Babycam: Belkin, Arlo and NestCam

Posted on April 7, 2016 Under reviews 0 Comments

Our really old cheap Foscam knock off wifi netcam from Dealextreme died awhile back. I needed to replace it with a security cam that overlooked our porch to see what type of peddlers would stop by despite the fact that I have a sign that clearly says “No Solicitors”. Since I am on the computer for most of the day, I can quickly glance at whom to ignore whether it be a Jehovah’s Witness or a 250 pound guy demanding to see my furnace while I am home alone.

I was looking for something modern and sleek that does the job well. I did not want a netcam that was able to tilt and pan by control via app or browser like our old Foscam. I would rather do this manually with my own hand. Google “Nancy Grace Baby Webcam Hack” and you will understand what I mean. So, I narrowed it down to 3 of the latest ones on the market at the time of this post. They are the Belkin NetCam, the Arlo Smart Security by Netgear, and lastly, the Nest Cam (Indoor + Outdoor).

The Arlo was actually my top choice, because it ran on battery and you didn’t need chords hanging all over the place. It also is built for using indoor or outdoor. The reviews online said that a battery can last anywhere between 4-6 months but of course, if you are using it outdoor in Canadian winter, it will drain much faster. I found that Costco actually had the cheapest price but I eventually decided against it because I didn’t want to pay for the battery maintenance if I had it on 24/7.

Belkin NetCam

belkin01

My next choice was the Belkin NetCam. There was a deal at Best buy for $89.99 (regular $139.99) so we purchased two of them. As you can see, the packaging is very simple and not a whole lot of hoopla in the box. The iPhone / Android / Web Browser set up was super easy and took me a whole of 5 minutes.

belkin02

I set up two cameras to test. One looking right at the front door. And one looking out the window to the porch. This is a screen shot from the iPhone app. As you can see, you can record and you can also talk into it from your phone. This feature is especially handy if you want to creep out your kid for whatever reason. The highest video quality is 720p.

belkin03

Here is a test screen shot from the iPhone app with night vision.

belkin05

So far so good right? I was wrong.

I have the live camera web stream in a separate browser running continuously in the background on the bottom right corner of the screen while I work. Later on in the day, I hear my husband come home and he is chatting with the neighbour. However I don’t see either of them on the camera. Hmmmm. It also turns out that the spider web that was stuck on the window stopped fluttering in the wind. I realize that this camera had been frozen for the better part of the day and I was watching a repeat video like Keanu Reeves in Speed. A simple browser refresh would fix the problem. BUT, and that’s a HUGE BUT, who wants to do that all day?

I quickly googled for a fix. Maybe it’s the router. Or something. But guess what, I’m not a tech wizard, I don’t have time to read 50 forums. I called their tech support and was told that it times-out every 20 minutes. But wait. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of a live streaming web cam? What if you were using this as a babycam monitoring their sleep and have to go to the unfortunate task of refreshing every 20 min? Did you ever watch Lost with The Hatch and The Button? No thank you!

We figured that perhaps we should have gone the Arlo route. We decided to give them a quick call and just simply ask “Hi, does your netcam time-out?”. Guess what? It does! SAY WHAT???

Next call is Nest. Aha! Apparently it doesn’t time out, it streams 24/7, and apparently it does everything we ever hope for. So we return the Belkin, skip the Arlo and get the NestCam. BUT, we could only afford one NestCam because we didn’t want to re-mortgage our house.

Belkin Pro’s:

  • Super simple easy setup
  • Motion sensor alerts notifications (I turned it off it would be rather annoying)
  • The night cam was pretty clear too
  • Voice feature
  • Sound feature with sensitivity which you can disable
  • Easty toggle if you have 2 camera setup
  • Can share your stream with others

Belkin Con’s:

  • Times-out periodically
  • Cannot have 2 users login simultaneously or one will be booted off which I think may be a good security feature. Refer to my “Nancy Grace” comment above
  • Web browser interface not very attractive and the stream window is rather small
  • There is a little 5 second lag
  • You have to pay for a subscription if you wish to record history

NestCam

nest01

Well, first off, the packaging is much nicer. There was nothing wrong with the Belkin packaging but it was a bit dogeared and not as “tight”. I am only mentioning this because I am a designer and I love judging things by its’ cover. The NestCam reminded me of Apple’s packaging. Simple, clean and minimal. I was actually scared that it didn’t come with instructions like the iPhone meaning I would have to YouTube the instructions but thankfully it did.

Again, the contents were only a few things.

nest05

Set up easy.

nest03

Here is a 720p view of my office below from the iPhone app. The cam is set up in the corner and gives quite a nice wide angled view. As you can also see, my web browser on the computer is showing the same thing.

nest04

We moved the NestCam back to the entryway facing the porch from the window. This is the view from the web browser login. No time-outs here!

entryway

Here is a screenshot at night from my iPhone when it was dark outside. It isn’t completely night vision because the street lamps were on but looks pretty bright to me! I didn’t get a chance to try the night vision because we had already mounted the camera in place and didn’t want to fiddle around with it again, but if you quickly google “NestCam Night Vision”, you will get oodles of user pics.

nest06

UPDATE:
We purchased a second NestCam after recently having a baby. Works very easy and here’s a screen shot from my laptop that shows both cameras. You can label them whatever you want and if you want to view them full screen, just click on either option.


Halloween Bandits

We even managed to capture some Halloween bandits who came and stole all of our candy when we put them on our porch out of goodwill to only grab “2 or 3 candies” since we were out of the house.

Unfortunately, they were not arrested.

(Screenshot taken from my iPhone)

NestCam Pro’s:

  • Super simple easy setup
  • Continuous 24/7 streaming
  • Ability to set via app when to turn camera on or off with a schedule
  • Zoom feature on mobile app and web browser
  • Motion sensor alerts (again, I disabled this as it would be annoying)
  • Web browser interface fullscreen and nicely designed
  • Has an 1080p option, however I don’t care too much about this because I don’t want to use up that much bandwidth
  • Voice feature to spook those walking by
  • Sound feature with sensitivity which you can disable
  • Users can be logged on simultaneously without one getting booted off
  • Can share your stream with others
  • Ability to broadcast publicly
  • To put this onto a wall, there are 2 parts. The back piece screws into the wall. The NestCam itself magnetizes to that piece so you can pull it on or off easy and move it to another location
  • Comes with a neat sticker for your window like ADT gives you. Well not as ugly as ADT’s.

NestCam Con’s:

  • A little pricier
  • There is a little 5 second lag
  • You have to pay for a subscription if you wish to record history
  • I wish they made this in white

Final Thoughts

Now with all of these netcams, there is an optional subscription service to record the data with the exception of the Arlo, which has a free rolling 7 day record history (you can upgrade of course for a fee). I read that some people were not too pleased that the data gets stored on their cloud servers, you know, just incase you are wandering naked around your house, because you know once your stuff is out there, it’s OUT THERE FOREVER. But it doesn’t matter anyway, I am not interested in any of these subscriptions because I won’t be coming home and watching hours of home footage to see what I missed. You might be, if you are using this as a spycam, babycam or nannycam, which would then be perfect. I didn’t actually purchase the Arlo, so I cannot accurately say that this is an honest review of that product.

So the bottom line really is that I ended up paying another $100 for the NestCam because I didn’t want to press a button every 20 minutes like John Locke.