The C910 is much bigger and heavier than the other high-end cams in this roundup. It’s also less flexible; attached to your monitor or set on your table, it can swivel up and down, but not left and right. The sacrifice in flexibility, though, comes with outstanding performance. This camera can record at 1080p resolution, and in our tests, it produced the best video in all lighting conditions.
Much of what we liked—and didn’t like—about the HD-3110 (page 35) carries over to its higher-end and sleeker counterpart, the HD-4110. It sports three buttons you can use to snap photos, take video, or launch your favorite conferencing app. Its flexible base is even easier to use and attach than the HD-3110’s, and the camera moves freely in all directions. The same bundled software includes a variety of applications and utilities, but we’d prefer them better integrated into an easy-to-manage whole.
The HD-5000 doesn’t look like any other cam in this roundup, and from our tests, that’s mostly a good thing. The extremely light device sits on a flexible base with a flared bottom. This lets it perch on a monitor or laptop screen in almost any position, or stand free almost anywhere—a bed, an armchair, maybe even your lap—without toppling over. In a brazen act of self-parody, though, Microsoft put a button on the top that has one, and only one, function—to launch Microsoft’s own Internet Messenger.
The HD-3110 looks a bit boxy and bulky for a midrange cam. Even if it does remind you of your grandma’s Buick from the 1980s, it makes up for its lack of style with functionality. The clip works well, and once mounted on your monitor or desk, it pivots, offering a full range of motion. The buttons on the front let you take photos or start and stop video recording; this comes in handy if you need a quick snapshot or video of something and don’t want to juggle your mouse and/or look at the screen when capturing the image.
The C510 is designed for portability; it folds up into a tight little package and even comes with a carrying case. It mounts easily on a monitor and can rotate all the way around, as well as move up and down. Logitech touts its RightSound technology, and the C510 did the best in our tests at reducing ambient noise. Video performance, too, was in the top tier for this class, delivering crisp, detailed video in all light conditions. It was the only cam in this roundup not to include autofocus, but frankly, we found autofocus to be as much of an annoyance as a help in many of the cams we tested.
Creative’s Live! Cam was one of the smallest and lightest of the cams we tested. That’s a plus for portability, though its inflexible clip for mounting to a monitor and its inability to swivel right and left made it a little inconvenient to position. Image quality was in line with the other cams in its class, both in good and poor lighting conditions.
F-Secure caught lightning in a bottle, poured it into its scan engine, and then built a security suite around it. When we say this scanner’s fast, we mean buckle up, hold on to the seat of your pants, and hope you don’t get whiplash. F-Secure’s scanner sped through our test bed in just three minutes and 18 seconds the first time around, which is nearly twice as fast as the next-quickest AV suite and more nimble than the second, optimized scans of 60 percent of the other apps in this roundup. During a second scan, F-Secure zipped through our files in a mere 45 seconds.
Webroot used to focus its attention solely on system utilities and antispyware programs, such as Spy Sweeper, arguably it’s most popular product. Starting in 2006, Webroot widened its security net and now offers a fleshed-out lineup of antivirus products, the one reviewed here being its flagship suite.
When you first install BullGuard, you’re prompted to select a notification level. One of the two choices clamps a muzzle on BullGuard, stifling alerts the program can figure out on its own. The other promises more notifications so you’ll always know what the mutt is up to. We say mutt because BullGuard is another security suite that builds on top of someone else’s scan engine. We saw this with ZoneAlarm, which chose to go with Kaspersky, while BullGuard fetched BitDefender’s scan engine, another solid choice.
It’s hard not to look a gift horse in the mouth when you’re told it’s a potential thoroughbred capable of racing in the Kentucky Derby, but later find out it’s limping on two legs short of a set and isn’t even fit for making glue. That’s what we think about ClamWin, a free, open-source antivirus program that comes saddled with “gotchas.”