Product Review (July 2009)
Blue Microphone - Eyeball Webcam

By Kevin Nakano


Blue - EyeballBlue Microphone has an established reputation in the professional audio industry for their wide selection of high performance audio products. Recently, they introduced a new consumer line that leverages from their existing audio technology, giving consumers access to products that had been only available to professionals. The Eyeball is one such product and features a 1.3 mega-pixel camera mated with a pro-quality condenser capsule microphone. The Eyeball has a significant edge over other products on the market thanks to the microphone design. The Eyeball is based on Blue's Snowflake, which is known for its high performance audio. In fact, the Eyeball looks very much like and shares the same microphone performance (35-20kHz, 16-bit/44.1kHz sampling rate) as the Snowflake. This is by far the best sounding microphone/webcam we have connected to our computer. The audio quality is fantastic and can be used to make personal recordings such as playing the guitar or singing. What makes this product so nice is the ease of installation. Simply plug the Eyeball into any available USB port and the computer immediately recognizes it without the need of complicated drivers to get it up and running.

Blue Microphone - EyeballPerformance
The design offers a lot of flexibility in mounting for different screen designs. Two-axis adjustments can be made to optimize the image. Turing the video off for privacy is as simple as pressing the spring loaded, retractable camera lens. Video quality is better than average when compared to most webcams. However, there was not a big improvement in image quality when compared to most of the better designs available today. The Eyeball sensor resolution is 1280 x 1024, and can run at 30 frames per second with a resolution of 640x480. The automatic gain feature in the Eyeball allows it to optimize the picture over a wide range of lighting conditions. As a result, the image may appear darker or lighter for a few seconds until the gain adjusts for the change in lighting. This can sometimes be annoying, but is common to many webcams we have seen. All in all the image quality is quite good.

Conclusion
The real benefit of the Eyeball is the audio performance. Sure, you can buy the Snowflake for $70 and get just the audio, but the Eyeball throws in the high resolution camera for an additional $30 and it all fits into a nice clean package. The microphone's carioid pickup pattern is ideal for most types of applications where attenuating off-axis sounds is desired. This means the microphone is most sensitive to sound directly in front of the Eyeball. Popular software such as Googgle Chat, iChat, ooVoo, AOL Instant Messenger, Skype and Yahoo! Messenger will all benefit from the Eyeball design. Build quality is very good for a consumer product with most of the housing made from real metal. If you've been considering an upgrade from the cheap webcams currently available and need superior audio quality for recording, check out the new Eyeball from Blue Microphone. You won't regret it!



OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player




Review System

Laptop: HP Pavilion dv7


Review - At a Glance


Blue Microphone - Eyeball Webcam


Product Specifications Features

  • Blue's Superior Condenser Capsule for High Quality Sound
  • Super HD Video Resolution
  • Retractable Lens for Privacy
  • Integrated Stand and Case
  • Driverless Installation on Windows & Mac
  • Adapter for Optimal Positioning on any Monitor
  • USB Cable Included
Applications
  • Connecting with family
  • Instant messaging
  • Video conferencing
  • Chatting with friends

System Requirements

  • Macintosh: Mac OSX (10.4.11 or higher)
  • Windows: Vista; XP Professional; XP Home Edition, 64MB RAM (min)
Eyeball QuickStart Guide

Company Information
Blue Microphones
5706 Corsa Avenue, #102
Westlake Village, CA
91362-4057

Phone: 818-879-5200
Fax: 818-879-7258

Hours: 9am - 5pm PST
Monday through Friday

Source: Manufacture supplied
MSRP: $99.99

URL: http://www.bluemic.com/eyeball/


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