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Product: Microsoft Lifecam Studio (1080p HD)
Company: Microsoft
Review By: Robert Stein

Building upon its long-line of popular Webcams, Microsoft has now released its full 1080p version, the Microsoft LifeCam Studio. Does this new camera have enough features to make it a contender for the best 1080p consumer webcam on the market? Read on to find out.


  • 1080p HD Sensor*
    Full 1080p HD sensor for superior sharpness and image quality.

  • Auto Focus
    Stay in focus at any distance.**

  • High-Precision Glass Element Lens
    Wide-angle glass element lens for advanced, high-precision optics.

  • TrueColor Technology
    Automatically delivers bright and colorful video, in virtually all lighting conditions.

  • ClearFrame Technology
    ClearFrame Technology for smooth, detailed video.

  • High-Fidelity Microphone
    High-fidelity microphone for more natural, detailed audio.

  • Tripod Thread
    Ready to be mounted on a standard tripod. (Tripod not included.)

  • Windows Live Movie Maker
    Start a movie project with one click, then upload widescreen video to social networking sites.**

  • Windows Live Photo Gallery
    Easily upload a photo that you can edit, tag, and share with friends and family.

  • Windows Live Call Button
    The easy way to start a video call.***

  • Works with*****
    Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo!, AOL Instant Messenger, and Skype.

  • 3-Year Limited Hardware Warranty
    » Limited Warranty and License Agreement available here



Setup & Installation

Setup: The LifeCam Studio comes with an installation CD that includes the LifeCam 3.5 software, which is available for both the 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 7 (you can also download this on the Microsoft Hardware website). Aside from installing the LifeCam software, installing the LifeCam Studio is as simple as plugging the camera into an available usb port. I found that even on the laptop that did not have the LifeCam software installed, the LifeCam Studio worked flawlessly with Windows Live Messenger for video chats. The LifeCam software, of course, gives you the ability to use the camera to take and save pictures and video, including the ability to add some fun effects. To install, just put the CD in, accept the terms, it installs, then plug in the camera. The software gives you the option to install Windows Live Essentials if you like. The software is pretty nice, when that opens up, you can select from multiple webcams installed, change the resolution, microphone volume, adjust truecolor brightness, etc. Total installation took less than 2.5 minutes.

Get Microsoft Silverlight



Design & Use

The best feature of the LifeCam Studio is undoubtedly the video quality. 720p HD quality video (LifeCam 3.5 software does not support recording at 1080p) is recorded at up to 30 frames per second. The camera takes a second to find the object it wants to put in focus, but then autofocuses and corrects the image nicely. I noticed that performance degraded a little bit while running the camera in the highest resolution possible, and Windows even popped up a message to notify me of the degraded system performance. But other than that, the video quality along with the effects worked beautifully.

The Microsoft LifeCam Studio builds up the design from the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema, released in 2009. There are several improvements though. The most noticeable difference is the high-end, brushed aluminum design - that really sets it apart even from its main competitor, the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910. The Studio is bigger than the Cinema, it's about 4.5 inches tall and 1.5 inches wide. The USB cord is of decent length, can can attach to a desktop underneath the desk. You can also rotate the camera 360 degrees, which is nice. The adjustable clip is also sufficient to attach to any LCD monitor. There is a blue-lit call (in use) button on the top, next to the microphone, in addition there is a nice lens cap that you can use to cover the screen. For those with tripods, there is a tripod thread at the bottom. Overall, I think this is a very attractive webcam. It fits nicely into a high end desktop - and I feel can be used for consumers but also in any professional office setting. The camera frame rate is up to 30 frames per second, and the max video resolution is 1920 x 1080 (both adjustable), while the max still image resolution is 2304 x 1728 (4 Megapixel).



How It Grades

Installation: 100%
Design: 95%
Ease of Use: 95%
Price/Value: 90%
Documentation: 88%
Overall: 92.5%

The Microsoft LifeCam Studio is a well-rounded 1080p HD webcam; it has a stylish, brushed aluminum body, high-precision glass element lens, auto focus, true color, high fidelity microphone, great Windows Live integration, and more. However, based upon the cost, you need to do a careful comparison of the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910 to see which is a better fit for you. Even though this web cam is full 1080p, you need to ask yourself if you really even a 1080p webcam in the first place - as most most video call programs can only currently support VGA resolution. In addition, to require in 1080p, you need significant system resources like Intel Quad Core 3.0 GHz or higher plus at least 4 GB of RAM and commercial video software. For most users' needs, you can save some money and stick with a high-end 720p camera, such as the Microsoft LifeCam cinema. However, for those who need a good 1080p HD camera, the Microsoft LifeCam Studio is an excellent contender. We are anxious to see the subsequent versions at this level.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 92.5%
Version Reviewed LifeCam Studio 1080p HD
Release Date Out Now (September 2010)
The Good Points

Excellent video quality
Tripod Threading
Lens Cover
Brushed Aluminum Design

The Bad Points

May degrade system performance
high resolution quality

Special Software Required for 1080p
Significant Hardware, software necessary for 1080p
One Microphone vs. Logitech's Two
Logitech uses Carl Zeiss Lens
Not as much software include as Logitech
Only Available at Currently
Logitech boasts 10 megapixel still shots

In The Box
 LifeCam 3.5 CD, Webcam, Quick Start Guide, Lens Cap, Microsoft Online Store Coupon 15% off (Expires March 30, 2011)
Similar Product Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910
Design Similiar to LifeCam Cinema HD
System Requirements

Requires a PC that meets the requirements for and has installed one of these operating systems: Windows 7, Windows Vista® with Service Pack 1 (SP1) or higher, Windows XP
VGA video calling:
Intel Dual-Core 1.6 GHz or higher
720p HD recording:
Intel Dual-Core 3.0 GHz or higher
1080p HD recording:
Intel Quad Core 3.0 Ghz or higher
4 GB RAM or higher

1.5 GB free
USB 2.0
Windows-compatible speakers or headphones

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