3 thoughts on “Dropcam Wi-Fi Wireless Movie Tracking Camera

  1. Kerton
    2,232 of 2,315 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Uses ~60GB of Bandwidth Each Month, July 25, 2012
    By 
    Kerton (Pleasanton, US, Canada) –

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Dropcam Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera (Electronics)
    My review is focus on one aspect so as not to be too long, but still useful. **Please note the updates at the end**

    The Dropcam is a very good, very easy to use device. Many of the top rated reviews here do an excellent job of listing the pros and cons. Also, the firmware has been updated since many of the negative reviews were posted, so there have been subtle improvements (not enough) with motion detection, and also the iOS and Android apps are now easy and great.

    The best use case of this camera, by far, is indoor remote surveillance of a kids room, a family room, or a workplace.

    Here’s the real, overpowering negative about the device for me: it uses about 60GB of upload data capacity each month. The camera transmits its HD video feed to the DropCam cloud servers ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. The cloud service is what makes the user experience so easy, and what allows you to view your camera from multiple places, phones, tablets, all with just a userID and password. It’s good in that you don’t have to learn about firewalls, IP port forwarding and such just to make it work. But, that also means that it sends enormous amounts of video of a room with nothing at all happening in it. If your ISP has a quota or a limit to how much you can send per month, this camera WILL DEFINITELY USE A LARGE PORTION. In Canada and with some US ISPs, the limit is 50GB…i.e. less than this camera sends!

    – Lots of ISPs offer a quota of 250GB, so this camera won’t put most US customers over their limit. Just know that this will soak up a good portion of your allotment.
    – Each additional camera will add to the bandwidth you use.
    – Consider that you are also downloading the video feed from your ISP, so if you are in the same place as the camera viewing it, it doubles the bandwidth used. Yep, that’s right, your video goes up to the cloud server, then back down to you.
    – FYI, the upload rate is about 200 Kbps
    – The camera does use excellent compression, so the HD video is as compact as it can be in 2012.
    – If you have anything less than awesome Internet service, the camera will slow down your uploads of other stuff, like photos, attachments, etc. Upload speed is always much slower than download on consumer Internet service, and that’s what this camera uses.

    So, take this important point into consideration. It may still be a great product for you, but you need to know the costs. For me, I planned on using this at a lake house with slow Internet, so it doesn’t work for me. I’ll have to find another use for it.

    ****Update, September 2012
    The camera has just received a software update that lets you switch between SD mode and HD mode. All DropCams that are turned on and connected to the Internet will get the update automatically. The standard definition mode uses half the bandwidth of the HD mode. Overall, there is a big improvement regarding the problem I cited in my original review. The update has other benefits in motion detection, etc.

    As for me, the 30GB a month is still too much, so I will continue to use the available software switch to turn the camera on and off, and only enable it when I want to watch.

    ****Update, May 2014
    Dropcam keeps on adding features that improve the camera. This is the upside of a cloud service. They can update features on the cloud, and then you get them, even on your older Dropcam. Lately, they’ve added ACTIVITY RECOGNITION, which is really great. This means that their servers storing your video can recognize certain patterns that tend to occur on your camera, and then distinguish those patterns going forward. An example would be a camera pointed at a front door with the street in the background. The Dropcam cloud might identify cars moving on the street as one activity, and a person walking up to the door as another, and a person walking away from the door as a third. You can then go into the web site, name the activities, and then set up alerts and search on each individual activity. Thus, you could quickly find all instances of somebody walking up to your door, or get a notification each time it happens. Or you could wonder “What time did the kids leave” and then filter only by people walking away from the door. Good stuff.

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  2. J. Lenz
    51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Great product, as long as you don’t get a “purple” one…, January 29, 2013
    By 
    J. Lenz
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Dropcam Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera (Electronics)
    I purchased 2 of these directly from Amazon after doing quite a bit of research. I simply wanted to monitor my front yard and driveway and maybe use one as a baby monitor down the road when we have a kid.

    Setup was very simple as other reviewers have noted and I was up and streaming live video in just a few minutes…very cool. The hardware is very simple and modern, dare I say even Apple-esque and seems to be of very high quality. First impression of the video feed was, “this is HD??; Even with a very fast broadband home connection the video was somewhat choppy and the resolution was far from what I would consider High Definition. It is quite acceptable but just don’t expect it to look anything like the 720p cable you watch on your HDTV.

    The “Purple Haze”>>> Once I got my 2nd Dropcam setup and viewed the streams side by side I noticed one of the cameras video feed was very “purple” as colors were not true to life. Green grass looked gray, Blue sky looked not so blue, green trees were just outright purple = This is what people that do acid must see lol…

    To demonstrate this (see user attached pictures), I set the cams up right next to each other looking at the same view from the same vantage point. I then went upstairs to view the video streams on my dual monitor PC. One cameras video is normal (left screen), the other has aforementioned “purple haze”(right screen) This ain’t cool…

    I have seen other complaints about this color issue and it seems Dropcam is aware of the issue. I have a support ticket in as I write this and will update this review when it is resolved. Hopefully it is just a firmware/software update and not a hardware flaw that necessitates a return.

    Other than the color issue the camera is great. The Android app works well and connects 95% of time within ~10 seconds. A couple times it failed to connect and you have to close the app and restart, no biggie. Odd issue that has happen twice…when viewing the app on my Nexus 7 it shows a “live feed” of my driveway during the day BUT it is clearly night time outside and dark. I press the “go live” button and its says “you are live!” haha. A restart of the app fixes this and displays the correct live feed.

    The DVR function works as advertised and is very user friendly, I am not sure If I want to pay the $10/mo after the 14-day trial period is over though ($5 for additional camera so $15/mo in my case). The cool thing is that if you are using this as a security camera the footage is stored offsite not locally, so if someone breaks into your abode and steals the camera itself, your video footage is still safe.

    If Dropcam fixes the color issue I’m keeping both!

    <<<Update 1/31/13>>>

    Dropcam customer service got back in touch with me and explained the “purple haze” is due to an infrared film over the lens that allows the camera to work better in nigh vision mode and hence, there is nothing they can do to correct it! That did not explain why ONLY ONE OF MY 2 DROPCAMS exhibit this “purple haze” and the other is perfectly normal (again, see user attached pics to see what I mean). They both equally well in night vision mode too. They didn’t respond to that part of my question and just left me hanging. Well, it looks like the “purple” camera is being returned to Amazon, I’ll keep the “normal” one. Lowering my rating to 3 stars due to this explainable flaw.

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  3. J. Koster
    31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Warning, August 8, 2014
    By 
    J. Koster (Orlando, FL) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Dropcam Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera (Electronics)
    Excellent wide angle, clear picture for live viewing. If you plan to get this camera because it sends you a snapshot of each motion alert, you will be sadly disappointed. Problem is that Dropcam claims to give you a picture for each motion alert delivered to your email. But the picture you get is only visible IN the email at a very small size. When you click on it, you are sent to your live cam to view live video, NOT TO A LARGER PHOTO like you would think. So if you need it to identify someone or something, you are out of luck. If you planned to not pay for the recording service and just go with the email alerts, think again. $99/year is the least you will have to pay with any plan. Another problem is that email alerts are only sent every 30 minutes or more. If you have this camera aiming outside and a car goes by at 3:05, and your house is robbed at 3:10, you will not be alerted to motion and there will be no photo because 30 minutes hasn’t passed. You would need to buy the recording service. Also, custom activity zones are only available to paying CVR subscribers. A custom activity zone will allow you to draw a box around the area of the video that you want to be alerted to when there is motion, like a doorway. So if you want to get the full use out of this camera, you are going to have to pay every year or month for the life of the camera. If you just need a live cam to monitor the baby live, this is perfect.
    NOTE: If you purchase the $99/year plan for cloud recording, you are agreeing to be automatically billed every year until you cancel. There is no other option and you are not told this *surprise* until after the purchase.

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