Brando Mini USB Web CamFrom the purveyor of many gadgets, Brando HK has released their USB Mini Web Cam designed for notebooks.  With thanks to Brando once again for providing a unit for testing here at DigitalReviews Network.


First Impressions

The Brando USB Mini Web Cam is like a black snake: small, flexible and ready to go straight from the packaging.  As was the case with recent Brando products, this one arrived in a blister pack but with perforations so no tools are required to extricate the product.

As advertised this mini webcam is fully plug and play.  The Windows XP SP2 systems I tested it on automatically installed driver support without prompting for a disk.

MSN image of reviewer looking tired.There are many web cams available on the market, ranging from cheap with ordinary quality to pricey with high megapixel counts.  The Brando USB Mini Web Cam is definitely in the camp of the former, it does not scream megapixels.  Instead it is a small solid little device with a reasonable bit of optics on the end for imaging.

Depending on your needs, sometimes an ordinary little web cam is all that you need.  Sure everybody would love a crystal clear picture that is worthy of a print out and framing, but reality is that video streaming over the internet is highly depending on the quality of the link.  So a megapixel Carl Zeiss optics web cam sucking lots of video data through a thin straw would be comparable in experience as a low end device through the Suez Canal.

Once the expectation is set that this is no high end optics device then there is little to complain about.  On one of my testbed machines (a brand new HP 6910p), the USB ports have an annoying habit of dropping off whenever this web cam was plugged into it.  It was consistently reproducible on the HP and more than a few times on another two testbeds.

Secondly I notice that each time when I plug in the web cam, my image would initially appear upside down.  It is a matter of twisting the cable until it is correct but just a little annoying to have to do it each time.

Web cam head* Lens rotation for adjusting clear image
* Compatible with ICQ, MSN, Skype, etc
* Fully support USB 1.0 and 2.0



System Requirements

* Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista


* Pentium 450 MHz equivalent or above 256MB RAM


Dimensions: 203 x 145 x 56mm


Weight: 49g.


It is cheap, portable and functional, good one to buy for your grandparents who want to see their favourite grandchildren grow up.  For that price it hurts a lot less if it is lost or damaged.  The shutdown of other USB ports worries me a bit though!


The Brando USB Mini Web Cam is available


for USD$19.