Having worked on the brand before once, which now feels like a lifetime ago, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Microsoft and am a fan of their work. So when I was presented with the opportunity to check out one of their ‘lesser known’ products (the Microsoft LifeCam Studio), which to be honest I had no idea what it was, I couldn’t (despite the lack of knowledge) turn it down.
Yes, I know what you are probably thinking, it has been on the market for quite a while with the first announcement dating back to September 2010.
So why review it?
Well the intro should help some light on that but in addition to that, I was intrigued and seeing as that not too many people have done anything on it locally, I couldn’t pass up on the chance.
For me first impressions and how a product is not only packaged but also presented means a lot (I blame the slightly OCD tendencies I have for that). Yes, what counts is what’s inside or in this instance, what the product can do, which is only fair. But still presentation is everything, and to be honest I couldn’t help but be a bit underwhelmed by the packaging which is a simple brown industrial box that also made it quite tricky to open – I do hope that’s the not official packaging. Anyway, not too much of a deal breaker especially considering what the product offers.
Speaking of which, what is it and what does it offer?
That’s the first question I asked myself when I first heard about it, but when it officially landed it quickly clicked that it was in actual fact a webcam, yes I admit I have never used one before so this was always going to be quite interesting.
The LifeCam Studio is Microsoft’s first Webcam that features sharp high-definition (HD) video with a true 1080p sensor which basically guarantees that you’ll be getting good picture and video calling quality.
Sounds good in theory but does this translate practically?
Simple answer is yes, I mostly used it for Skype calls (which allowed me the chance to give my dear laptop cam a well-deserved break) and I was genuinely impressed with the quality and sharpness it offered even in low light conditions, there’s just no comparison between it and my dear integrated laptop cam. It certainly delivers on what it promises. To be honest it pains me that I have to now migrate back to my inferior laptop cam, but I knew it was coming so can’t complain that much.
The aesthetics of the LifeCam are also quite impressive with an excellent design complete with a flexible rubber base that easily allows you to attach it to virtually any monitor or TV. It doesn’t end there as you can also attach it to tripods and you use it as a camcorder which is perfect for recording long video captures from different angles — not only in front of the monitor.
Another cool feature of the LifeCam is the 360-degree view range, which I had a lot of fun with. What it basically does is it allows you to easily point the camera at either yourself (which I’m personally not particularly of fan of doing) or around your surroundings – this leaves the need to pick up your entire laptop (and turn it around) null and void. The LifeCam also does include a couple more features, I simply chose to focus on what I thought was cool.
There’s no doubting that I had a great time with the LifeCam Studio, it was virtually a new experience for me and, unfortunately, because of that I can’t really say outright how it compares to the competition, I’m sure it would hold its own. We weren’t given an exact recommended retail price, +- R900 is what we were told, but a bit of research revealed that it goes for anything from R1200 – R1800 at most of the reputable online stores.
It’s definitely not a cheap exercise and personally I do wish it was a little lower but is it value for money? Definitely, especially if you are on the market for a Webcam that can double up as a Camcorder.