SeeEye2Eye Webcam Eye-Contact Gadget Hands-OnS

The idea of the SeeEye2Eye is sound. Who wouldn't want to be able to look someone in the eye instead of looking down when you're in a Skype or iChat conference? Although the SeeEye2Eye teleprompter/periscope does work the way it's intended—letting you look directly at the webcam instead of at the screen when you're video-chatting with someone—there are a couple kinks and tradeoffs that prevent it from being an elegant solution.

We tested both the laptop (built in webcam/iSight) and desktop (standard) versions, and here's what we thought.

First, the good.

•Both work as expected. If you position your video window (the window on your monitor that lets you see the person you're chatting with) inside the periscope, it does, in fact, reflect the video up as a pretty clear image.

SeeEye2Eye Webcam Eye-Contact Gadget Hands-On

•Good for teleprompters. There's a flap on the back that allows you to mount a camera on. For this, you're just using the screen as a teleprompter. This works fine, except for the caveat below.

Now, the bad.

•YOUR video gets darkened. Because it's a mirror-based system, the front mirror obscures light hitting the camera by a fair amount. This is fine if you're in a studio-environment where everything's well lit, but in most computer rooms, offices, and bedrooms, there's not quite enough light to pass through the glass and into the lens. The result? The other party gets a much darker image of you.

•The SE2E is gigantic. It's fine for mounting on your laptop or LCD when you want to chat, but when you're done chatting you're going to want to put this away. Since it's so big, you can just leave it on your desk—you have to find a closet or box to put this in so it doesn't get in your way.

SeeEye2Eye Webcam Eye-Contact Gadget Hands-On

•It blocks the microphone. If you've got a desktop webcam like ours, the mic is built-in right next to where the lens is. This means that when you mount your SE2E on top, the other party will have a hard time hearing you. Uh oh!

This wasn't a problem with the laptop version we used on our MacBook Pro since the mic hole wasn't next to the camera, but if it is, you may have to get an external mic instead.

•It's expensive. $99 for something that's not really a huge problem? Yeah, we think most people will just deal with having to look up once in a while.

•The glass gets fingerprints easily.

SeeEye2Eye Webcam Eye-Contact Gadget Hands-On

So yes, it does in fact work, but not very well. Having to adjust lighting, having to get an external mic, having to put the thing away every time just wears away at any convenience it may have for the desktop version.

But if you're really keen on looking people in the eye or you do frequent webcam chats on your laptop, you may be able to justify the $99 price. But then you'll have to buy two—one for you and one for the person you're chatting with.

Product Page [Bodelin]