Logitech QuickCam Ultra Vision SE
Reviewed by: Admin
Reviewed on: May 21, 2007
"Hi grandma, you look great. It seems that that warm climate really agrees with you". With our jobs and hectic schedules, we don’t often have the time to visit or spend quality time with extended family. Although spending one-to-one time with a family member is always the most fulfilling, sometimes it’s just not possible and so we send emails back and forth, or occasionally chat on the phone. There is a solution to those informal greetings and that would be a WebCam. WebCams will allow you to talk and see the person with whom you are greeting, giving more of a feel that you are right there with them. Spending time with Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad or friends is always better, but having a WebCam can take some of the emptiness away when you just can’t get away from the rigours of everyday life. Maybe just seeing their smile will brighten up your day.
The Logitech QuickCam Ultra Vision Spercial Edition is one of the many choices you will have when considering the purchase of a WebCam. With it comes many standard features including a 4 Megapixel still image capture.
Logitech International is a Swiss public company traded on both the SWX Swiss Exchange and Nasdaq Global Select Market.
“Logitech is a world leader in personal peripherals, driving innovation in PC navigation, Internet communications, digital music, home-entertainment control, gaming and wireless devices. The company''s products combine essential core technologies, continuing innovation, award-winning industrial design and excellent price performance.”
As with all Logitech products, the QuickCam Ultra Vision comes packaged with a clear plastic insert so you can see what you are buying. The back and sides of the box lists features and highlights what the product can do.
The QuickCam itself is not conventionally shaped and isn't quite what you might expect to see. Most webcams are round or oval shaped. The Ultra Vision is shaped more like the body of a butterfly and there are quick capture buttons on the left for snapshot and the right for video.
Attached to the Ultra Vision is a flexible clip which can be bent it attach to virtually any monitor.
The Ultra Vision uses a USB interface. Included with the hardware is a manual and a CD that contains the required software drivers and the Logitech QuickCam program.
To install the Ultra Vision, all you will need is an available USB port. Once plugged in, depending on your operating system the WebCam will be recognized and generic drivers will be installed. With generic drivers you will be able to use the Ultra Vision for video chat but you won’t be able to take advantage of its many features. The flexible clip is pretty well counter-balanced. I did not need to bend it to get the Ultra Vision to stay where I preferred.
If you did plug in your Ultra Vision prior to installing its drivers and software, you will need to unplug it in order to install the suite. Place the driver CD into the CD-ROM drive and follow the on-screen instructions.
After rebooting your computer, the Install screen will auto-activate and guide you the rest of the way.
Audio Tuning Wizard:
The audio tuning wizard will guide you while setting up the built in microphone that comes in the Ultra Vision. You will be able to select your preferred audio devices, set up microphone and speaker placement and also speaker and microphone volume.
The QuickCam toolbar has many options to choose from as you scroll the tabs. First is video effects. “Lets you select a Video Effect to be used in any video application. You can choose an avatar - an animated character that mimics your movement and facial expressions - or face accessories such as a wig, moustache, or bushy eyebrows that are super-imposed on top of your face, moving with you.”
Next will be the privacy shade. “Lets you select and enable a privacy shade image. When taking part in a video call, you can click the Video mute button (see below), so that the person you are talking to sees your selected privacy shade image rather than your live video.”
The change settings feature. “Lets you configure your audio and video settings so that your QuickCam works exactly how you want it to, and you achieve the best quality images possible.”
The choose applications feature. “Offers a variety of applications to help you make the most of your QuickCam.”
Last but not least are the resolution settings which range from 320x240 to 2304x1728, which is 4 MegaPixels.
The best way to test a WebCam is of course to use it, so I would say that it may appear to be a little subjective. Everyone has different tastes and what might be good for me, may not be your cup of tea. So to be as objective as possible, I will try to give my best perspective on what the Ultra Vision's strong and weak points are.
- AMD 64 3700+ Sandy
- MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum
- OCZ Platinum Rev. 2 DDR 3200 2x512 Memory
- XFX 7600 GT XXX
- Antec 500W Smart Power 2.0
- Windows XP Media Center
The Ultra vision can capture an image up to 4 megapixels and as shown in closer look it has a snapshot button the side. So of course, I had to take some pictures in the different resolutions. Below find the images as resolutions progress.
Wow what a cute dog! His name is Baccino which means 'little kiss' in Italian. (Yes, I know it’s spelled incorrectly - Bacino would be correct.) The resolutions taken were from 320x240 progressing to 2304x1728. As the resolutions increased, I noticed that more blue speckles began to show, which could have possibly been due to the lighting.
I tested the WebCam using Windows Live Messenger and turned on the auto-tracking feature. My old WebCam didn’t have this feature, so every time I moved, I ended up out of the frame. With the auto tracking on, I also noticed that the camera would zoom if I moved farther away. As per the sound quality, while my girlfriends’ sister sounded like she was in a tin can and other background noises filled my speakers, she claimed that I could be heard quite clearly. The Ultra Vision has an echo and background noise suppressing feature that does seem to help a great deal. The built-in microphone works well. It picked up my voice even while standing 10 feet away and speaking in normal tone. The Ultra Vision also has an anti-flicker setting which when set, reduces flicker in a florescent lit room.
The visual effects feature is quite fun to use. When activated, you’ll have a choice of avatars to choose from. After choosing your avatar, you’ll need to calibrate the camera to follow your face. After calibration is finished, the avatar on-screen will track the movements of your head and even use facial expressions.
The Ultra Vision has many other features that should satisfy almost any user, if you’re into blogging or podcasts and even adding video to your ebay items, the Ultra Vision has options for it. Included in the software are links to YouTube, Grouper and Logitech mobile, which all have their own Logitech QuickCam communities. If you don’t have a photo-editing program, you can download a copy of HP PhotoSmart Essentials directly from the Toolbar. All of these features did work as intended, which was an added plus to the Ultra Vision. My only dislike was the choice of photo-editing program supplied.
If you want to keep in touch with family and friends, but the miles that separate you at times just won’t allow it, then a Logitech QuickCam Ultra Vision Special Edition is one of the many WebCams to choose from on the market. Unlike many others, it is not shaped like a ball and when placed on your monitor, it has a more streamlined clean appearance as if it were meant to be there. With its ability to capture an image up to 4 megapixels, snapping some high resolution photos to print and send to Grandma is a plus if you don’t have a digital camera. I do feel that the Ultra Vision is missing one thing and that is a flash. With such a high resolution image capture it would be nice, as not all rooms have a bright light in them to aid in the image quality. When you are recording video, the anti-flicker option works well and videos can be taken in resolutions up to 960x720. So why not bring family time back into your hectic schedule and give 'WebCamming' a try?
- 4 Megapixel Image Capture
- Snapshot Button
- Echo Free Microphone
- Needs a Flash
- Picture Quality at Higher Resolutions can be Grainy