Review Price free/subscription
One of the unique features of this camera is how well it works in low light. One reason for this is that the sensor is sensitive to infrared light as well as the visible spectrum. To aid this, on the front of the device are three IR emitting LEDs. In a dark, or low-light scenario these invisibly illuminate anything up to two metres away from the camera. These can be very useful for various night-time activities... (mucky...ed)
This feature is unfortunately also its undoing. There is no way to turn off the IR sensitivity in the sensor. So even when the LEDs on the front of the camera are switched off, it's still sensitive to IR light – as proven using a TV remote control. The downside to this is that colours are a bit off – most notably, reds. Above, you can see what should be the red PCB of an ATI graphics card. Instead it is much closer to pink. My red fleece ended up a very, very, faint pink that was actually closer to white.
Included in the MSI drivers are a number of filters that work in real time. These are easily accessible from inside MSN Messenger and make for some fun effects. Above, you can see how a happy smile can quickly be turned in to a manic grin, by merely embossing it. You have to see this is real-time to get the most out of it, but it's really quite cool. The various effects are a lot of fun.
Not content with being just a web cam, MSI has also included really easy to use security software that is pretty powerful. You can have it scanning the whole screen for movement, where upon it can record a clip to the hard drive and/or e-mail you a still shot of whatever has come in to focus. You can also specify specific regions that should be checked for movement. This is useful if you only want to be alerted when specific things are moved – your car when filming an entire car park for instance. With an image forwarded to your mobile device, you could instantly report a theft to the police.
This is a great camera with many features that quite frankly make it underpriced. However, the red discolouration is quite noticeable. Most people won't care about this discolouration, but there are many that will so consider this your warning. Otherwise, this is a steal.
Trusted Reviews is part of the Time Inc. (UK) Ltd Technology Network