You’ll like it if you’re looking for a high-quality webcam with decent software, autofocus, and good low-light performance.
But not if you’re a Mac user or you can’t justify spending $100 on a webcam for simple stuff like videoconferencing and short, quick videos.
Full review (with video) after the jump…
Overview and Features
The Microsoft Lifecam Show is a $99 webcam that features a 2-megapixel sensor capable of delivering video up to 800×600 resolution (default is 640×480) and still images up to 8 megapixels (interpolated, of course).
As with other Microsoft hardware products, the Show is tightly integrated with Microsoft software – in this case, the webcam uses Windows Live Messenger for video calls and even has a hardware button that, when pushed, allows you to quickly access your contacts. Of course, the Show also works with other popular instant messaging programs as well; Skype, AIM, etc.
The software package included with the camera is a decent, easy-to-use, no nonsense affair consisting of simple recording, photos, and special effects. The camera uses face tracking to superimpose digital props like hats, weird hair styles, and other hilarity.
I found the video quality to be above-average for a webcam, especially in low-light conditions. The auto-focus is definitely a nice touch, although its range is limited to between 21 and 60 inches, so you’re not going to be able to get great close-up shots like you would with the previously-reviewed IPEVO POV webcam. But for regular video with sporadic forward and backward movement, the Lifecam Show works great.
The camera features unique mounting options in that there’s a Kung Fu-quality magnetic grip on both the front and the back of the device itself. There’s a little clip for mounting the Show to your LCD screen or you can use the included mini-pole that measures about a foot in length. Since the grip is magnetic, you can easily adjust the up and down and side to side positioning of the camera once it’s been mounted.
The $99 price tag will likely be a bit steep for some people, especially those who need a no-frills webcam. Luckily, those of you looking for a solid, well-performing webcam should find the price to be relatively fair. Also, Mac users are left out in the cold as the software is designed for the Microsoft camera is Windows only (can you believe it?).
The Lifecam Show is a high-quality camera with nice features and thoughtful mounting options. People looking for a good webcam for a decent price won’t be disappointed.
Microsoft Lifecam Show [Microsoft.com]