In one look

Expert assessment

The inconvenients

  • Poor video quality
  • No camera rotation
  • No autofocus

Our verdict

Creation live! HD Sync Suitable for video chats or uploading videos to social media sites. But there are better options available in the same price range.

Creative usually offers webcams to meet all needs, although all you want is something affordable to replace your computer’s built-in camera with grainy video and fine audio. This is the target of Creative Live! Cam Sync HD. Suggested for “hassle-free, high-quality video chats”, this webcam seems ideal for people who want a simple, out-of-the-box upgrade. But it’s really a reminder that you get what you pay for.

The first thing I noticed about Sync HD is how insignificant it is. The main body of the camera is roughly the size of a small USB drive, and the entire camera is housed in a glossy, lightweight black plastic. It doesn’t seem fragile, but it’s definitely not as rugged as the other webcams we’ve tested. The mount has only one hinge and can fit most screens, but it doesn’t reach a very strong grip. Plastic slips, especially on aluminum laptops.

The camera offers 720p video over Skype and other video calling services at up to 30 frames per second. Don’t expect advanced features: You don’t get built-in autofocus, color correction or video compression, or any of the other advanced features that are increasingly common in webcams of all skill levels. Instead, it has a fixed-focus lens, noise-canceling mono microphone, and modest 3.7-megapixel shots.

Creative

Creation live! Cam Sync HD has good sound, but the video leaves a lot to be desired.

HD Sync indeed requires minimal configuration. Plug it into any Windows, Mac, or Linux machine and the computer should recognize it and make it the default webcam. On Windows, you can download Creative Live! Central 3 software to fine-tune camera settings, add special effects to your video chats, and record and download HD videos to Facebook and other social media sites.

At this price point, I didn’t expect stunning performance, and my experience with the Cam Sync met those expectations. Once you’ve attached the Connect HD, you don’t have a lot of angle options. It doesn’t offer any vertical rotation or tilt, so you’re limited to the same direct shot you get with your computer’s built-in webcam. You also can’t mount it on a tripod, which is probably not without hassle.

I was surprised, however, that the quality of the video was so underwhelming. The image was dark and dull, details were muddy (especially in shadows), and skin tones tended to appear mottled. The footage was also generally noisy. More disturbingly, there was a lag every time I moved my head and the video was trying to catch up. The picture improved if I added more light to the surroundings, but not dramatically.

The camera microphone, on the other hand, was more impressive. The sound was clear and natural, and the noise cancellation filtered out most of the ambient noise.

If your budget is tight and you absolutely need a dedicated webcam, you can get by with HD Sync for video calling on Skype or Google Hangout. But if you can make just $ 10 more, you can get the Logitech HD-3000 and take a giant leap in video quality.