Private security cameras can help keep your home safe while you're away, or just provide a glimpse of your home and family while you toil at work. Dropcam is already a big name in this market, but the Pro model adds a few compelling new features. Like the Dropcam HD, the $199 Pro offers 720p video, night vision, two-way audio and a powerful digital zoom. The Pro goes one step further by offering a glass lens (in place of plastic) and a sensor able to pick up more subtle motion. This allows for better picture quality and smoother scenes with movement.
Installation and Setup
To install the Dropcam Pro, you have two options: Either plug it into a computer directly or download a free app for iOS or Android.
On a computer, your operating system will detect the camera, prompt you to launch the setup software (stored on the camera like a USB drive) and walk you through it from there. In the software, you'll configure the camera for your Wi-Fi network and give it a name. Then set it up wherever you want to monitor — within range of an outlet.
Setting up the device is similarly simple through a mobile app. You will need to connect your mobile device to a Wi-Fi network, then follow the on-screen prompts to connect the camera to the same network. The process is fairly foolproof, and takes roughly a minute to complete — maybe two minutes if your Wi-Fi is slow. Your mobile device will find the camera via its Bluetooth functionality.
After that, you can access your camera's feed either through the Dropcam website or the mobile app. Each method gives you the same options.
According to Dropcam, the Pro's picture is twice as sharp as the standard model's, and the night vision is seven times more powerful.
If you subscribe to Dropcam's Cloud Video Recording (CVR) service, you'll also have a timeline of events beneath the live feed. Here, you can watch previously recorded footage with motion events marked as they occur. If there's a particularly charming (or damning) clip you'd like to save, you can select "Make Clip" and save it to your online account and your hard drive.
Although new Dropcam users get two weeks of CVR service, you'll need to pay to continue using it. Access to the last seven days of footage costs $9.95 per month or $99 per year; accessing the last 30 days will set you back $29.95 per month or $299 per year. Otherwise, you'll only be able to view the live feed.