The Logitech Webcam C500 (starting at $41, Amazon) is an excellent cheap webcam. It incorporates proprietary visual and audio technology that automatically adjusts for the amount of light in the room where you're sitting and delivers sound without echoes. You also get a widescreen effect, 30 fps, 1280x1024 resolution, and a USB port.
The experts at PC World go so far as to call this webcam a perfect buy in their Logitech Webcam C500 review, and give high praise to the quality of the webcam's visuals and the ease and speed of the chat function. Taking a contrary point of view, a smattering of users posting Logitech Webcam C500 reviews on Best Buy say the video is a little grainy, but add that they don't expect perfection given the price. Sound quality also gets a shout-out in Logitech Webcam C500 reviews on Best Buy where a user notes how well the webcam picks up sound from across a room, and others point out there's no need for headsets. Users also enjoy the fun features, like the masks and the zoom, and the button that lets you quickly capture an image. (This webcam has a generous 5 megapixels of photo storage space.)
One critical factor to note about the Logitech C500 is that it only works with Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7, and its requirements vary depending on your operating system. XP needs a minimum 1 GHz processing speed and 256 MB of RAM while Vista and Windows 7 need a minimum 1 GHz processing speed, 512 MB of RAM, and 200 MB of space on the hard drive.
Despite its incompatibility with certain operating systems, the Logitech Webcam C500 wins us over with its impressive video and sound quality -- the most important features, in our opinion, that webcams can possess.