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 [link no longer available] 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 *-****'* **** ***-***** [link ** ****** *********] *** contrasting **** ** *******. Beyond *** ****** ***** and ********* ********, ** focus ** *** *** areas ** ********** *** consumers:

    • ***** ** ****** *** 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 *******, ********* ***** [link ** ****** *********], bullets [**** ** ****** available], ***** [**** ** longer *********], *** ********* [link ** ****** *********] models. ******* ****** **** 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.

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