Our peeps over at PC Mag have gotten their hands on the higher-end of Microsoft's two Live-optimized LifeCams
announced last month and, for the most part at least, seem to have dug it, giving it a hefty 4/5 rating. True to Microsoft's claims, they found that the cam was in fact, very easy to use and delivered some nice added features like face-tracking along with the standard pan, tilt, and zoom control. And while they were impressed with the 30 fps, 1,280-by-1,024 (interpolated, of course) video, they found that the audio quality from the built-in mic left a lot to be desired, having to crank up the volume in order to hear each other clearly, resulting in some nasty feedback. An external microphone would obviously solve that problem but, you know, would kinda defeat the purpose. Not surprisingly, the best results also came when using Windows Live Messenger
, with some additional audio/video problems cropping up when used with AIM and Yahoo. A deliberate downgrade? Nah, couldn't be.