Freetalk Everyman HD
Probably the most economically packed camera on test. It was by far the smallest packaging out of the webcams that arrived and one of the shortest set of instructions too (which is no bad thing).
Out of the box, installation is extremely quick and simple. Plug in the USB cable and Windows will detect the webcam and get it configured for you.
Versatility and flexibility of the camera isn't particularly great; it will happily sit on most monitors and laptop screens but it's fixed in a front-facing position with no option to swivel it left or right. Although, it has to be said, this is a similar case with the majority of the HD webcams in this review and you can see why. No doubt they have been designed for individual use on top of a monitor - facing directly at you. The exception to this rule is the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema, which allows you to easily swivel it left or right.
Image clarity unfortunately appeared to be rather grainy and somewhat blurred. This was certainly made more apparent due to the quality of the competition - especially when compared to the FaceVsion TouchCam N1
(which appeared to us to be slightly clearer), as it also contains an on-board H.264 encoder which some applications can take advantage of. The webcam tends to handle light fairly well, with light balanced throughout albeit slightly darker when compared to the competition in this review. This may well be because of its field of view being narrower.
Focus on the Freetalk Everyman did cope rather well at a variety of up-close or far-away objects, with no obvious focus tracking or 'hunting' which can sometimes affect the Microsoft LifeCam in certain positions and lighting conditions.
Compared with the other HD webcams on test, field of view was — to be frank — horrendous. On first glance, it seemed as though it was zoomed-in, but bearing in mind the Freetalk Everyman does not have any automatic or manual zoom to speak of, the result is it dramatically cuts out swathes of horizontal width and vertical height from the image making it unsuitable for any more than a 'one-person headshot'. This is a big disappointment due to the fact that one of the huge advantages with HD webcams (okay, besides the obvious high-quality and well defined image) is the widescreen aspect, which allows you to take in more of your environment (or multiple people for that matter).
The Freetalk Everyman handled a good 22 frames per second - its maximum billed frame rate (according to Freetalk), resulting in a very smooth image.
Bandwidth utilisation was relatively wide, from a low of 350kbps with a stationary image to a peak of 1.2 Mbps with considerable head/hand movement. This result, which is somewhat lower than the other HD cameras we've tested could be due to the very narrow viewing angle, which almost makes it look like it's zoomed in. This therefore is likely to limit the impact of background movement being transmitted. In summary, the Freetalk Everyman HD had the lowest bandwidth consumption from the cameras we tested but unfortunately this seemed to stem from the narrow view and relatively blurred or soft image.
Given the price of the webcam and being one of the cheapest on test (based on the RRP), it's a good choice if you're looking for a budget HD webcam and looking to only use it in a one-on-one scenario and aren't too bothered about overall image quality - but more of the smoothness of image motion. If you're expecting every-now-and-then to have a colleague or friend sat next to you during a video call - you're better off paying a little more and getting one of the other cameras in this review.
It's worth noting, this webcam is the only one in this test not to have any built-in microphone, which is not a bad thing per se, as many video calling or video conferencing software will recommend using a headset for the best possible audio quality.
FaceVsion TouchCam N1 | Logitech HD Pro C910 | Microsoft LifeCam Cinema HD
Our Review Ratings Explained
Our review ratings are based on our own objective findings. Since we are not tied to any specific vendor or manufacturer, we will always
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Testing & Disclaimer Information
All prices correct at date/time of writing.
Equipment was tested on: Intel Core2Quad 2.33 GHz, 4 GB RAM, 512 MB Graphics, Windows 7, Nefsis Online Conferencing Service,
10 Mb business internet connection, 720p HD resolutions.