The Dropcam Pro is one of our favorite security cameras. These cameras are now made by a company that is owned by Google. Dropcam was a a real innovator in security home security cameras. Eventually they were purchased by nest and then Nest was purchased by Google. I own four Dropcam Pros and they are great cameras. I selected these based upon the features and quality of the video steam. The image attached to this article is the front of my home during the daytime.
The picture quality is excellent and the stationary wide angle lens gives a 130 degree view. That means it will cover a very wide stretch and there’s no need for a movable camera lens. There is an 8x zoom, and 720p HD Video. Like most cameras, the granularity of the video begins to erode when you start to approach the full zoom capability.
The setup is super easy and I suggest it be done by using their smartphone application. It pokes a secure hole in your network to allow access from anywhere. I use the DropCam Pro for security purposes when I’m not home so the ability to access them remotely is critical. The cameras have motion sensors and I’m aware of movements in front of the cameras when they occur. The motion detection can be good and bad. If you are pointing the camera outside at some trees, the motion sensor will trigger with some mild wind. Inside the house is a bit more reliable but you may find yourself accidentally triggering it. The motion feature is nice for a vacation home or a remote part of your house that you rarely enter.
The cameras have excellent night vision capabilities. Unfortunately the camera on its own isn’t waterproof so I maintain a position on one of my windowsills in the den. It’s still not a bad photo, but you will find the infrared sensors work against the camera as the reflection shines in the window so you will need to turn that feature off. You will also find the status light also gets in the way so you will need to turn that off too.
A swiveling plastic stand for tabletop use is included. I don’t understand why Nest doesn’t include mounts designed for surveillance purposes. There are a lot of innovative mounts from third parties worth a look to truly turn the DropCam Pro into a better security solution.
While you cannot use a DropCam Pro outside, there are ways to get a clear picture of the outdoors with this camera through a window. You can read all about how to use a Nest Cam (or DropCam Pro) through a window here.
The DropCam Pro also offer two-way talk. You can have a conversation with the other person in the room. This does not make a great video conference camera and it isn’t meant to do that, but I have used the feature for some fun activity like scaring my sister-in-law when she comes over to check on the house. Note the little microphone at the lower left of the photo that accompanies this article. That’s used to trigger a two-way conversation.
The DropCam Pro comes with a trial subscription to their cloud storage service. After a week, Dropcam asks if you would like to continue the service for a fee of $99 annually. Each additional camera gets a 50% discount off that rate. I can’t quite bring myself to pay for cloud storage so I opted out. It was nice to be able to go back and see what took place in the middle of the night, but if you use the motion notifications, you can quickly login and catch the action.
Recently, Nest has introduced a new model to their lineup called the Nest Cam Home Security Camera. Similar features to the DropCam Pro but has a 1080p upgrade to the video.
Overall, I continue to be pleased with the DropCam Pro and have these in use in several locations around my home.
|Video Quality||Field of View||Cloud Support||SD Support||Night Vision||Mobile/Web App||Alerts||Outdoor|
|1280x720||130 Degrees||Additional Cost||No||Yes||Yes/Yes||Yes||No|
All of these articles are written by someone (me) that figured out how to do this stuff the hard way. I have owned and tested dozens of cameras. Manufacturer support varies. There are a few good companies that provide timely answers when you have questions. There are several that sell you the camera and seem to have little interest in post sales support (which leads me to finding out stuff the hard way).