Microsoft LifeCam Studio review

It isn’t cheap, but it’s simple to operate and image quality is excellent – and it can record 1080p if you have the software

Mike Jennings
22 Jul 2011
5
Price when reviewed 
47
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The common-or-garden webcam has fallen into the same bracket as keyboards and mice for most PC users: as long as it works, the cheapest one will do. That makes Microsoft’s £47 inc VAT LifeCam Studio quite the difficult sell.

Microsoft is making that sell by plastering the words “1080p HD” on the box, which is misleading. The LifeCam Studio does indeed have a 1080p sensor, but the bundled software will only record at 720p – to go higher you’ll need to buy third-party video software. This little fact is buried in the small print on the back of the box.

Microsoft LifeCam Studio

Nevertheless, the LifeCam is still a nice camera. It rotates through 360 degrees, as well as up and down, on a ball joint. The stand is constructed from hard-wearing plastic and is typically easy to use: a lip at the front helps the camera balance on top of a monitor or plastic, and the flexible tail can be used to hold the camera in position. There’s also the option to use the LifeCam with a tripod.

Quality is excellent. Colours are bright, detail is sharp, and the LifeCam’s automatic focus is fast and accurate – within seconds, we found detailed objects brought into sharp view. The sensor also captures 8-megapixel stills, although we noticed a few jagged edges here and there.

It might be a gimmicky extra, but we must also mention the LifeCam software, particularly its ability to augment your image. In fact, we’ll let this video demonstrate it in action.

The consistent quality and fun extras don’t come cheap, but the quality of the sensor goes some way towards justifying the price. Plus, if you already have some third-party video software at home, it looks a very nice deal indeed.