Dropcam Echo review: A live streaming camera and app that are easy to set up and access
- Extremely easy to get up and running
- You can't manage video streams via the mobile app
Dropcam makes live streaming a snap with simple installation and a handy accompanying Android or iPhone app.
Price$ 197.00 (AUD)
If you're a fan of The Office, you might recall the character Angela setting up a live stream camera so she could watch her cats while at work. There are, obviously, more practical uses for live streaming cameras, such as home security or a nanny cam, but many IP (Internet protocol) cameras are a pain to set up. Dropcam (US$200) is different: Setup is incredibly simple and monitoring your camera is a cinch. Dropcam also has compatible iPhone and Android apps, so you'll always have access to your camera--even when you're out and about.
Note: The listed RRP is based on Dropcam's US$200 online pricing.
Activating your Dropcam is incredibly simple. First, you plug the Dropcam into a power outlet (with the provided adapter) and into your router (with the included ethernet cable). Then, on your PC, go to www.dropcam.com/start to enter in your registration code, which you'll find on the simple single-page installation instruction card. After a few seconds, the Website will verify your code.
Next, you need to look at your camera to see whether it is connected to your local home network or not. You determine this by observing the color of the flashing front light on your camera. Initially, our camera flashed red, green and yellow simultaneously. According to the site (and the instruction card), this combination means that the camera is booting up. After a few seconds, the light turned green, indicating that the camera was online and secure.
And that's it! Our camera was set up and ready to go within a few minutes. You can tune into your feed via the Dropcam site. Simply log in to your Dropcam account and voilà: You're watching your Webcam from your office PC or your home laptop. As long as you have Web access, you can see your stream.
The video quality looked pretty clean overall. A bit of pixelation is detectable, and we noticed some jaggies whenever something (such as a cat) moved quickly across the screen. Our review unit wasn't configured to capture sound; if you want to record audio, you'll have to opt for the Dropcam Echo ($279).
The free Basic plan gives you free live viewing;, but to record footage, you'll have to pay for one of the two premium plans. The Plus plan ($9 per month) gives you 7 full days (168 hours) of online recording on Dropcam's servers. You can also download screenshots or video clips for permanent archiving. The Pro plan ($25 per month), gives you 30 days of online recording.
If you want to access your camera while you're on the go, be sure to download the compatible Dropcam app for Android or iPhone. We tested the Android app, which lets you use your mobile phone to watch your own camera as well as other feeds you subscribe to.
When you start up the application for the first time, it asks you whether you already have a Dropcam account. If you indicate that you're new to Dropcam, the app will jump you to a page with more information about the service, rather than to a sign-up screen. To sign up for a new account, you must go to the Dropcam Website and create a new account there. The process is quick and painless, though we wish that Dropcam had given us the option of signing up via the app as well. Once you sign into the app with your account number, you'll see a list of all of your Dropcam video feeds. From there you just tap the stream you want to watch; after some loading, a live video feed will be available from any of your subscribed channels.
Because the app relies on Adobe Air, you'll need a phone that can run Android 2.2 or higher. Disappointingly, you can't manage your streams via the app--you have to do everything through the Website. Video loading can take anywhere from 1 to 15 seconds, depending on your connection, and you can choose to receive notification alerts from your feeds. Video quality was acceptable, but the video stuttered a bit when we entered an area with poor coverage.
You can set up the app to alert you when there's new motion on your camera. For example, if your camera is set up for surveillance of your front yard, you can receive a push notification if someone starts trampling your rosebed.
Overall the app works well with the camera, but we missed having the ability to add more streams from the phone. We hope that functionality is added in a future update.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 3 Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode
- 4 Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- AT&T will acquire Time Warner for US$85.4b in content play
- Facebook adds Apple TV and Chromecast support as video push ramps up
- Remocam review: This security camera can control your home appliances
- Logitech's C922 webcam is the revered C920's vastly upgraded successor
- FBI faces lawsuit because it's stayed mum on iPhone 5c hack
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- CCSenior Support EngineerQLD
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CC3x DevOps / Integration Developers l AWS- Cloud- Linux- Puppet Ansible- JIRA-DNSW
- TPDigital Business AnalystNSW
- CCDigital Business Analyst - Apps DevelopmentNSW
- CCTelco Program ManagerVIC
- FTLinux EngineerNSW
- FTWeb Front- End DeveloperSA
- TPSenior Business Analyst - Travel and Expense Management SystemQLD
- CCNetwork Design EngineerACT
- CCSecurity AnalystACT
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantVIC
- FTSOE Team LeaderWA
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantNSW
- FTLinux EngineerNSW
- TPSQL Server DeveloperNSW
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCAgile CoachWA
- FTDatacentre Solution ArchitectVIC
- FTInfrastructure Solution ArchitectSA
- FTNode.js/API DeveloperNSW
- TPTechnical WriterACT
- FTSecurity System EngineerSA