Home security cams are among the first smart devices that many homeowners get. This is understandable given the various benefits that these security cameras offer. They provide you with an additional layer of protection, without requiring you to act like a bored security guard staring at monitors all day. Instead, you can get alerts, screen captures, and actual recorded videos and live feeds through your phone. Those are among the benefits you receive with the Amazon Cloud Cam.
It is true that the home security camera industry is overflowing with numerous choices of models and brands to pick from. But it is also true that this Cloud Cam from Amazon is extremely popular and generally well-regarded by experts and satisfied customers. The price is reasonable, it offers good quality videos, and the cloud storage options are acceptable to many.
When you buy the Cloud Cam, you can opt to get one, or a pack of 2 or 3 at once to cut down on the cost per unit. Aside from the camera, you also get 5W power adapter, a USB power cable, a mounting kit, and a helpful Quick Start Guide.
At first sight you’ll probably realize that this is meant for indoor use, since it comes with a base that lets you just stand it on a desk or table. However, the mounting kit does allow you to mount it on a wall.
The camera itself has a total height of 104mm (about 4.1 inches). The camera diameter is 60mm (2.4 inches) while the diameter of the base is a bit wider at 70mm (2.75 inches). It doesn’t weight much at 142g (about 5 ounces) and it’s only available in white.
The USB power cable is quite thick and it’s about 10 feet long. Remember that this is generally meant for indoor use, so it’s not exactly weatherproof.
This camera connects through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy, and it’s strongly encouraged that you have an uplink speed of at least 2Mbps. You will download an app for this smart cam, and your smartphone needs to be either and Android L or later or an iOS 9.3x or later. This is also compatible with Alexa devices and Fire OS.
Its Wi-Fi antenna works with public and private networks using 802.11g/n. It doesn’t work with peer-to-peer or ad-hoc Wi-Fi networks.
The Cloud Cam is actually quite easy to set up, which is a relief for many technophobes who can be intimidated by more complicated installation procedures. Have your mobile device download the Cloud Cam app, and then you connect that mobile device to the cam through Bluetooth. The app finds your Wi-Fi connection, you enter your Wi-Fi password, and you’re good to go.
Now you should take some time to explore the app and to adjust some of the available settings. You should start with the settings for your notifications, so that you get an alert when your camera senses motion and starts recording videos.
The sensitivity of the motion sensors can also be adjusted, and you need to do that right away. The elves of sensitivity are in terms of how near it can detect a moving human-sized object. If you set the sensitivity to a low level, then it may only detect these objects at 5 feet or so. Higher sensitivity settings detect these objects at farther distances, such as at 10 or 20 feet.
Quite a few folks may consider the camera’s motion sensors to be a bit too sensitive. While this may indeed increase your chances of catching would-be burglars, it also increases the instances of false alerts. That can get very annoying in just a short time.
So your best bet is to start with a medium setting. You can then test if the camera can send you alerts as it detects motion even in the opposite side of the room.
The camera can record at up to 1080p HD resolution, with a frame rate of 30 frames per second. The field of view is nice and wide at 120 degrees.
The quality of the videos depends largely on the viewing conditions. It offers clear videos when the ambient lighting is ample, in daylight conditions and plenty of lights on in a room.
In total darkness, the night vision capabilities kick it and it’s unexpectedly good. The videos are nicely crisp, so that you can recognize faces and see patterns on their clothing.
However, this night vision capability doesn’t seem to activate in the middle ground dim levels when it’s right during sunset and there are few lights activated. In these conditions, the resolution of the camera videos and the frame rate suffer. So if there’s someone in the room moving quickly enough, you may not realize who that person is based on the burry images.
At least now you can see your videos not just on your smartphone or mobile device. Now you can also use your computer to log into cloudcam.amazon.com and watch video clips or even live feeds through your PC monitor.
Your videos can also have audio, so you can also monitor what the would-be burglars are saying. The camera doesn’t just have a microphone, as it also has a speaker. This mic-speaker combo allows for 2-way communications with the person in front of the camera.
With this capability, you can tell delivery persons what to do with packages, or warn your kids about stopping their horseplay in the bedroom when it’s time for them to sleep.
The microphone is quite sensitive, so that you can probably hear loud arguments from across the house. Inside the room, even hushed voices may be heard by the microphone and you’ll be able to understand what the other person is saying. The speaker quality isn’t as good, but it’ll do nicely enough.
Working with Alexa
Since this Cloud Can is an Amazon product, it shouldn’t surprise you to find out that it works with Amazon Alexa. You can tell Alexa to turn on the camera with just a voice command.
Your Alexa device can also warn you with audio alerts when you’re at home and the camera senses motion in the rooms where your cameras are. Amazon Echo Spot and Echo Show can also show a visual alert on their screens. The ring will also turn green on the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot.
The screen of the Alexa device or your Amazon Fire TV may also how you videos or the live feed from the Cloud Cam.
At first, video storage is free, but then eventually you’ll have to pay for the privilege. Your benefits will depend on your subscription, and the more benefits you get the more you need to pay. The Basic option offers 7 days of storage, while the Pro option gives you a storage period of up to 30 days.
The Amazon Cloud Cam isn’t the only smart security camera that offers video storage for a fee. In comparison with some of the other name-brand models, Amazon may actually be the more affordable option. However, you should know that some other cameras offer free cloud video storage.
You may also unlock special features that aren’t available in the free option. These features include the ability to download videos.
Other special features include “person detection”, which is a great way for the camera to differentiate people from pets or ceiling fans. Then there are also excluded zones that prevent the camera from sending you an alert every time a car passes by your open windows.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why so many people like the Amazon Cloud Cam:
- Amazon manufactures high quality items, and the Cloud Cam is no exception. It comes with a 1-year warranty, although US customers may be able to buy extended warranties for an additional 3 years.
- There’s no real problem with the installation. It also syncs very well with Amazon Alexa.
- The Cloud Cam also performs exceptionally well, and its reliable performance is quite a relief.
- The videos are very clear for the most part, and the audio of the videos are clear as well.
- The settings are highly customizable, so you can set them according to your preferences.
- The 2-way audio communication offers a great way to interact with the person in front of the camera.
- The app and the camera are all actually fun to use, as it’s not overly complicated.
It’s not quite perfect.
- Obviously the monthly subscription expense for video storage may be a sticking point for some people.
- At least it’s not as expensive as the other options.
- It’s annoying to feel forced to get a paid subscription, especially when you can’t download your videos if you wish to stick to the free option.
- In low-light conditions such as dusk and dawn, the video clarity suffers. However, this is a common failing of all home security cameras in general.
- It’s not really for outdoor use.
If you want to keep an eye on what’s going on inside your home, this may be a great way to go. This is especially true if you already have Amazon Alexa. Some other security cameras may be better than the Amazon Cloud Cam, but then they’re generally much more expensive too