By Ian Chiu
There is a bewildering array of choices for USB webcams. These cams share the same problem as old USB storage. You can’t just plug the webcam into a USB port, and expect to see your face on the screen without first installing the driver. That’s where USB storage class came in, providing a unified software stack for thumbdrives, hard drives and DVD burners. And now, USB video class (UVC) is doing the same thing by easing driver hassle. If you ask why bother with UVC when people don’t exactly need to move webcams around like flash drives, the primary advantage is the cross-platform compatibility. XP SP2, Tiger, PS3 console, Linux and perhaps other set-top boxes are able to detect the webcam and let you stream video right away. In reality, companies are switching to UVC in order to qualify for the Windows Vista Logo Program.
Well, enough of UVC lecture, Creative’s Live! Cam Optia is one of the USB video cameras to feature UVC compatibility. In EverythingUSB’s review, it is suggested that you still install Creative’s driver so you can adjust brightness and exposure on the fly among other things. The image quality isn’t exactly top-notch, but the manual focus ring is praised for letting them take pics of anything at any distance. The special effects are okay, but not as good as the Logitech Ultra QuickCam.
Inexpensive and driverless – two words that any computer user can appreciate, especially after having gone through a few upgrades that caused problems of their own. Are these enticements worth the hassle? Read on to find out.
[ Creative Live! Cam Optia Review @ Everything USB ]