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Cheap Gadgets: The $1.40 USB Webcam

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You may be accustom to Engadget’s crapgadget feature, a series that highlights cheap and often poorly manufactured electronic devices.   I recently took a gamble on what could have turned out to be a crapgadget as I purchased a backup webcam for my desktop PC on eBay for a cheap $1.40.   The cheapest I could find a name-brand webcam in stores was $19.   After reading through the sellers feedback and seeing positive results, I decided to take the risk and buy a bargain webcam from Hong Kong.

The seller I purchased from, states.electronics, has his own eBay store that features many other discount electronics.   Shipping was an additional five dollars, but I was impressed with the overall build quality and performance.   It’s not a professional-grade webcam, but it gets the job done.   The webcam has the following specs:

  • 6 LED lights to illuminate
  • Manual focus lens
  • Built in unidirectional microphones
  • Built in CMOS sensor
  • Compatible with Skype, MSN, YAHOO
  • 1.3 Mega Pixels Digital Camera CMOS Sensor
  • Up to 5.0 Mega Pixel window capture resolution supported
  • Video format: 24-bit RGB
  • Camera supports 180 degree rotation
  • Frame rate: 640×480 – 30f/s; 1280×960 = 10-15f/s
  • 1.3 Mega Pixels Digital Camera CMOS Sensor
  • Up to 5.0 Mega Pixels window capture resolution supported
  • Video format: 24-bit RGB
  • Camera supports 180 degree rotation
  • Frame rate: (640 x 480) 30 f/s; (1280 x 960) 10 -15 f/s
  • Compatible with USB 2.0/1.1
  • Focus Range: 3 cm to infinity
  • Easily mount to your desktop/laptop monitor with clip
  • XP, Vista supported

After my webcam arrived, I decided to buy one for a frugal family member so that we could Skype.   We walked through the installation instructions over the phone, and we were video conferencing in under a half hour.

Although I don’t encourage people to seek out cheap electronics for everyday, dependable use, there is certainly a place for cheap gadgets.   What cheap or discounted electronics have you purchased?

As an educator and school counselor, Matthew is an advocate for using technology in the classroom and passionate about exposing students to technologies that will empower them in their future careers. Follow Matthew on Twitter.

3 Comments

  1. CLC

    11/07/2008 at 9:39 am

    LOL. That looks like my webcam.

  2. Stefan

    11/09/2008 at 11:41 am

    I ordered them, lets see what it is

  3. Electronics Guru

    11/17/2008 at 10:48 am

    I recently purchased one of these webcams and I honestly wasn't expecting too much. I was sure surprised when I started using it to find that it is actually a very high quality webcam. Great product!

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