Belkin NetCam HD+ Wi-Fi Camera review: Belkin tries for entry-level security camera supremacy

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The Good This comparatively inexpensive IP camera has a lot of high-end features including night vision and two-way talk. It's also compatible with Belkin WeMo products.

The Bad You need to pay the $10 monthly or $100 yearly fee to store video clips and receive motion-related push notifications. You are dependent on the Belkin servers and the video quality can't rival the Dropcam Pro's.

The Bottom Line Belkin's NetCam HD+ is a fantastic option for budget-minded DIY security enthusiasts, but you'll need to pay the monthly fee to get the most from this entry-level IP camera.

8.0 Overall
  • Features 7
  • Usability 9
  • Design 9
  • Performance 7

Belkin's $130 NetCam HD+ (£130 in the UK, and AU$170 in Australia) is an updated version of the brand's existing NetCam HD. The basic NetCam HD had decent specs already, but Belkin added two-way talk and WeMo product integration to its latest iteration -- these extra features give the new NetCam HD+ Wi-Fi camera a unique edge over other DIY security IPs.

While its 720p resolution didn't match the $199 Dropcam Pro's 1080p, it still returned a pretty clear image on both the web and mobile apps (although that could vary depending on your Wi-Fi connection). And, if you spend $10 a month or $100 a year on the optional Cloud+ services, you can save 14 days of clips and receive instant push notifications whenever the built-in motion detector senses activity. Overall, Belkin's $130 NetCam HD+ delivers high-end features at a comparatively affordable price and I think it's a great fit for anyone interested in a solid lower-cost IP camera -- just be prepared to trade some video quality for the HD+'s value.

Curb appeal

The NetCam HD+ has a white finish and is made up of plastic components, with the exception of a small metal joint that connects the camera to its stand. That metal component makes it very easy to adjust the camera angle as needed. While the HD+ doesn't feel as durable as the Dropcam Pro, it is well proportioned and nicely designed -- especially compared with Samsung's top-heavy $189 SmartCam HD Pro .

The box includes the camera, an integrated stand, a power cord, and hardware for optional wall mounting. It has a 95-degree diagonal field of view and a glass lens. Since the $199 Piper security system has a 180-degree glass fish-eye lens, this 95-degree lens isn't particularly impressive. But, that shouldn't be a problem if you want to monitor a smaller room or a particular section of your home or business.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

While Belkin's HD+ doesn't have Dropcam Pro-level optics, the local SD card storage of the Samsung SmartCam HD Pro, or the Z-Wave compatibility and additional environmental sensors of Piper, a side-by-side comparison may make you think twice before spending $199 on a Dropcam when you can get something pretty similar for $130.

The HD+ has a speaker and a microphone, free real-time monitoring, night vision, and the option of 14-day cloud storage and motion-related push notifications for an additional $10/month or $100/year. You can also set up rules with Belkin WeMo products on the WeMo app.

Here's a rundown of the NetCam HD+'s options versus the competition:

Belkin NetCam HD+ Dropcam Pro Piper Samsung SmartCam HD Pro
Price $130.00 $199.00 $199.00 $189.00
Color White Black White White
Field of view (diagonal) 95 degrees 130 degrees 180 degrees 128 degrees
Video quality 1,280x720 1,920x1,080 1,920x1,080 1,920x1,080
Cloud storage Yes, $10/month or $100/year for 14 days Yes, $10/month or $99/year for 7 days or $30/month or $299/year for 30 days Yes, saves up to 1,000 clips at no extra cost No
Local storage No, but you can download clips from the Web app No No Yes, SD card
Glass lens Yes Yes Yes Yes
Night vision Yes Yes No Yes
Mobile app Yes, Android and iOS Yes, Android and iOS Yes, Android and iOS Yes, Android and iOS
Web app Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth No Yes No No
2-way audio Yes Yes Yes Yes
Motion and sound alerts Motion only, and limited to email alerts unless you subscribe to Cloud+. Yes Yes Yes
Protocol integration No No Yes, Z-Wave No

The nitty-gritty

This IP camera was very easy to set up. Basic instructions are included in the box, but the Belkin NetCam Android or iOS app can also guide you from start to finish. The whole process took less than 10 minutes.

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