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 newsletter!
Apple iMac Pro
Ballistix Sport AT
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Toys for Boys
ESET Internet Security
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
ESET Smart Security Premium
Tivoli PAL BT
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
If you own an action camera, it’s probably a GoPro. But if you are planning on sharing any footage of your latest outdoor adventure with friends and colleagues, you will need more than just hardware. You will need software.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Nokia 7.1 review: A modest and modern mid-tier option
- 3 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 4 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 5 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
Latest News Articles
- Arlo announces 4K HDR wire-free security camera system
- Navman introduces the MiVUE dash cam
- Uniden adds Artificial Intelligence functionality to Wired surveillance range
- Logitech announces Logitech Rally
- Swann launches new wireless camera with Alexa integration
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?