I’m not sure I can adequately express how invaluable the $149 web-connected Dropcam has been this past year. From checking in on my dog, to seeing who’s at the door, to catching my landlord entering our apartment without telling us (true story), it’s been one of the most-used pieces of technology in my home.
Setup is simple, consisting of pairing the tiny camera with your Wi-Fi network and placing it somewhere in your house. You can then use the Dropcam website or mobile apps to watch what’s happening in real time or view motion-triggered events as they happened while you were away. Basic service is free, while paid monthly plans (starting at $10) let you save video clips for offline viewing — or evidence. You can set the camera up to alert you when it detects motion or sound, too, so you’re always in the know when something strange is afoot.