How does the smartphone even see your Dropcam Pro if it’s not yet on the Wi-Fi? Dropcam Pro also integrates Bluetooth LE, low energy tech part of Bluetooth Smart (4.0)—the same Bluetooth available on the latest iPhones and Android devices. Not only is Bluetooth LE an integral part of the setup via mobile, it’s a future-proof scheme. The company claims Dropcam Pro will use Bluetooth LE to instantly talk to other peripherals in the future, and Dropcam may open its API for programmers that want to make devices that talk to the Dropcam Pro.
Dropcam says it is even bigger than the camera sensor in the iPhone 5s
Features and Performance
What exactly does the Pro have over the Dropcam that warrants paying the extra 50 bucks? It’s all about the optics. The wide field of view on the Dropcam Pro is 130 degrees, up from the original’s 107 degrees. The sensor size is double—Dropcam says it is even bigger than the camera sensor in the iPhone 5s. It delivers an excellent video stream at 1,920-by-1,080 full motion—without a doubt, the best video I’ve seen on a home surveillance camera.
On the mobile apps you can use a two finger pinch/spread to digitally zoom in and out on the video. The same effect can be duplicated with the mouse scroll wheel in the browser interface at Digital zoom isn’t usually a big deal and sometimes looks awful, but the sensor size, video quality, security and well-designed apps make it easy to pan or tilt around the high-def image. An enhanced view oversamples a zoomed-in area of the stream—click the magic wand icon to get a sharper zoom than you’d imagine possible. This works best in very bright light conditions.
Let’s also note that on the browser, the Dropcam interface is Flash-based, so it works with every major desktop Web browser in existence. Unlike the interfaces for cameras like the D-Link Cloud Camera 1150$69.99 at Best Buy or Compro TN600W, which limit you typically to Internet Explorer.
The audio capabilities on the Pro are enhanced. You’ll hear more because of the mic sensitivity, and I found the two-way audio (where you talk through the software interface so your voice comes out the camera) was better than most cameras, both louder and clearer.
The hallmark of Dropcam is its encrypted, cloud-based, digital video recording service, now officially dubbed Cloud Video Recording, or CVR. Dropcam can be used to watch live video feeds at no extra cost, but the power is in being able to go back in time to watch previous footage. If there’s any area where Dropcam falls short, though, it’s the pricing. Look at it as the cost of three cups of coffee a month ($9.95/month or $99/year) and it doesn’t hurt as much, and having that seven-day buffer of recorded video can make all the difference when you have a break-in or other problem. You can also go back a full month if you pay $29.95/month or $299/year; home security camera how much its worth to you depends on your security needs. But it wouldn’t hurt a 24-hour recording buffer for, say, $10/year (or gratis).