3 Reasons To Buy Amazon's Cloud Cam and 2 Reasons Not To

The Amazon Cloud Cam (opens in new tab) is the first branded plug-and-play camera released by the behemoth online retailer, and overall it's a great option for anyone shopping for home security cameras.

There's a number of compelling features that make the Amazon Cloud Cam a top consideration — and only a few drawbacks that might make you take pause. Let's dive in!

Better price than the top competition

If the bottom line factor for your decision is price, the Amazon Cloud Cam can't be beat. Priced at just $119 each, it beats out its top competition from Arlo and Nest Cam. If you're planning to install more than one throughout your home, the deals simply get even better: buy two for $199.99 or three for $289.97.

You're able to connect up to three cameras with 24 hours of cloud storage, alert notifications, and unlimited sharing included with your purchase, but if you want more advanced features or support for more cameras you will require a subscription plan — and I'll be touching on those a bit further down.

  • Amazon Cloud Cam vs. Nest Cam vs. Arlo: Which connected camera should you buy?

Works with your other Alexa-enabled products

One of the killer features of the Amazon Cloud Cam is the compatibility with Alexa. You probably expected that, but depending on the number of Alexa-enabled products you have in your house it could be a real game-changer.

You can tell Alexa to cast your Cloud Cam to your Fire TV (opens in new tab), Fire Tablet (opens in new tab), Echo Show (opens in new tab), or Echo Spot (opens in new tab) to quickly see what's happening in another room in your house — perfect for those times when your kids have been a little too quiet in their playroom.

This is where Amazon's low-cost hardware really comes in handy, as you can pick up a Fire Tablet for $50 and get good use out of it just for monitoring your Cloud Cam on top of its other features. Amazon also offers a bundle that includes an Echo Show and Amazon Cloud Cam (opens in new tab) for just $300. Considering that the Echo Show itself sells for $229, that's a great deal if you're already somewhat committed to Amazon's AI assistant ecosystem and are looking to build onto it.

Two-way communication, Person detection, and Zones

Another benefit of going with Amazon is the number of smart features included in its products. The Amazon Cloud Cam allows for two-way communication, meaning you'll be able to send and receive audio using the camera's built-in microphone and speaker.

Amazon Cloud Cam has some great premium features.

Other great features include person detection, which allows your Amazon Cloud Cam to use facial recognition to detect and tell the difference between a member of your family or an intruder. This means you won't get alert notifications every time your kid comes home from school — unless that's something that you want.

Another great feature designed to cut down on unnecessary alert notifications is Zones, which let you go into the Amazon Cloud Cam app (opens in new tab) and highlight areas of the camera's viewing angle that it doesn't need to monitor for movement alerts. This could be a ceiling fan that would otherwise constantly trigger the movement detection or a window that looks out on the street with passing pedestrians and cars.

These features highlight the incredible AI computing that powers Amazon's products, but if you're thinking they're included for free, well…

The subscription service is expensive but necessary if you want the best features

Amazon offers three levels of subscription plans: Basic which includes 7 days of cloud storage, support for three cameras and the Person detection and Zones features for $6.99 a month (or $70 for the year), Extended which offers 14 days of cloud storage, support for up to five cameras and the advanced features for $9.99 a month (or $100 for the year), or the Pro level which supports up to 10 Cloud Cams and includes all the advanced features for $19.99 a month (or $200 for the year).

By comparison, Nest Cam offers a similar subscription plan model (opens in new tab) that's a bit more expensive for the top-tiers but also allows for 24/7 continuous recording (Amazon only offers clip recording) and a cheaper basic option at just $5 a month, or $50 for the year.

Arlo's cloud subscription plans (opens in new tab) start out offer 7 days of cloud recording and support for up to 5 cameras for free, with the mid-range tier offering 30-days of cloud recording and support for up to 10 cameras for $99, which is equivalent to Amazon's Pro-level subscription but at half the price.

So while you might initially save money on hardware, Amazon certainly intends to make up the difference through its subscription service — but if the features offer exactly what you're looking for it might be easy for you to justify the cost.

Ask yourself if you want Amazon peeking into your home

This one is a bit of a dilemma that we should always consider when dealing with Amazon, a company that ultimately wants to sell you more things. If you already have Amazon products in your home — and there's a lot of options out there — chances are you've already considered this and are fine with it.

But when there are other options out there, it's worth considering whether you want to install cloud cameras controlled by Amazon. Amazon states in its Cloud Cam Terms of Service (opens in new tab) that it will "process and retain your Cloud Cam Recordings in the cloud to provide and improve our products and services" — that's a pretty vague statement when we're talking about a company whose main service is getting you to buy more things.

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

What do you like (or not like) about Amazon's Cloud Cam?

The connected camera market is exploding, and Amazon is a reliable, trustworthy name that offers a good, affordable product. Do you use a connected camera, or a Cloud Cam in particular? Let us know in the comments!

Marc Lagace

Marc Lagace was an Apps and Games Editor at Android Central between 2016 and 2020. You can reach out to him on Twitter [@spacelagace.

  • After using various IP based cameras like Foscam and such I switched to Amazon Cameras. Super easy to setup and the video quality is very good. Not sure why your story though talks about.. Do you want Amazon watching you.. Because ANY company that offers cloud storage has the ability to "watch" you and has access to your stored camera footage. It's part of cloud computing these days and not unique to Amazon. On that note, I love the fact that I don't have to have any special apps to view the Amazon cloud footage. You can access your Amazon drive from any web page and download whatever clip or clips you want. Drag and drop them to your desktop to save them forever. Most other cloud cam companies dont offer that type of easy access to your clips with out installing a special app. For me the Amazon cameras are great for the consumer that needs cameras with easy setup, easy access to your clips and a reliable cloud infrastructure.
  • I have a couple Cloud Cams. My only complaint (and what is stopping me from getting a subscription plan) is the Home/Away feature on the cameras is wonky, When I return home i get bombarded with notifications for about 2-5 minutes before the cameras automatically turn off. Other than that, they are great for the price.