To view streams through the website, you’re going to need to download a plug-in. Like the DropCam, the SmartCam has a few seconds of delay. However, once everything is set up, it’s insanely easy to receive images through the website and the app. The SmartCam also offer on-screen options for flipping the image, vertically and horizontally, adjusting the camera’s brightness levels, muting and un-muting audio, snapping a still, and sharing with the aforementioned Picasa, Twitter, YouTube and email options.
Using a side-by-side comparison to the DropCam, I found the SmartCam’s images to be more crisp and clear, with a wider shot of the room. This was a bit of a shocker, given the DropCam’s 720p capabilities. The SmartCam only offers a 640-by-480 resolution. However, I found the colors to be brighter and the images to be better looking overall.
That said, the DropCam does offer features that you won’t find on the SmartCam. The DropCam offers pan and zoom options, which is something that the SmartCam is lacking. If you see a little something moving on the SmartCam’s screen, there’s no way to zoom in.
Both the DropCam and the SmartCam are decent options, if you’re looking for a cheap, real-time security option. It’s nice to know that the house isn’t on fire and that no one is randomly helping themselves to your belongings. I did think that the SmartCam offered a better image, but the DropCam HD has storage (for a monthly fee) and features that allow you to scope out several parts of the room. Otherwise, the differences between the two cameras are almost negligible. And as long as you don’t expect ADT-style service, you’ll be pretty pleased with what either camera can do.
A shot of my living room using the DropCam HD.
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Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.