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Maximum PC Staff Mar 30, 2011

Microsoft LifeCam HD-5000

At A Glance

HIGH RESOLUTION

Light camera with excellent, flexible base; very good video quality in good lighting.

HIGH ANXIETY

Pitiful button-to-nowhere; autofocus doesnt work well in low-light situations.

Flexible, light cam can stand up almost anywhere

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 bundled software lets you configure the camera, record video, and take snapshots. In addition, downloading Microsoft’s Live Essentials lets you do video editing and conferencing. Video quality was excellent, except in low-light situations, where it had difficulty with autofocus.

The HD-5000 physical design makes it an attractive cam if you’re usually in a well-lit location, though the software bundle isn’t as full-featured as its competitors’.

$50, www.microsoft.com

THE VERDICT

Microsoft LifeCam HD-5000

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