Amazon Cloud Cam vs. Nest Indoor Cam: A Surprisingly Easy Choice
After weeks of testing, I determined Amazon Cloud Cam is the best indoor security camera because it’s affordable, has a brilliant free service, and doesn’t miss a beat. Nest Cam Indoor is well-designed, but I only recommend it for people who require 24/7 continuous recording or want to use it for live streaming.
I’ll compare and contrast these two indoor security cameras (Amazon Cloud Cam vs. Nest Indoor Cam) by evaluating five categories: free service, subscription service, software, design, and video/audio quality.
Amazon Cloud Cam
- Free: The free plan stores recorded clips for 24 hours, and you can easily export them.
- Subscription: It’s $7/month for seven days of storage, zone, and person detection, but there's no option for 24/7 recording.
- Software: It works well across the Alexa and Fire TV lineup, but there’s no compatibility outside of that.
- Quality: The video quality is solid, but the night vision turns on too quickly as soon as the sun starts to set.
- Design: It's cheaply made, and the stand can't angle as widely as Nest.
Best for you if...
You want an affordable system that reliably records all motion and saves clips for 24 hours for free. Another significant benefit is that Cloud Cam provides instant phone notifications, while Nest’s are delayed.
Nest Cam Indoor
- Free: The free plan only provides three hours of snapshots. There’s no video recording.
- Subscription: Nest Aware is $5/month with the same features as Amazon’s, but with the addition of 24/7 recording.
- Software: It’s compatible with most smart products, and you can do cool integrations with IFTTT and Nest products.
- Quality: The video and audio recording are superior, but two-way communication is not as good as Cloud Cam.
- Design: It’s fantastic overall with a detachable base and incredible craftsmanship.
Best for you if...
You’re willing to pay at least $5/month for Nest Aware for 24/7 surveillance. Without a subscription, Nest provides three hours of useless snapshots. However, Nest Cam is useful if you want to view a constant live feed.
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Free Service (A+):
- If you don’t want to pay for a subscription, Amazon is the way to go as it provides more essential features for free. Nest’s free offerings are useless.
- When Amazon Cloud Cam detects motion, it starts recording and saves the clip. It’ll continue recording until there’s no more action. I put my Cloud Cam on my porch, where there’s constant traffic throughout the day, on the medium sensitivity setting. In three weeks it never missed a clip, cut short or started late. But because it’s not continuously recording, you need to keep in mind it could miss something.
- Once clips are recorded, they’re saved in the app and your Amazon Drive for 24 hours. If you don’t want them deleted, you can save them to your phone’s library or export them to your favorite file sharing service.
- You can view a live feed whenever you want online or in the app.
Subscription Service (F):
- There’s not enough value to support the price of Amazon’s cloud subscription, considering the free program is fantastic and provides everything most people will need. Here’s what you get:
- Longer video clip storage, instead of a 24-hour limit.
- Person Detection: It can tell the difference between people and random motion from curtains, tree branches, etc., to avoid unnecessary notifications.
- Zones: You can map out a zone on your screen of where you want to be notified of an event. If you only want to track a tiny area, you can eliminate spots that you don’t care about and the unnecessary notifications.
- Amazon has three different subscription plans:
- Basic ($7/month): Storage for 7 days and supports up to three Amazon Cloud Cams.
- Extended ($10/month): Storage for 14 days and supports up to five Amazon Cloud Cams.
- Pro ($30/month): Storage for 30 days and supports up to 10 Amazon Cloud Cams.
- It’s easy to set up and pair Cloud Cam with your phone. You just download the Cloud Cam app and click the add button.
- By default, Cloud Cam records all motion and sound, but you can set it up to record on a schedule. For instance, if you only care about tracking one specific thing (i.e., your kids coming home from school), you can designate that particular block of time and the system will be dormant the rest of the day.
- The notifications are pushed to your phone at the same time as it captures the motion. If you’re quick enough, you can tap the notification when it happens and see what’s going on.
- My favorite capability is having the camera automatically turn off when my phone is in the same location. It eliminates unnecessary notifications.
- You can adjust the motion sensitivity. I found the medium setting was perfect, detecting motion up to 10 feet away, but if you want high sensitivity, you can increase it to 20 feet.
- There’s an online interface for live look-ins or checking previously recorded clips.
- Amazon Cloud Cam works with the Amazon Key program. If you have a Yale, Schlage, or Kwikset smart lock, you can give your delivery man an access code to safely deliver packages inside your house.
- If you have the Echo Spot or Echo Show, you can view the live stream at any time. If you have a Fire TV device, you can watch the stream on your TV, by saying “Alexa, show me [insert camera’s name].” You can also get alerts on your Echo devices.
- It doesn’t work with Siri or Google Assistant or IFTTT. If you want to do an automation or integration with your other smart devices, you’ll have to set it up with “Routines” in the Alexa app. For example, you can create a routine to play music, turn on the lights, or read a spoken message across your Alexa device when motion is detected.
- The two-way communication works much better than Nest.
Audio & Video (C):
- It records video in 1080p HD with a 120-degree field of view. Just like Nest, it has 8x digital zoom.
- Amazon’s video quality wasn’t consistently as crisp as Nest, but it was always clear enough. You’re not posting these clips online, so I’m not sure how much the quality matters.
- The night vision looks better than it does with Nest if you have a pitch black situation. Just like Nest, you lose color on the video when it’s in night mode.
- Cloud Cam goes into night vision mode more easily, so you’ll lose color even when there’s still decent lighting.
- The speaker quality is much better than Nest’s.
- It’s made of cheap plastic materials.
- The camera doesn’t detach from the base, but you have about 45 degrees to play with for the angle. The plastic rod that holds the camera, feels like it could break at any time. If you drop this camera, there’s a good chance it’s breaking.
- The base is white and the camera is black. It’s not going to blend in with your house, but that probably isn’t a deal-breaker for most.
- It has a standard micro USB port for power.
Free Service (F):
- The free service only saves the last three hours of snapshots; no video is recorded. In most cases, three hours doesn’t even give you enough time to view the snapshots and the snapshots are only a screenshot that doesn’t provide any value.
- You’ll get a notification when it detects motion, so you can catch the live feed whenever you want, but if you’re away from your phone, you’ll be out of luck.
- In my experience, you need Nest Aware for Nest to be worth your time.
Subscription Service (B+):
- Nest uses a timeline interface. When it catches a new event on camera, it marks it and you can tap it to watch or scrub through the timeline.
- Nest has a subscription service called Nest Aware. While Nest Aware is not required, it’s essential for Nest to be useful. It’s a better deal than Amazon’s service because it has continuous recording. Here’s what you get with Nest Aware:
- It records every second of every day. You’ll get at a timeline that you can scrub through with events marked out. Amazon can’t match this assurance that you won’t miss anything.
- Rather than saving just the last three hours of screenshots, you’ll get five days of video (or more, depending on the service you choose).
- Intelligent alerts mean it’ll only send you notifications when people are detected. There are no false alarms for shadows, etc.
- Activity zones let you create a box on your phone’s screen that you want to be monitored, which can eliminate notifications from an area with traffic that’s not relevant to your goal.
- You can make time lapses or share clips with friends and family with URL links.
- Nest Aware has three tiers:
- 5-day video storage is $5/month per camera.
- 10-day video storage is $10/month per camera.
- 30-day video storage is $30/month per camera.
- The WiFi connection is weak, which caused issues during setup. While my phone and Cloud Cam were getting full WiFi strength, Nest struggled from the same spot. I’ve seen this with other Nest cameras and doorbells too.
- Because of the occasional connection issues, you won’t always get flawless scrubbing through the timeline. (Keep in mind that I’m a tech nerd, with a fully optimized mesh router setup.)
- Another thing to keep in mind in regard to WiFi is Nest is going to use more of your Internet data (up to 300GB/month) because it’s always recording.
- You can set schedules for when you want it to record and not record, or you can have it only record while you’re away with Nest’s Home/Away Assist, which will use your phone’s location to determine where you are.
- It integrates well with other Nest or Google products. For instance, it can work as an additional sensor for your Nest Thermostat to give it more data whether someone’s home or not.
- Works with Google Assistant and Alexa.
- There are useful IFTTT recipes. For example, when Nest detects motion, you can have it turn on Hue lights.
- If you have Chromecast, you can ask your Google Home products to display the live feed on your Chromecast, by saying “Hey Google, show [insert camera’s name].”
Video & Audio Quality (B+):
- It records video in 1080p HD with a 130-degree field of view with 8x digital zoom. The extra 10 degrees would be useful.
- The video quality is consistently crisper and looks better than Cloud Cam.
- Nest uses infrared lights, like Cloud Cam, for its night vision. It doesn’t look as good as Amazon does in pitch black, but Nest doesn’t default to infrared mode as easily. If I keep my porch lights on 25%, Nest preserves the color in the video, while Cloud Cam is black and white.
- It records audio and the quality is slightly better than Cloud Cam.
- The speaker quality sounds terrible and due to the video lag, two-way communication is almost impossible.
- Like all Nest products, it has an amazing build quality with a sleek all-black finish. The camera lens is made with glass and the base is metal.
- It comes with a base and holder. The camera stays put in the base, but you can detach it if you prefer to use just the camera.
- The swivel rotation is better than Cloud Cam because you get a wider range and it feels more sturdy.
- The entire bottom is an extra strong magnet, which can be a significant advantage depending on where you’re putting it. It’ll stick to steel doors, poles, and metal appliances without an issue.
- It has a standard micro USB port for power.