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CNET First Look
Dropcam Pro: New $199 HD wireless camera ups the image qualityDropcam's next-generation networked video camera uses an all-glass lens and larger image sensor to produce sharper images
I'm David Carnoy and I'm here with Dropcam's next-generation Wi-Fi video monitoring camera, the Dropcam Pro. If you've never heard of Dropcam it's a startup that's quickly becoming one of the leaders in DIY home video monitoring. The new camera looks very similar to the existing Dropcam HD which has dropped the HD part of its name and simply become Dropcam, but the Pro has a black stand, is a little thicker, and has a 6-element all-glass lens and a larger image sensor. Dropcam says you'll get 2 times sharper video during the day and 7 times better performance in low light conditions and at night. It also has a 130-degree field of view which is 20 percent wider than what you get with the standard Dropcam. Dropcam offers a free app for Android and iOS devices and you can also access your camera or cameras from a web browser on a computer. Real-time monitoring is free but Dropcam also offers a premium Cloud recording service which starts at $9.95 a month or $99 a year for 7 days of continuous recording. Well, the video resolution currently remains at 720p with the Pro, you can definitely see a significant difference in image quality and a new software update allows you to digitally zoom in on parts of the image up to 8 times on the Pro and 4 times on the standard Dropcam and then enhance the image after you zoom to bring back some of the detail loss while zooming. It's very Blade Runner-esque. Those of you who've seen the movie know what I'm talking about. That zooming feature gives you the flexibility to monitor only a portion of a larger image or to put in another way monitor a certain part of a room that made you less constrained by where you initially placed the camera and Dropcam sees this as a way around providing pan and tilt hardware features that would make the camera even pricier. Along with the improved audio quality in the Pro, yes the camera records sound. The other big feature upgrade is the addition of Bluetooth LE which stands for Low Energy and is also referred to as Bluetooth Smart. Having built-in Bluetooth allows you to set up the device via a smartphone or tablet instead of having to connect to your computer. You simply pair the phone to the camera and then log it on to your home Wi-Fi network and you're good to go. It's definitely easy and you can add multiple cameras around the house if you want. They just have to be plugged in to a power source. In the future, Dropcam has plans to add other Bluetooth accessories such as a temperature sensor that will connect to the camera which would act as a hub for other home monitoring devices. I've liked Dropcam's DIY video monitoring solutions since it first launched several years ago and has only gotten better as the company continues to make it more user-friendly and enhances both the cameras and the software that powers the free and paid monitoring services. Like any wireless video product it's going to work even better if you have a reliable Wi-Fi network and a fast internet connection. That said I've used it with a more sluggish DSL connection and it mostly worked fine. At $199 the Dropcam Pro costs $50 more than the standard Dropcam which remains on sale. That may be a little pricey for some people, but I do think it's worth paying the extra 50 bucks for both the sharper video and Bluetooth feature which makes setup easier and gives you the option to add accessories in the future. I'm David Carnoy. That's the Dropcam Pro. Thanks for watching.