Reviewers agree that the Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 is the best budget webcam available for $40 or less, and recommend it for users who have older PCs with slower connections. Although it doesn't deliver image or sound quality that can match that of the considerably more expensive Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 (*Est. $40), reviewers recommend the LifeCam VX-5000 for basic video chatting. Some note that it offers good performance in low-light conditions compared to other webcams in its price range. PCMag.com's John Brandon warns that some features, such as the Windows Live Call Button which initiates video chats with the click of a button, are supported only by Microsoft's Messenger software and not by other third-party chatting and capture applications. Amazon.com reviewers praise the LifeCam VX-5000's affordability and recommend it to users of Microsoft's Windows Live services. It features a maximum video resolution of 640 pixels by 480 pixels, up to 1.3 megapixels for still shots. The camera is mounted on a flexible "tail" that can be bent into a stand or clamp, and which reviewers say works well.
Frank Harrell at CowboyFrank.net isn't blown over by this webcam, but he concludes that it's superior to some generic models in the same price range. Authoritative testers John Brandon at PCMag.com and Matthew Elliott at CNET both recommend the Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 for casual chats. Reviewers at TrustedReviews.com, Pocket-Lint.com and BenchmarkReviews.com agree, though these sources are generally not as thorough in their reviews. Despite their consensus on the LifeCam VX-5000's suitability as a no-frills webcam, reviewers are divided on the merits of its bundled software; some like it, some do not. Amazon.com reviewers give the LifeCam VX-5000 4 out of 5 stars on average.
Frank Harrell's review of the LifeCam VX-5000 isn't as detailed as some of his other webcam reviews, but still manages to bring up some unique points and criticisms. He recommends this webcam in its price range for "Instant Messaging-type use." However, he notes that images tend to get overexposed in daylight conditions, making the webcam best for relatively stationary, indoor-lighting use.
Review: Microsoft VX-5000, Frank Harrell, Dec. 8, 2008
Reviewer John Brandon is impressed with the image quality of the LifeCam VX-5000, stating that in basic chats it rivals the universally acclaimed Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000. In this thorough review, Brandon also praises the included software, LifeCam 2.0. He complains that some of the webcam's features only seem to work with Microsoft Messenger, but otherwise finds this a good buy for "video chats with friends or geographically remote relatives."
Review: Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000, John Brandon, July 17, 2008
In this review of the LifeCam VX-5000, Matthew Elliott notes that the webcam is very good for video chats and is a marked improvement over earlier Microsoft models. However, Elliott does not like the LifeCam 2.0 application at all.
Review: Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 (Red), Matthew Elliott, May 15, 2008
This brief review finds that the LifeCam VX-5000 is a good webcam for "the basics," but gripes that the software seems to be geared toward children.
Review: Microsoft LifeCam VX 5000 Review, Ardjuna Seghers, Aug. 9, 2008
The LifeCam VX-5000 is discussed in this rather breezy review as having no significant drawbacks relative to other similarly priced webcams, though reviewer Chris Hall cannot recommend the LifeCam VX-5000's flexible stand for notebook users.
Review: Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 Webcam Review, Chris Hall, Jan. 9, 2009
BenchmarkReviews.com tests webcams occasionally, providing good sample photos of the various models and camera image quality; specifications of the computer systems on which the cameras are tested are also provided. The LifeCam VX-5000 gets the site's Golden Tachometer award.
Review: Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 WebCam, Mat Thompson, July 18, 2008
Most of the more than 275 reviews of the Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 at Amazon.com are positive. Even owners who give it an average rating concede that it's pretty good for the price. Only a few owners give this webcam a poor score, although more than a few complain about the software.
Review: Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 (Blue), Contributors to Amazon.com