FV TouchCam N1 Review – HD 720p Webcam with Built-In H.264 Encoding

As our broadband speeds become faster, the ability to use this extra bandwidth capacity for video communications makes a lot of sense. In particular, sending high definition video when making a video call using software such as Skype adds far more detail than a traditional webcam can offer.

With a minimum of a 1MB/sec upload speed, you can utilise high definition video as long as you have a webcam that features HD capture and one such webcam exists here named the FV TouchCam N1.

So let’s take a look…

Hardware

It’s not the most stylish looking webcam as it’s really just a rectangular enclosure that just so happens to contain a lens, a couple of microphones and a little light to indicate when the device is in use. What’s more impressive are the capabilities of the unit as a whole…

Featuring a high definition lens that is capable of capturing up to 720p resolution at a respectable 22 frames per second and dual microphones to aid the audio quality. Also included is an embedded H.264 video encoder and what this all amounts to is a pretty impressive HD webcam, that increases the quality and fun of video conversations whether it be over Skype or the many other services that utilise web cameras.

Just like the new high definition televisions, HD webcams such as the FV TouchCam N1 feature a much higher resolution – increasing the quality of the video for the person you are having a conversation with quite considerably. Within any video conversation, key moments in an individual’s expressions such as gestures – indicate far more than just words alone and having this presented clearly, enriches the experience for everyone.

HD video usually can impact your computer performance quite considerably, due to the demands of utilising much finer details – handily though the FV TouchCam N1 includes a H.264 encoder that takes much of the stress away from your computer. This allows you to enjoy the product without sacrificing key resources from other programs that are running concurrently. Although high definition video is a great addition to this product, there is quite a bit more to it than that.

First of all, included is a wide angle lens – so you can capture more of what’s around you particularly from the sides. Secondly, auto focus intelligently removes the blur from any key objects including most importantly of course the person being captured. Light levels are also dealt with automatically, so bright and dark scenarios are catered for with minimal fuss – although if you wish you can make the alterations yourself manually.

Overall, the video quality is fairly impressive and I haven’t needed to tweak endlessly to achieve the desired result as it’s nearly all handled automatically with pleasing results. There are occasions when the light levels are not quite on the nose so to speak, so for example at night time when there is no natural light in the room yet a bright light in the corner emanating from a lamp, the automatic adjustments can overcompensate leaving you looking very gloomy and subdued in what appears on-screen at least to be a low level light environment.


Logitech Pro 9000 automatic light level compensation compared to FV TouchCam N1

Rear of the FV TouchCam N1

The FV TouchCam N1 also includes two microphones within the unit, so for those who don’t wish to wear a headset you can quite happily utilise the embedded solution instead – removing potentially unsightly headgear sitting upon you with a wire aimlessly dangling. The quality of the sound for the recipient is nice and clear and in my tests, the overall reaction was very encouraging.

The FV TouchCam N1 is connected via a free USB port, although the wire supplied is actually very short. This is fine for when used with notebooks when the screen the camera rests on is close by to a USB connection, however desktop machines that sit upon the floor with the monitor situated some distance away may require an extension.

As already hinted at, the webcam can be used with notebooks and desktops – either sat on top of a monitor or resting on a desk. The stand is easy to manipulate either way to achieve a stable position.

Specification Highlights:

  • Dimension: 100(W)x45(D)x60(H)mm
  • Weight: 90g
  • Microphone type: Unidirectional dual microphones
  • 22fps at HD (1280×720) with H.264
  • 30fps at WVGA (768x 480) with YUV

Software

Bundled with the webcam is a CD, but this isn’t used for installing the FV TouchCam N1. Simply plug the webcam into a free USB port and watch as the operating system (in my case Windows 7) automatically installs the device. Within moments, your HD webcam is ready to use.

The CD itself includes a few files that may be required, but if you have the latest version of Skype and Windows automatic updates enabled – chances are you will never need it. There may be a firmware update though available from their official website and I would of course advise you to install this to reduce any potential problems.

Unfortunately unlike other HD webcams I have reviewed including the Logitech C910, the FV TouchCam N1 comes with no additional software to add any effects, avatars or other fun accessories to your video. There isn’t even any software to alter the settings of the webcam itself, unless you dig down into the properties of, for example, Skype to make the most basic of customisations. There is no option for digital zoom either, so you may find yourself having to show off far more of what’s around you then you may like unless you are able to bring the webcam physically closer to your facial features.

Conclusion

The FV TouchCam N1 Webcam is an affordable high definition camera capable of sending high quality video and audio due to its impressive hardware features.

Although lacking any software additions that would make it really shine, the FV TouchCam N1 is worthy of a place among your other computer accessories although unfortunately failing to totally ignite your enthusiasm for the product.

Rating: 4 / 5 


Thank you to Dabs.com, who were kind enough to send this product review sample.

James Woodcock

Freelance Journalist, Author, Blogger & Podcaster specialising in gaming and technology. Ever since he experienced the first controllable pixel movement on the television screen, he has been entranced by the possibilities and rewarding entertainment value generated from these metal and plastic boxes of delight. Writing hundreds of articles including commentary and reviews on various gaming platforms, while also interviewing well known industry figures for popular online publications.