I have been using webcams for years attached to computers, laptops and even gaming consoles. What they achieve is a connection with people through the Internet that may not always be possible in person due to travelling distances and indeed expense. Maybe you are contacting a friend who is assisting you with your assignments, catching up with a loved one while on a business trip overseas or important discussions with company colleagues in a virtual meeting. Whatever your intentions, a webcam provides a far superior emotional experience thanks to the fact you can actually see the person you are communicating with.
So let’s take a look at some of the features of Logitech’s latest answer to the webcam world:
Advantages of Webcams
Body language is everything and words alone can actually be misunderstood without a little nod of approval or a cheeky grin to reaffirm your intentions. Applications such as Skype have truly revolutionised the way in which we communicate with others online and although they were certainly not the first to bring video conferencing to our computers, they definitely attracted attention at the right time and continues to evolve. Distance is a terrible burden on a friendship or relationship and webcams have become an absolute necessity for many individuals. Although a text message or phone conversation will tide you over for a few days, eventually the desire to actually see the person you love becomes overwhelming. Webcams offer a glimpse of not just the person it is pointing at, but all those subtle facial expressions which suggest just as much as words by themselves.
It can be very expensive to keep in touch and travel to your friends, family or business associates. Hopping onto a plane, hiring a car, booking a room, dining at the local restaurants all add up to be quite a small fortune. Webcams of course allow companies in particular to host meetings with people from all over the world who can’t physically attend in person. It’s certainly far more interesting for the person who would usually hear and take part in the discussions over a conference call to actually view the participants and for the meeting members to also see the worldwide caller. With applications such as Skype, basic video conferencing and voice calls are free, allowing for lengthy conversations in any environment.
HD Recording and Video Conferencing
High Definition (HD) has been around for quite a few years now in our gaming consoles, televisions and movie players. The Logitech C910 webcam with its Carl Zeiss optical lens keeps up with this video standard by offering 1080p recording all through an available USB port. Placing the webcam on either a flat surface or on top of a computer / laptop monitor, you have the ability to record video in 1920×1080 resolution (widescreen).
The logitech software deals with all your recording needs, allowing you to select which resolution you wish to use, whether you require a widescreen presentation and your chosen sound source. The webcam comes complete with a built-in stereo microphone, that works particularly well when there is a group of you in front of the webcam. I did struggle a little on my 26″ monitor as it was placed quite high up from my seated position, however it was still very usable. Also within the software you can enable additional features including RightLight, which automatically adjusts the light balance and even a ‘Follow my Face’ selection that will literally tell the software to shift the center of the camera image range if your face drifts over to either side of the webcam field of view. The video quality itself is impressive and certainly adds additional detail to the recordings compared with a slightly older Logitech webcam that doesn’t support true high definition capture.
When you are fully satisfied with your video recording, you can then from the Logitech software provided upload to Facebook or YouTube. This process is straight-forward and will ask for information relating to titles, descriptions etc before it sends the completed video to the online service. This way, you can share comments and start interesting discussions on a personal blog or just to a wider community of enthusiasts.
Skype and Logitech’s own very capable video conferencing software allows you to send 720p video to your webcam counterpart. You will need a decent upload speed for the full 720p resolution to be transmitted, however most applications allow for adjustments on the fly to compensate for any change in connection quality. Once you are up and running though, the experience is truly marvellous.
Let’s not also forget that the webcam can also capture 10MP (Megapixel) photos as well:
Just Having Fun
For pre-teens, teenagers and those who insist they are young at heart will love the wacky additions available in the PC software. Once a video conversation is detected, a Logitech settings panel appears with options for avatars, face accessories, fun filters and video masks. Among these are quirky virtual hats, beards, masks and other amusing paraphernalia that will certainly cause a chuckle or two for everyone involved. These amusements are shared within your recordings and with video conversations and no doubt you will spend the best part of your first full day with the webcam splitting your sides with the darn right mad antics appearing on screen. Of course, if you wish to be all serious, all effects are disabled as default.
- Full HD 1080p video capture (up to 1920 X 1080 pixels) with recommended system*
- HD video calling (1280 x 720 pixels) with recommended system*
- Logitech More HD technology
- Carl Zeiss® optics with autofocus
- Photos: Up to 10 megapixels (software enhanced)
- Built-in mics with Logitech RightSound™ technology
- Hi-Speed USB 2.0 certified (recommended)
- Universal clip fits laptops, LCD or CRT monitors
Windows® XP (SP2 or higher), Windows Vista® or Windows® 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)
512 MB RAM or more
200 MB hard drive space
USB 1.1 port (2.0 recommended)
For HD 720p video calling and Full HD 1080p video recording:
2.4 GHz Intel® Core™2 Duo
2 GB RAM
200 MB hard drive space
USB 2.0 port
1 Mbps upload speed or higher
1280 x 720 screen resolution
Logitech have certainly excelled with the C910 HD Webcam. Both the PC software and the hardware offer fantastic quality solutions for keeping in touch with friends, family and business colleagues. As long as you have an Internet connection available at a fairly decent speed, you can enjoy communication that can only be surpassed by actually being with someone in person although webcams and especially ones of this high quality offer the next best thing.
Features I loved:
- HD video is wonderful
- Superb PC software
- Works great with Skype
Features that lacked a little:
- Built in microphones struggle slightly on very large monitors