Size: 1.97 x 1.97 x 1.97 inches
Camera Resolution: 1080p
Field of View: 121° Horizontal
Battery Backup: No
WiFi Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4 GHz
Audio: Full Duplex 2-way Audio
Weatherproof Rating: IP65
Operating Temperature: -4°F to 113°F (-15.6°C to 45°C)
Smart Home Compatibility: Google Home, Amazon Alexa
Although it’s better known for its DIY home security system, Abode also sells the Abode Cam 2, a standalone home security camera that’s small and ultra-affordable. This 2-inch-cubed device that eschews some (though not as many as you’d think) of the luxuries of pricier smart home cameras, making it instead easy to maximize coverage of your home for the price of a couple nights out.
I spent a couple of weeks with the Abode Cam 2 in and around my home to see how well it fares on its own. What I found was a camera with plenty of promise, but with several kinks that need ironing out.
- See how the Abode Cam 2 compares to the best outdoor security cameras
- The best home security cameras for inside and out
Abode Cam 2 review: Price and availability
The Abode Cam 2 costs $35, and is available through Abode’s website, Amazon, and other online retailers.
Abode Cam 2 review: Design
The Abode Cam 2’s design bears more than a passing resemblance to the slightly cheaper Wyze Cam v3, even down to the engineering of the almost-identical stand. It’s a small, cube-shaped camera that you could easily stash just about anywhere in or around your home. Its rounded corners give it a friendly appearance which, along with its diminutive size, keep it from standing out too much (whether that’s a good thing or not is up to you, of course).
Not having a battery, the camera is extraordinarily lightweight, and overall it feels like, well, a $35 camera. The integrated stand/mount is particularly cheap-feeling, but overall it’s got it where it counts, with sturdy housing that I’d wager could take a couple spills if it had to. And with an IP65 rating, you can expect it to hold up against all but the worst weather conditions outdoors.
Every Abode Cam comes with a ribbon-style, 6-foot Micro-USB-to-USB cable and wall outlet adapter. I found it a little too easy to accidentally unplug from the back of the camera, and I’m concerned it would be all too easy for someone to flick the cable out of the back of the device, disabling its feed. Because of this and other reasons I’ll go over later, I would not rely on this camera for surveillance of particularly important possessions or points of entry, but it would still perhaps be good as an alternate angle on an already-covered area.
The stand, which doubles as a wall or ceiling mount, is a small platform that is connected via a double-hinged arm and swivels at both connections, letting you aim the camera and mount it just about anywhere above, below, or behind the unit, which is quite nice.
Abode Cam 2 review: Setup and installation
The camera is a little more clunky to set up than most, with the pairing process involving manually entering your router login data and then scanning a QR code. Of course, just because other setups are easier doesn’t mean this one isn’t a piece of cake, itself, and after an initial false start, I was able to get it going on a second attempt in just a few minutes.
Installation was similarly pain-free, involving simply putting one of the included screws (and drywall anchor, if needed) where you need it, leaving the head of the screw sticking out just enough to slide the mounting hole over it. You’ll want something to secure the cable to ensure it can’t be snagged or tugged easily to disconnect it, and then all you need to do is adjust the stand to point the camera where you’d like it to see, and you’re done. That last part is a touch tricky with the cable, as I kept accidentally unseating it while I was adjusting it. If you’re putting the camera up high, I’d recommend being certain that it’s on and connected before you climb back down your ladder, which involves checking your phone, as there is no status light on the front of the camera to let you know it’s active and receiving power.
Abode Cam 2 review: App
The Abode app is similar to the Ring app, in that the main screen (labeled “Dashboard”) presents you with cards showing the status of all the Abode devices connected to your account. At the bottom, three buttons let you switch easily between that dashboard to the Timeline or to a camera-only view.
The timeline section is a sortable, filterable list-style view of all of the events recorded by your devices. If you have more than just a single camera (say a door sensor and a glass breakage sensor), you can even set up groups and view only the events for that group, if you’d like, then further filter by only certain devices or only certain kinds of events like Person Detection, manual captures, and those captured during an active alarm event.
Saving videos is a little bit convoluted; if you are viewing on the timeline, the only way to save a video is to change view from timeline to a per-event view; otherwise, the option is missing.
The final tab is solely dedicated to the cameras, and this is where you’ll find one of the best features of the Abode Cam 2, provided you’ve configured your plan right. If you have the 24/7 recording add-on, you can scrub a timeline for up to 10 days back and view any moment of those days. Best part is, there is no limit to the number of cameras you can use with this feature. Not bad for $9/month or $99/year. To compare, a similar plan from Arlo is a very similar $9.99/month but only covers one camera, where each additional is another $4.99. Wyze offers this feature for free when using an SD Card for local storage.
As far as camera settings go, most of the table stakes are covered here: the camera lets you set a motion-detecting zone (consisting here of only a single, 4-corner box), flip the video to suit its mounting orientation, toggle audio recording, adjust volume (both the microphone and the speaker), or set the recording length for clips (up to 30 seconds).
It even has a couple of less-common features like having the camera add time to the beginning of captured recordings so you can see the moments leading up to the triggering motion, or turning on a motion indicator box so you can see what caused the camera to save a given clip. What you won’t find here is a wealth of options for camera night vision, brightness, contrast, field-of-vision, or more. For the most part, what you see is what you get, but thankfully, what you see is pretty decent.
Abode Cam 2 review: Video quality
The Abode Cam 2 records 1080p video at 30 frames-per-second—the Wyze Cam v3, by comparison, only records at 20 fps. Its 121-degree field of view is generous enough, and makes it easy to place the camera. Video is heavily compressed, as you might expect, making it virtually impossible to read text more than a few feet away (just try to read the brand on the propane tank in some of the video examples I’ve provided).
Night video was clear with good color where enough light allowed, and night vision was sufficient to view the whole room when I left it in my office overnight.
Motion at night tended to be very blurry, however, even if the subject is moving at a normal walking speed, making identification of a burglar potentially difficult, if not impossible.
That’s not going to be a big problem if you’re only buying this as a supplement to existing, better cameras, but again, I wouldn’t rely on it as your primary camera.
Abode Cam 2 review: Usage
Recording of events is really where the rub is, with this camera. Motion-sensing and recording was never as reliable as I’d like over the course of my testing. The Abode Cam 2, as of the time of this writing, is equipped with a beta person-detection feature (provided you’re paying for at least the $6/month Standard Plan) that, in my testing, still has room for improvement. Much of the time, the camera would record generic motion like a tree branch blowing in the wind but completely miss a whole person walking around in frame.
I also would’ve liked a motion sensitivity slider. More than once I woke up in the morning with dozens of notifications from the night before (I counted 199 in one 14-hour stretch), as the camera recorded the same patch of moving shadows from a tree up above. There were even a few times where the camera’s own exposure adjustment triggered saved clips.
Person detection improved over the time I used the cameras. As an example, the Eufy Cam 2C Pro I have in the same area as the outdoor Abode identified and recorded contractors coming and going from my back door eight times over the course of an hour to the Abode’s two (although the Abode did capture other recordings, it didn’t identify them as people).
Loading the livestream can test your patience, particularly when you’re trying to view something quickly. Two-way audio was similarly troublesome, with a multi-second delay between what I said and what the person on the other end heard. Audio coming back through was garbled and hard to understand, particularly if the person on the other end is more than a few feet away. This all takes place on the 2.4 GHz band, of course, which in my household is particularly crowded, and could account for some of the issues.
These issues aside, I found the Abode Cam 2 to still be a decent potential value. It records sharp, clear, 1080p video at 30 fps, and has a robust feature set that you would normally expect of a camera costing at least $70 more than Abode is asking. Two-way audio, weather-proofing, 24/7 recording, person detection—with any ordinary cheap camera like this, you might expect one or two of these things, but certainly not all of them and more.
Abode Cam 2 review: Smart home compatibility
The Abode Cam 2 is compatible with both Google and Alexa, allowing you to view the camera’s stream on their respective video-equipped smart devices (like the Nest Hub or Echo Show). I don’t have either one of those, but went ahead and integrated the Abode Cam 2 with both to check out functionality. As is often the case, Alexa offers more here than does Google, with the ability to set up motion announcements or include the camera in your home automations.
Although Abode does support HomeKit on some of its devices, it does not on the Abode Cam 2, nor has it announced any such support, so for now, HomeKit users need not apply.
Abode Cam 2 review: Storage
Like many other smart home cameras, the Abode Cam 2 has no local storage option, so it requires a subscription to really get any value out of it. Sans subscription, it’s little more than a motion detector with a live video feed you can tap into, and at $35, it’s really the right price for such a device.
If you want more than that, you can get the Standard Plan, which is either $6/month or $60/year and gets you 10 days of cloud storage, where the Pro plan ($20/month or $200/year) nets you the addition of 24/7 recording, professional monitoring, unlimited equipment warranty, free shipping on new additional equipment, and so on. You can also add 24/7 recording on its own for $9/month for an unlimited number of cameras at one location.
Of course, I have to again compare it to the Wyze Cam v3, which also offers 24/7 recording, but for free, so long as you have an SD Card. Additionally, the per-camera Wyze Cam Plus plan is a piddly $1.99 per month.
Granted, the two plans are not directly comparable, as the Abode one covers much more than just a camera, but as it offers no camera-only plans, and this review is evaluating the camera on its own, it’s the most appropriate compare. The calculus would definitely be different if you were to factor in a full security system. To see how Abode’s plan stacks up against others, be sure to check out our security camera storage plans compared story.
Abode Cam 2 review: Bottom line
There is so much packed into the Abode—for better or worse—that it actually makes for a difficult camera to rate. Yes, it has serious issues with motion detection. Yes, it can be very slow to start a live stream in the app. But these issues showed significant improvement just in the time I used the camera, and one would hope they would continue to.
In a vacuum, the Abode Cam 2 is a lot of good for $35, thanks to its decent frame rate, 1080p video, 24/7 recording, easy-to-use app, and broad smart home system compatibility. Ultimately, however, I found it difficult to recommend over the cheap camera plan and local storage options offered by Wyze for its $30 camera. But with time, that could change. At the very least, those with an Abode home security system would do well to check out the Abode Cam 2.