At just £19, the Hercules Dualpix Exchange is everything we want in a webcam – without any rubbish thrown in on top.
We've had webcams darken the doors of PC Advisor Towers that cost four times the price of the Hercules Dualpix Exchange; we've had those that bundle every feature imaginable, such as gimicky backgrounds and tacky video effects. We've even had ultra-stylish webcams that wouldn't look out of place in an Apple iFan's bedroom. But, at just £19, the truly affordable Hercules Dualpix Exchange is everything we want – without the rubbish thrown in on top.
Indeed, comprising a single disc to transport the PDF manual and Hercules Webcam Station SE software, even the Hercules Dualpix Exchange's packaging has a no-nonsense feel to it. Installing the bundled application is straightforward and completed in seconds, while the driverless Dualpix works straight out of the box.
The Hercules Dualpix Exchange itself is small and subtle – it's a device you'd proudly leave on display.
Using a front foot and universal hinged clip, it's easy to attach the Hercules Dualpix Exchange to a screen or to sit it on the desktop. And, at 1.8m, the hardwired USB cable is lengthy enough for most PC setups.
The hinge is sturdy, holding the Hercules Dualpix Exchange firmly into place – without being overly stiff.
The Hercules Dualpix Exchange offers full 360-degree rotation and 60-degree vertical movement, allowing you to easily capture your most flattering angle on screen.
The bundled app includes an intelligent 'travelling' zoom feature, zooming in on and following your face as you move away from the device. It's here that the Hercules Dualpix Exchange falters ever so slightly, as we found video recorded at its maximum resolution of 1,280x960 (at 30 frames per second) not as smooth as it could be. However, lowering the resolution improves the results.
At its maximum 3x digital zoom, anything that isn't immediately in front of the Hercules Dualpix Exchange lacked the magnificent clarity that first wowed us about the Hercules Dualpix Exchange. Given that most people consider it rude to walk away mid-conversation, we're prepared to let that one slide.
Otherwise, the Hercules Dualpix Exchange's generous (for a webcam) 2Mp camera captures quality images. There's plenty of options for altering the contrast and brightness, gamma, saturation, sharpness and exposure – images are decent even in low light.
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