Today, we are talking document cameras and the document camera we are going to talk about today is the Solo 5 from HoverCam.
I, in the past, have reviewed the IPEVO.2 View, camera that I have liked. At a $69 price point, it was 2 thumbs up for obviously educational purposes. The HoverCam Solo 5 is at a higher price point, of $299 and so obviously, as educators, we want to know, what separates these two products. I’m excited today; to shed a little light on what separates these two products.
I, in the past, have reviewed the IPEVO.2 View, camera that I have liked. At a $69 price point, it was 2 thumbs up for obviously educational purposes.
The camera that you are currently watching me on is my IPEVO and I’m going to do the webcast and screen cast on the Solo 5. First of all, here is the website. It’s www.thehovercam.com/products/solo5. They do have other products besides the Solo 5 so if the Solo 5 isn’t exactly what you want, there are others, but today, this is what we’re going to focus on.
It is, as you will see, a very durable, very heavy duty, and it is, but the pro is that it is still lightweight and very easy to carry. What I really like about it is that it comes with a very nice carrying case, so that’s a pro too, if I’m taking it somewhere, if I’m doing some speaking, and consulting and things like that, I like to have that carrying case. It’s really not anything massive to carry around.
What I’m going to show you is probably the biggest perk in the price difference of the two. That is that it comes with software. The software is definitely a big perk. You’ll see that the HoverCam Flex Version 3.0 software has a lot of options, one of which, of course, is video, a big perk for us, especially if you have project based learning, if we’re talking about classrooms, if we’re talking about electronic portfolios, I can go on and on, videos…big deal. Scanning, well, it eliminates the need for another scanner, already a pro. Connect, connecting, that means my document camera can talk to your document camera. It’s always nice to have collaboration because education is priceless. Also Archive, for archiving all of your files that you have.
What I’m going to focus on is primarily the video purposes. As an educator, we want to be able to bring the product into the classroom. We don’t want to spend 20 minutes setting it up. We don’t want to spend hours trying to figure it out. And guess what, you don’t have to. The best part about this camera is that, you plug the USB into the back of the camera, and you’re ready to go. That’s essentially it. You simply download the software, which takes a couple of minutes, and you’re ready to go. Like the note taking option here, as teachers we like to take notes. What I want to show you is that obviously when you do some notes, you move in and out of the camera view. So I’m writing notes, and my students are taking notes, whatever it is I’m doing, I move my hands in and out, you see it auto focuses pretty quickly without any problems. That is a big pro.
In the classroom, I use the Aver Vision document camera, which at that price point at about $200 or above the Solo 5, and I would have to say, hands down, I would rather have the Solo 5 than the one I have in my classroom, largely because that auto focus feature is super quick. The pixels of the camera are really bright, so you’ll see really good quality there, without a doubt. So that’s the note taking portion.
Another thing I like to think about is, I’m obviously a little into technology, so I always want to know, if by chance, if I want to show something really quick on my device, what does that look like, and what is the quality? It’s sideways so I have to turn it so I can see it. Actually, you’ll see really great clarity. Even when my Apps pop up, there’s obviously a lot of color going on there, it auto focuses pretty quickly. I’m pretty happy with that, to say the least.
Let’s go to Audio Boos. You’ll see the white background; obviously, you’ll have a harder time seeing with the white background. Let’s browse Boos. This gives you a little view of what it would look like if you put a device underneath the camera, what you’re going to be looking at, and what you’re going to notice is that anything in a white background will be a little harder to see. We’ll move it a little bit to see if that helps. You can adjust the arm, oh look at that, so we adjusted the arm, and moved it down, as you can see, all of the sudden, now, much more clarity on my device. When you’re not mirroring or you don’t have what you need, to mirror, this is obviously a really good device for a document camera and working with it, so a big thumbs up on that.
Additionally, a big perk I like to show is that you can annotate, those features right here are ones that you will find on our interactive whiteboards that we’re a big fan of, so having those options to annotate, is perfect.
Another big plus, if you notice up here, it identifies which cameras I’m using. So I have the Solo 5, obviously, going, and what I want to give you a little idea of what the other camera looks like, so right now with the Solo 5, I’m going to swivel it up, I’m sideways. So this gives you an idea of the pixel difference with the HoverCam and I’d have to say, that I like that it does this, it’s very nice, very easy, swivel option, and you’ll notice that the focus stays really really crisp with the movement so you can see the difference between the IPEVO, which is on the bottom right corner, and the HoverCam video quality. As I said we obviously love using these products for lots of purposes, classroom, portfolios, project based learning, lots of really great opportunities. You can obviously see the difference in the cameras and you can make that assumption by yourself. I do have to say that the clarity of the Solo 5 is a big plus for me. Additionally, if you want to get a little brighter, you can adjust these as you find needed. I definitely think there are a lot of pros to that. Let me just slide this back down, and like I said, additionally, in the software, you can switch between the 2 cameras, so also a big perk.
So as an educator, I give it a big star that the auto focus works really quickly, it’s an easy set up, it doesn’t take a lot of time, there’s not a whole lot to learn, to be honest. The software is pretty comparable to what we understand in constructional technology. So here’s where we connect to collaborate. As you can see, the tabs are easy; these are where all of my images or videos would be, in my archive, they even have a little Facebook link up there. And you can scan those QR codes.
The software is pretty comparable to what we understand in constructional technology. So here’s where we connect to collaborate.
As you can see, the software isn’t anything that’s overwhelming or difficult, so an educator who just needs something quick and easy to understand, but also very effective for the classroom, I would definitely say that the HoverCam is a plus, for sure, for note taking, for devices, all around good product. So that’s what I think about the Solo 5. I think the price point difference comes down to, largely, that you’re getting software that other cameras might not come with and that, in my mind, gives you a little thumbs up leg, on the competition, so I’m a big fan of the HoverCam. I think there’s a lot of potential and if you haven’t, you need to check out the HoverCam. I’m certain that they’ll probably be at ISTE, so if you’re going there, I’m sure you can go check the HoverCam out for yourself, but definitely, you should look into the potential. So that’s my thoughts on the HoverCam. Let me hear your thoughts if you’ve compared these products or if you have another product that’s comparable in price, or quality, or software. I love to be able to look at these products and see how they fit into classrooms because I really do believe that we’re in a really fortunate place where most products that are coming out are irrelevant to what we need to be using in education. We just need to find out where they all fit in, so I hope I have been helpful in helping you decide if the HoverCam will fit into what you’re doing, and again, I would love your feedback. Thanks.
This review by Education Technology Specialist, Jaime Vandergrift