PROS / It has great audio quality.
CONS / The design allows for limited mounting and placement options.
VERDICT / For a budget webcam, the Cam Chat HD offers great image and audio quality. It may be lacking some features, but it’s hard to be disappointed when you take its price into consideration.
The Creative Live Cam Chat HD isn’t one of the webcams that stands out for having superior specifications or a long list of features. Rather it stands out because its specifications and features are offered at a great value. Despite having one of the lowest prices among the products we tested, it is a surprisingly strong contender.
Its video specifications, though lower than the best webcams, are respectable. You can shoot and stream video in up to 720p at 30 frames per second. Although this resolution is reduced from the 1080p found in some PC cameras, the framerate remains the same. This means that the video is slightly less clear and less detailed in general, but it still plays as smoothly as the nicer cameras.
When we tested this web camera's video in lab experiments we found a few issues, but were generally surprised by how well it held up against much more expensive options. The picture quality is quite up to par with the best webcams, it’s great for a webcam of this price. The only problem we really have is that the image tends to be grainy unless the subject is very well lit.
The audio quality is also shockingly good when compared to similar webcams. There is very little ambient noise and voices sound clear and natural. Now, webcams aren’t known for their stellar audio recording abilities. They’re typically not even in the same league as a dedicated mic. Although this camera produces relatively good audio, that’s really only within the context of webcam microphones.
Still image quality is decent, but not quite up to par with our top-rated webcams. Most of the web cameras we tested offer either between 8 and 15 megapixels, or less than 2 – there are very few in between. The Cam Chat HD is the exception with a middling 5.7 megapixels.
Focusing is done manually with this webcam, which means you’ll want to readjust it whenever you or the camera are relocated. This is somewhat less convenient than autofocusing mechanisms that adjust on the fly, but considering the price of this webcam, we aren’t surprised. Manual focusing isn't too bad, provided you’re not moving around a bunch.
The overall design of the Chat Cam is solid, although it is certainly missing some features found in more expensive models. Most notably, the camera has no built-in method of tilting, panning or being attached to the tripod. For this reason, you’re pretty much stuck with a forward-facing monitor-mounted camera. Not very versatile, but enough for most.
The Creative Live Cam Chat HD is among the most affordable cameras on our lineup. Considering that fact, we found its performance to be excellent. If you don’t mind a few missing features and a slightly lower than optimal resolution, then it is a great choice for a personal webcam.