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Is the Nest Cam a better buy than Dropcam? Find out here

Updated on March 1, 2016
Nest Cam vs Dropcam Pro
Nest Cam vs Dropcam Pro | Source

How does the Nest Cam compare with the Dropcam Pro

Researching to buy a home surveillance camera can sometimes be very confusing especially with the plethora of different opinions on the internet.

The Nest Cam and the Dropcam Pro are both very popular consumer home security cameras.

To make it easier to decide whether the Nest Cam or the Drop Cam Pro is better for you, what I would like to do here is to present the features and then laying the information side by side so that you can easily see the differences and similarities.

One main thing upfront that you may want to take note regarding both cameras is that in order to make the best use of the features you must be prepared to pay for its monthly service fees.

Both cameras do not have the ability top record locally and there are advantages and disadvantages to that. With a cloud service, the thief cannot steal your storage unit! The disadvantage is that you have to pay for it every month.

However if you accept that reality then both cameras do an outstanding job! Otherwise this one main reason has many people looking for other solutions.

Matt Rogers and Tony Fadell were both Apple engineers before they founded Nest Labs
Matt Rogers and Tony Fadell were both Apple engineers before they founded Nest Labs | Source

Before we proceed to look into the details, I think it would be interesting to highlight a little of the history of both the Nest Cam and Dropcam Pro video cameras.

Around 2010, an apple engineer Tony Fadell wanted to install an energy efficient thermostat in his vacation home. However could not find a thermostat that met his requirements in the market. Sensing the potential for such a product, he teamed up with his colleague Matt Rogers to setup the Nest Labs.

Google acquire their company four years later in January 14, 2014 for a whopping $3.2 billion in cash. In Jun the same year, the new Google owned company Nest acquired Dropcam; maker of the Dropcam security camera for around $550 million.

The Nest Cam, a third product for Nest Labs, was released later in Jun 2015. It is an upgraded and re branded security camera based on the very popular Dropcam that Nest bought over.

So in this review we are basically looking at two different products from the same company; Nest; with the Drop Cam Pro build and designed by Dropcam before it was acquired by Nest.

Here is a side by side comparison of the main and important features of the Nest Cam vs Dropcam Pro:

Nest Cam vs Drop Cam Pro

Nest Cam
Dropcam Pro
Two-Way Talk
Night Vision
Video resolution
1080p HD
720p HD
Dimensions (W x D x H)
2.8 x 2.8 x 4.5 inches
3.15 x 3.15 x 4.5 inches
7.1 oz
5.7 oz
Cloud Video Recording (CVR)
Access video from the past 10 days or 1 month
Access video from the past 10 days or 1 month
Night Vision
Remote Access
Cloud Server
Features of both cameras are nearly identical with the Nest Cam having a better video resolution and sturdier in construction
What are the similarities and differences between the Nest Cam and Dropcam Pro?
What are the similarities and differences between the Nest Cam and Dropcam Pro? | Source

In the above side by side comparison between the Nest Cam and Dropcam Pro, you can see that the main differences are in the size, weight and video resolution with the Nest Cam being bigger, heavier and having a better video resolution than Dropcam Pro.

Except for the brand name in the front of both devices, the hardware are both black and looks quite identical with the Nest Cam having a thinner neck.

Looking at the weight, I find that that the Nest Cam is very solid as it should be for a security camera. However if you put both side by side, then it is even more evident that the Nest Cam is more solid than the Dropcam Pro.

Even though the Nest Cam has a 1080p camera as compared to the 720p of the Dropcam Pro, many owners reported that it didn't really make much of a difference to them when they view it on their mobile phone or tablet.

You however do get better clarity and less pixelation with the 1080p resolution. Unless you look at the images produced by both cameras side by side, you probably wouldn't notice; especially when viewing it on the small screen of your smart phone.

A big benefit on the higher resolution is the ability to zoom into the picture and see a clearer picture as compared to the lower resolution Dropcam Pro.

Video capture
Video capture | Source

The microphone and speaker in the Nest Cam is also slightly improved over the Dropcam Pro but you would hardly notice the difference unless you really make the effort to differentiate them.

The Nest Cam’s eight infrared sensors also help you to see the whole room at night and is designed to know the difference between a torch and sunlight. Due to that ability, the Night Vision won’t turn off every time when bright light passes in front of the camera.

So am I surprised at the minor differences because the Nest Cam and the Dropcam Pro? No. The reason being the Dropcam Pro already has very solid features and it is a challenge to make huge improvements to it.

One big benefit that resulted from the acquisition was the paid Nest Aware service which combined the excellent Dropcam application with improvements in many ways.

Cloud service or just live streaming
Cloud service or just live streaming | Source

If you are already using the Nest apps for managing other Nest solutions like the thermostat or fire alarm then you will find it very convenient to access the Nest Cam from the same place. As an added convenience, you can also set up rules to have Nest Cam kick on or off based on activities from other Nest devices.

When you buy the camera you get a 30 days free trial. After that you can choose either a 10-day video history plan for $10/month (or $100/year), or a 30-day video history plan for $30/month (or $300/year).

Even though it may sound painful to pay for the subscription fees, the pricing charged by Nest is quite competitive in the market. Many people are however turned off by having to pay the subscription fees and as such both cameras are not suitable for them based on this factor alone.

You can however choose not to subscribe and get a live stream for free but with no access to video history after your free trial. For people who just want to monitor their homes without doing anything extra, then this is ideal.

As such it depends on your needs on whether you should subscribe or just go with the live stream if you find either one of these cameras suitable for you.

Is the Nest Cam better than the Drop Cam Pro?

At the time of writing, the Nest Cam cost around $199 while the Drop Cam Pro cost $250. The Nest Cam has better video resolution, is heavier and more solidly constructed. Both are from the same company.

So which should you choose? I think the answer is quite obvious.

Nest Security Camera, Keep An Eye On What Matters to You, From Anywhere, For Indoor Use, Works with Alexa
Nest Security Camera, Keep An Eye On What Matters to You, From Anywhere, For Indoor Use, Works with Alexa

If you are looking for a solid wired wifi security camera, then the Nest Cam is a good buy.

Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Security Camera
Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Security Camera

At approximately $50 more at the time of writing and slightly lower specs as compared to the Nest Cam. You may want to pick the Drop Cam Pro to add to you existing Dropcam Pro cameras.

Nest Smoke Detector and Thermostat
Nest Smoke Detector and Thermostat | Source

Integration to other Nest smart solutions

When you add more Nest products to your home, they can automatically work together and you can control them all from one place which is the Nest app.

For example, when you set your Nest Thermostat to Away, Nest Cam can automatically turn itself on. Switch your thermostat to Home, and Nest Cam will turn itself off again.

If your Nest Protect senses smoke, Nest Cam will automatically record what happens, even if you haven’t subscribed to Nest Aware.

These are some of the nice features to have.

What if I need wireless cameras?

Both the Nest Cam and Dropcam Pro need a power source for them to work but what if you don't have access to power or it is inconvenient or costly to string a wire to provide power to either cameras?

No problem. Check out the Netgear Arlo for this is one of the best wireless security camera around today. Find out in this Netgear Arlo vs Dropcam Pro review to see if it is better for you to get the wireless Arlo or just stick with the Nest Cam or Drop Cam Pro.

Which home security camera is more suitable for you

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