A Review of Dropcam

Regardless if you travel or just want to keep an eye on your residence or business when you are away, Dropcam is a monitoring device that provides you with security and peace of mind.

Security is an important part of owning a home or running a business. A high quality security system is all about using a good camera configuration that provides you with complete awareness of your surroundings.

A security system can be used for a variety of different purposes, including keeping an eye on your business, monitoring your home when you are away, watching a young infant to ensure their safety, and much more. Regardless of the reason, it is important to know about some of the different types of security cameras that are available, as well as what some of the higher quality systems are.

Dropcam provides a security camera that offers high quality imaging with easy setup and configuration. Once you are up and running, the device is very easy to use and is ideal for serving the needs of users that are intimidated by security technologies or feel they are too complex to learn how to implement and use.

Dropcam Key Features

Dropcam has released several different models of security cameras within the last few years including Dropcam, the second generation Dropcam HD, and the most recent model which is the Dropcam Pro. Dropcam was established in 2009 is and best known for its capability to allow Dropcam users to view their properties using the live feed via the Dropcam cloud-based service.

Dropcam offers live streaming video which is accessed by Dropcam users through mobile apps for Android and iOS or a web app. Dropcam forwards the camera data to its cloud service in encrypted format and then you can decide whether you would like to view it privately or make the video stream public. Some of the Dropcam features include:

  • Ease of Use: Dropcam is designed to be easy to use which means you can up and running quickly. All you need to do is connect the device to your PC and then choose a wireless network. Then you activate the camera one time and from there you never have to configure or set anything up in the future. Dropcam will continue to automatically work, even when your PC is not in use or turned off.
  • High Definition Video: In the past, the video quality of security cameras was average at best, making it difficult to identify people and objects. Dropcam provides a video camera with a 720p high definition resolution which makes it easier to identify components in the camera activity. This includes faces, people, your children’s activities in their room, pets, actions around your business, and much more.
  • Night Vision: Security images can be difficult to decipher when you are monitoring your property at night. Dropcam uses night vision technology to improve image quality. Coupled with using a web app or mobile app, you can always see what is going on even when the lights are out or there is complete darkness in unlit areas.
  • Audio: Many security camera systems do not include audio which means you can only monitor recorded activities minus the environmental sounds in the nearby surroundings. Dropcam is equipped with a speaker and microphone that is built into the device to allow you to control any activity by speaking through the microphone. For example, if you are monitoring young children and they are misbehaving, you can put a stop to the behavior by speaking to them through the microphone.
  • Monitor Activity from Anywhere: Instead of having to wait until you return to your home or business to view the camera footage that was captured while you were away, you can proactively monitor all activity from anywhere. Dropcam works in conjunction with a web app or mobile app for Android and iOS. This allows you to monitor activities directly from your mobile device while you are on the go as long as your device has access to an Internet connection.

How Dropcam Works

When compared to other security camera configurations, Dropcam is extremely easy to set up and install. All you need to do is connect Dropcam to your PC via the USB port. As soon as the device is connected, a configuration utility window appears with a wizard that walks you through setting up a Dropcam account and connecting the camera to your wireless network.

Once you have established a Dropcam account and completed the wireless configuration, you can disconnect Dropcam from your PC and then place it in the area you plan to monitor. The included power brick allows you to plug the Dropcam camera into the nearest wall outlet. Dropcam then immediately begins to stream high definition video to the Internet.

You can view the video from any browser that has Flash capability plus, you can opt to use the Android or iOS app which is available at no cost. All of the video is fed into the Internet via an encrypted connection. Dropcam allows you to view the video in real-time at no cost. However, if you want to store the footage for up to 30-days, there is an additional charge to use the Dropcam DVR to store the footage. The cost is approximately $10 per month for up to seven days and about $30 per month for up to 30 days of footage.

This means that the free plan is not much use since there is no way to record a video clip or take a snapshot if there is any criminal activity on your property without the DVR service. You must also consider bandwidth consumption with the paid plan. Dropcam is capable of streaming video to their server at a rate of about 400 kilobits per second. If your camera is streaming video around the clock 24/7, this amounts to a data consumption volume of about 50GB.

Dropcam Pro

Dropcam Pro is the newest and most recent model of the wireless video monitoring camera. The Pro version is equipped to handle a viewing field of 130 degrees as opposed to 107 degrees in the earlier models. This allows you to see an entire room with a single camera. The zoom feature has also been improved 8 times as opposed to 4 times in previous Dropcam models. This greatly improves the video quality to make identification of activities much easier.

Also upgraded in the Dropcam Pro model is improved night vision technology when compared to previous versions of Dropcam. Additionally, the sound quality has been greatly improved which provides a way to clearly hear sounds in the environment that surrounds the camera. This is useful for identifying a smoke alarm detector, kitchen appliance that may be malfunctioning, and other sounds that can help you act immediately before the situation is allowed to get worse.

Wireless connectivity for the Dropcam Pro has also been upgraded to include a dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz wireless connection. The upgraded image sensor provides you with video quality that is twice as good as previous Dropcam models, in addition to the improved zoom and night vision capability.

Another cool feature in the Dropcam Pro version of the camera is the two-way talk capability that allows you to interact with your children or pets. Dropcam Pro configuration capability has also been improved with the ability to set schedules and alerts and access automatic updates.

Live streaming is secure and can be accessed using a web app or the appropriate app for your specific mobile device. Since the video is streamed to secure offsite cloud storage, you can choose to create video clips, view older footage for up to 30 days, share videos with others, view them privately, or make the videos public.

The pro version of Dropcam includes the high definition camera, one USB power adapter, a ten foot USB cable, a detachable aluminum stand, and a set of hardware for mounting Dropcam Pro on the wall. Then all you do is follow the configuration steps, connect the camera to the location you want to monitor, and you are ready to go.

Dropcam Pro received an editor rating of excellent by PC Magazine. The camera has a price tag of approximately $200 which is quite reasonable when compared to other alternatives on the market. If you can live with the lack of battery capability and the rather costly DVR service, Dropcam can be a convenient device that enhances the security of your home or business.

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