iControl Piper NV Camera Test

By Derek Ward, Published Jun 24, 2015, 12:00am EDT

iControl has raised over $100 million in VC funding to transform the home security market. 

Last year, they acquired Piper, a camera / home automation startup.

iControl now faces off against two other super well-funded Silicon Valley competitors - Google/Nest/Dropcam and $40 million funded Canary.

The iControl Piper NV includes uncommon features like a Z-Wave integration, environmental monitoring, and built in siren, all features Dropcam does not offer.

We purchased a Piper NV [link no longer available] to see how these features worked and how it compared to Dropcam and Canary in these key areas:

  • How easy is Piper to set up and use for inexperienced users?
  • How does video quality compare to Dropcam, both day and night?
  • How easy is Piper's mobile app to use for playback and live video?
  • How well do Piper's added bells and whistles work?

***** *** ******* *** disadvantages ******* ****** ****** *******:

***********

  • ** ******: *** **** ** *** sort ** ****** ***** users *********** **** ****** through ******** ****** ** the ******** ** ***** to ****** ***** ***** ***** they **** **** **** their ******.
  • ** ******: *** **** ** *** sort ** **** ****** or **** ********** ********* makes ******* ***** *********. This ******* ** ******** in *******, *******'* ********, Canary, *** **** ***** consumer ******.
  • ****** ******* *****:** $*** ***, ***** NV ** ****** **** than **% ****** **** many ******** *******, ********* priced ****** ~$*** (****** these ** *** ******* Z-Wave ** **** ************* features). *******, **** **** Piper's **** ***** ******* offsets **** ****** ****.
  • **** ***** *******: ***** **'* ***** ******* is **** ******** ** Dropcam *** ******, *** to ****** ***** **** its ***° **** *** weak ** ************, ******* its ****** *.* ** resolution.

**********

***** *** ***** *** advantages ***** ** *** competitors:

  • **** *****: *****'* ***** ******* ** free (*** "**** ****** clips"), ****** **** ***** competitors . **** ******* to * ******* ** about $*** *** **** over ******* ** ******, whose ***** ***** ** ~$10/month *** ******.
  • *-**** ************:*****'* *-**** ******** *** found ** ***, ** any, ******** ****** ***********. Though ******* ****** ** contacts *** ********, **** may ** **** *** basic **** ********** *********, which *********** ** *** offer.
  • **** ******:***** ****** ************* ********** information *** ***** ** most ******** ******* (***** from ******). 

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

*****'* ****** ** ******* by **** ***** ******* and ** ************, ** well ** ******* ********* (lacking ****** *** ******), coupled **** * ***** tag ****** **** *** vast ******** ** *********** options. ***** ****** ******* for **** ** ***** remote ********** ***** ** served ****** ** ******* Pro ** ****** (***** offers **** ** *** same ************* ********** ********* and ***** ** ***** as *****).

*****'* *-**** ************ **** its **** ****** *** ***** seeking ***** **** ********** functions (********** *****/*******, ******* lights **/***). ***** ******* these ******** ***** **** ***** video *** **** ***** ******* and **** ****** **** purchasing ******* ******** ****** (Dropcam, ******, ***.) ** addition ** * ********** home ********** ******** (*.*., SmartThings, ****, ****). *******, those ******* ******** **** automation ********* **** ** complex ***** *** ********* or **** ****** ************ (thermostats, ****, ***.) **** find ***** *******.

*******

*** ***** ** [**** no ****** *********] ***** for $*** *** ****** or through ****** *********. **** is $** **** **** the $********** ************ ********, *** ~$** **** than******.

***** **** *** * cheaper $*** ***** (***** Classic [**** ** ****** available]) **** *** ********** vs. *** *** ** integrated **.

********** *-**** *********** [**** ** longer *********] *** ***** sell *** $**.** *** switches *** *******, $**.** for ****/****** ******* *** $24.95 *** ***** ********* each. 

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

*****'* ***** ******* ** free, ******** "** ** 1000 ******** ** ******** events" ********* ** ***** support. ******* ******* $*.**/***** (7 ****) *** ** for **** *******, ***** Canary ****** **** ** hours ** ***** *** free ($*.**/** *** * days *******).

Physical ********

** **** * **** at *** ******** ************ of *** ***** ** ******* in **** *****:

** ***** ** ****, Piper ** **** ****** in **** **** ******* Pro *** ******* *** same **** ** ******. Below ** * ****-**-**** image ** *** * cameras:

Setup *******

******* ***** *** ***** is ******, **** *** mobile *** ******* ***** through ******** ** ******* and ****** * ******. *** camera ** ***** *** wi-fi *** ***** * ~5 ****** ***** *******, the ****** ****** *** firmware ****** ********* ** *** mobile **** *********.

App ********

** *** ***** ***** we ****** *** ***** mobile *** *** **** of *** *********. 

*** ***'* ****** ** "busy" ******** ** ***** consumer ****** **** ******* or ******, **** ******** buttons, ****, *** ********. It *** ** ********* to **** ******** ******** as ****. *** *******, Z-Wave ******* *** ***** via * **** ** the ******** ******, *** users **** ** ** the "********" *** ** set * ******** *** lights/switches, *** ** *** "rules" *** ** ********* the ****** **** ** event. ************* ***** ******** into ***** ***** ***** reduce **** *********.

**** ******

***** ******** * "**** Vitals" ******, ******* ************* data *** ****** ** consumer *******. ***** ***** not **** ****** *** outside ***********/********, *** ***** levels, ***** ******, *** motion ******, ** * graph ** *** **** 48 *****. 

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

***** *** *** ** rules *** **** ** **** modes (***** ****** ** changed): "****", "****", "********" and "***" (************ ****). Rules *** ** ********* based ** ***, ***** detection, ***********, ** *-**** contact *****, *** ******* recording, *** *****-** *****, Z-Wave ********, *** ************* to *** **** ***/** their "******* ******."

******* ****** ************* *** limited, *******, ********* **** text (** ***** ****), no ***** ** *********. This ***** ***** *** content ** * ****** notification. ***** ****** *** simply * ****-**-****** ******* of **** ************.

**** **** ******* ****** contacts ** *** **** access ** *** ****'* Piper, ******. **** ***** may **** **** * single *******, ***** **** be ****** ***** *****.

*** *** ***** ********* are ***** ** **** video:

Search *** ********

***** *** ********* **** a **** ** ****** in *** ***** ***, with ** *** ** searching *** ******** ***** of ****** ** ******** dates. ******** ** * clip ***** * ******** displaying ****** *** ***** events ***** *** ** scrolled *******, *** *** timeline ** *** ******* by **** ** *** or **** ****, ** searching *** ***** ******** more **** * *** hours *** ** *********.

************, ***** ** ** way ** ****** * clip ** **** **** a **********, ****** ******* video **** *********** ********* in **** ** * crime.

Z-Wave ***********

***** ******** *** ******* to *** *-**** *********** [link ** ****** *********], a ******* ***** ** few ***********. **** ** limited ** ******** ********, switches/dimmers, *** ***** *********, with ** ******* ** add ***********, ****, ** other *********** ****** ** full ***** **** ********** systems.

*-**** ******* ***** ******, with ***** ******* ***** in * ********* ****, then ******* *** ********** button ** *** ******. We *** ** ****** connecting ******** ** ******** in *** *****.

Image *******

***** ** ** *.***, which ** ****** **** most ** *** ********-***** cameras ** *** ******. However, *** ** *** 180° ***, ***** ** warped, **** ******* ** the *****, **** *****.

*****'* ***** ** **** darker **** **** *********** cameras ** *******. ***** may ****** ********** ** using * **** **** control, *** **** ******* to ****** **** ********** when *******, *** **** setting ** *** *****, forcing ***** ** ******** it ******** ***** ** viewed.

**** ***** ***** *** difference ** ********** ** full *****. **** **** this ******* **** *** function ** ***** **** with ** **.

************, *** ***° *** further ******* *** ** opposed ** *** ***° FOV ** ****** *** 130° *** ** ******* Pro.

**** *****

** **** ***** (~*** lux) *** ***** ******** fewer ******* **** *** Canary *** ******* *** to **'* *** *** for * ***° ***. *** subject's ******** *** **** detailed ** *** ****** and ******* ***, *** ***** */* of *** **** ***** slightly **** ******* (*****/*****).

** ********* *****, ******* on *** ***** ** the *** ** * problem, *** **** ** reached *** ** ***** for *******, **** ********* that "***** ******* ***** normal" *** ***** ** no *** ** ****** the *****.

****

** *** ****, *** Piper **'* ********** ** is **** ****** *** edges ** *** ***° FOV. *******, ******* *** objects **** *** ****** of *** *** *** illuminated ****, ****** ******** under ** ***********.

** *** *** ****** low ******* ** *** subject *** **** ***** again, **** ** ****** ********* usable ****** ** *** subject, *** **** **** legible ******* ** *** first **** ** *** chart.

*****'* ** ************ *** a ******* *** ****, with *** ************ ** the *****, **** **** as *** ******* ***** ****** *** room:

Comments (5)

Piper NV is 3.4MP...

Am I correct to assume that this camera streams to the cloud at 3.4MP?

A,

I spoke with support, and they claim that the "resolution used for live view is the same resolution streaming to the cloud". So yes, you are correct in assuming that the camera streams to the cloud at 3.4MP resolution.

So yes, you are correct in assuming that the camera streams to the cloud at 3.4MP resolution.

I wish I was correct, but in this case I'm not sure I am. It's confusing to me since on the one hand there's this direct from piper, saying that the camera, at least, is 3.4MP:

On the other hand, many top-line reviews of the product are saying that it records only 1080p, even while noting that the sensor is 3.4 MP.

Also, from the way tech support answered you, it wasn't clear if they were explicitly saying "3.4 MP streaming".

Curious, what were the original resolution of the images/clips you used in the review? What clever technique did you use to get them, since there is no downloading of clips supported?

Another question: Does the Piper NV have to be connected to the Internet even for Live View?

They seem to be making a big deal about their eptz capabilities, one guess would be that they are streaming at 1080p but doing live eptz zooming to the full sensor resolution. Like Dropcam pro but without the wand.

Thanks!

A,

We took screenshots and screen recordings off the tablets and smartphones used to access the camera, since there is no export option (as you know). Resolution for those was 1080p, and the camera needs to be connected to the internet for live view.

So maybe it streams up to the cloud at 3.4 MP and down at 2.1 MP.

Could be. Then you could zoom a recording for more detail after the fact...

Interesting.

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