Should Dropcam Pro Replace Your Home Security System?

Published: Mar 28, 2015 at 08:13 UTC
Dropcam Pro

It may well be that you are just now in the market for a home security system. Alternatively, you might be a keen enthusiast on the topic, and as such are someone who is always on the lookout for information on new and popular components as they become available.

Whichever the case may be for you, it’s likely that you have, or will, stumble across the much recently talked-about Dropcam Pro video camera, hailed by its many users as the new big thing in home surveillance and video security.

As with all things new, it’s typical to experience a honeymoon period in which the device receives unparalleled reviews and feedback. Animated purchasers are predictably keen to share their excitement about having identified the find and how much better their life is as a result of this new item.

This has certainly been the case with the Dropcam Pro.

Does this new Dropcam camera however, really stack up to the hype that has surrounded it since its release?

Should you invest in it as an end solution to your home security concerns?

Read on to see what we uncover in our review of the Dropcam Pro, and our comparison of its ability to take on the big boys of the home security industry.

Who is this Dropcam company?

Don’t expect to learn too much about the company itself when you go to the Dropcam website. For this provider, it’s all about the camera.

In fact, if you are looking for a security company to outfit your home with the best in safety features, Dropcam is not the place that you would visit.

This is because, despite what you might read in a Dropcam review, Dropcam is not in fact a security company.

Dropcam instead makes cameras through which you can watch your house…and do somewhat more.

The company’s two camera types are the Dropcam HD and the Dropcam Pro.

We don’t need to go into too much detail about the HD camera because it is the Pro version that is the latter, improved device built to address concerns about the HD model, as well as to offer users so much more for their spend.

In any case, if it’s an instant, DIY and self-monitored surveillance device that you are after, then the Dropcam Pro is certainly worthy of your time.

How the Dropcam Pro video camera works

We mentioned that Dropcam makes cameras, however they also act as a cloud-based video monitoring service (wi-fi) which allows you to connect to the areas in your house which you choose to watch. This can be a room, an area in which people gather, and even an area to monitor your pets.

The Dropcam Pro is their latest camera and recording device created for this purpose.

The best way to use the camera is to clip it into the hinge on its metal stand. It stands at 4.5 x 3.15 x 3.15, so essentially the shape of a small puck.

To get started using it, all you need to do is connect it to wi-fi from your computer or your iOS, follow the built-in instructions to create an account, and you’re ready to go within about a minute.

What the Dropcam Pro does in action

The major selling point about this Dropcam camera for us is the CVR facility, or Cloud Video Recording that allows you to view both live and recorded video remotely from your standard range of computer and mobile devices.

What you can capture on video is enhanced with the field of view giving an impressive 130 degree range, and it has the ability to zoom 8x for added vision capability that works in both sunlight and darkness.

We also found during our Dropcam review that the ‘smarts’ for this camera additionally include a built-in facility that allows for two-way communication so that you can speak to both people and pets.

Here is the kicker though. While live streaming is a free feature of the device, the CVR for saving streamed footage for later viewing is a subscription-based purchase starting at nearly $30 month, or $299 for the year.

Major features of the Dropcam Pro

The major features that you will secure with this camera include the following;

  • You can schedule alerts to receive
  • Live streaming is security-encrypted
  • Motion and sound alert notifications provided at 30 minute intervals
  • You can have multiple Dropcams on the one account
  • Can be wall-mounted for area-specific monitoring
  • Works with Nest Protect and Nest Learning Thermostat to allow for sensing and recording smoke and carbon monoxide, and to automate home and away camera and alert modes

Why you should consider Dropcam Pro

The following benefits highlight the argument for using the Dropcam Pro;

  • Improved wireless connectivity because it has dual-band wi-fi capability
  • Saves thirty days of recorded footage if you opt for the CVR
  • Microphone and speaker enhanced two-way talk feature
  • Powerful night vision and screen capture quality
  • Free Dropcam camera apps for iOS and Android remote viewing
  • Recent introduction of Bluetooth for future connection of home-monitoring accessories

What you should question about Dropcam Pro

Before reading any possibly biased Dropcam review and running off to purchase the Dropcam camera, you need to consider the following concerns;

  • Reliance on wide angle viewing because the camera can’t tilt, pan or pivot
  • Reported issues with weak infrared LED, speaker quality and lagging two-way talk functionality
  • Camera uses large amounts of bandwidth
  • Alerts have been reported as coming in too frequently, leading to desensitization when you receive them
  • CVR option is costly
  • Proposed use as a baby monitor is concerning due to reported issues with overheating, lag times, and oversensitive motion sensors.

Home security system comparison

When you consider that the home security business is a $28billion industry, it is asking a lot of the Dropcam Pro to take on the major players.

Regardless of the room for growth and opportunity within the unique wireless home security market, we are not yet sold that the Dropcam camera is worthy of replacing your current or potential home safety system.

Wireless home security systems, for instance, provide opportunities not yet obtainable with the Dropcam camera.

With a complete wireless system, you can decide if you want a do-it-yourself security system like FrontPoint Security or Protect America or have a professionals like ADT install it for you, which ensures that you not only receive a complete home security system with advanced automation features, but you also have the peace of mind that everything is set-up without any likely glitches.

You can opt to self-monitor or choose professional monitoring around the clock. This ensures fast resolution action is taken if there is a break-in, which is a far superior option than just yelling at someone through a two-way device that the intruder can turn off.

You can also, of course, always add to your wireless alarm system with additional sensors and cameras both in and outside, and you have a wider range of apps at your fingertips for greater automation responses.

While the Dropcam Pro is therefore a step in the right direction for many home safety conscious enthusiasts, we feel there are still a few kinks in the system to be ironed out even with the current model.

Overall, however, if you are going to go wireless, and you should, our recommendation for the near future at least is to stay with the tried and true wireless home security system providers, such as the top choices reviewed on our website.

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