Dropcam for the win

Following the theft of my bicycle in broad daylight from my attached garage… I’ve been looking at security cameras again.

Dropcam Mounted

A few years ago, I had searched high and low for a simple WiFi security camera to watch my driveway. I ended up trying a cheap model found on eBay that looked a bit shady. Everything I looked at was hundreds of dollars, but this one was only $100. Worth a try, I figured.

Driveway Cam

After a few tweaks to the settings, that camera turned out to perform well. Unfortunately, what I didn’t think about was the software side. For awhile I used SecuritySpy on my Mac Mini, but then my Mini died and left my camera sending signals to no one. Now it seems there’s a few web-based monitoring packages, so, after the theft, I decided to give CamCloud and Sensr.net a try. Sensr.net’s app and website is far superior to CamCloud, however, it is twice the price. I am still not sure if I can stomach $100/year for Sensr.net. I’d prefer a buy-once plan.

Driveway Watching

Another new development since I initially got my outdoor security camera is Dropcam. This camera is really impressive. It has HD video, two-way-audio, WiFi, and, best of all… a fantastic website and apps (iOS and Android). The only downside? It’s not weather-proof.

Since I can’t easily tell when my garage is open, I decided inside the garage would be a great place to try the Dropcam. I ordered it right before my vacation, so it was waiting for me when I got home. I popped open the little box, and followed the simple directions:

  1. Connect USB cable to camera and computer.
  2. Run application from camera’s disk.
  3. Create a Dropcam account.
  4. Type in a name for the camera and the WiFi info.
  5. Unplug the camera.
  6. Mount it somewhere and plug it in.

Done! Live footage streaming to my phone or website. The simple timeline shows when events are and lets you scroll around and replay. My phone gets push notifications when motion is detected, and lets me go to live view. The novel feature is that I can actually talk back to the garage via my phone!

Messy Garage

I’m really, really impressed with the Dropcam. Live monitoring, motion detection, and alerts are always free. I am currently using the 2 week free trial of the “Cloud Video Recording”, but that is $100/year and I’m not certain if that’s valuable enough for me. I’m really impressed with the tight integration of the camera with the app and website. By far the best combo I’ve seen. Hopefully they’ll do a weather-proof version at some point and I can replace my no-name driveway camera and consolidate to one software system.

For now, I’m wondering where else I could put another Dropcam… I have noticed a few Oreos missing from my stash…




  1. Cool. Stuff. Thanks for the review.

  2. And this prevents what? SO the thief see’s the camera and takes it first!

    • eliot

      August 16, 2013 at 9:09 am

      The camera has a motion notification, so I am able to tell if someone is in my garage. The theft that I mentioned happened while I was home. If I had had it installed, I could have gone outside and stopped them.

      Also, if I had had video footage of the person who took it, I could have pursued legal action. Since I have no proof of who exactly took it, I can’t.

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