Mauricio was kind enough to lend me his Logitech Skype camera unit for a week to have a play with it.

It was very easy to get going. I initially set it up with a wired network connection which worked well, but I later swapped to a wireless connection which worked equally well. Entering my skype username and password was slow but simple, the whole user interface is really easy. Signing up, signing in, signing out, all no problems.

I set the unit up on top of my TV, which is mounted on the wall. The power cord just reached, and I wondered if I could plug it into the TV for USB power, but I didn't get around to trying that. It connected to the TV via HDMI.

I was sitting around 4 meters from the camera. I used the zoom and pan controls so it showed my face and upper body during calls, as without that it captured half the room. The process was quite quick and easy.

I called from my office computer with a 3 year old 720p webcam to the Logtech Skype unit. The Logitech unit showed the picture from my office well. I wasn't particularly impressed by the image quality from the Logitech unit. At maximum zoom it was quite blocky, lacking detail and resolution. The picture quality at full zoom under two 100W equivalent CF bulbs really wasn't great, not near the quality of my PC camera, but you could tell who you were talking to and it wasn't awful. Without zoom the picture quality's much better. This suggests the unit uses digital zoom, which of course always causes problems.

It would nice to not have to use laptops or phones to Skype, and the unit does look good on top of the TV.

In conclusion the whole thing was very easy to use, looked good, and so simple to set up and use that I think even my parents would have trouble messing it up very often - though they'd find a way occasionally no doubt. The only downside is the picture quality, which is acceptable to good in smaller rooms, but in large rooms isn't really as good as it should be. I think it's good enough for most people for the convenience factor, but despite the many upsides the picture quality means I won't personally buy one. If they release a version with optical zoom, or at least with a lens that gives more zoom by default I'd probably reconsider.