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HomeMonitor, Simplicam, and Netcam HD: Can any of them beat Dropcam?

Michael Simon | Nov. 4, 2014
While Simplicam offers a good design, the Dropcam package is just too good, offering good looks and reliable video feeds with little fuss, says Michael Simon.

What Simplicam lacks in image quality, however, it makes up for in recording. Powered by ArcSoft's very affordable Closeli cloud service, Simplicam offers an array of monitoring and storage options. A rolling archive of footage is saved as your camera watches your home, but an hourly breakdown lets you navigate a full day with ease. Where the other storage services simply saved small clips of events, Simplicam uses color-coded bars to highlight motion, preserving the integrity of your feed and ensuring nothing is missed.

Simplicam's subscription rates are very competitive with Dropcam's--$5 a month or $50 a year will get you a day's worth of recordings, while 11 days will set you back $14 a month or $140 a year--but you get more than just cloud access. Bundled with any package is Simplicam's killer feature: facial recognition. Much like Dropcam's human tracking, Simplicam can identify when a person is walking past its lens, thus ignoring incidental movements from pets or shadows, which the other cameras constantly detected. It worked incredibly well and it's a fantastic feature if you're planning on using your camera to spot intruders.

You can set times to turn the camera off and adjust sound and motion sensitivity, and I particularly enjoyed Simplicam's approach to notifications. The app's alert settings go above and beyond, including separate toggles for motion, sound, and face detection. You can even choose to collect your notifications and have them delivered hourly, if you grow tired of the random buzzing.

Who's watching me?
At the end of my testing, I ended up back where I started. While I actually prefer Simplicam's design, the Dropcam package is just too good, offering good looks and reliable video feeds with little fuss. With one positioned near my front door, I can leave the house knowing that if my alarm fails me, there's a second line of defense that will let me see who's inside my home. None of its competitors could rival its video quality or ease of use, and now that it's under the Nest (and by extension, Google) umbrella, I expect we'll see a tight level of integration and subsequent expansion into home automation. On the other hand, if the Google angle creeps you out, the Simplicam is a great alternative.


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