The Ipevo PoV is unlike any other webcam. The PoV--short for "point of view"--isn't meant to perch on top of your notebook's lid, broadcasting video of you (although it can); it's meant to shoot and share videos of the things around you, whether it's a pet, item you want to put on eBay, or a document. Shaped like a highlighter with a shutter button, this ingenious little gadget makes sharing your surroundings easy. At just $39.99, the PoV offers decent quality, a fresh design, and almost foolproof ease of use.
With its long, tubular shape, the PoV, at first glance, looks like a laser pointer. The black tube has three buttons on top: A bright green snapshot button for taking pictures; another for sending photos to Skype contacts; and an On/Off toggle.
In front, there's a rotating focus ring that lets you make dynamic adjustments, as well as select one of two modes: macro and portrait. Having to manually focus isn't a big deal; whether you're sitting in the same spot in front of your screen or taking a lot of close-ups, the mode you choose will deliver a consistently clear picture. For people looking for a more traditional webcam, the PoV comes with a detachable base that can stand on a flat surface or clamp onto your notebook's lid.
Mobility in Action
The PoV delivers points of view within reach of the 4-foot, 10-inch USB cable. So the idea is that while sitting at your notebook you can point the camera in the direction of the object you want to capture without moving your notebook around, whether you want to show off the hotel you're staying in, put the kids on camera, or share anything else you want to shoot. If you're used to traveling with your notebook and using it in public places, the 2.5-ounce camera is easy enough to carry. The only problem is that if you're sitting in public with your PoV, the long cord might seem cumbersome.
The included Point of View software allows you to take still VGA photos. When you're logged into Skype, you can send your pictures to any of your online buddies with the push of a button, either on screen or on the webcam itself. (To enable this feature, log into Skype after you've installed the webcam, and follow the onscreen prompt to allow the PoV to interact with Skype.) It's not Mac compatible, but Ipevo says Mac drivers should become available within the next month or so. The goal, the company told us, is to integrate with iChat.
Good Image Quality
For a budget webcam, the PoV delivers good picture quality. Sure, the colors were slightly dull, but our shots were all bright and well-lit. Moreover, the Macro setting, which allows for shots as close as 2.3 inches, works like a charm; we were even able to get a little closer, but below two inches, our shots started to look blurry and washed out. All of our close-ups, even those of two-dimensional text, looked sharp.
We weren't as enamored of the video quality. Our VGA video showed latency, especially around the mouth, even though the camera records at 30 fps. In addition to Skype, PoV also works--albeit, as a standard webcam--with AIM, Yahoo, MSN, and Windows Live Messenger. The sound quality is awful; even when we spoke at normal volume, the echos were distracting.
Unlike higher-end webcams such as theLogitech QuickCam Pro for Notebooks($99.99), the PoV doesn't come with a suite of special effects. Then again, Ipevo doesn't claim it to be an upscale webcam.
Ipevo PoV Verdict
We like the PoV's unique design, ease of use, and decent image quality. Although its range is limited, this webcam offers more freedom than all other devices in its price range. Just make sure you tweak your computer's volume and mic settings before you get started.