Microtek's videoconferencing camera lacks oomph

Microtek's videoconferencing camera lacks oomph

Problems with USB compatibility, poor video image and controls sink EyeStar U2S desktop camera

By Jason Byrne
GCN Staff

Desktop videoconferencing cameras are common these days, thanks to falling prices and rising demand. But as with scanners, you sometimes get burned at the low end.

Add that to the fact that many cameras come with a Universal Serial Bus hookup, and you could have problems. USB has gotten off to a bumpy start in PCs.

The $99 EyeStar U2S videoconferencing camera from Microtek Lab Inc. had several such drawbacks. When I ran it with other USB devices attached to a test PC, the EyeStar or the other USB devices would invariably fail. And the camera, though capable of delivering 30 frames per second, showed poor-quality video.

When I tweaked the video settings, I found the camera's software controls were limited. They could control brightness and contrast, but not hue or settings for different lighting conditions.

The EyeStar software can send e-mail with video clip attachments, and it permits live videoconferencing over a LAN or the Internet. Both functions, however, were underpowered.

As the cliche goes, you get what you pay for. Before you buy any imaging equipment, take a close look at the actual results you can expect. If you have trouble setting up the equipment or you consider the image quality poor, the unit will sit around gathering dust.

Videoconferencing can be a helpful tool. But you need to buy equipment that will let you get the most out of it.

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