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10 Feb '15

Nanny Cam Comparison – Why a Hidden Dropcam is the Best Choice

Posted by Jonathan Goodman

A nanny cam (năn’ē kæm), or nanny camera, sensationalized to the phrase "spy camera", is a hidden video camera that has been installed within a household object and is usually used to secretly monitor and record the activities of home caregivers, such as nannies, hence the name.
There is a wide selection of nanny cams available online and we want to give you an overview of what is out there ('top selling' hidden cameras on Amazon) and how the different hidden cameras compare. 

We will use the following criteria and rank them between ★☆☆☆☆  and ★★★★★:

a) Ease of Set up & Use
b) Video Quality (day and night vision)
c) Covertness & Conclusion

Our contestants are: 

1. Hidden Camera Clock Radio

Radio clock hidden cameraThe hidden camera radio clock leads the pack of the no-name hidden cameras.Video footage is recorded and saved on a micro memory card. It claims to have night vision of up to 9ft (a little shortsighted). The camera has to be charged and, according to the product description then runs for 16 days when it is set to only record when it detects motion. However, a fair amount of reviewers have pointed out that running time is a LOT shorter and that the product simply does not work as advertised. The most negative reviews were posted very recently, but more to that later. 

 

2. Mini AC Power Adapter Hidden Spy Nanny Camera

 

 

This camera is hidden in a power adapter and can be plugged into any socket of you home directly - a clever idea to solve the charging/electricity problem.The footage is saved onto an internal memory card. Unfortunately, the product description does not offer more detail. The review section is split between 5 star one line reviews and a fair amount of 1 star reviews - never a good sign. 

 

 

 

3. Dropcam PRO

Dropcam PRO

Dropcam has revolutionized home security. Great video and sound quality as well as fantastic mobile integration and many more features have made Dropcam a trailblazer of the new era of affordable home security. The Drocpam has powerful night vision, a microphone and speaker. However, the item is fairly pricey (not everybody can afford it) and hiding the camera effectively is a major problem. 

 

 

 

 

Now on to our first category:

a) Ease of Set up & Use

1. Hidden Camera Clock Radio: The product does not come with instructions. and the online instructions were probably written by someone whose first language is not English. Fun fact: While the packaging was missing proper instructions -  it contained a CD-ROM - now, I can't tell you what was on that CD, because in order to find out, I would have had to go to the basement to find a computer with a CD Drive- I am sure it's next to the VCR on top of my stack of vintage floppy disks. After a bit of trial and error I kind of got it to work...but not for very long. The device only records footage intermittently. The motion sensor is completely off and at times it does not work at all. Normally, 1 out of 5 stars, but the fact that they added a mysterious CD- made me nostalgic about the good old days of computing - this (possibly unintended) vintage touch turns it into 1.5 out of 5 ★☆☆☆☆ 

2. Mini AC Power Adapter Hidden Spy Nanny Camera: One shortcoming of the product idea is that you have to insert it directly into a socket. Which means that you need to be in the lucky position where one of your electric sockets is facing directly into the part of the room that you wish to monitor. However, the theoretical set up is really easy. Just plug it and the camera starts recording once it detects motion. And it did do the job - for around half a day until it started working very unreliably - 2 out of 5 ★★☆☆☆ 

3. Dropcam: Everybody who has a Dropcam can confirm that it is incredibly easy to set it up: Just plug it into your computer and, connect it to your wifi, then plug the Dropcam into your socket and it works. Computer and mobile app are super intuitive and easy to use. Depending on the security settings of your wifi or if your router is not broadcasting at 2.4GHz, set up can get a little fiddly - and that's why only 4 out of 5 ★★★★☆ 

 

b) Video Quality (day and night vision)

1. Hidden Camera Clock Radio: The technical data regarding video quality are actually not stated anywhere. Suffice to say that the picture is relative low res and. The night vision does work but the IR light is very weak. Night vision does not go beyond 3 ft - overall for video quality: 2 out of 5 ★★☆☆☆

2. Mini AC Power Adapter Hidden Spy Nanny Camera: According to the manufacturer, the hidden adapter camera also records a 720p HD video footage. While I think that the footage appears to be of lower quality than that of the Dropcam (i.e. less than 720p), the video quality was not bad. However, the product does not have night vision capability and after the first two days it only recorded footage in a unpredictable manner - 2 out of 5 stars ★★☆☆☆

3. Dropcam: Records 720p HD quality footage, with a 130 degree wide angle and the option to zoom into the picture by a factor of 8x. The camera's night vision works well up until 20ft. In terms of image quality Dropcam leads the pack of IP cameras. - 5 out of 5 ★★★★★

 

c) Covertness & Conclusion

1. Hidden Camera Clock Radio: At the time of writing, this item sells for US$149.99 - which may not appear like a huge price tag but it is way too much given the fact that the camera is of low quality and rather temperamental. On the plus side: The camera is very well hidden in the item. But the poor qulaity of the camera itself make it almost useless as a security device. This conclusion is corroborated by the Amazon reviews- many reviews point out that many of the positive reviews are fake and were made by one-review accounts.  ★☆☆☆☆

2. Mini AC Power Adapter Hidden Spy Nanny Camera: At the time of writing, the adapter sells for US$169.00 - bad value considering that the camera delivers low resolution footage, is unreliable at times and has to be unplugged to view the footage. A view at Amazon reviews for the products paints a similar picture  ★★☆☆☆

3. Dropcam: At the time of writing, Dropcam sells for US$199 - a slightly higher price tag than the other two options, but you get what you pay ... and you get the most technologically advanced IP camera out there. One major problem though - the Dropcam is not a hidden camera by nature - in fact it's rather visible - that's why ★☆☆☆☆  in this category. However when using the Dropcam with one of our hidden Dropcam enclosures you can transform your camera into the world's most technologically advanced nanny cams.

Scientist have boiled it down to this simple formula

Dropcam + Dropcessories' Hidden Dropcam enclosures = ★★★★★ hidden nanny cam

Our personal favorite is to hide your Drocpam in our mirrored tissue box

Mirrored Tissue Box to hide Dropcam 1Mirrored Tissue Box to hide a Dropcam 2Tissue box to hide Dropcam 3


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