Perfect Fake Webcam is far from perfect | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Perfect Fake Webcam is far from perfect

Skip this shareware Webcam simulator - better freeware is out there.

When you hear the words "Fake Webcam," you might picture a cheesy plastic gadget that does nothing more than sit on top of your computer screen, pretending to be a Webcam, but most of the time it means software that simulates a Webcam feed using video files, images, screen captures, and other sources. Perfect Fake Webcam is such a tool. It can play video and still images over a simulated Webcam feed. Templates let you add backgrounds, frames, and animated themes to your video chat feeds, too. Perfect Fake Webcam is free to try for 30 days, though the trial places a watermark on the output. But we wonder if many users will think it's worth paying for when better tools are available -- some for free.

Perfect Fake Webcam's user interface stands out from its competition, but not in a good way. It's a bit clunky in its layout, and not especially intuitive or attractive, with poorly rendered controls and icons and hard-to-read fonts. It's lacking in some basic amenities, too, especially for shareware. For instance, the menu bar shows View, Tools, and Help menus, but no File menu to access basic controls; worse, clicking the Help file opened a Web link that told us we were free to contact the developers with any questions we might have, which we don't find particularly helpful. The only way we were able to load and play a video or still images or open the screen capture was to open a separate panel. For instance, clicking Capture Screen opened the selection tool and displayed selected areas of our desktop in Perfect Fake Webcam's main window, together with a watermark banner that is removed in the registered version. A green Effects button opened another dialog, one filled with colorful, often garish video frames and templates we could apply to images and feeds. Many are nostalgic at best, and most are suitable for children -- but not all of them, so heads up.

Perfect Fake Webcam is far from perfect. Other fake Webcams may not be perfect either, but they're better and more up-to-date than this one. Keep looking.

Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Perfect Fake Webcam 7.2.1.

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