I mentioned in other reviews that I travel a bit, and am away from my family, and when traveling to Europe, phone calls can become quite expensive. Especially when you sign up for the European rate plan through AT&T and when you get home, they claim they had no record of you adding the service, and hitting you with a $900 phone bill.
I travel with either my MacBook Pro, or my MacBook, and with the built in iSight camera, it only made sense that I pick up a webcam so I can talk with my daughter… The wife too!
I went to my local Micro Center, and saw the Macally IceCam2 for the low cost of $29.99. RIght there, I should have known better. Nope. I’m a glutton for punishment, and enjoy pissing good money away, so against my better judgement, and the employee who assured me the quality was good, I brought this home.
I’m using this camera on a Mac mini. It’s the last model Apple released before the Intel models came out.
At first glance, the camera is quite stylish. I like the look of it. The clamp to hold it onto my flat screen monitor works well, but I can see this being an issue with thicker screens then I have. It’s made to plug and play right into the mac, using no drivers. It works with iChat, and it claims Skype, and other popular video chat services. This is all good news. I wanted it for both Skype, and iChat… Perfect, right?
The mini is a room, with decent light. I fired up the camera, and the screen was solid black. No image. I thought it was broken. I turned on a lamp, and saw something. I turned on another light, and saw my silhouette. Now, the room is lit well now, and there’s no reason for this to be so dark. I actually had to go into other rooms of the house, collecting lamps. I needed 4 lamps, all within 18 inches of my face to make out a halfway decent picture.
It also has a built in microphone, also a piece of crap. The sound is tinny, and you sound muffled and in a hole. This might not be so bad if you could use a different microphone, but alas, you cannot. The mac sees this camera and mic as one device, and it’s all or nothing.
Wow. This is pretty bad. There are NO adjustment setting in iChat to bump up the brightness. It does have a manual focus adjustment on the front, but it’s sort of like trying to polish a turd.
To say the least, I’m very disappointed in this camera. I want to actually SEE my family, and have to squint to try to make out who I’m talking to. This is going back to Micro Center immediately. I don’t even want to give this away. It’s THAT bad.