Like it or not, many of us use webcams daily (or at least weekly) these days. But whether you’re video calling for work or chatting with Grandma, you want to look great even if you’re in your office/living room/kitchen, without having to think too much about it.
And while it’s easy to look good on a webcam that costs over £150, what if you want good video quality without having to spend too much?
It’s there that Creative Live! Cam Sync V3 (yes, that’s a mouthful) is coming – it supports up to 2k (1440p) video quality, 4X digital zoom, dual built-in mics, and a super-wide field of view that lets you fit multiple people in a frame.
With decent video quality (as long as you have enough light in the room) and a set-it-and-forget-it mentality, the new Live! webcam compete in the crowded arena of budget cams? The answer is yes – with a few caveats.
Special offer: For a limited time use the code LIVECAMV3 for a significant discount, only on the Creative site.
Quick View – Creative Live! Sync Camera V3
What is that: An affordable 2K webcam with 4X digital zoom and some software tricks up its sleeve.
Value for money
- Decent video quality
- The microphones work very well
- Touch-controlled digital zoom is useful
- Video quality deteriorates when you are in low light
- 2K resolution depends on third-party software (and is not available in many popular video chat services)
- Fragile support
Features and Specifications
- Cut: 82 x 53 x 58mm / 95.7 grams
- Camera sensor: 5MP QHD CMOS
- Video resolution: QHD (2560 x 1440) 30 fps / FHD (1080p) 30 fps
- Field of view: up to 95° (diagonal)
- Microphones: built-in dual omnidirectional
- Cable length: 1.8m
- Additional Features: Privacy lens cover, voice detection and noise cleaning via Creative app
As a budget webcam, the Live! Cam V3 does its job well, and more – it’s truly plug-and-play (but you might want to tinker with the brightness settings a bit), the wide field of view is useful, and the digital zoom helps when it’s just you in the room. The main drawback is that the video quality becomes poor if you don’t have enough light in your room – so you’ll need strong lighting or a more expensive camera.
Who is the live creative! Cam Sync V3 for ?
Lifelong computer geeks will surely remember the name Creative Labs – thanks to their legendary line of Sound Blaster audio cards that have been around since the 80s.
Now known simply as Creative, the company focuses on a range of consumer technology products – sound cards and speakers at listeners and webcams. Most of Creative’s devices try to distinguish between good quality and affordability.
When it comes to webcams, that means enough video quality for casual (or work-related) video meetings in a home setting, for less than £70.
The home-setting part is crucial – it’s easy to look good when you have strong studio lights aimed at you. But replace them with soft lighting that comes from the ceiling, and some cameras will turn you into a creepy monster lurking in the shadows.
So where does the Live! Support Cam Sync V3? Somewhere in the middle. It’s better than most webcams built into laptops, and it’s certainly better than a no-name £20 camera you pick up on eBay – but it does have certain ‘requirements’ for high-quality video streams .
When your room gets enough sunlight, the video is pretty good – even better than the price point of the camera. When darkness falls, however, you’ll need more direct light aimed at you if you want to maintain this high quality – a table lamp or small key lamp will suffice – but it’s something to keep in mind. spirit.
Even without one, video quality is still decent – but you won’t be at your best without proper lighting – something more expensive cameras can manage.
Using Creative Live! Cam Sync V3
As a plug-and-play device, what you get in the box is pretty standard – the camera itself (with a USB connector) and a small instruction manual.
Once you’ve connected the camera to your computer (Windows or macOS), you don’t need to install any special drivers – your operating system will recognize it instantly and you can start using it in video software of your choice (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc.)
The camera has a built-in privacy cover, which is handy if your camera is pointed at you at all times. By using a physical cover, you can be sure that no one is “accidentally” looking at you when you are not ready.
The top of the camera has a touch surface that you tap to change digital zoom levels.
Placing the camera on your computer monitor is done using the mount – it’s the same type of mount we’ve seen in many webcams to date, and I’ve never been a huge fan of this type of mount. base – it works, but if you wiggle and move your monitor too much, or even pull on the camera cable – it might fall off.
Once you start using the camera in your video chat software, you will notice how wide the angle is. This means that several people can usually sit in front, which is handy if you’re having a family chat.
If that’s just you, the touch-activated digital zoom is very useful: each press (4 in total) zooms in, the image remaining just as sharp.
Video resolution is 1080p by default, but can go up to 2K (1440p), as long as you don’t zoom in. In practice, you won’t use 2K resolution much, as it depends on your video medium. software, not on the camera itself.
So Zoom, for example, doesn’t support that video resolution at this point (even 1080p video is limited to their Business and Enterprise plans at this point).
Therefore, while there are also 4K webcams – their use cases – and 2K being one of them – are generally limited to specific needs and specialized software.
As for the normal video quality, if you want to change the video and image settings further, you can download Creative’s Windows app.
The app also lets you activate two “smart” features – VoiceDetect, which is supposed to turn the microphones on and off when you speak, and NoiseClean-Cut, which removes unwanted background noise from your side (so the other side only hears your voice, rather than the vacuum cleaner in the background).
In practice, I tend to leave these kinds of features to the video conferencing software I use, where they will usually work best. The noise-canceling feature in particular is similar to what budget wireless headphones try to do these days – and like them, it doesn’t really excel here.
So while you can play around with these features, I suspect most people will forget they exist after a day or two.
Finally, as mentioned, the sensor is not sensitive enough for low light situations. And by low light, I don’t mean a dark room – I just mean a typical overcast day in London, when your home office turns grey.
Again, that doesn’t mean people won’t see you, but your face might look dark (even if you’ve shaved clean). It’s not too bad – and was never break-level for me – but a small desk lamp aimed directly at you will do wonders here.
As far as sound goes, both microphones work very well in my experience, and I’ve never had a problem with people on the other side not understanding me, even when I’m not sitting down too close to the camera.
Conclusion: Creative Live! Cam Sync V3
If you use video professionally – for streaming videos, for example, or shooting YouTube clips – then you should probably invest a bit more and get a better camera.
But if you’re a casual user who wants to video call, look decent, and not have to fiddle with settings too much, then the Live! The V3 camera fits perfectly. It’s very affordable, but its quality is a cut or two above what you usually get at this price point.
Plus, in my experience, Creative’s devices are generally very reliable and can last for years, which is another big plus.
To note: The device was provided by the manufacturer for this review. As always, this did not sway my unbiased opinion of the product.