Dropcam has released a new high-end product today: called Dropcam Pro, it’s a new Internet webcam that connects with the Dropcam online service. If you’re not familiar with it, this company is known for its online video surveillance system for consumers. The promise of Drop cam is that it is super-easy to setup and to connect to, whether it is from the web or from a mobile device. Additionally, Dropcam has a paid service that lets you record video 24/7 on their servers, without any additional setup. The new Dropcam Pro is basically packing better hardware and new services.
Among the new features, the company has added a wider field of view (130 deg, from 107), Two-Way Talk which lets you communicate directly with the other side, Night Vision (most likely using IR illuminators), encrypted streaming, location awareness so that the webcam shuts down when you’re home for example, sharing capabilities in case you want to broadcast to the world, and automatic updates (because most Internet webcam updates are really annoying and happen while you’re away from home). Also, the Dropcam Pro can be setup completely from an iOS device, thanks to the integration of Bluetooth.
I’ve reviewed the first generation Dropcam camera a while back, and to this date, this remains the easiest setup that I have seen. That was where Dropcam was adding more value. The typical downside of using Dropcam is that the initial hardware cost is higher than alternative options like D-Link.
I’ve used both Dropbox and DLink personally, and the tradeoff is something like this: if you need a lot of cameras or fancier motorized cameras, you can get better hardware for the price elsewhere, but only if you don’t mind a more complex installation.
If you want something that “just works”, Dropcam remains the best solution, but the initial hardware cost is higher. Dropcam is also the easiest setup by far when it comes to video recording, with zero setup at all. Dropcam cameras are completely autonomous and only requires a computer connection for the initial setup.
This is probably because Dropcam cameras talk to their servers at all times, and this costs money each time you watch a video over the web. I’ll try to get my hands on the Dropcam Pro to see what the image quality looks like. Stay tuned, and if you want to look at some app screenshots and more images from Dropcam, there are a ton of them in the gallery below: