Blue Microphones enters the world of webcams with a rough first try. (August 9th, 2009)
Product Manufacturer: Blue Microphones
- Good audio quality for any webcam.
- Cool, hideaway design.
- Low quality video and still photos.
- Expensive for what you get in visuals.
Blue Microphones first foray into the world of consumer video products is with the Eyeball webcam. Blue Microphones is best known for its audiophile quality recording microphones used by recording stars such as Bob Dylan and Lilí Wayne; many of their professional makes, however, have prices well into the four digits. The Eyeball is one of its few devices to dip below $100. The Eyeball packs a unique design and a hide-away camera lens, but whether the audio and video quality stand up to Blue Microphones' reputation is the real test for our review.
design and setup
The eyeball is an interesting design concept. The entire webcam is shaped like a giant microphone, with the video lens popping out of the left side of the microphone. The microphone and lens unit are connected to a folding clip that allows the entire webcam to be easily attached to an LCD display or notebook. For travel purposes, the entire unit can be folded shut with a plastic cover and the USB cable can be enclosed within. It's a truly unique design and arguably one of the key selling points, even if few would admit to being drawn to the looks.
Installation and usage of the webcam is extremely simple. The driverless webcam is truly plug and play. Our Windows XP test system immediately recognized both the webcam and the USB audio microphone. As soon as the Eyeball was plugged in, we were able to take photo captures, record audio through the microphone, and shoot videos. Later versions of Windows as well as Mac OS X are also supported and should be just as simple to get up and running.
The unit has a sturdy build and seems very well constructed. The USB connection is located on the back of the webcam and uses a traditional USB micro connector. We especially enjoyed the hideaway camera lens. With the firm push of a finger the lens is safely tucked away inside the unit. If the Eyeball ever ends up in a James Bond film, though, it will be for its audio recording abilities rather than any claims of stealthiness or visual output, as we'll soon find out.