With a line of smart home devices like the well-known Amazon Echo devices – You can read more about the Amazon Echo devices – Read Here – and Fire TV, it was only a logical thing, that Amazon also entered the home security area.
This has happened with the Amazon Cloud Cam, an indoor security camera, and I have therefore made this review to test out and see if its image quality, night vision, two-way audio, and smart motion detection can work in a good and effective way.
Amazon Cloud Cam Review – Setup
The Amazon Cloud Cam is extremely easy to set up, which is very important to compete with the also very simple Nest Cam IQ indoor camera.
The Amazon Cloud Cam’s base can sit on any flat area within range of a wall outlet. Mounting hardware is also included in the box if you want to set up the Amazon Cloud Cam to a wall.
Configuring the Amazon Cloud Cam is also very easy and you are able to configure it in less than 10 minutes. You simply download the Amazon Cloud Cam app for Android or iPhone, and then log in with your existing Amazon credentials or create a new Amazon account. After plugging in your Wi-Fi password, the Amazon Cloud Cam will be up and running in a very short time.
When entering your Wi-Fi password, then open the Amazon Cloud Cam app and the “Add Camera” screen will ask you if your Cloud Cam is in pairing mode (you’ll hear a low sound, and the LED status light on the front of the camera will switch between green and blue).
Then Select “Camera is in Pairing Mode” at the bottom of the screen. Remember to make sure, that Bluetooth is enabled on your phone, and the Amazon Cloud Cam app should quickly discover your smart phone. If you experience any problems, such as the camera not entering pairing mode, there is a hidden reset button on the back of the camera, toward the bottom. You can use a paperclip to press and hold the button in until it resets, and then try the procedure again.
When the Amazon Cloud Cam is up and running, I suggest, that you take some time to change some of the settings. The most important of these may possibly be the notifications settings, which allows you to be notified in real time any time the camera detects motion and records a video clip, or in 10-, 30-, 60-, 240-minute steps, as well as daily or never.
I also suggest, that you play with the motion sensors sensitivity. The Amazon Cloud Cam expresses sensitivity in terms of detecting a human-sized objects in motion of 20, 10, or five feet, from high to low, respectively. You can try starting with the medium setting and then perform some tests to see if movements in the room are still caught at the moderate setting or need some adjustments.
Amazon Cloud Cam Review – Design
When you consider the price of the Amazon Cloud Cam, then the design of the cameras compared with competing cameras at the same price level is fine.
There’s no battery connected to the system, so the Amazon Cloud Cam will only remain functional when it is plugged in. If you can manage to hide the cable, it will be a compact, modest camera that will not bring too much attention.
Amazon Cloud Cam Review – Features and performance
Amazon’s Cloud Cam has 1080p video with a 120-degree field of view. That is a bit more narrow than cameras from Nest or Arlo, which have around 130-degrees. But a field
of view with 120-degrees is fine for most indoor spaces.
With normal indoor light, the image of the Amazon Cloud Cam’s video is really good. The image is clear, and there is no artifacting or unclear motion. The brightness seems to be a little bit higher than other cameras at the same level, which could be a benefit if your room is a bit dimmed.
When your room is dark, then the ring of eight infrared LEDs is working fine to light up the room. It will catch anything moving around inside the frame. In complete darkness, the night vision mode provided some very good and sharp results, where faces and patterns on the clothes is clearly differential.
The Amazon Cloud Cam offers two-way audio, which means, that the system not only records, but also lets you be able to speak with people on-camera when you are using the Amazon app.
The Amazon Cloud Cam’s microphone is doing a great job, and can pick up clear voices from across the room even for low-level in-room conversations. Its speaker is not nearly as advanced, but it is absolute good to use.
Therefore, I was nicely surprised by the Amazon Cloud Cam’s audio quality, because this is sometimes a reconsideration for camera makers, but the sound coming through the Amazons Cloud Cams single omnidirectional microphone is sharp and good.
Amazon recently updated the audio feature, letting you speak through Alexa – You can read more about Alexa in the next section – on your Echo Show or Echo Spot device. You simply press the microphone icon in the lower right-hand corner of your device’s screen to speak, and let it go when you are done.
Any Echo device will also now alert users to motion or person detection — and on both the Echo Show and Echo Spot, notifications will pop up on the screen. If you have an Echo speaker or Echo Dot, Alexa’s ring will turn green. Perhaps most importantly, the Amazon Cloud Cam can now be turned on using Alexa. You will simply just need to say, “Alexa, turn on [Camera Name].” and the camera is running.
Alexa voice control
As an Amazon device, the Amazon Cloud Cam can be controlled by Alexa. In this case, that means the video feed that is captured by the Amazon Cloud Cam can be provided to a TV via an Amazon Fire TV, or directly to a Fire Tablet, Echo Show, or Echo Spot.
By using Alexa, you simply say, “Alexa, show me Living Room” (or the room where you have cameras) and then the live feed from a given Amazon Cloud Cam will appear almost immediately. You can do this by using the remote for a Fire TV, or any number of Echo devices, as long there is a Fire TV connected to a television in your home.
App and Features
When testing the Amazon Cloud Cam the test shows, that it is a capable piece of hardware. It is the same conclusion with the Amazon app. The Amazon app is loading very quickly, and the feed is live in a couple of seconds. That is one of the faster loading times among wired security cameras.
The Amazon Cloud camera feed loads at the top of the app, and below that you have the latest clips from the camera. It is a nice feature to have it all on one screen, and you are able to have any video clip to start playing when you want. The screen also has options to delete, download, and share the video clip.
As standard, the Amazon Cloud camera sends off a notification whenever the camera notices a movement. The motion detection can be adjusted in the settings, but with the standard subscription plan you can’t have notifications moderated when you are home.
All you get with the standard subscription plan is rate-limiting. With a premium subscription plan, you can also create zones in the frame that won’t activate notifications. That is helpful if you have got something like a TV in the camera’s field of view. The option to be able to turn cameras on and off based on your location is helpful to have as well.
Notifications come in fast, but they don’t give you much information. All you get is the cameras time of the detection and if it was motion or a person. There’s no screenshot in the notification like you get with some other cameras. There is one major issue relating to this feature: you are the only one getting these notifications. The Amazon Cloud Cam has no support for multi-user access, so the only way to share a camera feed is to let someone else log into your Amazon account.
Amazon Cloud Cam Review – Subscription plan
Amazon Cloud Cam customers get free 30-day trial access to all of the camera’s advanced subscription features, including setting detection zones and receiving person notifications. Detection zones let you “hide” motion in certain areas so the camera can focus on other areas. You can for example set the Amazon Cloud Cam to focus on your homes front door and ignore other places in your home.
Out of the box, the Amazon Cloud Cam stores up to 24 hours of footage, but you will need to subscribe to a premium subscription plan to unlock more storage and a number of other important functions.
Extended and Pro plans increase your storage to 7, 14, and 30 days, for $7, $10 and $20 a month, respectively. They also unlock some important features, like person detection to cut down on unwanted notifications from pets, specific zones for blocking out motion triggers like a person passing by an open window, and perhaps most important, the capability to download videos from the camera.
Many competitors also charge for these features, but Amazon has one of the most cheap subscription plans on the security home camera market.
You should definitely take these costs into your buyer decision, because most people will not be satisfied with the features of the free subscription plan.
To summarize – Amazon stores video for 24 hours on the free account, but the paid plans are priced very reasonable. With the paid subscription plans they support up to 10 cameras, and you will be able to set-up zones and person detection as well. For $6.99, Amazon will save your video for a week. At $9.99 per month you get two weeks. A month of video storage will run you up to $19.99 per month.
Check out the quick video below to see the Amazon Cloud Cam home security system in action:
Amazon Cloud Cam Review – Conclusion
- Video clips are clear and well exposed in most conditions.
- The mic picks up sound very well, and the speaker is loud and distortion-free.
- The Amazon Cloud Cam app is fast. Video loads in a couple of seconds.
- The cost for the Amazon Cloud Cam is around $120, which is substantially cheaper than many competing cameras.
- There is a good integration with other Amazon products and Amazon services.
- No micro SD card storage, only cloud storage.
- There’s no web interface for the camera.
- Doesn’t play nicely with services outside of Amazon.
There isn’t much to dislike about the $120 Amazon Cloud Cam. This indoor security camera is very reasonably priced, it performs well, its app is easy to use, and it offers plenty of useful features, and you have free 24-hour clip storage, even if you don’t pay for an Amazon Cloud Cam subscription plan.
My overall conclusion is, that Amazon has managed to produce a very good home security product, that I definitely can recommend. I could wish the Amazon Cloud Came also had the option for local storage via a micro SD card, but Amazon has decided to put the full power of its AWS cloud servers behind Amazon Cloud Cam, and I must say it
works very well.
If you need a few security cameras around your home and don’t want to break the bank, the Amazon Cloud Cam is absolutely the way to go. It offers great bang for the buck, even if there are a few missing features.