I’ve been in the market for an indoor security camera. These cameras offer some unique advantages over standard webcams, like motion-activated clips that let me keep tabs on my home from anywhere, and intelligent alerts that can be customized to notify me of potential break-ins. An indoor security camera would also give me a chance to monitor for any puppy mischief that might occur when I’m not there.
As the security camera market flourishes, Amazon has thrown its Cloud Cam into the ring. The company’s first step into the security market has left many, including myself, wondering whether the camera and the Cloud Cam app stack up against major contenders like the Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Aware.
- Clear images
- Cheaper price point than major competitors
- Seamless integration with Alexa
- Two-way audio that allows you to talk through the camera
- Easy setup and use
- Regular updates to improve user experience
- Affordable multiple channel options on all plans
- Subscription requirement for zone blocking, fencing, and more than 24 hours of cloud storage
- Easily triggered motion sensor, which sends false alerts to your phone
- No professional monitoring
- No zoom
You can buy the Amazon Cloud Cam for a flat rate of $119.99. The camera comes with a basic free plan, but you’ll miss out on some useful features like zone setting and person detection, which we’ll touch on more below. Here’s a breakdown of the different plans available with the Cloud Cam:
|Price||Free||$6.99/mo. or $69.99/yr.||$9.99/mo. or $99.99/yr.|| |
$19.99/mo. or $199.99/yr.
|Cloud storage||24 hours||7 days||14 days||30d ays|
|Cameras||Up to 3||Up to 3||Up to 5||Up to 10|
|Person detection & zones|
|Free||$6.99/mo. or $69.99/yr.||$9.99/mo. or $99.99/yr.||
$19.99/mo. or $199.99/yr.
|24 hours||7 days||14 days||30d ays|
|Up to 3||Up to 3||Up to 5||Up to 10|
What we like about Amazon Cloud Camera
Amazon hears your grievances
Amazon is clearly committed to providing the best possible experience for Cloud Cam users––even for those using the free subscription. The company has made a number of changes to address issues reported by users. Here’s a sampling of some improvements it’s made:
- Making video clips downloadable with free plan
- Adding ability to turn off night vision LEDs
- Creating ability to flip and invert camera orientation
- Including toggle to disable audio recording
- Adding a browser option to view live feed on your computer
It has impressive night vision
Although the Cloud Cam’s eight infrared LED lights can be an eyesore in the dark, the night vision is impressively sharp. You can see the dark room clearly at night and even make out the details of faces as people walk through the room.
What the Amazon Cloud Cam could improve
With the free plan, the motion detection feature will notify you at the subtlest movements. Pets, activity outside windows, or even sudden lighting changes can set off notifications.
If you’re determined to keep the free plan, you’ll have to either sort through a barrage of unnecessary notifications or turn them off altogether. Like the boy who cried wolf, the Cloud Cam might inundate you with so many false alerts that you’ll miss the one that matters most.
Another drawback to the Cloud Cam is that it doesn’t offer professional monitoring. That means you’ll have to personally manage motion detection alerts, and call the authorities in the event of a break-in. If you’re interested in a professional monitoring service, check out our post on the best home security systems.
My experience with the Amazon Cloud Cam
Amazon hardware has a reputation for simple packaging and intuitive setup, and the Cloud Cam lives up to that standard. I simply plugged the camera into a power outlet and the Cloud Cam app automatically detected and synced with the camera. I had a livestream of my living room up and running within minutes.
The camera comes on a basic standup mount and additional hardware for ceiling or wall mounting. Because the Cloud Cam offers a 120º field of view, I easily found a spot where it could monitor the entire room.
The Cloud Cam app was also easy to use. From the app I was able to watch live footage, download clips, manage my subscription, and change my intelligent alert settings.
How the Cloud Cam works with Alexa
The Cloud Cam easily syncs with your home automation if you already have an Echo device. My Echo Spot immediately detected the Cloud Cam in my living room, and I was able to control the camera with Alexa’s voice commands. You can use Alexa to cycle through different cameras in your house, manage your motion detection notifications, and pull up live videos. For example, with my Echo Spot, I was able to watch a live feed of my living room while I cooked in the kitchen. That extra set of eyes would be great for parents or caretakers who want to keep an eye on their kids from another room.
Pet owners might want to pay for a plan
With the puppy at home, roaming about the living room, his coming and going triggered a notification to my phone every few minutes. After a while I turned off the notifications altogether, which was problematic. Without the Cloud Cam’s intelligent alerts, the only way to monitor for potential break-ins would be by watching the live feed. If you have pets roaming about the house, you’ll probably want to pay for a subscription so you can enable person detection and eliminate unnecessary notifications.
Cloud Cam reviews are mostly positive, with many reviewers praising the camera’s easy setup and high quality video footage. A lot of the negative feedback in the reviews has been addressed by Amazon, so keep that in mind when looking at older reviews.
Positive user reviews
“This camera is the best for two reasons. I also have a nestcam, but unlike the nest, it doesn’t sent me false alerts throughout the day. The nest cam is so sensitive that it sends me alerts all day long as the sun and clouds moving across the sky changes the shadows in the room. Secondly, without paying a subscription fee, it captures an entire video clip so I can see what happened. The nest only sends a picture. Sometimes that picture is captured right as a person enters the door (and sometimes as they have moved across the room), and it’s not always easy to identify them. Amazon fixes this by providing a video clip. Image quality is good. Sound capture is good. Very happy with this purchase.” – Brett E Railey, Amazon, 2/27/2018
“Amazon has been quickly pushing out updates to address the biggest concerns of these reviews. You can now download clips with the free plan, disable audio recording, flip the video orientation, and toggle the nightvision LEDs. So just make sure you look at the latest reviews and information when considering this camera. I’ve been very happy with mine and trust that Amazon will address any other issues that can be solved in software.” – Chris, Amazon, 12/25/2017
Negative user reviews
“Person detection is not working. It constantly sends me notifications that it detected a person and then I see my cat walking across the room. That renders the cameras useless for me. I will send them back.” – Hulla, Amazon, 4/17/2018
“I like that this camera provides me with a sense of security. I can monitor my office from home. However, if you do not buy a subscription to limit your monitoring to zones and live person monitoring, you’ll receive notifications every 10 seconds ALL day. The subscription isn’t much, but I’m tired of being roped into this subscription and that subscription. Why can’t the camera just work without a subscription and without blowing up my phone. Every time a light flickers outside, I get a notification. Can someone sell me a product that I don’t need a subscription for. All of these subscriptions are starting to add up.” – Amazon Customer, Amazon, 4/11/2018
Do we recommend the Amazon Cloud Cam
The Cloud Cam’s 1080p footage is sharp enough and the night vision is clear enough to compete with many of the best cameras on the market, including the Nest Cam Indoor. Amazon’s willingness to update the Cloud Cam and the Cloud Cam app also means it will continue to improve over time.
The free plan is still somewhat problematic, as you can’t adjust notification parameters, but it’s more serviceable now that you can download video clips. And if you’re willing to pay for a subscription, the Cloud Cam is hard to beat––especially if you already have an Echo device in your home.
Do you have experience with the Cloud Cam? We’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below.