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06:35 PM on 02/25/13
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Microsoft makes HD webcams even more affordable with its LifeCam HD 3000, a successor to the HD 5000. Able to shoot 720p video at a 30 fps frame rate and take 4 megapixel still images, the HD 3000 not only drops its price but it also drops what made the HD 5000 so frustrating: Auto FocusAt a GlanceThe Good: Affordable, clear picture The Bad: Microphone picks up ambient noiseSetupThe HD 3000 is easy to set up and get going. The model nfl beats by dre cheap is plug and play, so just insert the USB cord which is quite long in true LifeCam fashion into a spare USB port. If you'd like to download the accompanying software, you can do so at this time, or you can download it via the included CD. The webcam has a plastic head with a rubber clip to affix to a laptop screen. If you're using a desktop computer, you can mold the clip into a C shaped stand. PerformanceI tested the HD 3000 side by side with the HD 5000 and found that the image quality was nearly identical. Colors are bright and accurate, beats by dre solo and I receive adequate lighting from a single window and an overhead light. There was a bit of a lag when shooting in 720p, as there is with the HD 5000, but it's not long enough to be frustrating. If you are truly bothered by it and don't require HD video, you can always drop the resolution down a bit. The webcam comes with seven preset resolutions. Thankfully, this LifeCam model eliminates Auto Focus a main point of contention with the HD 5000. Although quick moving objects in front of the camera don't cause the HD 3000 to constantly refocus itself, they do trigger the device to shift the displayed lighting the picture jumps to lighter and darker shades. Even so, this is overwhelmingly less noticeable than the HD 5000. As with lady gaga heartbeats the HD 5000, the newer model features Microsoft's new TrueColor Technology. Using the included software lets you adjust brightness, contrast, beats by dre studiosaturation and white balance, among other things. As always, how vivid the colors appear can be affected by the type of monitor or laptop display you have. MicrophoneThe HD 3000's built in noise canceling mic proved to be more sensitive when compared with its predecessor. Both are perfectly adequate for Skyping, but the HD 3000 picked up more background noise. Both microphones claim to be noise canceling, although Microsoft doesn't provide many details on what exactly this means. Noise canceling is a lady gaga heartbeats popular term for microphones you see it a lot in Bluetooth headsets, where it's very important to pick up only the caller's voice and not the noise in the background. The HD 3000 certainly has a sensitive mic, and this probably won't be an issue if you're using the webcam in your mostly quiet home. But it's something to consider if you'll be using the device in a noisier environment where ambient noise could pose a distraction. The Bottom LineAt a 39. 95 MSRP, the HD 3000 is a great buy for an easy to use HD webcam. While it's not perfect re: mic and lag concerns, it's well worth its price tag. Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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