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Video and Image Quality

Let's look at some still image quality and videos. We'll compare it to Nest Cam as we've been doing throughout the review. Here's Foscam day...

Foscam Cloud timeline

Foscam Day still image

... and Nest Cam. Not a lot to pick apart here on either one. Nest Cam appears to be a bit sharper and more of the room is available due to the slightly wider viewing angle.

Foscam Cloud timeline
Nest Cam Day still image

Let's look at some night still images. Foscam first...

Foscam Cloud timeline

Foscam Night still image

...and Nest Cam.

Foscam Cloud timeline

Nest Cam Night still image

Does this surprise you as much as it does me? The Foscam C1 has a better night image. I'm standing at 25 feet in both images and the image is much more clear with the Foscam. Reading the markers the Foscam 15 foot marker has about the same clarity as the Nest Cam 10 foot marker. Of course, these are still images and won't mean a whole lot if motion is blurred in one video at night, so let's take a look at some videos to see.

The Foscam seemed to pick up motion each and every time anything went past it, as long as it was in the motion zone I set. In all videos I had motion sensitivity set to "Medium" and video set to the highest quality possible. First let's look at Foscam during the day.

Foscam C1 Motion Indoor Daylight

There are a few things to note here. The first is where I am in the video by the time recording starts. While it looks like Foscam has a delay in recording, it doesn't. Instead, the camera is properly implementing the motion detection zone I set. It appears that the C1 has about a one second pre-buffer for motion detection.

The next thing to notice is right around the 0:05 mark, there's an anomaly, I stall and speed up. I'm not exactly sure why this happens, but it could be due to less robust hardware on the Foscam. Lastly, notice how it keeps recording after I'm gone, up to about 34 seconds. In my testing, all videos were 32-34 second long. One positive thing is that if motion continues, a new clip is started. Although the clips aren't continuous, the sequential clips still catch most of what's going on.

Foscam C1 Motion Indoor Night

The Foscam C1 night video for some reason does show what appears to be a delay in recording start. I'm significantly closer to the camera than I was during the day, by time recording started. There is also no stall/speed up anomaly on the night video. Finally, the quality of the night video is fairly good with little blurring of me until I get near the top of the stairs. Let's look at Nest Cam.

Nest Cam Motion Indoor Night

Both night vision videos look good, the Nest Cam also blurs on the stairs, but here is a key difference and it doesn't really even need explaining. I pulled the most distinguishable close-up facial recognition shot from both videos, the difference is dramatic. Which one do you think is better? The Nest Cam is capturing more frames per second than the Foscam C1, which explains why my face is more recognizable instead of being blurred. The specs on framerate aren't that different between the two. But the specs indicate maximum framerate vs. what we will actually get.

Nest Cam vs Foscam C1 night vision facial recognition

Nest Cam vs. Foscam C1 night vision facial recognition

Finally, I wanted to see how much bandwidth the video took, so I jumped around in front of both cameras. The upload bandwidth varied, but I saw around 2 Mbps maximum on the Foscam. Running the Nest Cam directly beside it, I saw around 800 Kbps with the exact same motion, which is a little peculiar since the Nest Cam records with higher resolution.

Closing Thoughts

Is the Foscam C1 a cheaper and better alternative than the Nest Cam? That might be a stretch. The C1 is a third of the Nest Cam's price and does pack in a lot of features for that great little $70 price tag. Foscam Cloud is even pretty good once you get around having to do port forwarding, which is more than a little old school in this day and age.

Having used the Foscam C1 for a few weeks, I began to really like it for what it was. If I were looking for a camera to simply check in on the dog or look around the house at night, I think I would find it a lot easier to spend $70 and do a little port forwarding vs. dropping the more substantial $199 for the Nest Cam's more polished interface.

Bottom line, if you've been considering the Nest Cam, you should take a close look at the Foscam C1.

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