Extend Your Pain Cave: DropCam HD Review

If you’re like me, you are reconsidering the layout of your pain cave for the winter. If you are also like me, you have a life busy with kids and thus you also sometimes struggle with keeping an eye on them while riding on the trainer. This dilemma is especially problematic for me as I am expecting my fourth child in the next week or two. As combining my pain cave with the nursery was not an option per my wife, I decided to look for the next best solution. Enter the Dropcam HD.

What is it?

Dropcam HD is small remote camera you can set up anywhere and monitor remotely via the internet, iPhone, or Android phone. I won’t repeat the stuff on Amazon. I would go there for a great run down of the publicized features. Let’s get to the real world experience.


Here is the box that arrived from Amazon today.

Pop open the lid, and its already clear that this is designed to be an easy setup process.

Here are the setup directions. I followed them and the entire procedure took about five minutes. That includes running around to set it up and downloading the iPhone app.

How does it really work?

First up, it doesn’t look HD to me, but maybe I need to mess with the settings. However, it is clear enough to do what it needs to do: provide me a view of the room. Here is what the video feed looks like on my iPhone when the room is lit up by an overhead light.

This is an untouched screen shot.

It does have a night vision view, and here it is. I was able to spot my dang cat crawling into the crib with it.

Untouched iphone screen cap of night vision. Cue Paranormal Activity fans.

Here is the vertical view. Notice that you have the option to speak over the internet through the camera. So you can say things like “stop eating the crayons” or “bring daddy a bucket please!”

The camera does come with online DVR storage. If you are paranoid about your data, you might cringe at that, but I am, for better or worse, pretty trusting with that. You can set the camera to send you a text, email, or notification when something moves or makes a noise in the room. When you answer that notification, you can review the video from the event.

If you are a particularly open type of individual, you can also share your camera feed, or even make it public. No, I am not doing public views of my winter Sufferfest sessions.

The oddest thing I have noticed is that there seems to be a 1-2 second lag between actual motion and motion on the iPhone. I don’t know if this is less so with a better Wifi connection. I have a Airport Extreme router. I will keep an eye on how this goes over the next few days.

The unit itself is tiny yet heavy enough to stay stable on a table. Here is an important point: it must be plugged into an outlet to work. So while I can move it around easily and put the camera wherever I want, I need to have access to a plug.


So far, for 150 dollars, I am happy with this product. As soon as I can get back to riding (see prior post) I will test it out on the kids. If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to monitor your home/family while you’re busy doing whatever it takes to conquer the field, I highly recommend it!

About Ironvan

From couch potato to Ironman triathlete in 2 years.

Posted on September 26, 2012, in Gear and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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