Testing Samsung vs Google/Dropcam

By: Derek Ward, Published on Jul 14, 2014

Samsung is charging hard into IP cameras. Last year, they attacked the professional market with their WiseNet III launch.

Now, they are going after the consumer / residential market with their "SmartCam" offering.

Not only does Samsung have brand, they are leveraging a strong professional series into this space. Plus, their cloud camera does not charge any monthly fees, even for recording video.

However, Dropcam has established itself a the brand leader in this space, with incredible marketing and now their acquisition by Google.

We bought the 1080p Samsung SmartCam [link no longer available] and put it to the test against the Dropcam HD Pro: 

******* ** ******** **** into ** *******. **** year, **** ******** *** professional ****** **** ************ *********.

***, **** *** ***** after *** ******** / residential ****** **** ***** "********" ********.

*** **** **** ******* have *****, **** *** leveraging * ****** ************ series **** **** *****. Plus, ***** ***** ****** does *** ****** *** monthly ****, **** *** recording *****.

*******, ******* *** *********** itself * *** ***** leader ** **** *****, with********** ************ *** **************** ** ******.

** ****** *** ***** Samsung ******** [**** ** longer *********] *** *** it ** *** **** against *** ******* ** Pro: 

*** ****? ******* ** Google? **** *** ******.

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

Competitive ********

****'* *** *** ******** stacks ** ******* ******* on *** *******:

  • *****: ******* ***** ** ***************, requiring *** **** ** power *** ****** *** connect ** *** ******** to ***** ******. * web-based ****** ******* *** camera *** **** ** to *** ****'* ******* via ***************.*** [**** ** longer *********]. ******* ******** *** user ** **** *** camera **** ***** ******** via ***, ***** ******** the ****** *** ***** through *** ***** *******.
  • ************* ********: *** ******* ***-******* **** not **** ***** ********, **** a ****** ********* ** low, ******, *** **** quality ***** ** **** view. ** ******** ******* of *********, **********, ***********, ******* speed, ********, ***., ** available, ******* ** *******.
  • **** *****: ******* **** ***** ** simple, *** *** ******* (<1 ****** *****). * plug-in ** ******** ***** to ******* *** **** stream. *******'* ***** ** latency ** ************* ******, ranging **** * ** 10 ******* ** *** testing.
  • ***** ****/**** ********:***** *** ******* **** a ***** ****** *** live ***** *** ** viewed ** ******* **********, the ****** ******* **** at **** **********.
  • ******** *****: ********* *** ******** ******** video********, **** * ****** timeline (******* ** *******) which displays *** ******** ***** ** the ** ****. ******* does *** ***** ***** storage.
  • ********* ***********: ***** *** *** ****** SD **** ******* **********, *** **** ******** remove *** **** ****** ***** directly. **** *********** ***** during **** ******* *** be ***** ******** ** a ***** ** ********. This ** * *********** limitation ******** ** *******'* fully ********** *********.
  • ***** *********:********* **** *****, * models *** ********* ** Samsung's ******** ****, *** the ***** * *** ** resolution, ****** ****** ****, and ** *** ******* SD *********.
  • *****:~$*** *** ******, ******* ** *** ******* ***.

Other *** ******* ******

  • ** ************: ** ************ ** **** and **** *** **** the ****** ***** ** view.
  • ** **** *** *********** ****** **** *** include * ******* **** for *********. ***** ****** account *** **** **** in ***** ******, ********* ~$20 *** *** * 16GB ****.
  • ** ***********: ****** ******* ***** charges $*.** ** **** per ***** *** ********* video, *******'* **** *** recording ** ****** *** one **** ******** ** an ** ****.
  • *** *************:****** *******, *** ***-******* may ** ******** ** NVRs/VMSs *** ***** ** RTSP, *** **** ******* is ************. ** *****, for *******, **** ******* resolution ** ********* *** ONVIF, ***** ***** ******* connected ** *****. 

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

*** ******* ******** ***-******* ** one ** *** ********* competitors ** ******* ***, but ***** ***** ***** in **** *****.

***** ** **** ********* is ****** ** *** up, ******** *** ** confusing *** **** ***** due ** **** ** feedback ** *** **** interface. ************, ***** *** UI **** *** ***** export, ********* ** ***** from *** ** **** is ********* *** ******** the **** ** ****** the ** ****.

*** ********'* ***** ******* is ** *** ** better ** **** ***** and *** ****** **** Dropcam, **** * ***** field ** ****. *******, its ****** ** ************ pattern ******* ** ****** low ***** ***** **** *******, making ** **** ****** at *****.

**** ********* ************, *******'* no ******* **** ********* option ***** ** * key ************** ******* *******.

Setup *** *********

** ***** ** ************* the ******* *** ** the *** *****:

****, ** **** * look ** *******'* ***** *********:

SD **** ********

******* **** ** **** ***** is ****** *** *** most ****, **** ***** ******** *** date *** ********* **** (motion, ******, *****, ** continuous) *** ******* ******, with ***** ********** * timeline. *******, **** ** feedback ** *** **** interface ** ******** ******* makes ** **** ** if *** ** *** be ****** *** *** be ********* *** *****. 

**** ***** ***** ******** operations *** ***** ******:

***** *** ***** ** lacks *** **** ** export *********, ***** **** remove *** ** **** from *** ****** *** manually ****** ***** *** their **. ***** *** ***** sequentially (**.***, **.***, ***.), instead ** **** *** time *** **** **** were ********, ****** ********** video ********** **********.

**** ***** ******* ***** issues:

Physical ********

** **** * **** at *** ******** ************ of *** ***-******* ** **** brief *****:

Image *******

** ****** *** ***-******* against *** ******* *** ** **** *****, ****, and *** ******. *** SmartCam *** **** ** full ********** ***** ***** the ******* *** *** ****. The ***'* ** **** cameras *** ** **** in *** ***** *****.

**** *****

** **** *****, ****** a ~**' ********** ***** of ****, ******* *** ******* in *** ******** *** Dropcam. *** ******* ****** is **** ** **** 1-2 ***** ******* **** the **** *****, *** reading **** **** ***** is ******** ** ** required ** *** *********** applications ***** ******* *** intended ***. **** **** that *** *******'* ***** balance *** ********** ****** in * **** ******* image.

****, ** **

*** ********'* ** *********** has * **** ****** center *** ****, **** dim ************ ** *** edges, **** **** ** the ******* ***** ****** *** ****:

******* ** **** *******, the SmartCam ** ************ ** the ******* ***, ***** has * **** **** IR ************ *******, ****** our ******* ********** **** recognizable, **** **** ***********.

***

** ****** **** ******* against ** **** **** door ** **** *** performance. ******* *** ****** outdoor ********, *** ******** provides ********** ****** ****** of *** *******'* **** when ** ** *****.

*******, **** *** ******* ******** through *** ****, *** Dropcam *** ******** **** time ** ****** ********, resulting ** **** ******* of *** ******* ** he ******. *** ******** does *** ******* **** adjustment, **** *** ******* visible ** ** ***** through *** *****.

Comments (19)

Do both use the same processor from Ambarella ?

I believe both use Ambarella but not sure about whether they use the same model.

Samsung use their own processor.

The Samsung SmartCam is designed to be setup using a mobile device and without needing to connect to a wired network first using WiFi direct and the mobile app.

1) Power up the camera

2) Launch the SmartCam app

3) Press the wireless button on the camera

4) The app uses WiFi direct to detect the camera

5) Enter your wireless network name/password

6) Camera reboots, and your camera is available from the app/webpage/cloud service.

Undisclosed Samsung employee, why did you post this? We have a video above that shows the whole process. I am deleting this. If you think what we posted was wrong, feel free to say that explicitly.

The video and the text describes that you connect the wired connection to program the wireless network information. While you can do it that way, that is "old school". The WiFi direct method is much easier for an end user - they don't need to go downstairs to their basement and plug in to their router and then run upstairs to the pc, etc. WiFi direct allows for a quick wireless only setup using their mobile device.

This is a unique feature of this new model, which is why I posted the above. Thank you.

This was not shown in any of the documentation for the camera.

The documentation that comes with the camera as well as the documentation in the "add camera" wizard on www.samsungsmartcam.com only mentions wired:

We will check for what you're mentioning and add it later.

Silence the lambs, I am headed to the basement to plug in!

Would be interested to see how the Samsung compares in terms of notification alerts. My personal experience with Dropcam notifications has been poor, with inconsistent and often delayed notifications. Its also prone to false activations with few configuration options to filter these out.

Matt, I'll let Derek and Ethan comment on Samsung.

As for Dropcam, they are claiming / projecting a new release with improved analytic / alerting later this summer. When it comes out we will test it. I agree with you Dropcam's alerts are poor, as is.

Light changes seem to really confuse the Dropcam and cause the bulk of my alerts. Very frustrating.

...but reading text this small is unlikely to be required in the residential applications these cameras are intended for...

Reading text that small is also unlikely to be required in the applications they are not intended for... i.e. 90% of all applications.

Is the chart's purpose only to show us what size text we can expect to read when the camera is deployed?

Yes.

Well, now we know! Thanks for clearing that up.

Do'nt you think only that you can make jokes so fine, seriously?

Derek did and can, and beats you to the punchline!

Wait, I missed it, what size text is likely?

[Ethan, Rukmimi - stop agreeing, it's downright confusing!]

I always say dont get what you wish for. Easy easy easy means anyone can do it. The installation become commoditised. The consumer win, the mfg wins but integrator or installer looses. This then can expand into the commercial market. Typically, non netowrked sites. Plug and play gone wild.

A key difference is that Dropcam uses Flash plug-in, that would be already installed in almost every computer - making easier for the user (don't need admin rights to install anything). To make this possible, Dropcam probably developed their video encoder/muxer compatible with Flash video.

For Samsung I expected something better than a new proprietary browser plugin. Maybe the first service using the HTML5 <video> tag, and a fallback to flash video if necessary.

Undisclosed Samsung employee, please fix the copyright at the end of the page, as it says "SAMAUNG TECHWIN CO, LTD 2012." (www.samsungsmartcam.com)

The real question is, plug and play. Huge companies with huge dollars and go to market experience. Within a short time by bye CCTV installers helo Cisco, HP IT integrators.

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