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Amazon Cloud Cam review: The gatekeeper for Amazon’s in-home delivery is a swell security camera

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The Amazon Cloud Cam ($120) is ostensibly a sentry for users of Amazon Key, the company’s home delivery service that allows couriers to drop off packages right inside your house. It works with compatible smart locks to allow delivery people—and, really, anyone else you designate—to enter your premises when you’re not home. It’s also sold as a standalone home security camera, and it’s a darn good one, with advanced security features and full Alexa integration.

Design-wise the Cloud Cam looks like a kissin’ cousin of the Nest Cam IQ, right down to the white finish. The attached stand makes it ideal to set on a bookshelf or mantel piece, but it comes with a mounting bracket and screws if you’d rather attach it to a wall or ceiling. It’s an indoor-only model, so there’s no protection from the weather, but the camera has an operating temperature range of 32 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will operate in the garage in temperate climates.

For the relatively modest price, you get some hardy specs: a 120-degree viewing angle, 1080p video, night vision courtesy of eight infrared LEDs, motion detection, and two-way audio. You also get 24 hours of cloud storage for your recorded clips free with your purchase.

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You can view your Cloud Cam feed on the Echo Show and select other Alex-enabled devices, although this feature isn’t exclusive to Amazon’s camera..

You can expand and extend your storage limits with one of three cloud subscriptions: The Basic plan lets you review seven days of stored clips for up to three cameras for $7 a month or $69 a year. Extended bumps that to 14 days and five cameras for $10 a month or $99 a year, and the Pro plan offers 30 days of clips for up to 10 cameras for $20 a month or $199 a year.

There’s good reason beyond storage capacity to upgrade your subscription: All three plans include person detection, which unlike standard motion detection, can differentiate between human movement and other types of motion. They all include motion zones as well, which lets you tell the Cloud Cam to monitor specific areas for activity while ignoring others. You can try any of the subscriptions free for 30 days.

Setup and usage

The Amazon Cloud Cam is operated with the iOS, Android, or Fire OS app of the same name. It walks you through the process of pairing your mobile device with the camera via Bluetooth and connecting to your Wi-Fi network. Other than waiting for the camera to enter pairing mode, which can take up to five minutes from the time you first power it up, the setup is quick and smooth.

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Cloud-stored video clips can be downloaded to your mobile device and shared.

The camera’s image quality impresses with accurate color, balanced lighting, and sharp detail. Despite the wide angle, there’s no perceptible edge bending even in smaller rooms. Audio was strong as well, with plenty of volume without distortion.

The Amazon Cloud Cam app is exceedingly easy to get around even for a first-time security camera user. With a single camera connected, the app launches right to that camera’s home screen.

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