TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Review: The Orange Micro iBot Pro

Volume Number: 20 (2004)
Issue Number: 5
Column Tag: Review

Review: The Orange Micro iBot Pro

by John C. Welch

No, really, the iSight isn't the only game in town

The iBot

iSight, iSight, iSight. If you listen to the iHype, you'd iThink that the all good FireWire cams must start with "I". Now, the iSight is an excellent webcam, but it's hardly the only one out there. Orange Micro's iBot was available long before the iSight, and in many cases, is a better choice.

Basics

The iBot is the embodiment of the "uniSight". It's got a great bulbous body, a stand that sort of resembles a foot, and the FireWire cable is permanently attached to the body. It looks like a blue and white translucent tennis ball that grew an eye, a foot and a tail. There's no mounting clips included, since you don't mount it. You set it down on a flat surface.

That's the first problem with the iBot. Since the cable comes straight out of the back of the iBot, it can sometimes be a pain to set up correctly. The cable is on the thick side, so depending on how it runs from the iBot to the computer; you may have to resort to devices like books, or duct tape to get the iBot to stay in one position. The cable attachment also limits vertical orientation, since the weight of the cable can tip the iBot if you tilt the camera too far down. On the plus side, the base attaches to the sides of the iBot, and while the iBot can pivot on those points, it's hardly loose, so once you get it tilted correctly, it's not going to change that orientation because of a loose pivot. If you can deal with cable and mount issues, the iBot gives you a far greater vertical adjustment range than the iSight's mount allows for. A thinner, detachable cable would be a definite plus in any case. Allowing for different kinds of mounts would be a plus too.

Using the iBot

Even allowing for its differences, the iBot is quite easy to use. You have to manually focus, which can be tedious, but once the focus is set, you can leave it alone. (There are times when you just want to set the cam up and have it stay that way. The iSight's auto focus, while mostly convenient, can be quite annoying if there's a lot of motion in the cam's field of vision. Anything the iSight works with, the iBot should work with just fine. I found picture quality between the iSight and the iBot to be comparable, and while the iBot doesn't include a microphone, is just as good a cam as the iSight.

With recent upgrades to iMovie allowing you to use cams such as the iBot as video sources, you can now use the iBot as a very cheap way to get video into your Mac. (No, you are NOT going to get the same quality from an iBot, as you will from a real DV camera. But as a quick 'n' dirty workaround, it's not bad. The iBot comes with an excellent array of software, especially in the Pro configuration, which was the review config. Among the choices is the iVisit video conferencing package, and BTVPro, an excellent basic DV capture utility that has excellent AppleScript support. The iBot pro also comes with an analog headset mic, which makes video conferencing a lot more convenient, and is a nice touch. (Now, if Orange Micro were to eventually replace that with their Bluetooth headset that would be a very sweet package indeed.) Considering the iBot Pro package is about $30 less than the iSight, yet includes a lot more features and software, it's a compelling alternative to the iSight, albeit with an unfortunate base design.

Conclusion

If you decide on the iBot Pro, you shouldn't worry that you won't be one of the iKool iKids. The package is a great deal, and it's built around a great cam.


John Welch <jwelch@provar.com> is an IT Staff Member for Kansas City Life Insurance, a Technical Strategist for Provar, (http://www.provar.com/) and the Chief Know-It-All for TackyShirt, (http://www.tackyshirt.com/). He has over fifteen years of experience at making Macs work with other computer systems. John specializes in figuring out ways in which to make the Mac do what nobody thinks it can, showing that the Mac is a superior administrative platform, and teaching others how to use it in interesting, if sometimes frightening ways. He also does things that don't involve computertry on occasion, or at least that's the rumor.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

How to become the ultimate robot warrior...
Chrono Strike is a delightfully immersive beat ‘em up with a sense of humor (any game with a good Sims reference gets points in my book). [Read more] | Read more »
Tips and tricks to get a higher score in...
Snow Roll is a devilish endless runner very much in the vein of Flappy Bird. It revels in its dastardly level of difficulty, and doesn’t really care how angry you get at it as it knows you’ll keep coming back for more. [Read more] | Read more »
How to win big in Slots Deluxe
Cheating while gambling is illegal and morally wrong, and in some parts of the world it leads to men with names like Vinnie "Six Knuckles" Manchenzo beating you to a pulp in a dark alley. [Read more] | Read more »
How to take over the world in Dictator 2
Running a country isn't easy - especially when you're a dictator who wants to take over the world and crush everyone in your path while you do it. [Read more] | Read more »
Tips and tricks to get a higher score in...
Tank.iois - you guessed it! - another multiplayer arena battler likeAgar.io and Slither.io. It does differentiate itself by putting you in a tiny tank though, so it's not exactly the same. To help you get that all-important high score, we've got a... | Read more »
How to unlock characters in One Tap Tenn...
As the title suggests, One Tap Tennis requires only a single tap to play its particular brand of tennis, and rewards you with a ton of unlockable characters if you perform well. Fortunately for you, we at 148Apps have got a few tips and tricks to... | Read more »
Grab it now: Game Craft’s Legend of War...
The real time strategy game is now available for you to sink your teeth into, through the App Store and Google Play. Combining elements of skill, strategy and empire building, Legend of War is a real gamers’ game. [Read more] | Read more »
Skateboard Party 3 ft. Greg Lutzka (Gam...
Skateboard Party 3 ft. Greg Lutzka 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Skateboard Party is back! This third edition of the popular sports franchise features professional skater... | Read more »
Cubious (Games)
Cubious 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cubious – How smart are you? How high is your IQube? Solve the impossible puzzles to find out, and help a lost little cube find his... | Read more »
Goat Simulator Waste of Space (Games)
Goat Simulator Waste of Space 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: ** IMPORTANT - SUPPORTED DEVICESiPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPod Touch 5 or better.** | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

12-inch 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook avai...
Amazon has the new 12″ 1.2GHz/512GB Space Gray Retina MacBook (Apple model #MLH82LL/A) available for $1549 including free shipping. Their price is $50 off MSRP. B&H has the 12″ 1.2GHz/512GB Space... Read more
Apple refurbished Mac Pros available for up t...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
Enterprise Workers Pick Technology Over Perks...
New Adobe study shows surprising attitudes about office jobs and where the future of work is heading. Adobe has released survey findings revealing that a surprising 70 percent of U.S. office workers... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: $50-$100 off 11-in...
B&H Photo has 13″ and 11″ MacBook Airs with 256GB SSDs on sale for $50-$100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air: $999 $100 off MSRP... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sales: Apple MacBook Pro...
B&H Photo has 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $210 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799 $200 off MSRP - 15″ 2.5GHz... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sales: Apple iMacs and M...
Take up to $150 off the price of a new iMac or Mac mini at the following Apple resellers this Memorial Day weekend: iMacs: B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP... Read more
Apple refurbished Retina MacBook Pros availab...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free... Read more
Apple refurbished 11-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 11″ MacBook Airs (the latest models), available for up to $170 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is... Read more
Goal Zero and OtterBox Partner to Expand iPh...
Goal Zero, specialists in portable power, have announced a partnership with OtterBox, brand smartphone case protection, to offer the Slide and Slide Plus Batteries as modules compatible with the new... Read more
15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $210 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799 $200 off MSRP - 15″ 2.5GHz Retina... Read more

Jobs Board

Senior *Apple* Engineer - Signature Technol...
One-year contract for an Apple consultant. The resource should be an Apple Certified Technical Coordinator or get the certification within 60 days of starting Read more
Senior *Apple* Engineer - Signature Technol...
One-year contract for an Apple consultant. The resource should be an Apple Certified Technical Coordinator or get the certification within 60 days of starting Read more
*Apple* Architect - AECOM (United States)
**Requisition/Vacancy No.** 132759BR **Position Title** Apple Architect **Job Category** Information Technology **Business Line** Government **Country** United Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - APPLE (United...
Job Summary As an Apple Solutions Consultant, you'll be the link between our future customers and our products. You'll showcase your entrepreneurial spirit as you Read more
*Apple* Project Engineer - Smart Source Inc...
SmartSource is in need of an Apple Project Engineer for a 12 month contract opportunity in Pittsburg, PA. Role: Apple Project Engineer Location: Pittsburg, PA Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.