaluating the webcam in its digital camera mode. It can never truly fulfill this function though as it is always connected by its USB lead.

The quality is clearly not up to that of a conventional digital camera but seems ideally suited to taking quick pictures for inclusion in documents and for creating ad-hoc clip art. Despite this it is better than any comparable product we know of.

This is the same picture from our Fuji camera and is more representative of what can be expected of a digital camera (albeit at a much higher price).

 

Conclusion

This is a well-priced tool for users to communicate over LANs and the internet although a broadband connection is required in the second instance. With one of these on each end phone calls from around the world can be made for free and distant relatives will be able to see as well as hear their loved ones. The headset while looking like a disposable airline model actually works quite well (not comfortable for prolonged usage though) and sounds natural. Creative have done what they are good at which is catering to the home user at a price that will make everyone happy.

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