PROS / The webcam has clear audio.
CONS / Video has issues with colors and grain.
VERDICT / The Gear Head WC8500HD is an inexpensive option that offers good functionality but struggles when it comes to image quality.
The Gear Head WC8500HD is an affordable webcam with decent video and image quality. This webcam cannot support 30 frames per second at full HD, so you have to turn the resolution down to 720p if you want the smoothest video. Also, like many affordable webcams, it lacks many of the extra features that we look for.
The Gear Head films in HD quality and shoots images in 8 megapixels, but it isn't as good as some other cameras we reviewed. For example, if you want to film in a smooth 30 frames per second, you have to turn the resolution down to 720p, which is still HD but doesn't look as good on big-screen TVs.
In addition to this, we found its video to be grainy and discolored when compared to higher-end PC cameras. The grain issues lessen if you’re very well lit, but the video seems to remain considerably less clear. While the color issues are less pronounced, it looks less natural than most of the other cameras we reviewed.
Also, the webcam lacks many of the other features we look for. While it is able to focus automatically, it does not have face tracking. Therefore, it focuses on movement rather than eyes. If you are an animated speaker, the webcam has trouble tracking you accurately. It does have dual noise-cancelling headphones which offer clear albeit quiet audio. This web camera does not have any of the convenience features we look for either, like one-click uploading to social networks or facial recognition for faster logins.
The lens is made of plastic, which tends to distort images more than glass, but most people don't notice the image noise that comes from plastic lenses. The webcam has a sturdy base that you can hook onto a monitor or freely stand, and the camera can tilt and swivel as you need.
Gear Head offers comprehensive help and support from its website. If you purchase this webcam, Gear Head backs it with a lifetime warranty. You can download a replacement user manual from the website, and customer service representatives are available by phone and email.
The Gear Head WC8500HD is an affordable webcam with excellent image quality and customer support. It lacks many of the extra features that we look for, like face tracking and a glass lens. Still, if you need a Skype camera at a low cost, the Gear Head is an excellent choice.