Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
Samsung's $189 SmartCam HD Pro was designed to compete directly with the $199 Dropcam Pro . As far as IP cameras go, both offer straightforward setup, an impressive array of app-related features, and 1080p resolution, but the Dropcam Pro still feels like a more-complete camera. The Dropcam Pro's camera is durable yet streamlined; both its Web and mobile apps are thoughtfully designed, and the video quality is particularly crisp. The SmartCam HD Pro is still a very good camera that offers appealing extras such as local SD storage, but I would still spend the additional $10 for the Dropcam Pro's superior app interface and video quality. And if you're looking for a more security-focused, wireless networked camera, consider the $239 Piper all-in-one security system.
The SmartCam HD Pro looks much more like a mini smoke detector than an IP camera. Its 10.3 ounces is definitely bordering on clunky compared to the 5.7-ounce Dropcam Pro. And while the Samsung's design is bigger, it doesn't feel nearly as durable as the Dropcam Pro. That's probably because Samsung's camera has a lot of plastic components, while the Dropcam Pro is decked out in substantial-feeling metal parts. That also makes the $189 SmartCam HD Pro feel significantly cheaper than the $199 Dropcam Pro.
The SmartCam HD Pro is available in a glossy white finish that isn't exactly inconspicuous, but it isn't terribly offensive, either. Like the Dropcam Pro, you do have the option of mounting your camera on a wall or using the base to place it on a flat surface. Here's a comparison chart of major Samsung SmartCam HD Pro and Dropcam Pro features and capabilities:
|Weight||10.3 ounces||5.7 ounces|
| 4.7 by 3.3 by |
| 4.5 by 3.15 by |
|Field of view |
|128 degrees||130 degrees|
|Video|| H.264, 1,920x1,080 |
30 frames per second
| H.264, 1,920x1,080 |
30 frames per second
|Mobile app|| Android: 2.3 or higher |
iOS: iOS 5 or higher
| Android: 2.3 or higher |
iOS: iOS 6 or higher
|Zoom||4X (mobile), 10X (Web)||8X|
|Local storage||Yes, SD card||No|
While there are a lot of basic similarities between the two cameras, there are two glaring differences. Samsung's IP offers SD card storage (whereas the Dropcam Pro offers optional cloud-based recording starting at $9.95/month or $99/year) and the Dropcam Pro has additional home automation opportunities via Bluetooth low energy (BLE). Also, the SmartCam HD Pro's 128-degree field of view versus the Dropcam Pro's 130-degree field of view may not seem significant on paper, but there's a pretty noticeable difference between the two when you're watching live footage on the app.
Speaking of the app, Samsung makes sure that you have plenty of features to customize your experience. You can adjust the speaker and microphone for sensitivity, there's a night vision feature that you can turn on or off as needed, and there's also an optional wide dynamic range (WDR) feature. Strong light can cause other things inside your house to appear darker; opting into WDR will fix that. I found that it worked extremely well.
You can also turn on motion and/or audio detection and adjust the sensitivity of both, depending on your needs. Then you will receive notifications whenever an event is triggered. The Manual Recording option will send video (both recorded events and continuous recordings) to your microSD card, Capture saves video frames to your photo album, and Two-way Talk lets you speak to someone in your home directly from the camera.
Samsung also loaded a few lullabies into the app, so you can press the music notes icon for an instant baby monitor. Video brightness and the ability to select up to three zones inside your home for targeted motion detection are also features available to you on the app. A lot of options are packed into both the mobile and Web apps, but the design is underwhelming and utilitarian. The Dropcam apps, on the other hand, are both functional and visually appealing.