Amazon Cloud Cam Review Roundup: What Critics Love and Hate

Amazon's Cloud Cam ($119) is the first home-security device from the company, offering users the opportunity to see what's happening in a room, detect when someone walks by, and communicate with someone in the room with its two-way audio.

The Cloud Cam can even let delivery people slip packages into your door via the new Amazon Key service, if you're cool with that.

While most critics are impressed by the Cloud Cam's performance, and like the value it offers, they wish some its features were built out more and that you didn't have to pay extra for features like person detection, though you get 24 hours of free storage.

Here's an in-depth look at what reviewers are saying about Amazon's new Cloud Cam.

Tom's Guide

Tom's Guide reviewer Mike Prospero says the Cloud Cam is a generally solid device that's both inexpensive and delivers solid video quality. But he was concerned about its total cost of ownership.

"The Amazon Cloud Cam is less expensive than its competitors, delivers good-quality video and has good cloud storage options.”

The Good
"All in all, the Amazon Cloud Cam is a safe entry for the shopping giant. It's less expensive than its competitors, delivers good-quality video with a robust feature set and has good cloud storage options."

"Sound came through really well, too; although the Cloud Cam was in the attic, it picked up my cat, who was on the landing below, scratching the bell on his collar."

The Bad
"You can't really integrate the Cloud Cam with other smart home devices like you can with other security cameras. For instance, you can connect the Nest Cam to Philips Hue lights so that your smart bulbs will turn on when the camera detects motion, or will turn the lights on and off randomly when the camera is in Away mode."

MORE: Best Wireless Home Security Cameras

The Verge

Ben Popper  at The Verge is pleased with the Cloud Cam's list of features, and says that it "checks all the right boxes" for what users would be seeking in a security camera. And he really likes the device's price.

"Cloud Cam is a relatively straightforward device that delivers all the features you would expect out of a home security camera."

The Good
"The camera was easy to set up: I plugged it in, downloaded the Cloud Cam app, and was able to detect the device right away. I connected it to my home Wi-Fi network, and it was up and running."

"It has motion detection on by default, and 'people detection' as well. Within a minute, I was getting notifications on my phone as the camera caught sight of me crossing my living room to inspect its field of view."

"In my testing, the Cloud Cam was reliable and nailed the important features."

The Bad
"Amazon says that as its machine learning improves it will be able to offer things like pet detection….This is definitely needed, as my dog ended up prompting a number of alerts, clogging my phone with notifications."

CNET

CNET reviewer Megan Wollerton likes the Amazon Cloud Cam's "crisp 1080p HD live feed," and its free 24-hour clip storage is welcome. Wollerton argued that the Cloud Cam is a better option than alternatives from Nest.

"Amazon's Cloud Cam is affordable, reliable and easy to use, but it's the free storage that ultimately makes it more appealing than Nest security cameras and many other home security competitors."

The Good
"There isn't much to dislike about the Amazon Cloud Cam. The DIY indoor security camera is affordable, it performs well, its app is easy to use, and it offers plenty of features (free 24-hour clip storage!), even if you don't pay for a Cloud Cam subscription."

"By keeping things simple, Amazon has managed to produce a superior product I heartily recommend."

The Bad
"The Cloud Cam isn't as durably made as Nest's indoor camera. It has a more plasticky feel, it doesn't have a magnetic base and it isn't as easy to achieve the perfect angle with its less nimble swivel arm."

Wired

Wired's Michael Calore says that the Cloud Cam is easy to use and likes that its clips can be encrypted. But he wishes it could be used outside, too.

"It's all very neat, and even if you're not fully invested in Alexa around your house, the $120 camera is so easy to set up and use, it makes sense as a purchase for anyone who wants to keep an additional (electronic) eye on their home."

The Good
"Alexa integration works as promised. If you have a Fire TV stick, say, and your phone buzzes with a Cloud Cam alert while while you're watching SMILF, you just say "Alexa, show the front door" — or whatever you've named your camera's location when you set it up — and the HD livestream takes over the screen within two or three seconds. You don't need to wait for an alert; you can summon the live view whenever you want."

The Bad
"The pricing structure requires some mental gymnastics. If you spend $120, you get the camera, the mobile alerts, the ability to livestream to your phone or Alexa-powered screens, and you can look at clips of every event in the last 24 hours. You can access up to three cameras on the same account for no extra cost. Everything else is a subscription upsell."

Engadget

Engadget reviewer Nicole Lee says that the Cloud Cam's video is solid and its price outstanding. But its main selling point, Lee argues, is its "integration into Amazon's ecosystem."

"Amazon's first home security camera offers great value for the money. Not only is it cheaper than comparable rivals by $80 or more, it stores recorded events for up to 24 hours without requiring a subscription."

The Good
"Perhaps the main reason you'll want the Amazon Cloud Cam above all other security cameras is that it works with Alexa."

"Overall, Amazon's Cloud Cam is a pretty decent choice. It's well-built, affordable and has an advanced motion sensor that can separate people from pets (if you cough up the subscription money). The 1080p video quality is great, the default 24-hour archive is a nice bonus and the night-vision mode isn't bad, either."

The Bad
"The geofencing feature is a little finicky, and you can't turn off the camera LED if you want it to be in stealth mode."

"Oh, and that LED light? It's permanently green when the camera is on; there's no way to turn it off. Amazon says this is so users know exactly when you're on camera and when you're not. This is understandable, but also means you can't have the camera on in stealth mode. The Nest Cam, for example, lets you disable the status LED for this purpose."

Credit: Tom's Guide