Customer Reviews: Dropcam Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera
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on July 25, 2012
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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on April 4, 2012
I spent some time researching the different options (Logitech, foscam, dropcam, adt, x10, cisco, ...) in this product category. I decided to try out a DropCam HD. So far (3 days of use), I'm delighted. The product does everything it promises.

It took me about 5-10 minutes to complete the full setup process (open the box to getting video streams online). In fact, it took me longer to figure out where I was going to put it.

Other solutions require special software to be installed and/or a PC/Mac system to be running to capture the video. I don't want to keep a computer on while I am away on travel + have to maintain/update the software. The DropCam HD solution removes all this extra effort/time/pain.

- easy to setup (5 minutes of work)
- can view online or via android/iphone
- can share your camera with friends securely
- motion tags allow you to jump to interesting sections
- no need for special software or a PC running to capture all the data
- surprised by 2way audio feature. Fun to use while you are away.

- monthly dvr pricing for saved streams (free if you just want live views)

still testing
- low light/night video capture
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on February 9, 2013
Our house got burglarized yesterday. I was working 30 miles away from home when I received a dropcam alert on my iPhone informing me that my dropcam was disconnected. When I checked the online recording, it showed the face of the thief who disconnected the dropcam. When I got home, I gave the police officer a copy of the intruder's face. Using the photo, the police officers made an arrest on the same night. Our stolen property has been recovered and we will be retrieving them from the police station where they are being photographed for evidence in a few days. My 2011 Dropcam echo has been so effective I am definitely getting a second Dropcam HD to monitor the interior of our house.
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on January 29, 2013
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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on November 28, 2013
Only buy this if you plan on purchasing the monthly recording service which costs $100 to $300/year!! Without the additional costly recording service you can only view video live. Other cameras like foscam will send you a large jpeg or short video clip right to your email for free when motion is detected. Dropcam does have the option of sending a tiny thumbnail of an image to your email when motion is detected but the image is so tiny it is worthless. This would be a much better product if dropcam would send a bigger image to capture details when motion is detected but Dropcam basically forces the buyer to have to purchase the monthly recording services. For the buyer who does not buy the monthly recording service, the tiny thumbnail (80x40 resolution) shows so little detail it makes this camera not a good buy for those not wanting to pay an extra $100 to $300/year. The dropcam company certainly could send a high resolution photo to customers emails when motion is detected.....but they choose not to because they want to make so much money pigeon holing people into buying the expensive additional monthly recording services. I wish I had known this before purchasing. I returned the dropcam and am very happy with my foscam camera since it does send me high resolution images for free when motion is detected. If you do purchase the $300 yearly recording plan, then it works great! I hope this helps future buyers know the limitations of the dropcam when the extra monthly services are not purchased.
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on August 8, 2014
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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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on December 27, 2013
Was excited when I first purchased this device. As it was advertised, it was supposed to be a painless way to monitor remote areas such as baby nurseries or any other location that required security. The setup was pain free as advertised, and I was initially pretty confident in my purchase. But then the problems started...

First of all, the Achilles heel of this device that is never brought up in the marketing is that this device MUST be connected to Wifi with significantly high-speed internet access. I didn't think this would be a problem initially, as we have high speed internet at home (20 mb/s). The catch is that if you are a "cord-cutter" like us and use your internet to stream video (Amazon Prime, Hulu+, Netflix, even YouTube), the Dropcam won't have enough bandwidth to both upload its video stream to the Dropcam servers and then download that stream back to your Dropcam monitoring device (internet browser or iOS app).

If you have data limits on your internet service, expect to go way over that. Since it streams HD video, both uploading to their servers and downloading back to your browser/app, it's going to easily gobble up double-digit gigabyte usage every month.

We also noticed that if you use the iPhone app as a baby monitor at night, even if you are both connected to your home Wifi AND turn off your cellular data usage on your iPhone, their app STILL inexplicably uses a sizeable chunk of cellular data each a month. Using a data monitoring tool on my phone I figured out that I ended up using well over a gig of cellular data just on the app every month. I had the evidence to prove this, and Dropcam customer service refused to acknowledge this was their fault, instead putting the blame on AT&T and/or Apple.

If you travel, it just won't work. You won't be able to get it working on a hotel's Wifi network, even if you are lucky enough to have any Wifi access at all.

The biggest headache of this device is that it is just not reliable, which is beyond frustrating (and potentially dangerous) for people who rely on this as their baby monitor. After nearly a year of usage in our nursery, we have to manually power cycle the device several times a day just to get anything out of it.

The iPhone app is completely hit-or-miss. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it will work on our iPad but not on the iPhone, and other times it's vice versa. Sometimes if there is any motion, the stream will freeze. Sometimes if there is any sound, the stream will freeze. And sometimes the app will freeze and crash your iOS device entirely.

If you have a version of the app that works, DO NOT EVER UPGRADE. We have gone months with having it being unusable on iOS because the app was completely broken. Check out the reviews yourself on the App Store right now: right around two stars out of five for Version 3.1, and it has waaaay more one star reviews than any other reviews.

If you have a microwave, don't even think about using it when you have a Dropcam on your network. It will turn it off quicker than you can say "microwave popcorn." There were times that it would come back online once the microwave was done, but those days have long passed.

My father-in-law bought one, but his didn't even last six months until he got the "purple screen of death." Not sure how long these are supposed to last, but his didn't make it close to a year, and ours limped over the one-year mark.

Frankly, I would love to get my money back for this, but they refuse to help after only THIRTY days, and if you purchase from a 3rd party retailer like Amazon here, good luck getting any response from them at all.

If you are looking for a baby monitor with video, I highly recommend something that doesn't require Wifi. And if you are considering purchasing this for any other reason, be aware that this has better usage as a novelty gift than as a real security device.

All in all, the hardware appears to be designed for replacement after a year, the software works as often as it doesn't work, and the customer service washes their hands of you after thirty days. I can't recommend enough to avoid not only this device but also the Dropcam name entirely.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Hi Thomas,

Thank you for your honest feedback. I apologize for the issues you have had with your camera, and we would like to attempt to get this resolved for you. Please feel free to contact us at 877-345-3767 (Monday-Saturday 6am-6pm) or by email support(at)dropcam(dot)com, and we will do everything we can to get you and your father-in-law up and running, with a new camera if necessary. Thanks again for your honest feedback, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Cliff Torrence
Senior Technical Support at Dropcam
on July 29, 2012
At first, I was going to buy the summer infant baby monitor which is about $210. I was thinking 'what the heck. $210 is way too overpriced. Those cameras seem target to parents who are not computer savy. $210 I can get more with an internet monitor". Thus, I did some research and end up buying this Dropcam. To be honest, it does not has the best graphic quality. I don't think it is really HD even it claims it is. However, I still pick this over logitech camera because:
1) EASIEST TO SET UP! You basically can use the camera within like 30 secs. It is really plug-n-play. Just make sure you plug the power outlet to the wall and not to a surge protection or extension.
2) It has two way audio, night vision, and internet access (which other brands may charge you more with these options).
3) It is FREE to view real-time on If you want to record and download the will need to pay $9.99 per month. I do not see it is necessary as this is only for my baby monitoring purpose. Logitech charges you somewhere like $80 to use its software.
4) I can now use Kindle Fire, Andriod phones, and any PC to view my baby. I share with my parents so they can see my baby remotely at their house 24/7. They LOVE this!

Some disadvantages:
1) It tends to have 3 to 4 seconds lag even it is real time on Andriod phone. Kindle fire has 10 sec lag time! However, I am using this as a baby monitor. So, I can live with this.
2) Logitech camera has much better HD quality than this. But you will need to pay the premium. Since I put my Dropcam very close to my baby, I am still fine to see his face.
3) Dropcam has fine iphone app but need improvement on its Andriod App (which only allow you to view but not 2-way audio or zoom). You need to open an internet exploer and log in to in order to do 2-way audio or zoom or record.
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on October 17, 2013
I bought this and set it up at my vacation house. Seemed to work at first and I really liked using it. I also subscribed to their cloud service. Over the next month or so it began to drop the signal more and more until it became basically unusable. Their support group said it was getting interference probably from my Sonos system and they had no solution for the problem. But here's why you shouldn't buy a dropcam: When it became unusable after just 3 months they refused to take it back, offer an exchange or help to make it work in any way. Because it was too late to return it on Amazon, now I am stuck with it. They said because I bought it on Amazon they couldn't help me. Bottom line, they don't support their own camera or evidently care about their customers. If you decide to buy this you better be sure that none of your other wireless equipment runs on 2.4 ghz because they will not help you if it doesn't work.
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on April 16, 2012
I pre-ordered this item 2 1/2 months ago, so I was very excited for its arrival this past weekend. However, upon setting it up, it worked for less than 15 minutes before it overheated & shut down. (Same problem another previous reviewer reported). I have been unable to get it to turn on ever since.
I have submitted a ticket to customer service, over 48 hours with no response so far. I will update my review if they can make it right, however at the moment I am VERY unhappy.
EDIT 4/20/12: I gave up waiting for an e-mail back and called customer service. Took about 10 minutes to get through, and after a series of questions, the agent agreed that the camera I had (or possibly the power cord) was defective. He sent me a prepaid shipping label to send it back to them, and immediately sent me out a new unit 2nd Day Air. So big kudos to their customer service team.
I received the new unit lastnight, and spent some time playing with it to make sure it was not going to do the same thing as the first one. It seems to be working pretty well so far. My intent is to use this to keep an eye on my baby when he arrives this summer, but for now I am using it on my dog while I'm at work. I have been able to peak in at him a few times today. I really like that you can turn the camera off or on from the iphone app, so it doesn't have to stay on all the time. I also LOVE that the audio is two-way, that was an unexpected bonus that blew my husband and I away! It works very very well.
That being said, the device is not perfect, there are definitely some kinks they need to work out. It takes a lot of patience to make any changes or turn the camera off, the settings on both the app and the website are pretty slow to come up. The video delay is only about 2 seconds though, which is what really matters in my opinion. The video is pretty darn clear too, and the night vision is impressive.
Occasionally when I turn the camera on or off from the app, it "freezes" and I have to back completely out of it and go back in. Not a huge deal since it works once I go back in. Also, it'd be really nice to be able to control the panning/zoom from the app.
I'm also stuck with two video feeds in my account now that I had two separate cameras, I went through every available option, and there's no way to delete the non-working one. Annoying.
Overall though, as long as it continues to work, it's a pretty cool gadget, and will definitely come in handy with keeping an eye on our little one once he arrives!
EDIT 11/19/12:
I wanted to come back and update my review now that I have been using the Dropcam for 6 months, 3 months of which have been on our new baby. We absolutely could not be happier with the Dropcam. It stays on 24 hours a day, every day and has caused us no problems with overheating or anything. There have been several updates to the iphone (and now ipad!) apps, and website, and I find them all to be much more user-friendly now. We chose this in lieu of a traditional monitor, and we have no regrets. I especially love that we can leave the baby with a sitter and peek in on him no matter how far we are from home. We would obviously not have that option with a traditional monitor.
My one (tiny) gripe is that it does tend to disconnect several times throughout the day and night. Every time this happens, I just have to exit out of the app and go back in. I believe this is more of an issue with our internet connection and/or router, but I wish there was something dropcam could do to make it automatically reconnect whenever this happens.
EDIT 12/2/13:
We have now been using our Dropcam for over a year and a half, and could not be happier with it! I actually had completely forgotten that the original one we got was defective, because we have never had a single solitary problem with the replacement. It has worked flawlessly as a baby monitor for us & I can't imagine not having it!
In my last update here last year, I mentioned that the app would disconnect/reconnect intermittently, that has now been corrected. I don't remember the last time we had that issue. There also was an app update a while back that added an option to automatically turn the camera off/on at a certain time of day. We love that feature & now have ours set up to turn off on weekdays while we are at work.
It is also now possible (and easy) to zoom via the app. Everything has become MUCH more user-friendly these last couple updates.
So, I'm really glad we took a chance on the dropcam, and didn't give up after the first one was a dud. We LOVE being able to peak in on our little guy via our iPhones while we are out and he's home with a sitter. We have also added the app to Grandmas' phones and they enjoy being able to peak in on him from the comfort of their own homes!
Thanks Dropcam!
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