:: news + energy + technology

The Tuesday Letter
Submit Articles
Product Reviews
Monthly Edition
Energy Archive

Creative WebCam GO

Richard Price
11 July 2000

WebCam GoThe WebCam Go from Creative is a neat idea. Unplug it from your computer, pop in 2 AAA batteries, and it becomes a digital camera.

I had no trouble installing the camera and the software. Connect it to your USB slot and, with your Windows 98 CD handy, follow the on-screen instructions.

After Windows finds and installs the necessary drivers you install the WebCam Go software. WebCam Go comes with a comprehensive suite of programs, which give you a bit more versatility than cheaper cameras.

WebCam Go Control is the application you use to control the camera when it is connected to your computer. Use it to record short videos or download pictures you have taken.

If you are neurotic about security you could use the Creative WebCam Monitor to act as a motion detector. Set it up to record short video clips of anything that moves within the camera's field of view. Or program it to take pictures at regular intervals.

Other programs included are:

  • Creative MediaRing Talk, this is Internet telephony software you can use to call another PC or telephone.
  • Polaroid PhotoMAX lets you manipulate your images.
  • Microsoft's NetMeeting and Internet Explorer are also included.

I found the WebCam Go Control software easy to use. Although I was surprised to see it reversed the image.

WebCam Go Control would also not recognise my microphone.

I tried reinstalling the software hoping that would fix the audio and image reversing problem. It didn't. I got a scary-looking Windows error message informing me that I now had a stack overflow problem.

My first sound-free 45 second, video clip, which only my mother would have enjoyed seeing, took up 15MB of space. I tried to adjust the settings, but it kept crashing and Windows kept losing the camera. Rebooting or unplugging and reconnecting the camera fixed that problem.

A year ago I had similar problems with a smaller webcam. Technology does not seem to be improving in this department.

Using the control settings, I changed the compression format and image quality to reduce the file size. There are a number of formats to chose from. But as it records and compresses at the same time, I had to watch myself being recorded in slow motion.

You have no idea what the clip is like until you play it back.

By now I was also beginning to think that, in spite of all this video-conferencing hype, webcams still belong in the toy department.

WebCam Go is more than adequate as a webcam - it should be for the price, but I found it disappointing as a digital camera.

Once detached you have little control over the camera and the quality of the images is not that wonderful.

There is an ON-OFF button and a selector for the different modes of capture.

As a digital camera WebCam Go is capable of storing 72 640 x 480 still images.

These are stored in JPEG format. You can also use the multi-frame format to create "mini-movies".

WebCam Go uses Windows 98. Windows 95 and Windows NT are not supported.

WebCam Go is well worth looking at if you are in the market for a webcam.

However, if all you want to do is strap it under your desk so you can play with yourself on NetMeeting, something cheaper will do the job just as well.
Price AU$299



The Tuesday Letter