- Very affordable + reasonably priced subscription plans
- Clear 1080p HD footage
- Geo-fencing to turn on/off camera based on your location
- Night vision + 2-way audio
- Indoor use only
- Limited smart home integration
- No local storage
- No siren
The Amazon Cloud Cam is a pretty good IP security camera at the right price.
The Amazon Cloud Cam is a budget smart camera designed to undercut Nest, Alro by NETGEAR, Logitech, and the other big camera brands. Amazon is hoping that it’s good enough and cheap enough to win over price-conscious consumers. Here’s what we think.
Amazon Cloud Camera Review – Design
The Cloud Cam is made of glossy, thin plastic and feels like a budget camera. That said, the design of the camera is actually quite good. It has ball head joint that allows you to rotate the camera in any direction and the camera can be stood upright or mounted on the wall. Unfortunately, it is only rated for indoor use and is a wired camera. Therefore, you have limited options in terms of where you can put the Cloud Cam, especially if you’re concerned with hiding the cable.
It does also has an LED indicator on its face that shows a green light when the camera is on. Nothing special there, but as of right now, there’s no way to disable that light if you’re trying to be more covert.
Amazon Security Cam Review – Video Recording
In terms of video quality, the Cloud Cam shoots 1080p and the footage is surprisingly clear—definitely on par with the other big brands out there. The field of view for the Cloud Cam is 120° while other cameras are 130° or more, which means there will be blind spots depending on where you place the camera in a room. This isn’t a huge issue, but the Nest Cam Outdoor, for example, can span an entire front yard. The Cloud Cam will be just short of that. The camera also has night vision and 2-way audio. It also records footage based on motion, so unlike Nest, there is no continuous recording.
With that said, the motion sensor is accurate and won’t riddle you with false alerts. Within the companion app (iOS, Android, Amazon), you also get the ability to adjust the sensitivity of the sensor to increase/decrease the range the sensor will be covering.
Further, the camera does a great job of capturing the entire duration of the clip whenever it senses motion (i.e. it doesn’t just end at 20 seconds or some arbitrary duration). It even reaches back to ensure it records the event from start to finish. So, while it’s not 100% ideal to use motion-based recording, the Cloud Cam gets things right far more often than it gets things wrong. It will also send you notifications when the camera senses motion. If you opt out of a monthly plan, however, the notifications are simply for general movement, which is still better than nothing, but it’s more prone to false negatives.
Also, there is no cloud storage option with the Cloud Cam, as there is with Arlo and Reolink Argus. As such, if you need to access footage, the only way to do so is via the cloud.
One thing that is nice that Amazon included is geo-fencing (aka Home/Away Assist), which turns the camera off when you arrive—this is based on your phone’s location—and back on when you leave. You can enable or disable this feature, but it gives you the flexibility to have the camera switch on/off based on your location if helpful.
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In terms of viewing your recordings or real-time footage, you have a few options: Cloud Cam app, Amazon FireTV, Fire Tablet, Echo Show, and the Echo Spot. Missing from this list is the web. There currently is no web portal for viewing Cloud Cam footage.
Amazon Cloud Cam Price & Monthly Plans
This is the most appealing thing about the Cloud Cam. It retails for $120 [check current price on Amazon], which if you’re counting is $80 cheaper than the Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor. Pricing will be the biggest reason consumers opt for Amazon over Nest.
That said, similar to Nest, in order to get the most out of the Cloud Cam, you should consider getting a monthly subscription plan. As you can see in the chart below, the plans start at $6.99 per month. What’s nice with Amazon is that it’s $6.99 per month per account, whereas Nest is $10 per camera per month (albeit for continuous video recording). Amazon allows you to have up to 3 cameras on the account for $6.99 per month.
Without a monthly plan, you get the prior 24 hours of motion-based footage, real-time viewing, and general notifications (i.e. you can’t even download or share your recordings). The Basic plan bumps that up to 7 days of footage, person notifications, activity zones for more detailed monitoring, and unlimited sharing/downloading of footage.
So, as disappointing as it is to need yet another monthly subscription, if you decide Cloud Cam is the one for you, it’s probably smart to get a plan also.
Amazon Cloud Cam vs Nest Cam (Indoor, Outdoor, IQ)
Unless you’re dead set on continuous recordings or the 4K sensor of the Nest Cam IQ, the Cloud Cam is probably the winner in this comparison. Of course, if you need an outdoor camera, you’re out of luck with Amazon, while Nest does have an outdoor camera [see on Amazon]. But, if we focus on indoor use only, the Cloud Cam is cheaper with no real prevalent downsides, other than a lack of smart home integration and a few small things.
Amazon Cloud Cam vs Arlo Pro 2 by NETGEAR
This is a much more difficult comparison since Arlo offers 7 days of free cloud storage (motion-based recording), a siren, local storage option, indoor/outdoor use, and wired/wireless options. That said, Arlo is nearly twice as expensive, not counting the base station…that’s just for add-on cameras. Pricing for Arlo depends on the bundle that you get and whether you opt for Arlo Pro or Arlo Pro 2. You can check Arlo Pro prices on Amazon. It is also worth noting that with the Arlo Pro 2 cameras you can purchase a continuous video recording plan (CVR) to get constant footage. You can’t do this with Arlo Pro or the Cloud Cam.
The Arlo Pro records at 720p, while the Arlo Pro 2 shoots 1080p. Ignoring retail price, Arlo is clearly the brand to go with. We’ve been very happy with the Arlo system and if you plan on getting multiple cameras (indoor and outdoor), Arlo is the way to go.
That said, in terms of sheer economics, the Cloud Cam is more affordable and it would take multiple years to find a breakeven point at which Arlo Pro becomes more affordable than Amazon, especially with more than one camera. What it comes down to is price versus features.
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