D-Link vs. Dropcam Shootout

Author: Derek Ward, Published on Jan 29, 2014

D-Link is not happy.

Over the last two years, upstart Dropcam has received a ton of coverage from dozens of publications, including IPVM (see our 2 Dropcam tests - original camera and new 'Pro' camera). 

Meanwhile D-Link, who reports selling far more IP cameras than Dropcam to consumers, is ignored. Worse, D-Link emphasizes that they offer recording for free via on-board SD card while Dropcam requires paying $100+ per year.

So, who is better for home use? The incumbent D-Link or the upstart Dropcam?

In this report, we decide, doing a test of D-Link's 720p DCS-2132L and contrasting that to Dropcam. Beyond the normal video and bandwidth analysis, we focus on two key areas of importance for consumers:

  • Which is easier for non technical people to setup? By how much and why?
  • Which is better for non technical people to access, search and download recorded video?

*-**** ** *** *****.

**** *** **** *** *****, ******* ******* *** ******** * ton ** ******** **** ****** ** ************, ********* **** (*** our * ******* ***** -******** ************ '***' ******). 

********* *-****, *** ******* ******* *** **** ** ******* **** Dropcam ** *********, ** *******. *****, *-**** ********** **** **** offer************ **** *** **-***** ** **** ***** ******* ******** ****** $100+ *** ****.

**, *** ** ****** *** **** ***? *** ********* *-**** or *** ******* *******?

** **** ******, ** ******, ***** * **** ** *-****'* 720p***-***** *** *********** **** ** *******. ****** *** ****** ***** *** bandwidth ********, ** ***** ** *** *** ***** ** ********** for *********:

  • ***** ** ****** *** *** ********* ****** ** *****? ** how **** *** ***?
  • ***** ** ****** *** *** ********* ****** ** ******, ****** and ******** ******** *****?

[***************]

Competitive ********

****'* *** *-**** ****** ** ******* *** ******************* ***** ********* *******:

  • *****: ***** *** ********** **** ******* **** *******, ********* ***** ** first ***** ********** ******* **** ** ******** ********, ******* *** ****** ** ***** router ****** ******* *** ** ** ***** ** ******** *****, and ****** ** ************ ******. ******* ******** *** **** **** to **** *** ****** **** ***** ******** *** ***, ***** launches *** ****** *** ***** ******* *** ***** *******.
  • **** *****: ******* **** ***** **** *-**** ******* ** ******, **** ****** latency. ** ******* ******* *** ******** *** ****** *********.
  • ******** *****:******** ***** ** ******* ** **** *** ********. ******* ***** requires ******* ******* ** ** *********, *** ***** *** ***** not ****** ***************. ***** ** ** ******** **** **** ** Dropcam ****. ***** ****** ** ********** **** *******************, *** **** ** ********** ******** **** *** ******'* *** interface, ***** * ******** ***** *** **** *********.
  • ***** *********:*-**** ****** ******** ***** ********** ****** ** ******** **** *******, including*****,*******,*****, ******************. ******* ****** **** * ****** **** ******, **** ** outdoor ******.
  • *****: *** *-**** ***-***** ***** *** ~$*** ******, ******** **** ********* **** *******, **** ** ********* *******. ******* cameras **** *** ~$***-$*** *** ******, ********* ********* (********/***), **** ********* ******* ** $*.** ** $**.** *** cloud ********* *****. ******* ******* *******, **** **** ***** ** available.

Other *** ******

**** *** ***** *** ******** **** **** ****:

  • ****** ***** ** ****: *** ***-***** *** * ********** ****** **.*° ********** ***** ** view ******** ** *** ********* **** ***° ** *** ********.
  • **** ***** ****:****** **** ******* ******** *** *** **** ****** (*** ******* to *******), *** ***-***** ******** * **' ***** *****, ******** it ** ** ****** ** *** ** *** *** *****. However, *** ******** ******** ***** ** **** *' ****, ** users ****** ****** ** ******** ****** ****** ** *** ****** must ** *********, ** **** ********.
  • **** ** ************:** ***** **** *-****'* ********* ** *****, **, *** ***** to ********, ****** ****. ************ *** ****** ** ~*-**', **** subject ******* **** ****** ** **** ***. **** ***** *** be ********** *** **** *** ** ***** *****, *** ** likely *** ***** ** ** ** **** *** ** **** small ******** ********.
  • ** ******* ********:***** ******* ** ****** ******* ** * ** **** *** ***** to **** ** *** *** **********, ** *** * ***** card, ** *** ** *** ******** **** *** ******. ***** will **** **** ** ****** *** **** ***** ** ****** recordings, ***** *** ** **** ** *** ** **** ***** in *** ******** ***** *** **** *** *** *********.
  • ** **** ********* ******** *** *********:***** ******* ******** *** ********** *********, ***** ***** *** ** about * ******* *** ****** *** ** **** **** **** limits. *-**** **** **** ****** ** ****** **** ** * future ******, *** *** *** ** *** ** ******* ** reducing ********* *** ********** ***********. *-**** ** ******* ** *** suffer **** **** **********, *** ** ******* ********.
  • *************: ********* *********** ** *** *-**** ***** *** *** ****** than *********** **** ** *******, ** ** ** **** **** most. **** ***** ** ******* ***** ** ********* ** * limited ** ****.

***************

******* ** * *** ****** *** *** *** ********* ******** than *-****. *** **** ***** ********* *** *-**** ** *** offering ** ******** **** *******.

** *** *** ************ ********* ** * ****** ** ****** member (*** ** *** **** ** ** ******* ** ** hours ** **** ********* *******), ******* ** ******* *** *** to **.

** *-**** ******** ********* ********** (**** ******** **** * ***-*********, ready ** ** ** ****, ******** ****** **, ********** ***********), it ***** ****** * **** ********** *********** ** *******.

*********/*************

** **** ********** ** ****** *** ** **************** *** ******* *** *************:

**** ***** ***** *** ********** ** ***** *** ***-*****'* ** card *************:

Physical ********

** **** * **** ** *** ******** ************ ** *** DCS-2132L ** **** ***** *****:

Image *******

** ******** *** *-**** ***-***** ** *** **** *** ************ **-********* ******* ***** ******* ******* ******* ***** **** **** *******.

** *** *** ******* ***** ******* ** ******* ** *** vast ********** ** *** (*-**** ******, ******* ****) ***** *********** difficult ** ** **********. 

** **** *****, *** ***-***** ** ********** ***********, ******* *** the ***** ****** **** * *** *****.

** *** *****, *** ***-***** ** **** ******* **** *** UBX1301 *** ** *** **** ****** **************, ****** ** ********* ** ******* ******* ** *** ******* and *****. 

*******, ** ****** *** *-****'* ** ***** ** ******* ********* from ~*-** ****. **** *** ******* ** ***** ** ~**' (5m), ** *** ********* ** ******* *************** ** *** **** subject. ** **', *** ******* ** **** **********, *** ** cannot ******* * ****. ** ~*', ** *** ***** ** see *** **** *******'* **** **** ******* *** ** ****** IR *****. **** ***** ** *** ******, **** ***** *' away, *** ******* ** ******* ******* ******* ************.

*********

********* *** ***** **** ******** ** ***** ******* ****** **** the **** **********. 

*** *-**** ***-***** ******** ** ***, ** "***** *******" ** it ** ********* *******. ** **** *** *** ** *** ******* ** ***, using *.********, *** *** ********* ******* ** *** ********** **** *****.

*********, ** **** *****, ***** **** *** ******** ** ***, faster **** *** ***, ***** ** *** *****, ** ******* to ** ***. *-***** ******** ** ~** ** **** **** light *** ********.

**** **** ***** ********** ******* (**** *** ****) *** ****** by ******* *** *** *******.

Test **** *********

**** **** * ******** *-**** ** ******* **** ** **** **** *** *** *** *** ****** ** **** test.

Comments (11)

While it's good that D-Link has free cloud live video access, the rudimentary SD card video playback is a real problem. It's unfortunately fairly common with IP camera manufacturers, who think they can check off SD card support with minimal access and poor usability.

With Dropcam, there are no definable 'motion detection zones', so it detects and records motion in the whole FoV.

Over time, Dropcam 'learns' the different types of routine motion and categorizes them (eg: cars passing by the window are 'orange events'), but it still would be better if a user could just mask off that area and avoid recording it/alarming on it altogether.

Motion masking appears to be available in the D-Link?

Dropcam "learning" motion doesn't work too well though. So far over the last two months it has assigned my cat five or six colors. Masking off an area would be ideal.

I have to also say that since I have gotten my Dropcam Pro I have suggested it as the best, quickest, easiest system I have ever laid eyes on to roughly a thousand people.

I thought you are comparing D-link with Dropcam in this article. How are the performance of low light sensitivity and bandwidth performance of Dropcam camera? How about the laterncy on live view and playing back the recorded video on Dropcam comparing to D-link?

Spencer, they both have integrated IR so low light performance is fairly similar. The big tradeoff, just like the day, is the difference in the width of the FoV. That said, IR range is limited on both.

With Dropcam, bandwidth cannot be controlled by the user at all. It's roughly 200kb/s 720p / 15fps, typically at a relatively high compression.

As for latency, Dropcam for live video can be fairly significant (3 - 5 seconds is common). Recorded video recall is quite quick (you can try it for yourself on their demo cameras). Obviously, with D-Link, the big limit on playback is finding and selecting each clip.

Would be really interested in seeing an independent showdown of Dropcam versus HomeMonitor - the cloud camera from Y-cam - what do you think?

Qaed, you really should disclose that you are from Y-Cam, no?

We've been tracking HomeMonitor but no immediate plans for a post.

Only 5 reviews on Amazon for HomeMonitor versus 364 for Dropcam. Looks like Homemonitor has some nice features (motion activated, motion zones) that Dropcam lacks.

I would be interested in seeing this test, but only because I have already given Dropcam as the solution for some of the executives here. They have all loved Dropcam thus far, but if HomeMonitor is a better solution I would like to know.

I am guessing all the integrators do not like either of these too much though?

Hey John, sorry, should have disclosed that in my post, I didn't realise that was needed if this was unticked - http://take.ms/7iHCk

I am still very much interested in an independent showdown though, especially as your tests are very thorough

Many thanks

Disregard

Hi All,

I'm a securtiy pro (UK) needing some home protection for a building project. Residential video surveillance is new to me! High pressure stuff when the wife wants protecting!

I would be v interested in Dropcam but interestingly no CVR support anywhere outside of North America - you need a North American CC.

That makes HomeMonitor from YCam interesting. Especially the free cloud storage.

I would say that DropCam have a great position for North America but they must be exposed to international competition if they fail to make their full feature set available outside of the USA.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Dahua 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (NK8BR4) on May 16, 2018
Continuing our coverage of 12MP sensor fisheye cameras, we bought and tested the Dahua NK8BR4, examining: Default vs. Optimized...
Axis 12MP Stereographic Camera Tested (M3058-LVE) on May 10, 2018
Axis has released the M3058-PLVE, a 12MP sensor, stereographic panoramic camera and Axis' first with integrated IR claiming images "sharp to the...
Vivotek 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (FE9391-EV) on May 08, 2018
Next in our 12MP fisheye camera evaluation, we bought and tested Vivotek's latest generation FE9391-EV, a new model claiming improved smart IR...
Last Chance - May 2018 Camera Course on May 03, 2018
This is the last chance to register as the course starts next week. This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth...
Avigilon 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested on May 03, 2018
12MP fisheye cameras have become mainstream, with nearly every major manufacturer offering their take on this segment. To see how these new higher...
IP Network Hardware for Surveillance Guide on May 02, 2018
Video surveillance systems depend on IP networking equipment. In this guide, we explain the key pieces of equipment and features, explaining where...
FLIR Launches Saros on May 01, 2018
Has FLIR solved the video intrusion / remote monitoring problem or have they created an overkill, overly expensive device? FLIR has launched...
Hikvision DarkfighterX Vs Darkfighter PTZ Tested on Apr 26, 2018
Hikvision has focused on improving low-light performance for PTZs, an area that has traditionally been a problem, even more so than fixed cameras,...
April 2018 IP Networking Course on Apr 19, 2018
This is the last chance to register for our IP Networking course. Register now. NEW - 2 sessions per class, 'day' and 'night' to give you double...
Best and Worst ISC West 2018 on Apr 16, 2018
ISC West 2018 had strong attendance, modest overall new products, and a surge in Artificial Intelligence marketing. First, here are 20+...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Stealth / UCIT - Remote Video Monitoring Provider Profile on May 18, 2018
Can 2 remote video monitoring companies, Stealth Monitoring from the US and UCIT from Canada combine to impact the market and compete in a changing...
Cybersecurity for IP Video Surveillance Guide on May 18, 2018
Keeping surveillance networks secure can be a daunting task, but there are several methods that can greatly reduce risk, especially when used in...
Forced Entry / Duress Access Tutorial on May 17, 2018
Even though access control normally keeps people safe, tragedies have revealed a significant issue. If users are forced to unlock doors for...
ADT Stock Drops 50% Since IPO on May 17, 2018
It has been a brutal 4 months for ADT. They first expected to IPO at ~$18. They IPOed at $14, dropping immediately to $12.39 And now, not even...
Dahua 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (NK8BR4) on May 16, 2018
Continuing our coverage of 12MP sensor fisheye cameras, we bought and tested the Dahua NK8BR4, examining: Default vs. Optimized...
Worst Manufacturer Technical Support 2018 on May 16, 2018
5 manufacturers stood out as providing the worst technical support to 190+ integrators in new IPVM results. These integrators answered: In the...
Installing Cameras in Plenums Tutorial on May 15, 2018
There is often confusion about plenum ceilings, with misinformation about what is required when running cables through them and mounting cameras...
Top Benefits Of Attending Trade Shows (Statistics) on May 15, 2018
150 integrators told IPVM: What are the top benefits of going to trade shows? The clear top 2 responses in order: (1) Networking (2) New...
Measuring For Security Installation Guide on May 15, 2018
Accurate measurement is a fundamental skill, yet many installers do not know how to do it. Using these tools are a key skill needed for security...
Arecont Files Ch.11, Agrees To Sell To Turnaround Specialist on May 14, 2018
The long-anticipated sale of Arecont Vision is finally happening. After raising $80 million in debt in 2014, a failed sale in 2017 and the...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact