by Sarah Meyer
In March, Logitech announced a new line of web cameras for notebooks. The QuickCam Deluxe was included in the line that was hyped as having "exceptional video communication at an affordable price."
I recently received the QuickCam Deluxe and had the opportunity to check it out for a few weeks. My goal was to see if the video quality was really worth the $60 price tag. This may be just what you Tablet PC users are looking for considering most tablets don’t come with this luxury built in and who doesn’t like chatting with friends.
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The QuickCam Deluxe Specifications
- VGA Sensor with RightLight 2 Technology
- Built-in microphone
- Glass lens with up to 1.3 megapixel photos
- Frame rate: Up to 30 frames per second
- 20mm adjustable clip
- Includes HP Photosmart software
- 2-year Limited Warranty
- Travel pouch
Design and Aesthetics
The Logitech QuickCam Deluxe is silver and blue and fits in the palm of your hand. It has two lights on the front: one that lights up to show that the camera is one and one that lights up to show activity. It has a small glass lens and a manual dial to focus the camera. There is a 20 mm adjustable clip on the back so the QuickCam can be clipped to your laptop easily.
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The QuickCam Deluxe comes with a CD and strict instructions to install the software first or some of the camera functions might not work properly. I followed the instructions but a coworker plugged the camera right into his computer without installing the software and didn’t have any problems. So I guess it’s up to the user.
The QuickCam also comes with bonus software. It included a 30 day trial of Logitech video chat and a web download of HP Photosmart Essential. I skipped both of these but the HP Photosmart software could be useful if you don’t have a program for editing and printing photos. Logitech also includes a small black travel pouch to protect the glass lens on the camera.
Using the camera
After downloading the software the QuickCam tool box pops up. The tool box consists of five icons: quick capture, video effects, privacy shade, webcam settings, and video calling applications. There are two quick buttons on the bottom that turn sound and picture off/on.
The QuickCam tool box with an example "privacy shade." (view large image)
Quick capture is the first option and it brings up the camera screen. You can capture images and record video in quick capture mode.
The second icon is video effects. With the QuickCam Deluxe there are ten options or “fun filters” under video effects. My favorite effect was the old movie style screen, but all of the options were fun.
The privacy shade icon was next. This function enables the viewer to block the camera lens with still images. The images are all landscape shots and vary from beach scenery to cattle shots.
The webcam settings icon brings up a separate menu that consists of the webcam settings menu, and audio settings, advanced settings and application preferences menus.
Under webcam settings, the face tracking feature can be set. It also allows the user to control the pan, zoom, contrast, brightness, white balance, and color intensity functions.
Audio settings let the user control which microphone and speakers the camera uses. It also lets you adjust the volume, background noise, and echo.
The built-in microphone was a really nice feature. It picked up sound from across the room but could be adjusted to block out unwanted noise.
With advanced settings, the camera user can set options that give him/her a little more control. Image orientation and auto flicker are a few of settings that can be adjusted under this category.
The application preferences menu lets you choose the video calling application, email client, and photo/video storage.
The fifth icon is a video calling application button that allows you to download different chat providers. The Logitech QuickCam Deluxe supports Windows Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, Skype and Logitech video call.
I tried the QuickCam with AIM and ran into a problem immediately. I could not get AIM to recognize that I had a web camera running. I finally figured out, with some help from co-workers, before using the camera you have to exit out of the QuickCam application, start the AIM video chat, and then reopen the QuickCam application. Other than that, I had no problems using the QuickCam with AIM. All of the effects worked and the video connection was good.
I also tried the QuickCam with Microsoft Office Communicator. This wasn’t one of the listed chat clients that Logitech supports but we use it in my office so I thought I would try it anyway. The video connection was fine, but none of the effects worked. I couldn’t use the privacy shade or any of the special settings.
The thing I like the best about the QuickCam Deluxe was the video. With a frame rate of 30 frames per second, the camera didn’t have any lag. I did notice though, that when I was using my laptop outside the QuickCam couldn’t pick up the background behind me. I know it’s not a digital camera but the QuickCam didn’t handle natural light well.
The thing that bugged me about the QuickCam was the still images. Again, I know that it’s not a digital camera but the pictures were fuzzy. I tried adjusting the settings but it’s just really not great at capturing still images.
Logitech’s QuickCam Deluxe was a good camera for video chatting and it was pretty easy to use besides a few minor problems. Although the quality of the still images could have been better, it would be worth $60 if you’re in need of a reliable web camera.
- Frame rate
- 20mm adjustable clip
- Free HP Photosmart software
- Travel pouch
- Still images were not clear
- Not great in natural light
- Not completely functional with all chat clients
Pricing and Availability
The QuickCam Deluxe is available on Logitech’s website for $59.99.