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Keep watch: 5 cloud security cameras

June 25, 2013 06:00 AM ET


The D-Link 932L is the least expensive camera of the test group while offering the most robust set of configuration options. The flip side of that is that the portal software wasn't as easy to use as some other offerings. But if you're okay with a 640 x 480 pixel images, the 932L is a good value.

The $149 Dropcam offers 1280 x 720 pixel image quality, worked reliably in tests and was very easy to set up and use. It's an excellent choice for basic video security monitoring, especially for the less technically adept.

Samsung's portal for the 640 x 480-pixel SmartCam SNH-1011N was also easy to use, and its ability to upload video clips directly to your YouTube account could save you money on a cloud storage subscription. But the camera is quite a bit more expensive than its closest competitor, the D-Link 932L, and I experienced technical glitches when using the portal and mobile apps.

Logitech's 750n, which uses home electrical outlets and wiring as its network, avoids the interference and range limitations associated with relying on Wi-Fi. Given that mobile users will also be dealing with bandwidth issues and propagation delays associated with cellular wireless, the value of eliminating Wi-Fi cannot be overstated. The camera's software also allows for recording and playback on a PC or Mac without the need to pay a monthly subscription service.

The VueZone is your best bet if you need to place cameras in areas where a power outlet isn't accessible. It offers the only service that can monitor the location of your iPhone and turn itself on and off when you leave and return home. And if you're planning to keep many images and video clips, the sortable library and image thumbnails provided by the premium subscription service make finding stored videos much easier than trying to pull them off a timeline.

5 cloud security cameras

D-Link DCS-932L Dropcam HD Logitech 750n Netgear VueZone Samsung SNH-1011N
Price $80 $149 $300 $200 $145
Base station required? No No Yes Yes No
Maximum resolution (pixels) 640 x 480 1280 x 720 960x720 640 x 480 640 x 480
Maximum frames per second 30 30 15 7 30
Snapshot mode (highest resolution) 640 x 480 1280 x 720 960 x 720 1600 x 1200 640 x 480
Lens size (mm) 5.0 4.5 17.5 3.6 3.2
Lens f-stop f-2.8 f-2.0 f-2.0 f-2.8 f-2.0
Viewing angle (degrees) 45.3 107 130 110 58
Zoom 4x digital 2x digital 3x digital 4x No
Pan/tilt? No No Digital Digital No
Set motion detection zones within image Yes No Yes No No
Microphone? Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Two-way talk? No Yes No No Yes
Night vision? Yes Yes Yes No (available w/other camera) Yes
Wireless connectivity 802.11n 802.11n NA Proprietary 802.11n
Wired connectivity 10/100 Ethernet No 10/100 Ethernet No 10/100 Ethernet
Video file format AVI MP4 MP4 M-JPEG MP4
Motion-activated alerts? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sound activated alerts? No Yes No No Yes
Push alerts (to mobile/desktop) No )planned for June 2013 release) Yes Yes (via SMS) No Yes (via mobile apps)
Email alerts Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Record video to local PC Yes No Yes No No
Record video to local NAS device Yes No No No No
Records video to camera-attached storage No (available in model 942L) No Yes (microSD) No No
Record video to cloud No (planned for Q4 2013) Yes, w/ subscription Yes, to Dropbox or YouTube w/ subscription Yes, w/ subscription Yes, to YouTube, email, Picasa, Twitter
Android/iOS app Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

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