The Amazon Cloud Cam is easily one of the best values in DIY home security. With nothing more than Wi-Fi and a wall outlet, anyone can quickly set up one more of these devices. The Cloud Cam offers more out of the box for free than its toughest competitors, and the additional features afforded by even its most modest subscription tier are well worth the added cost. With the Amazon Cloud Cam, you simply get more at-home security for your money.
- Easy to set up
- Excellent video quality
- Excellent night vision
- Handy two-way audio feature
- Customizable motion detection
- Requires subscription for video clip downloads
- Motion detection too sensitive at free tier
What’s In The Box?
As with all Amazon gadgets, the Cloud Cam arrives in efficient, hassle-free packaging. In the box you’ll find the Cloud Cam itself, a USB wall adapter, nine-foot USB power cable, a mounting plate, and wall-mount hardware.
Everything in the box feels especially well made, right down to the USB power cord, which is stout and outfitted with a 90-degree micro-USB connector to ease any strain on the Cloud Cam’s power port. The Cloud Cam itself is lightweight, but feels solidly constructed, thanks in part to a strong and nimble ball joint which affords flexible camera placement and a generous amount of pivot and tilt for the perfect aim.
The Amazon Cloud Cam is remarkably easy to set up. You’ll need to download the Amazon Cloud Cam app, then connect to the Cloud Cam via Bluetooth. After plugging in your Wi-Fi password, the Cloud Cam will be up and running.
From there, we suggest taking some time to adjust some settings. The most important of these may 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 increments, as well as daily or never.
We also suggest playing with the motion sensor sensitivity. Amazon expresses sensitivity in terms of detecting a human-sized objects in motion at 20, 10, or five feet, from high to low, respectively. Try starting with the medium setting and then perform some tests to see if movement in the far reaches of the room are still captured at the moderate setting.
Features and performance
Amazon’s Cloud Cam captures a wide 120-degree view with a sensor that records 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second. In a space with ample daylight and office lights blazing, the video quality is excellent. But how often do burglars barge into fully fluorescent-lit rooms? At dusk with only a few lamps on, the Cloud Cam’s frame rate and resolution drops, resulting in somewhat blurry images when people move quickly across the room. In total darkness, night vision deliver surprisingly crisp results, with faces and patterns on clothing clearly distinguishable. And while footage of the Cloud Cam was initially only viewable via the app, now you can view on a computer screen as well.
The Amazon Cloud Cam offers two-way audio, meaning it not only records, it lets you speak to people on-camera from afar using the app.
The Cloud Cam’s microphone is surprisingly sensitive, and picks up raised voices from across the small home while delivering crystal clear audio for even low-level in-room conversations. Its speaker isn’t nearly as advanced, but it’s fun to use.
Amazon recently updated the audio feature, letting you speak through Alexa on your Echo Show or Echo Spot device. Simply press the microphone icon in the lower right-hand corner of your device’s screen to speak, and let it go when you’re done. Any Echo device will also now alert users to motion or person detection — on the Echo Show and Spot, alerts will pop up on the screen. On an Echo or Echo Dot, Alexa’s ring will turn green. Perhaps most importantly, the Cloud Cam can now be turned on using Alexa. You will simply say, “Alexa, turn on [Camera Name].”
Pay to play
Out of the box, the Cloud Cam stores up to 24 hours of footage, but you’ll need to subscribe to a premium tier to unlock more storage and a number of vital functions. Basic, Extended and Pro plans boost 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 alerts from pets, zones for blocking out motion triggers like a car driving by an open window, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to download videos.
Many competitors also charge for these perks, since they require active cloud services to run. Nest, for instance, charges $10 a month for its most basic Nest Aware program, which includes 10 days of storage, and $30 for an Extended account with 30 days. On that scale, Amazon is the more affordable pick.
You should definitely factor these costs into your purchase decision, because you’re not going to be satisfied with the free tier.
Alexa voice control
As an Amazon device, the Cloud Cam can be controlled by Alexa. In this case, that means the video feed captured by the Cloud Cam can be fed to a TV via an Amazon Fire TV, or directly to a Fire Tablet, Echo Show, or Echo Spot. Simply say, “Alexa, show me Living Room (or Bedroom, or Kids room)” and the live feed from a given Cloud Cam will appear almost instantly. You can do this using the remote for a Fire TV, or any number of Echo devices, so long as there’s a Fire TV connected to a television in your home.
Worried about packages being stolen from your front door? Amazon’s new Amazon Key service, available for Prime members, will notify you when a delivery person is at your front door, let you see and communicate with the person using the Cloud Cam, and then allow you to unlock your front door remotely, so that he or she can leave your package inside.
For this service to work, you’ll need the Cloud Cam, plus one of the Amazon Key-approved smart locks (the Yale Assure, Kwikset SmartCode 914 and Kwikset Convert are the three compatible locks), and you must live in one of the areas where this service is supported.
You can get the Cloud Cam and the smart lock for $249, which is a pretty good price for the combo.
The Cloud Cam performs almost flawlessly providing crisp video, two-way audio communication, highly customizable settings, and a fun user experience. Though video quality falters in the awkward region between low-light and darkness, this is par for the course with security cameras, and doesn’t affect our opinion of the device, or our score.
UPC List Element: 841667111483
Height: 400, Length: 630, Weight: 90, Width: 480
EAN List Element: 0841667111483
Height: 410, Length: 167, Weight: 31, Width: 276
|Product Type Name|
Amazon Cloud Cam Security Camera, Works with Alexa