Webcam Go Plus is a flexible, if somewhat schizophrenic device that functions both as a webcam and detachable digital stills camera. It is actually an upgrade of the original Webcam Go, and features an increased in-built memory capacity that is used for taking pictures while in 'remote' mode. It also has the added functionality of voice memos. So the question is, does this product live up to its promise as a webcam that can be 'cut loose'.
As a desktop camera the Webcam Go Plus connects without fuss to the USB port of the PC and performs its duties admirably. It is capable of live video capture at up to 25 frames per second (fps) at a resolution of 352x288 (or 15fps at 640x480 should you need the bigger picture). The lens is focus-free and produces a clarity of image that when coupled with an extremely comprehensive and easy-to-use software bundle enables comfortable teleconferencing and an exciting 'video-email' experience.
Detach the 6ft USB cable, however, and you have an extremely portable, hassle-free method of taking digital stills. An optical viewfinder is provided and there is a mini LCD screen. This keeps track of the remaining memory and camera mode, but little else. There is no flash on board and no way of telling whether your subject is over or under exposed - you just point and shoot. So it would be fair to say the Webcam Go Plus is in no way a replacement or substitute for any digital camera you may already own. The quality of the stills is just not good enough, with overexposure and slight colour inaccuracy a common problem.
However, subject matter and not picture resolution are probably more the cameras speciality. The Webcam Go Plus is not a high-end imaging solution. It is a way of getting low-resolution but acceptable images from one computer to another - be it via teleconferencing or AVI/JPG files - and it accomplishes this goal satisfactorily. The fact that you can undock the device, capture your images, redock and transfer those images without resorting to your scanner, video camera or digital stills camera is to the Webcam Go Plus's credit.
What the camera lacks in picture quality it makes up for in hassle-free operation. The internal memory provides enough capacity in undocked mode for approx 200 images at 640 x 480. This figure rises to 400 when the resolution is reduced to 320 x 240.
Using the multiple picture mode, even silent 'mini movies' are possible. However, with only 8Mb of memory, they are mini indeed - when recording at 25fps, even a resolution of 160x120 will only provide you with a 15 second AVI. And it's worth noting that if you record a voice memo via the in-built microphone, this will also use up that valuable Ram.
The Webcam Go Plus is a competent webcam first and a 'point and click' digital camera second. As innovative as it may be, this multi-function product does not compare well with single purpose digital photography solutions and its remote image capturing ability should only be considered a bonus. At this price point, however, its range of capabilities is impressive and should you require a webcam, you will find Creative's offering an attractive solution.
Contact Creative 0800 973 069, http://www.europe.creative.com