Logitech's latest webcam promises to pack a real punch and make keeping in touch with your family or friends a real doodle, but does it? We get video calling to find out.
The Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 sits at the top end of the company's webcam offering and comes with a number of features to prove it.
Designed with a fairly hefty stand the camera can be positioned on the desk by your computer, or hinged over the top of your monitor. The main body of the device sports the camera, a light to let you know what is going on and a decent enough microphone.
The same main body has a good degree of movement and this helps when positioning the webcam as you can pretty much put it anywhere without restriction.
The only qualm is the length of the cable that it comes with. 1.5m might sound long, but if you've got to get it from the top of a monitor to a desktop computer under your desk you're going to struggle - we certainly did - and therefore the investment in an additional USB cable might be worthwhile.
On to the camera itself and the QuickCam Pro 9000 sports a 2 megapixel sensor with Carl Zeiss lens. The result is a crisp clear image that will really pick up you, text and your surroundings. The megapixel quality also means that you'll get a video resolution of 960 x 720 pixels (theoretically HD), and you'll also be able to shoot 8 megapixel still shots with the use of Logitech's accompanying software.
In use and you'll get a wide angle shot that means if you're trying to get in you and the family you won't have any trouble. The auto focus functionality works well and overall the image quality is very good as you would expect.
In an attempt to help even further the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 also features something called RightLight 2 technology. In English this means that the camera will intelligently change and adapt to the environment to, according to Logitech "to produce the best possible images in dimly lighted or poorly backlighted settings".
In practice and we would have to say that the camera does a very good job of doing just that coping with the majority of lighting effects we threw at it.
Likewise a similar technology has been used for the sound and the microphone. This time called RightSound, the technology promises to reduce background noise and improve speech quality. Again in our tests the Pro 9000 performed very well.
When it comes to software everything is run out of a menu console. Here you get access to the web camera itself where you can take still images, as well as video with plenty of options to get what you want from the camera.
Beyond the basic functions however there is also a privacy option that allows you to replace the video feed with a still image, and for fun the ability to add fun effects to your video.
Good for the kids you can add hats, beards, glasses and other accessories, however you can then take it one step further and even opt to turn yourself into an alien or a cat which in the corporate world is pretty pointless but could be fun with the grannies.
Additionally Logitech not tying themselves to one video conference software offers quick access to all the major applications from Skype to Microsoft's Live Messenger to AOL's AIM service.
The only catch however is that while the webcam will work with a Mac, none of the software is Mac compatible.
It is also worth bearing in mind that the quality of the video received is dependent on your web connection not only at your end, but at the end they were receiving the video. In our tests depending on how our ISP was performing quality at the receiving end was either amazing or just about okay. What also made a difference was making the call (via Skype) over a wireless or wired connection and this is something you should bear in mind if you are looking to make lots of video calls.
The only other thing to bear in mind is the wide angle, great if you want to include the family and your surroundings, however not if you want to hide the fact that your bedroom, or office is a mess beyond your desk.
But overall at around £55 while this is one of the more expensive webcams on the market, the build quality and performance are worth the expense.
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