Digital Life: Pass the remote – now even granny can use video chat!
Published 14/11/2012 | 06:00
Welcome to Grannycam. Don't worry, it's not some class of niche fetish site on the web. On second thoughts, it could well be – but that's not what's under review here.
Grannycam wants to put grandparents in touch with their grandkids and other family as easily as possible.
It's been nine years since Skype brought order plus critical mass to the chaotic world of internet calling – and six years since it added video chats to the service.
But though it's got easier to use, Skype still isn't completely grandparent-friendly, what with the awkwardness of crowding around a webcam and the intimidating nature of using a computer, and so on.
Hence Grannycam was born, or to give it its proper title, the Logitech TV Cam HD. As the name suggests, it's a high-quality Skype webcam that attaches to your TV – but crucially doesn't require a computer.
It works with any modern TV sporting an HDMI connection and offers a one-click way to video chat over the internet with friends.
Cleverly, it can even handle incoming calls, sounding a ringer and flashing a light while you rummage to switch on the telly. Audio and picture quality can be impressive but depend largely on your internet connection.
Most useful is that the TV Cam's wide-angle lens, together with a remote-controlled pan and zoom, enables the whole family to sit on the sofa and chat naturally. It is ideal for grandparents and far-flung families to keep connected.
But. And it's a biggie. Logitech gets very defensive on this yet there's no escaping Grannycam's €200 price point is a whopper.
The company believes the Apple-like focus on simplicity justifies the eye-watering tag.
When you consider you'll probably need two of them to get the best from the technology, that adds up to a lot of dough. Just make sure Granny's worth it.
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Personally, Samsung hasn't convinced me to switch but for a sizeable chunk of the market, the Galaxy Note 2 is in a class of its own.
It's available on several networks, typically €600 on pre-pay or €250 on a cheap contract from Vodafone, for instance.
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Even though the allure runs out of steam as gameplay gimmicks pile on mid-way through, it's still worth experiencing The Unfinished Swan.
PS Vita/ Nintendo 3DS
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