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The two units look almost identical but Nest has added a few new features to the Nest Cam as a way to entice buyers away from the Dropcam product line, but fortunately, the new Nest app can control both the Nest Cam and the Dropcam Pro.
Either camera is an excellent home security solution with a lot more features than many of the competing home security cameras on the market and the Nest Cam is easily integrated with other Nest products (such as Nest Protect), but what are the actual differences between these two products? Keep reading to find out.
In a hurry? Check out the key advantages of both in the table below. Otherwise, read on for the full details.
|Nest Cam Advantages||Dropcam Pro Advantages|
|Similar price, see here, despite being newer||Better IR “night vision” (25 ft. vs 20 for Nest)|
|Stronger magnetic base||Still compatible and communicates with other Nest devices (including the new Nest Cam)|
|Freshly updated mobile application|
|Easier integration with the Nest “smart home” family + future devices|
Contents (Jump to)
Dropcam Pro Features & Specs
The original Dropcam HD only provided users with 4x digital zoom capabilities; Dropcam Pro provides twice as much digital zoom power at an impressive 8x.
The enhanced visual quality of the Dropcam Pro is way ahead of both its predecessor and most of the other home surveillance cameras on the market – despite the fact that Dropcam Pro does not have pan and tilt functionality.
The wide angle lens of the unit (130° compared to only 107° in the original Dropcam HD), combined with the digital zoom, allows users to see anything in a room without the need for more expensive and complicated pan and tilt functionality.
Measuring in at 4.5” x 3.15” x 3.15”, the Dropcam Pro is small enough to stash just about anywhere (this measurement includes the stand). Without the stand, the puck-shaped camera can be discreetly placed although mounting it properly can prove to be rather difficult.
Dropcam Pro does not have an Ethernet port but it does provide a unique feature that eliminates the need for an Ethernet port to begin with: dual band wireless technology. Dropcam Pro will automatically choose either 2.4GHz or 5GHz (if available) during the initial setup of the device.
Although the range of 5GHz wireless is slightly less than 2.4GHz technology, the increased bandwidth of 5GHz is perfect for streaming the HD video recorded by the unit.
Dropcam HD works with every major Web browser as well as the mobile apps available for both iOS and Android.
Even though digital zoom looks awful in most applications, the digital zoom of the Dropcam Pro uses a special enhancement algorithm (accessed by clicking on the magic wand in the mobile app) to provide an extremely clear image even when zoomed to the maximum 8x.
The camera sensor is massive on this device which allows for excellent video, even at night. Using only 8 IR LEDs (the previous version had 12), the night vision capabilities of this camera are impressive to say the least.
Perhaps one of the only caveats of the Dropcam Pro is that there is no integrated battery option.
The unit is powered by a USB cable. In defense of the unit, adding a battery would significantly increase the size of the camera (not a good thing) and the fact that it runs off of a standard USB cable means that consumers can opt to purchase a USB-compatible external battery pack if desired.
Dropcam Pro also offers a cloud-based recording service known as CVR that can be purchased for a monthly fee.
This service, which is also available for Nest Cam, is rather pricey but allows for either 10 day or 30 day cloud recording. These videos can be viewed online or even downloaded to a local computer (Dropcam Pro doesn’t have onboard storage capabilities).
Nest Cam Features & Specs
Interestingly enough, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the Dropcam Pro and the Nest Cam. After Nest’s acquisition of Dropcam, the company chose to reuse much of the technology that made the Dropcam Pro so popular in the first place.
In fact, the cameras in both devices are nearly identical to the point that the tripods for both units can be interchanged.
Differences: The major differences between these two units are the product branding and the new and improved magnetic base with optional tripod mount. The magnetic base is strong enough to attach itself to most metal objects in the home but also includes screws and mounting hardware ‘just in case.’
Another significant difference between the two devices is that Nest has released a freshly updated mobile application to accompany its new product. This mobile app, available for Android 4.0+ and iOS 8+, is extremely intuitive and allows for two finger pinch to zoom.
Fortunately, the new app is also compatible with the Dropcam Pro and Dropcam HD so adding additional cameras to an existing home setup is easy and 100% compatible
Similarities: Like Dropcam Pro, Nest Cam offers users the ability to subscribe to a Cloud Video Recording (CVR) service that allows for up to 30 days of continuous video storage in the cloud.
These videos can be retrieved via the mobile app or any major browser – complete with timestamps to organize events in chronological order.
The only real problem with CVR is the cost: $10 per month for 10 days of cloud video storage and $5 for each additional camera in the home or $30 per month for 30 days of storage and $15 for each additional camera.
This can get expensive quickly but since the Nest Cam does not offer onboard storage, users are left with little choice if video recording is important.
Like most other Nest products, the Nest Cam can integrate with other Nest products such as Nest Protect.
Nest Protect (available here) can detect carbon dioxide and smoke in the air and will automatically turn on the Nest Cam when an event is detected so you can see what is going on no matter where you are at the time.
Interestingly enough, even though both Nest Cam and Dropcam Pro have the same number of IR sensors and an almost identical camera design, the Nest Cam is only rated for 20 feet of night vision range while the Dropcam Pro has a rating of 25 feet.
Slight differences in the night vision algorithm, as well as the sensor size, are most likely to blame for this inconsistency.
How does the Nest Cam compare to other security cameras?
So Which One is Better Anyway?
The reality is that there isn’t much difference between the two devices. At the time of this writing, both units are priced around the same and both cameras offer a similar feature set that is still light years beyond the offerings from many other home surveillance product manufacturers.
The Nest Cam is slightly newer and represents the first product put out under Nest branding since the acquisition of Dropcam by Nest last year.
Also, the fact that Nest Cam is able to integrate easily with other Nest products such as Nest Protect (and supposedly other home automation gadgets in the future) is a selling point in favor of Nest Cam. The slimmer magnetic base and optional tripod are also an improvement over Dropcam Pro.
At the same price point, the better option is to purchase a Nest Cam unless the extra five feet of night vision range is very important and you aren’t as worried about future integration with other Nest products.
Either way, both cameras are exceptional in just about every way – you will not be disappointed with either choice as they both represent the absolute best in terms of quality and available features in the home surveillance camera marketplace.
Personally, I’d go with the Nest Cam. I currently have two older Dropcams integrated with 1 new Nest Cam and they all “play nice” together. With the price being equal today, I don’t really see the need for the Dropcam Pro over the Nest Cam.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!