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Head to Head: Logitech TV Cam HD vs Tely Labs TelyHD Skype Camera [Review]

TelyHD Skype Camera

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The TelyHD Skype Camera has been around a little longer than the Logitech product, and also features a well built and well designed piece of hardware. Unlike the Logi box, this one comes with a few more ports too, which gives it that extra bit of flexibility which you might need. There’s an SD port and a full sized USB connector as well as the power port and HDMI. One disappointment is the fact that the HDMI port is not a standard full sized one which most people have, but a mini version, but that’s not a problem since the product comes with its own cable inside.

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Like the Logitech, there’s also a nice shiny remote control inside the box, as well as a Getting Started guide and power plug. Again unfortunately the power plug is not a standard microUSB, but a pinpoint type, which makes obtaining a replacement just that little more problematical. It’s a shame. Once you have all the parts assembled, you just have to slot the camera over the top of your TV or wherever else you want, plug in the HDMI cable, power it up and wait for the set up program to start.

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Here is where the differences really start to show between the TelyHD and the Logitech model. The user interface in the TelyHD is nowhere near as intuitive or as easy to use as the Logitech camera. Set up is more complex, for a start, and once you’ve finished and logged into Skype you’re faced with one of the most cumbersome Skype screens you could possibly meet. Instead of presenting a grid of contact names, there’s a very trendy looking, but hugely annoying rolling carousel of contact cards, which is a horrible way to navigate through your contacts.

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As if this wasn’t bad enough, the other menu settings are buried layers deep in the interface, and accessible through a tortuous and non-memorable set of remote control button selections. It’s very computer engineer and absolutely not user interface. It’s a shame, but it mars an otherwise solid product and turns it into something which is not really suitable for prime time living room. It may be an unfair comparison, because Logitech has had decades to become familiar with user needs, but it’s a stark contrast to see the two side by side.

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The functionality of the TelyHD unit is also sub-par when it comes to a comparison. The image quality is definitely not as good, there is no remote camera controls, so you can’t move the image from place to place in the room, and we found the attachment bracket just a little more fiddly than the Logitech one piece clamp. With the TelyHD you need to unhook a little lever to adjust the bracket, which is not apparent at first. It’s a small thing, but unnecessary. The one area where the TelyHD scores over the TV Cam HD is the fact that you can run a web browser and use an external wireless keyboard, which gives it more set top box type functionality. Our question is though, why complicate things when people just need a Skype phone?

Conclusion
Pros: A solid construction, and some nice additional flexibility like the SD card slot which can be used for sharing photos during a call. There’s also a nice remote control app for your smartphone if you don’t want to use the default one in the box. We also like the security cover for the camera if you’re worried about unauthorized viewing of your living room.
Cons: User interface is very clunky compared with the Logitech version, and makes it a chore to navigate and make calls from the unit. The image quality is not as optimal as it should be for an HD camera model.
6/10
Price: Street price of $229.98

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Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


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