Dropcam vs Nestcam (What You Need To Know – 2021?)

How we reviewed: hands-on tests, hours studying Dropcam and Nestcam sites, and reading 100+ customer reviews.

Dropcam

Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Security Camera
primary 4 3

Our Rating

Starts at $120.57

  • 720p
  • 8x zoom
  • 130° field of view
  • 60 Second Setup

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Nestcam

Google Nest Cam Indoor - Wired Indoor Camera for Home Security - Control...
primary 4 3

Our Rating

Starts at $129.98

  • 1080p
  • 24/7 Live Streaming
  • 2-Way Audio
  • 2-Year Limited Warranty

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Last update on 2021-12-06 / Affiliate links / Ratings / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

By: John Fox

Nest and Dropcam are both currently owned by Google. This might make you wonder whether it’s meaningful to compare the two. However, as we discovered after extensive hands-on testing and evaluation in this Dropcam vs Nest review, there are significant differences between the two that might make you choose one over the other. For most people, however, we think the Nest Cam would be the better choice. 

Dropcam Pro Wi Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Security Camera

Dropcam

The Dropcam Pro is a compact WiFi security camera designed for indoors. The Dropcam Pro security camera provides 24/7 surveillance in high resolution. This footage can be viewed live from any device such as a Windows PC, Apple Mac, iOS devices, and Android devices.

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Although the camera transmits data wirelessly through WiFi, it needs to be plugged into a power socket. This is not necessarily a bad thing because security cameras that run on a battery don’t provide 24/7 footage and only turn on when they detect motion. 

google nest

Nestcam

The Nest Cam was launched after Google’s purchase of Dropcam. Hence, the Google Nest Cam draws a lot of inspiration from the Dropcam pro. But as we’ll see in the next section, it’s not quite the same.

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The Nest Cam security camera has high-quality 1080p HD camera footage that can be viewed from any location. The camera is also able to detect motion in the footage, which allows it to save a snapshot history of all the relevant events for up to 3 hours. You also get alerted via notifications on your phone when the camera detects motion. Like the Dropcam Pro, the Nest Cam also transmits data wirelessly through WiFi but needs to be connected to a power socket. 

We will go through the features of both cameras in the sections to follow. 

Compare Dropcam vs. Nestcam Top Features

Features

Dropcam

Nestcam

Indoor / Outdoor Usage

Indoor

Indoor

Video Resolution

720p HD

1080p HD

Night Vision

  • Yes
  • Yes

Works with Alexa

  • No
  • Yes

Info current as of 10/08/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Dropcam vs. Nestcam: Feature Face-Off

The two cameras have a lot of common features. First, we will review the features both cameras have and declare which of the two is superior in terms of each feature. The two cameras also have some exclusive features that are not common between the two. These standout features will be discussed in the next section. 

Video Quality 

videoquality

Both the Dropcam Pro and the Nest Cam have a 3-megapixel camera. The Nest Cam offers 1080p HD footage, whereas the Dropcam Pro only outputs 720p footage. Although both companies are owned by Google, the Dropcam Pro is manufactured at Nikon, the popular photography camera company. The Dropcam Pro has updated optics and an advanced image sensor which allows it 2 times sharper video quality than a normal 3-megapixel camera. However, this gain in sharpness is diminished by the Dropcam’s low resolution. Both of these cameras have a frame rate of 30 fps. This means that the cameras shoot 30 frames every second, which is quite adequate for indoor security. 

When we tested the cameras, footage from the Nest Cam was better than footage from the Dropcam Pro. However, the Dropcam Pro was able to provide better footage in bad lighting conditions. 

Winner: Nest Cam 

Although both of these cameras have 3-megapixel cameras, the Nest Cam offers a higher resolution of 1080p. 

Field of View 

dropcam field of view

Field of view is a measure of the amount of area in front of the camera that is covered by the camera. A larger field of view is generally considered a good thing in a security camera because a larger field of view allows the camera to see a greater portion of its surrounding. However, it’s slightly more subtle than that. 

Cameras with a larger field of view have special lenses that allow light from a wider range of angles to enter the camera sensor. This does not do anything to increase the resolution of the camera. Instead, the lens is able to fill more area into the same camera sensor. 

This is equivalent to placing a camera at a distance from the subject in order to capture more of the surroundings. The analogy goes beyond this. Since the lens as a wide-angle camera stuffs more area into the lens, the resolution of the objects in the center decreases; similar to when you move a camera away from a subject, you get a lower resolution picture of the subject. 

Large fields of view are good for an outdoor camera that have to cover a lot of areas. However, indoor cameras can cover an entire room if they are placed in a corner, even if they have a lower field of view. 

Both the Nest Cam and the Dropcam have a 130-degree field of view. This is more than adequate for an indoor camera, and both cameras can cover most of the room without having to be placed in a corner. However, the Nest Cam has smaller lens distortions which makes it slightly more favorable.

Winner: Draw 

Both of these cameras have a 130-degree field of view which is more than adequate for indoor surveillance. 

Smart Home Compatibility

smart home technology

 

Both the Dropcam Pro and the Nest Cam work with Nest Protect. However, the Dropcam does not have a lot of the smart features that the Nest Cam has since Google aims to merge the two companies into Nest. The Nest Cam works also works with Amazon Alexa, while Dropcam Pro does not. 

Winner: Nest Cam 

The Nest Cam is much more compatible with smart home technologies than the Dropcam Pro, which is only compatible with Nest Protect. 

Cloud Storage 

cloud storage data

Both the Nest Cam and the Dropcam Pro offer cloud-based storage, which allows you to view recorded footage any time you like. Both of these cameras store footage of events for up to three hours in the cloud, even if you don’t subscribe to the premium packages. 

The Dropcam subscription plan stores footage for up to 30 days. This means that you can view up to 30-day old footage of the camera anytime from anywhere. The footage also has activity events marked. This means that you don’t have to go through the footage looking for a particular event. You can view only the relevant parts of the footage that are automatically highlighted. 

The Nest Cam also has subscription plans. You can choose either the Nest Aware or the Nest Aware Plus plan. The Nest Aware plan costs 6USD per month or 60USD per year and stores 30 days of event video history. The Nest Aware Plus plan costs twice as much and stores 60 days of activity evet video history as well as 10 days of 24/7 video history. Both Nest plans also provide other services, such as instant notifications when a familiar face is detected.

Winner: Dropcam 

Both of these cameras have different cloud storage packages but the Dropcam Pto stores 24/7 footage for 30 days which gives the Dropcam Pro an easy win in this category. 

Night Vision 

nest cam

Cameras are able to see in the dark using infrared night vision. When it gets dark, security cameras turn on infrared bulbs that produce light that is invisible to humans but visible to cameras. This way, security cameras can see even in low light without lighting up the room. 

Both the Nest Cam and the Dropcam have infrared night vision. Both of these cameras are able to see in infrared light, and both of these cameras are equipped with 8 infrared bulbs. 

Cameras with night vision have one flaw. Even without infrared light bulbs, there is some infrared light around us from other sources that we cannot see while these cameras can. During the day when there is enough visible light, these cameras detect visible light as well as infrared light. This disturbs the quality of the footage. Excess infrared light can also oversaturate the camera sensor, making it hard for the camera to work properly in bright lighting. 

The Nest Cam has an infrared cut filter that is able to block infrared light from reaching the camera sensor. The infrared cut filter turns on when there is enough visible light for the camera to function normally and blocks infrared light. However, when it gets dark, and the camera turns on its night vision mode, the infrared cut filter turns off, allowing the camera to see in infrared light. (1)

Winner: Nest Cam 

Although both of these cameras have quite similar night vision capabilities, the Nest Cam’s infrared cut filter gives it a clear edge.   

Setup 

nest cam outdoor

Both cameras are quite easy to set up. Nest claims that these cameras can be set up within 60 seconds. When we tested these cameras, all we had to do to set up the cameras was to plug in the cameras and install the app. There isn’t much of a comparison here since both of these cameras are as easy to set up as security cameras can be. However, the Google Nest Cam has the addition of a strong magnetic base, which allows you to mount the camera to metallic horizontal surfaces with minimal effort. (2)

Winner: Nest Cam 

Both of these cameras are incredibly easy to set up, but with Nest, you have the option to mount it anywhere with a strong magnetic base. 

Stand Out Features 

Activity Zones 

outdoor nest cam

Both of the cameras discussed can detect motion in the range of the camera. However, if you only want the camera to detect motion in certain areas, you can do so by using activity zones. Activity zones are areas outside of which no motion is registered. For example, if you place the camera in a way that it can also see outside a window, you can select only the inside of the room as the activity zone. This way, you won’t receive a notification every time the trees outside your window move, and you won’t have to go through hours of irrelevant footage of moving leaves when you want to find an event. 

The Google Nest Cam allows you to create activity zones, whereas this feature is not available in the Dropcam. 

Intelligent Alerts 

mobile notification

If you subscribe to the Nest Aware or the Nest Aware Plus plan, you get some amazing features with the Nest Cam grouped under the term “intelligent alerts”. The camera can recognize familiar faces. It sends you a notification with the identity of the person when a familiar face is detected in the range of the camera. The camera can also detect and analyze sounds such as people speaking, dogs barking, glass breaking, and smoke alarm sounds. It sends you a notification for anything it detects. 

Communication 

google nest cam

The Google Nest Cam has a built-in mic and a speaker, which allows you to listen to live footage and communicate with anyone in the range of the camera. With Nest, you can communicate directly with your dog as if you were there. 



Wrapping Up

The Nest Cam and the Dropcam Pro have featured quite similar to each other since the Next Cam was made based on the blueprints of the Dropcam Pro. Google aims to merge the two companies into Nest Labs, and hence most of the newer smart features are only available to the Nest Cam. However, if you don’t care for any of the advanced features, the Dropcam Pro may be better than the Nest Cam since it doesn’t get hot. But you will still have to sacrifice a lot of video quality if you choose the Dropcam Pro over the Nest Cam. 

References

(1) blocks infrared light – https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/43389/what-common-materials-can-effectively-block-infrared-radiation
(2) magnetic – https://www.livescience.com/38059-magnetism.html