Pros and Cons
- high-quality HD cams
- lots of performers online at all times
- slick and easy-to-use interface
- some expensive cams
- needs better iPhone support
- no online community
There are many reasons why we consider Streamate to be the best live cam site. With their easy-to-use interface, seamless billing, large number of hot cam performers on at all times, innovative features, niche cams, pornstars and more, this site is a leader among all the live chat sites.
Our recent visit only confirmed that Streamate is the leader and innovator in the live cam industry. Their responsive interface rocks and beats the competition into the ground. It's slick and easy to use and, unlike other sites, which moved to responsive designs and ditched most features, they found a way to actually keep all their old functionalities (which were very useful).
The majority of the babes I checked out were rocking excellent HD streams. Fluid motion and an almost crystal-clear image were the norm. They switched most cams to display in widescreen format in 2013 and the streams take up the full screen on most devices and desktops.
The site's tagline is "live amateurs 24/7" and that seems very accurate. I checked it out at different times during the day and at one point there were over 2,000 performers online. One reason for such a large number is that the performers are located all over the world, so there are always people awake and looking to put on a show. However, unlike many of its competitors, there's a huge English-speaking performer base, be it from the U.S., Canada or the U.K.
While many appear to perform from a studio, the majority look to be broadcasting live from their bedroom or living room. While pornstars like Jill Kelly, Devon Michaels and Tara Lynn Foxx are regular performers, most of the men and women available fall into the amateur category. It's not uncommon to see a performer take a phone call or talk to a friend between shows.
Also, the variety is fabulous, from chubby chicks to huge tits to old grannies to teens to coeds. A variety of ethnicities are available, too, as well as couples (lesbian and straight), a mix of sexual orientations (there's gay and transsexual sections) and even a couple of pregnant chicks. The search and filtering options are varied and well designed.
Like pretty much every other live cam site, it's free to browse and chat publicly with the performers. This is a good way to check out the quality of the babe's cam and ask her any questions, like what she does and doesn't do in private chat. When you go private is when you pay (although the first 30 seconds of each private chat session is free).
There are three pay/chat options. There's private chat where others can potentially join in. There's the exclusive chat where it's only you and the performer and it's always the most expensive choice (obviously). Then there are the gold shows, which is an interesting take on the popular My Free Cams idea.
Basically, a cam girl will initiate a gold show by saying that she wants to collect, say, $200 in the next 20 minutes. Once she hits that target, anyone who contributed toward this show will be able to view it, so it's just another name for a group cam show. The cost varies from show to show, so it can be anywhere from 1 gold ($1) for a 3-minute show to 10 gold for a 10-minute show. Sometimes the girls will provide incentive for bigger tips by handing out photos and videos for certain tip amounts and some girls give control of the show over to the highest tipper.
And speaking of the highest tippers, sometimes you'll see a list of the top 3 tippers in the room right at the top of the chat box. In those cases you get a nice visual queue of who is the top tipper and you can try to beat them and take the top spot and any rewards that come with it.
The girl states in her room what her show will be about, so this is a welcome addition for users who want to spend less money while watching their favorite girls perform. However, given that in a group show you're competing with a bunch of other users (sometimes more than 50), you'll barely get any attention from her. In fact, in most cases, she does what she said she'd do and has very little interaction with the people in the room.
One word of warning, though. There are several performers who are actually just pre-recorded video feeds. It seems Streamate is aware of the issue, but is not doing anything to stop it. For example, watch out for a performer called MadisonQT. Some tips for spotting these: They're almost always online, the performer doesn't interact, or if she does write something, it has nothing to do with the ongoing conversation. Also check their reviews, as it will be obvious she just does her thing in private chat as well. Luckily, there are not too many of these.
As far as pricing goes it's pretty varied and it seems like each chick makes up her own price per minute. Based on my research, the average private price is $2.99/minute and an exclusive chat is $3.99 per minute, but remember that there's a lot of variation and you'll find plenty above and below those averages. You can find many girls charging only $0.99 per minute, while some of the popular pornstars charge anywhere from $4.99 to $9.99 per minute.
Personally, I find the interface to be one of the easiest to use out of all the cam sites out there. It's efficient, clean, clear and has pretty much all the features you would want on a cam site. It would be nice to have more price transparency, but only a few other sites offer that.
Our users have been mentioning some issues with their customer support. We can't really comment on that, though, because in our several years of use, we have not had any billing issues and never needed to contact their support. The great thing about their billing system is that once your credit card is on file, you don't need to reload or buy any credits to use the site. It charges the card with multiple amounts based on your usage. To prevent overspending, you can limit your account to a maximum daily amount.
Recently they've improved their support for iPhones and iPads. They do have a mobile site, but it only works on non-Flash devices. Most cam sites use a Flash player to stream the cams and, as you probably know, Apple doesn't support this on their mobile devices. To get around this Streamate.com has developed an app for the iPhone called B-Line Browser. It's a way for them to get around iPhone's Flash limitation by converting the stream into a format supported by Apple.
This is technical stuff that's beyond even someone like me who's a techie, but just know that if you install the app, you can use it on your iPhone. How do I know that browser was developped specifically for Streamate? If you check any other Flash streaming sites, they won't work on this browser, only SM and their affiliates. As of recently, Streamate works seamlessly on your iPad. The site streams excellent-quality cam feeds and the interface is very user-friendly and fits the device perfectly. Now if they could only do the same for the iPhone!
I've got to conclude by saying that Streamate is an excellent cam site. Besides the high-quality cams and variety of performers, the prices are generally decent and the various options (many performers have sound and cam2cam options) provide a complete experience. Serious cam-girl fans need an account here and any beginners should start here in order to appreciate what a great experience a cam site can be.