updated 09:00 am EDT, Thu October 10, 2013
Pro model sells alongside basic Dropcam
Dropcam has introduced an upgraded version of its Wi-Fi video monitoring camera. The next-generation Dropcam Pro brings a long list of improvements, centering around a new six-element all-glass lens with a 130-degree field of view. Better optics are paired with a larger image sensor that is claimed to provide 2X sharper video during the day and a seven-fold sharpness improvement in low-light conditions or at night.
Rather than utilizing a mechanical zoom system, the Dropcam Pro supports a unique digital zoom system that still retains HD video quality even when the feed has been refocused on a smaller portion of the field of view. The feature is available via a pinch-to-zoom gesture on the Dropcam mobile apps, with up to 8X enhancement on the Pro or 4X enhancement on the basic camera.
Other upgrades include a new microphone with double the sampling rate, along with a louder speaker for two-way communication. The Wi-Fi radio has also been swapped for a dual-band component that can be connected to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, while the initial configuration can be handled directly from a mobile app rather than requiring the cameras to be plugged into a computer.
The company is taking a step forward with Bluetooth LE integration, enabling the Dropcam Pro to serve as a hub for other sensors in the home. The system can potentially be used with Bluetooth-equipped door knobs and even dog collars, providing additional data when a resident arrives at home or when a pet triggers a motion alert. A beta feature further attempts to recognize motion patterns and organize clips into customized groups.
Dropcam Pro is expected to ship on October 22 for $199, while the basic Dropcam still sells for $149. Viewing live feeds from a browser or mobile app is free, while the optional Cloud Video Recording service provides seven days of continuous recording fofr $10/month or 30 days of recording for $30/month.