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Mustek GSmart 300

Webcam

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Review Mustek is best known for making flatbed scanners, but it's been branching out lately, launching a range of projectors, a DVD player and now a webcam, the GSmart 300. The GSmart 300 is a sleek, silver unit that can also be used as a digital camera. Once you've taken your snaps, you can plug the camera into your PC via the USB connection to download your photos.

The camera can take low-resolution stills at 320x240dpi (dots per inch) and high-resolution stills at 640x480dpi. For such a low-resolution camera, pictures bristled with detail - although the colours were somewhat muted. Picture quality surprised us considering the number of large number of images the GSmart can store: we snapped 162 low resolution stills in one go with a CompactFlash card installed. However, the 4MB card is not sold with the camera, leaving you with just 1MB of memory as standard.

The sacrifices made in order to keep the price low also extend to the software bundle. Though PhotoExpress is handy for editing your photos, the GSmart lacks a tool for recording and viewing video clips. When we tested the GSmart with Microsoft NetMeeting, video capture was perfectly smooth - although images were quite dark.

The webcam captures high-resolution video clips at 15fps (frames per second) and low resolution clips at 30fps. However, it can't record video when disconnected from your PC, placing it at a disadvantage against competitors such as Kodak's EZ200. Neither does it have the facility to record sound.

This is a handy, cheap little camera for taking quick snaps. Pictures were highly detailed but too dark, with muted colours. Unfortunately, Mustek has lowered the specification too much in order to keep the price low – particularly in the memory and software departments. ®

Info

Price: £79
Contact: 0870 01 32 017
Website: www.mustek.com

Specs

Max resolution: 640x480dpi
Memory: 1MB
Max resolution: 640x480dpi (VGA), 320x240dpi (QVGA)
Video frame rate: 30fps (320x240), 15fps (640x480)
Other: Auto exposure, mini USB

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