D-Link vs. Dropcam Shootout

By: 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?
  • *-**** ** *** *****.

    **** *** **** *** years, ******* ******* *** received * *** ** coverage **** ****** ** publications, ********* **** (*** our * ******* ***** -******** ************ '***' ******). 

    ********* *-****, *** ******* selling *** **** ** cameras **** ******* ** consumers, ** *******. *****, D-Link ********** **** **** offer************ **** *** **-***** SD **** ***** ******* requires ****** $***+ *** year.

    **, *** ** ****** for **** ***? *** incumbent *-**** ** *** upstart *******?

    ** **** ******, ** decide, ***** * **** of *-****'* *******-***** *** *********** **** ** Dropcam. ****** *** ****** video *** ********* ********, we ***** ** *** key ***** ** ********** for *********:

    • ***** ** ****** *** non ********* ****** ** setup? ** *** **** and ***?
    • ***** ** ****** *** non ********* ****** ** access, ****** *** ******** recorded *****?

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

    Competitive ********

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

    • *****: ***** *** ********** **** complex **** *******, ********* users ** ***** ***** the******* ******* **** ** ******** software, ******* *** ****** to ***** ****** ****** through *** ** ** using ** ******** *****, and ****** ** ************ wizard. ******* ******** *** user **** ** **** the ****** **** ***** computer *** ***, ***** launches *** ****** *** walks ******* *** ***** process.
    • **** *****: ******* **** ***** **** D-Link ******* ** ******, with ****** *******. ** special ******* *** ******** for ****** *********.
    • ******** *****:******** ***** ** ******* to **** *** ********. Viewing ***** ******** ******* plugins ** ** *********, and ***** *** ***** not ****** ***************. ***** is ** ******** **** such ** ******* ****. Clips ****** ** ********** from *******************, *** **** ** downloaded ******** **** *** camera's *** *********, ***** a ******** ***** *** user *********.
    • ***** *********:*-**** ****** ******** ***** compatible ****** ** ******** form *******, **************,*******,*****, ******************. ******* ****** **** a ****** **** ******, with ** ******* ******.
    • *****: *** *-**** ***-***** ***** for ~$*** ******, ******** **** ********* than *******, **** ** recurring *******. ******* ******* **** for ~$***-$*** *** ******, ********* ********* (********/***), **** ********* charges ** $*.** ** $29.95 *** ***** ********* plans. ******* ******* *******, only **** ***** ** available.

    Other *** ******

    **** *** ***** *** findings **** **** ****:

    • ****** ***** ** ****: *** ***-***** *** * relatively ****** **.*° ********** field ** **** ******** to *** ********* **** 100° ** *** ********.
    • **** ***** ****:****** **** ******* ******** for *** **** ****** (but ******* ** *******), the ***-***** ******** * 10' ***** *****, ******** it ** ** ****** in *** ** *** way *****. *******, *** included ******** ***** ** only *' ****, ** users ****** ****** ** purchase ****** ****** ** the ****** **** ** hardwired, ** **** ********.
    • **** ** ************:** ***** **** *-****'* specified ** *****, **, was ***** ** ********, though ****. ************ *** better ** ~*-**', **** subject ******* **** ****** to **** ***. **** range *** ** ********** for **** *** ** small *****, *** ** likely *** ***** ** be ** **** *** in **** ***** ******** settings.
    • ** ******* ********:***** ******* ** ****** footage ** * ** **** are ***** ** **** to *** *** **********, or *** * ***** card, ** *** ** not ******** **** *** camera. ***** **** **** need ** ****** *** card ***** ** ****** recordings, ***** *** ** done ** *** ** Card ***** ** *** advanced ***** *** **** the *** *********.
    • ** **** ********* ******** Not *********:***** ******* ******** *** continuous *********, ***** ***** out ** ***** * seconds *** ****** *** to **** **** **** limits. *-**** **** **** intend ** ****** **** in * ****** ******, but *** *** ** may ** ******* ** reducing ********* *** ********** compression. *-**** ** ******* do *** ****** **** this **********, *** ** smaller ********.
    • *************: ********* *********** ** the *-**** ***** *** far ****** **** *********** 720p ** *******, ** to ** **** **** most. **** ***** ** another ***** ** ********* to * ******* ** card.

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

    ******* ** * *** easier *** *** *** technical ******** **** *-****. The **** ***** ********* for *-**** ** *** offering ** ******** **** factors.

    ** *** *** ************ something ** * ****** or ****** ****** (*** do *** **** ** be ******* ** ** hours ** **** ********* support), ******* ** ******* the *** ** **.

    ** *-**** ******** ********* management (**** ******** **** a ***-*********, ***** ** go ** ****, ******** search **, ********** ***********), it ***** ****** * very ********** *********** ** Dropcam.

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

    ** **** ********** ** review *** ** **************** *** ******* *** configuration:

    **** ***** ***** *** challenges ** ***** *** DCS-2132L's ** **** *************:

    Physical ********

    ** **** * **** at *** ******** ************ of *** ***-***** ** this ***** *****:

    Image *******

    ** ******** *** *-**** DCS-2132L ** *** **** D11 ************ **-********* ******* ***** ******* against ******* ***** **** 720p cameras.

    ** *** *** ******* image ******* ** ******* as *** **** ********** in *** (*-**** ******, Dropcam ****) ***** *********** difficult ** ** **********. 

    ** **** *****, *** DCS-2132L ** ********** ***********, washing *** *** ***** around **** * *** below.

    ** *** *****, *** DCS-2132L ** **** ******* than *** ******* *** to *** **** ****** IR************, ****** ** ********* to ******* ******* ** our ******* *** *****. 

    *******, ** ****** *** D-Link's ** ***** ** various ********* **** ~*-** feet. **** *** ******* IR ***** ** ~**' (5m), ** *** ********* to ******* *************** ** our **** *******. ** 15', *** ******* ** more **********, *** ** cannot ******* * ****. At ~*', ** *** begin ** *** *** test *******'* **** **** clearly *** ** ****** IR *****. **** ***** to *** ******, **** about *' ****, *** subject ** ******* ******* without ************.

    *********

    ********* *** ***** **** compared ** ***** ******* tested **** *** **** resolution. 

    *** *-**** ***-***** ******** to ***, ** "***** quality" ** ** ** displayed *******. ** **** *** set ** *** ******* 30 ***, ***** *.********, *** *** ********* testing ** *** ********** room *****.

    *********, ** **** *****, frame **** *** ******** 40 ***, ****** **** was ***, ***** ** low *****, ** ******* to ** ***. *-***** remained ** ~** ** both **** ***** *** darkness.

    **** **** ***** ********** streams (**** *** ****) are ****** ** ******* for *** *******.

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

    **** **** * ******** D-Link ** ******* **** ** **** **** *** got *** *** ****** of **** ****.

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

Facial Recognition Systems Fail Simple Liveness Detection Test on May 17, 2019
Facial recognition is being widely promoted as a solution to physical access control but we were able to simply spoof 3 systems because they had no...
Maglock Selection Guide on May 16, 2019
One of the most misunderstood yet valuable pieces of electrified hardware is the maglock. Few locks are stronger, but myths and confusion surround...
Panasonic 32MP Multi Imager Camera Tested (WV-X8570N) on May 16, 2019
Panasonic has released their first multi imager models including the 32MP (4x4K) WV-X8570N, claiming "Extreme image quality for evidence capturing...
Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...
Access Control Request to Exit (RTE) Tutorial on May 13, 2019
For access controlled doors, especially those with maglocks, 'Request to Exit', or 'RTE' devices are required to override electrified locks to...
Hikvision DeepinView Camera Analytics Tested on May 08, 2019
Hikvision is expanding its 'deep learning' offerings with a new camera series called 'DeepinView' claiming false alarm reduction and improved...
Dahua ePoE Long Distance UTP / Coax Tested on May 03, 2019
Dahua's Enhanced PoE (ePoE) line is claiming extended video and power transmission over 600m without repeaters, with devices interchangeable via...
Registration Closed - Spring 2019 IP Networking Course on May 02, 2019
Register now for the Spring 2019 IP Networking course here - Closed. Last chance now.   This is the only networking course designed specifically...
Verkada Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on May 02, 2019
Verkada is arguably the most ambitious video surveillance startup in many years. The company is developing their own cameras, their own VMS, their...
The HIVIDEO $31 Face Detection DVR Tested on Apr 25, 2019
Face detection in a $31 DVR? That is what "HIVIDEO" (not to be confused with Hikvision, even if the company intends to do that) was promoting at...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Facial Recognition Systems Fail Simple Liveness Detection Test on May 17, 2019
Facial recognition is being widely promoted as a solution to physical access control but we were able to simply spoof 3 systems because they had no...
Inside Look Into Scam Market Research on May 17, 2019
Scam market research has exploded over the last few years becoming the most commonly cited 'statistics' for most industries, despite there clearly...
Maglock Selection Guide on May 16, 2019
One of the most misunderstood yet valuable pieces of electrified hardware is the maglock. Few locks are stronger, but myths and confusion surround...
Panasonic 32MP Multi Imager Camera Tested (WV-X8570N) on May 16, 2019
Panasonic has released their first multi imager models including the 32MP (4x4K) WV-X8570N, claiming "Extreme image quality for evidence capturing...
Trump Signs 'Huawei Ban' - Executive Order Targeting Foreign Adversary Technology on May 16, 2019
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order targeting technology provided by 'foreign adversaries', in what is widely being called a...
Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...
Milestone XProtect 2019 R1 Tested on May 15, 2019
For the past few years, Milestone has released quarterly software updates XProtect VMS platform. What is new and how much impact do the updates...
San Francisco Face Recognition Ban And Surveillance Regulation Details Examined on May 14, 2019
San Francisco passed the legislation 8-1 today. While the face recognition 'ban' has already received significant attention over the past few...
Security Fail: ASISNYC Auto Emails Passwords In Plain Text on May 14, 2019
ASIS NYC automatically emails a user with the password the user just entered, in plain text, when one registers for the site / event, as the...
Hikvision VP On Muslim Oppression on May 14, 2019
Hikvision has won tens of millions of dollars, at least, in direct contracts with the Chinese government that oppresses Muslims, including a forced...

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