Creative Live!Cam Optia AF webcam

Creative have long been known for its webcams (my first webcam in 1999 was a Creative) but has the company lost its way with the barrage of alternatives available from the likes of Logitech or Philips? We get recording to find out.

Claiming to be the World's first auto focusing 2 megapixel sensored webcam the small unit perches on top of your laptop or desktop monitor with ease.

Not the smallest of designs, the unit is a stylish gloss black, features the all important lens and can be swivelled 270 degrees so you can adjust to your height accordingly.

Other design features include a dual Adaptive Array microphone for improved sound, and a LED indicator that glows blue so you know you're live.

Like Logitech and its cameras, Creative has bundled a host of software on the install disc including Skype, basic video editing software, the chance to add special effects with what Creative calls Camera Doodling and most importantly for parents a parental control feature which allows a password to be set for the camera usage, preventing any unauthorised usage.

Away from the cameras 30fps capture rate and USB2 connectivity the camera also sports the ability to take pictures up to 8 megapixel resolution.

In use and the camera performs very well, with an incredibly easy set up in Windows Vista or Windows XP. Unlike the Logitech cameras, the Optia AF isn't Mac compatible.

The auto focus functionality works well however can get over zealous at times. You can turn it's capabilities down, or off and we would certainly recommend this if you've got a busy office or home set up.

Additionally although the camera will work on a USB1.1 connection we wouldn't recommend it, likewise you'll need a fast machine to get the most out of the video options.

As for the claim of 8 megapixel, we are very dubious about this as its software enhanced rather than actually a 8 megapixel sensor in the device, however the picture quality is good enough for snaps for illustration purposes rather than ones that you would want to keep forever or do anything important with away from your computer.

Verdict

Easy to use and potentially impressive results, as long as you've got the machine to match, mean that for the £60 this will set you back you can't go wrong.


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