Dropcam, Foscam, and Y-Cam | IP Camera Domination?By - 10/17/2014
One thing is certain. If you want to make it in the IP camera space, you have to add “cam” to your name. Actually, I’m not certain about that at all. I am certain that in a highly competitive market there are a few leaders including Dropcam, Foscam, and Y-cam. The majority of the world is choosing Dropcam but that doesn’t make it the right solution for you. Below I will break down the three cameras by feature to help you decide which camera wins and which camera loses.
What They Have in Common
Let’s just knock one thing out. They all three have a few things in common. They are all IP cameras, they all lack battery backup and are internet dependent. At the same time, they all have motion sensing capabilities which tell the camera to record if motion is detected. Also, all three models we reviewed record with 720p resolution.
Each manufacture makes multiple cameras but for the purposes of this review we will focus on three cameras that are somewhat similar in features; the HomeMonitor HD, the Dropcam Pro, and the Foscam FI9821W.
Again, buyers will find that the camera specifications are rather similar on the HomeMonitor HD, the Dropcam Pro, and the Foscam FI9821W. All three cameras record video at a resolution level of 1280x720p, they do not offer battery backup, and they all have night vision.
There are some subtle differences. The HomeMonitor and the Dropcam are easier to install than the Foscam camera and that sets them apart. Also, there are some differences in the cameras ability to zoom. The Dropcam can zoom 8x while the other cameras do not have a built-in zoom feature. I wouldn’t say zoom is an overly important feature as most photos can be enlarged on a computer but for security purposes we do like the option for two-way talk. Only Foscam and Dropcam offer two-way talk. Finally, HomeMonitor and Dropcam rely upon a wide-angle lens while Foscam’s design features a pan and tilt feature.
Dropcam. Dropcam has all the features of the other cameras plus two-way talk and zoom.
All three cameras come with access to a free mobile app. They all have an app for iOS devices and they all have an app for Android. All the apps will allow you to watch live streaming video and they all allow you to setup alerts.
HomeMonitor has a few additional apps up their sleeve. In addition to the iOS and Android app, they offer an app for Windows Phone and your Roku. Their app allows you to watch live and recorded clips from your smartphone or tablet. You can also use your computer or your TV thanks to their additional apps for smart TVs. Through the app you have remote control of your HomeMonitor cameras. You can turn the cameras on or off and customize your notifications. HomeMonitor allows email alerts and push notifications.
Dropcam only supports iOS and Android. Through the Dropcam app you can view the footage from all of your cameras at the same time. You can also set alerts which can be sent via email or push notification. Also, the app can be used to zoom in on the footage.
Foscam supports 3rd party apps. Through the 3rd party apps you can watch live footage, support multiple cameras, and also setup alerts. Foscam’s 3rd party apps are capable of sending push, email, or text notifications though some features and app makers may charge a fee. In addition to support for iOS and Android, Foscam does support the Blackberry.
Dropcam. I do like that HomeMonitor has a Windows app but Dropcam simply has a better app. It is more stable and really simple to use.
Y-Cam HomeMonitors offer free basic cloud storage. The camera comes with 7 days of free unlimited storage for all your video. There are no monthly fees for this but you can upgrade to add up to 30 days of video storage which does require a subscription.
Dropcam charges for cloud storage. They charge just under $10 per month for 7 days of cloud storage or $29.95 per month for 30 days of storage.
Foscam can provide local video storage. You can record direct to your hard drive and know that you have your pictures and information onsite. At the same time you can purchase a cloud storage plan from Foscam. Their plan starts at $8 per month for up to 4 cameras and 24 hours of video or you can use the free version for 1 camera and 30 minutes of live viewing, storage for 30 videos, and automated email alerts.
Tie Between HomeMonitor and Foscam. Foscam provides local storage which is an awesome option but I am starting to put more and more trust in the cloud. Pound for pound HomeMonitor’s free cloud service wins with 7 days of free cloud storage.
Outdoor Video Recording
Dropcam does not make an outdoor camera though third-party companies sell outdoor cases for the Dropcam. Even in a case, Dropcam will need to be able to connect to your internet and to a power source but their amazing night vision quality does make this a good option when combined with a case like the Dropcase.
Foscam makes several outdoor cameras and HomeMonitor has one outdoor camera. Both companies have added power over ethernet capability to their outdoor cameras. The Foscam FI9805E POE IP Camera compares to the HomeMonitor HD Pro outdoor camera. Both cameras have night vision but when considering an outdoor camera it is important to look into how the outdoor night vision performs. The HomeMonitor outdoor uses 24 infrared LEDs so that you can see up to 10m at night while the Foscam uses 36 infrared LEDS so you can see up to 30m at night. The Foscam also has a higher resolution of 960p vs the HomeMonitor at 720p. The HomeMonitor tech spec wise is not as strong as the Foscam but it is more expensive. The HomeMonitor runs around $280 vs the Foscam which is $160. At the same time, owners of the outdoor HomeMonitor get access to free cloud storage.
HomeMonitor. Though Foscam has better night vision and a lower price, HomeMonitor provides free cloud storage and audio which are two important features in an outdoor camera.
Y-cam offers a proprietary solution called SmartBuffer. SmartBuffer uses the camera’s internal memory to start recording before an incident occurs or motion is detected. That way, your recorded footage gives you a better, total view of the incident.
Dropcam is a Nest company and is compatible with many home automation devices like SmartThings and potentially Apple’s Homekit in the future.
Foscam is a techies camera. You can do a lot of things with a Foscam including build custom software and create a local storage plan. The other cameras are easier to use but sometimes being a little more difficult is an indication of flexibility to use the camera the way you want to use it.
Dropcam. We love that Dropcam works with Nest and home automation devices. Being able to control all your things in one app makes Dropcam the category winner.
The HomeMonitor HD is $129.00 with free shipping. It can be purchased here.
The Dropcam Pro is $199.99 with free shipping. It can be purchased here.
The Foscam FI9821W is $89.83 with free shipping. It can be purchased here.