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FaceVsion TouchCam N1 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £87
inc VAT

The best webcam we’ve seen yet, but it’s expensive and you’ll need a fast upload speed to benefit from it.

It’s easy to think that all webcams are essentially the same. However, improving broadband upload speeds mean it’s now possible for some of us to enjoy HD video chat. We’ve seen a couple of HD webcams to date and they’ve certainly provided a step-up in quality from the webcams built into most laptops. The TouchCam N1, however, is streets ahead of even these, with a range of impressive extra features.

It’s the first Skype-certified HD webcam – this isn’t a huge deal, but it does make it very simple to setup, with no drivers to install. You just download and install Skype (or make sure you update to the latest version if you already have it on your PC), then just hook up the USB lead and decide best how to position the camera.

The lens has a wide angle of 78-degrees, so you can fit more people in front of the camera without having to move back. Its autofocus is quick and accurate, and kept us in focus as we moved about. There are dual microphones too, which work in tandem to help tidy up any background noise. Finally, there’s a built-in H.264 chip which encodes the outgoing 720p video on the fly. This is particularly useful if both callers have HD webcams, as usually your PC has to simultaneously play and encode 720p video. We saw CPU usage reduced by around 20%; great if you like to get on with other tasks while chatting.

FaceVsion TouchCam N1 front

All this extra kit means the TouchCam is bigger than most webcams, but we think it looks sophisticated rather than simply chunky. The stand means it sits comfortably on both slender laptop lids and boxy monitor tops, as well as being able to stand up on your desk. It doesn’t twist on its base however, which can be a problem if you’re not sat square in front of your monitor.

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