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How did they tuck all this quality into a 5cm tube?


High quality pictures and sound, small and inconspicuos

Does not flatter

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Picture quality

Video capture rate

Colour sensitivity

Ease of Installation

Value For Money

Resistance to colour bleedingExcellent


Ease of useVery easy

Manufacturer SupportExcellent

Instruction manualVery useful

89 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
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All the Skype hype and my ever increasing phone bills got me thinking, when a friend of mine in Devon had been given a new laptop for Christmas with a built in webcam; and since we communicate fairly frequently, discussing ancestry research projects, by phone, decided that we should give Skype communications a try, to save on phone expenses. So off I went to purchase a webcam for my desktop.

Our local computer store, MicroBitz, had a good selection in stock, with a price range to suit every pocket.
After a lengthy discussion on the pros and cons of each - they must cringe when they see me approach their shop - I bought the Microsoft HD Lifecam, priced at £47, which must surely have brought a smile back to their faces.
The Microsoft HD Lifecam

This webcam is compatible with Apple MacOS x 10.2 or later, Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7

The simple, see through packaging contained a matt black cylindrical webcam, 5.5cms in length with a diameter of 2.6cms.
Attached near the rear is a 2.5cm x 8.5cm flexible, rubber coated arm, which can be flexed to hold the webcam safely on top of a monitor, or bent into a stand shape to sit on a desk. Extending from the rear of the webcam, is a lead, approximately 1.5meters in length, with a standard USB connection at the end.

Positioned on top of the cylinder, is a small call button, for use when making a call using Live Messenger, and a suitably sensitive microphone.
Also include in the package, were the installation CD and a little booklet with simple to follow set up instructions.

The installation procedure was straightforward and took about 10 minutes, though I did not time it, so it may have been a little more or a little less. When instructed to do so, the webcam was plugged into the USB port.

Once installed, a small, blue icon representing the webcam appears on the monitor. By clicking on this icon, a tiny blue light shines from the front of the webcam, indicating that it is on, then a screen on the monitor opens with a perfectly focused image of the scene in front of it. The webcam has a rapid auto-focusing facility, so that objects as close as three inches focus perfectly as do the objects ten to fifteen feet away.

At the bottom of the webcam screen, are three icons; a camera, a microphone and a camcorder.
Clicking on the camera icon enable you to take a still photograph, with the webcam, the picture is then automatically saved in a file, where it can be organised, shared, burned onto a disc, or deleted.

Clicking on the microphone allows you to voice record, whilst also recording background music from a radio or CD. This is also held in files.

Clicking on the camcorder icon allows you to record a video using the webcam; again this is automatically filed.

On the right hand side of the screen is a blue slit, with a white triangle, clicking on this will open, alongside the the screen, the Lifecam dashboard, on which are the Lifecam controls, allowing you to pan left and right or tilt up and down; small but useful movements for centralising the picture without moving the webcam.

At the top end of the dashboard are two more icons, one of which opens up a large selection of 'picture effects.' (I counted 48)
By clicking on one, the selected effect will be added to, or alter, the image displayed in front of the camera and moves with that image. One particularly clever effect is the one with big, coloured question marks, hovering and circling inches above your head. Others will morph your image, or add masks, hats, hair or animal noses and ears. These effects can be captured in a photograph or on video and can also be seen by the person you are contacting across the internet on Skype.

The other icon on the dashboard opens the controls for image resolution - from 160 x 120, giving an image of about 5cm x 4cm, right up to a resolution of 1280 x 720 where the image is about 25cm x 14cm.
The picture effects, however, can only be used on resolutions of 960 x 544, or less.
If you wish, you can alter the brightness, hue and white light etc, but this is really for experts in photography who wish to perhaps refine the automatic adjustments.

The use with Skype

As far as image and sound quality are concerned, the Microsoft HD Lifecam works extremely well. However, because of the distance between my friend’s residence, and me the Skype connection frequently failed either the sound or vision kept fading. This was down to other factors, like internet speed and number of people using the internet at that time; nothing, I am assured to do with the quality of the webcams.
We did find though, that if neither of us used the video part of the Skype connection, we could both natter, with very little disruption, but using both sound and vision together resulted in a very irritating intermittent communication system. So yes, my phone bills will be reduced now.

I have been using this for a year now, and discovered that Microsoft automatically inform the user when free updates are available.

In Summary, I have to say I am very pleased with the Microsoft HD Lifecam, it’s a great addition to my PC with more uses than just for real-time communications across the ether.
It is a webcam, camera, camcorder and voice recorder, all in one little tube.

Originally posted on Dooyoo under name of goosey

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Microsoft LifeCam Cinema perched on the monitor
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Comments about this review »

jillycat 20.05.2011 16:19

A great review with lots of useful information

cha97michelle 29.04.2011 21:38

Tells me everything i need to know about this web cam.

Juliet101 17.04.2011 20:50

Great review. This seems like a good web cam but expensive.

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Product Information »

Manufacturer's product description

Widescreen technology is everywhere these days, built into virtually every new notebook, desktop monitor and flat-p...


MPN H5D-00003, H5D-00015, H5D-00001, U9D-00002, H5D-00002, HSD-00003, U9D-00001, 6CH-00002, H5D-00014
Device Type Web camera
Audio Support Yes : built-in microphone


Type Colour
Max Digital Video Resolution 1280 x 720
Still Image Capture Resolution 2880 x 1620

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This review of Microsoft LifeCam Cinema has been rated:

"exceptional" by (38%):

  1. jillycat
  2. cha97michelle
  3. catsholiday

and 32 other members

"very helpful" by (62%):

  1. Juliet101
  2. Myredpip
  3. Jonni_boi

and 55 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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