Abode means home. It’s also the name of one of my favorite security companies, a minimalist brand established in 2014 and known for affordable prices, easy-to-use equipment, and effective security that fits any home. Today, I’m going to explore the Abode Cam 2, a small, simple device that’s made to work with the larger Abode security system – but as it turns out, can actually be used without a backing system, too. Indeed, all you really need to get an Abode cam up and running is a good Wi-Fi connection.
This is one of several advantages I found to using an Abode cam. However, keep in mind that with a camera that normally retails around $38, you’re going to run into some limitations you might not find with a camera that offers more robust features. For example, like the trio of $99-and-up Arlo cameras I tested for our Arlo review and ratings page.
With that said, let’s dig deeper into the Abode Cam 2 and its features.
FYI: Right now, get an Abode Cam 2 for only $24.99 as part of their early Black Friday sale. And while you’re at it, check out our Abode pricing and packaging guide for more details on all of their equipment and costs.
As you can see, the camera box is small, so you know you’re not dealing with multiple parts, base stations, or lots of cables and wires. Setting up and installing my Abode Cam 2 required just a few basic steps. The first thing I did was plug the camera into my wall outlet; then I downloaded the Abode app to my smartphone. When the orange status light on the back of the camera began blinking – pay extra attention here, as the status light is pretty dim and hard to see – I began syncing the camera with my phone.
From there, the process was just like the majority of cameras I’ve tested: press the power/reset button on the camera, scan the QR code1 on the app with the camera, and follow the rest of the prompts on the app to finish setup. A few minutes and a firmware update later, and the camera was ready to record.
The Abode Cam 2 records in full HD resolution and has motion detection, IP65 weather protection, and infrared night vision, which are a few of the most essential features we look for in any security camera. From the moment I had it set up and placed in my desired location – my home’s entryway, in this case – the cam began recording motion-activated clips and sending me alerts to the home screen on my phone, like so:
That’s when I turned to the app, and I learned even more about what this camera can do – and what it can’t. For instance, without a subscription, I can still record my own clips and save them to the dashboard in the Abode app. Here’s how that looked for me:
So even without a subscription, this was a handy and sufficient device for a penny-pincher like me.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, I’d like to share some of my biggest takeaways of testing and living with the Abode Cam 2:
With the Abode Cam 2, there’s some definite room for improvement in video quality. On rare occasions, and when there wasn’t much activity in the camera’s view, I saw a picture worthy of a frame: full HD quality, clear and smooth. Other times when I checked my camera’s livestream, I still considered the footage usable. By that, I mean it’s the kind of footage you can take to the police for evidence in the event of a break-in. Is it going to win any awards for clarity? Probably not.
Abode has a built-in microphone and speaker, so you can communicate with trespassers, guests, or anyone on the other end of the camera. Quality-wise, my expert opinion on Abode’s audio is that it’s … just OK. I wouldn’t recommend using it to try to have a full-fledged conversation with someone. In my experience, the audio had trouble catching up to real time, and some of my partner’s words were inaudible when we tested the two-way talk function.
Of course, there are ways to improve this, and one of them is making sure you haven’t placed the camera too far from your Wi-Fi router to get a clear signal. It’s always good to test out different locations until you find a place where the camera can do its best work. Sometimes that takes a little trial and error, but with a camera this basic and simple, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding that sweet spot.
Without signing up for either subscription, I still had access to the Abode Cam’s livestream anytime I wanted. From there, I could record my own clips and store them in the dashboard. When I had to run errands and leave my two dogs home alone, it was easy and convenient to open my app and check in on how the two were getting along.
Well, it was clear from the above video that at least one of the pups was missing his human. Don’t worry, little dude, I’ll be home soon!
Abode has built-in integrations for Alexa and Google Assistant. Whether you own a Nest Hub, a Google Home Hub, an Amazon Echo Show, or even a Fire TV, you can use voice commands to control the Abode Cam 2. You can use your voice to pull up the livestream and a few other actions, but when it comes to integrating with other smart devices, it’s somewhat limited. Again, we’re talking about a pretty bare-bones camera.
Did You Know: This Abode Cam doesn’t play well with every third-party platform, since it’s a pretty basic camera. But look deeper into Abode’s inventory, and you’ll find lots more equipment, like motion sensors, smoke alarm monitors, and glass-break sensors that work seamlessly together, either as a kit or a build-your-own system. Learn more in our full abode security system review.
One (unfortunate, in my view) fact that sets Abode apart from its doppelganger, the Wyze Cam v3, is that Abode Cam 2 requires a monthly cloud subscription to record, save, and store video clips. With the Wyze Cam, I had an option to record and store a limited number of short clips for free, so I was a bit disappointed to find Abode doesn’t offer that. And let’s not forget that Ring’s camera plans start at just $3 per month, which is about the industry average and half the cost of Abode’s plan.
But on the plus side, you can get continuous video recording on the Abode Cam 2 for only $15 per month, which is pretty reasonable for folks who need (or want) eyes on their property 24/7. Either way, though, if you want the camera to automatically save video clips to a timeline, you’ll have to pay at least $6 per month.
After years of anticipation, Abode finally released an outdoor camera in November 2021. The Abode Outdoor Smart Cam, with person detection and a 152-degree field of view, looks similar to the Abode Cam 2. It also claims to be compatible with Alexa and the Google Assistant, just like its sibling. The outdoor camera was priced at $159 initially. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to get my hands on this camera, as COVID-related supply chain issues have put a pause on production and shipping. But once those issues are resolved, stay tuned for a hands-on review and lots more information about the new outdoor camera.
At $38, the Abode Cam 2 is just a tad pricier than other cameras in its category. There are lots of cheap cameras out there – and more and more are flooding the market each day, it seems. But it’s still nice to know that Abode’s camera is still one of the most affordable cameras out there.
If you’re comparing the Abode Cam 2 to a more robust camera, like the new $180 Google Nest Cam, it’s good to remember that you tend to get what you pay for with gadgets like these. Sure, if you want a camera that can learn every last detail about your home and everything in it (and you don’t mind paying almost $200 for one camera), I wholeheartedly suggest looking into a Nest Cam.2 But I also appreciate frugality, and more than that, simplicity. So by comparing Nest Cams’ costs to Abode’s, I know I can buy multiple Abode Cams for the same price as one Nest Cam. And that’s a nice advantage in my book.
Here’s a quick snapshot of features and costs for Abode Cam 2:
|Camera||What You Get||Price|
|Abode Cam 2||1080p HD, indoor/outdoor, two-way talk, infrared night vision, plug-in||$38|
I’ve tested dozens of cameras that offer at least a limited amount of free video storage. It means I don’t have to sign up for a subscription and commit to a monthly fee, which, personally, I’d like to avoid as much as possible. In other words: I already have enough monthly expenses to contend with, don’t you? Why add another one?
Now, there is a sort of trade-off here. If you want a camera that can store video without fees, my best recommendation is to find a camera with local storage. That means there’s a slot somewhere in the camera where you can input a micro SD card. You might have to buy the SD card separately, but some camera companies provide their own.
Still not sure which camera is best? Lorex, for instance, has a bountiful lineup of cameras that don’t require monthly fees. It helps that Lorex’s camera prices are pretty reasonable, too. Then there’s Canary’s All-in-One set of cameras, which allow local video storage, though each of those cameras is quite a bit pricier than Abode’s camera. How much pricier? Consider that Canary’s camera costs start at $99 for one camera, compared to $38 for the Abode Cam 2.
So here, you have a choice: Pay more upfront for a full-featured camera and enjoy all its luxuries and perks, or stick with a basic, low-priced device that you can monitor easily and skip the hassle of learning complex technology. Both options are great; it just depends on what you’re really looking for in a camera.
Which brings us back to Abode. Sure, monthly fees are a pain, but in Abode’s case, the subscription can be canceled or changed at any time. You’re not locked into a contract, so if you’d prefer to casually self-monitor your camera using manual video clips and periodic check-ins, and you’re a penny-pincher like myself, you might really enjoy an Abode Cam 2.
That said, here’s a look at Abode’s subscription offerings. You’ll see that a couple of the plans offer some form of professional monitoring, which is rarely necessary if you’re just looking for basic video surveillance. But if you’re using the camera as part of a whole-home Abode security system, you might find that professional monitoring will add a layer of peace of mind you can’t really get from doing all the monitoring yourself.
Here’s a snapshot of Abode’s plans:
|24/7 Livestream Access||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic Video Storage||No||Yes||Yes|
|Homeowners Insurance Discounts||No||No||Yes|
|Price||$0||$6 per month||$15 per month|
Now that I’ve put the Abode Cam 2 through our series of testing protocols and explored everything this pocket-sized gadget can do, there’s only one question left to cover.
Is this the camera for you?
That answer, I think you’ll find, depends on whether you’re interested in inexpensive, no-frills video surveillance, or something more full-featured that can give you more insight into your home and potentially protect it from intruders. After all, that’s what this is all about, right? Protecting your home, your loved ones, and your own feeling of peace and security. It’s hard to put a price on that.
All that said, the Abode Cam 2 handles the basics pretty well. I wasn’t too thrilled that the only way I could enable automatic motion recording on this camera was to sign up for a subscription, but the low upfront cost for the camera (only $38) pretty much balanced that out. I might even go out and pick up a few more Abode Cams, just to be safe.
Yes. You can simply plug it in and pair it with your home Wi-Fi without having to connect to a gateway or hub.
Yes. With the standard plan, you can add as many cameras as you like and record, store, and save video to Abode’s cloud network.
No. Recordings from both the Abode Cam 2 and the Abode Outdoor Smart Cam can only be saved to the cloud. There is no access to local storage.
You can. It’s IP65-rated for water and dust protection, and it has flexible mounting options for walls and surfaces.
No. Abode only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks.
Trend Micro. (2021, Aug 25). What Are QR Codes & Are They Safe?
Isaacs, Rebecca. (2021, Aug 6). Google unveils new 2021 Google Nest doorbell, cam and more. NBCNews.
Jaime Fraze has 16 years of writing and editing experience, with seven years spent writing about emerging technologies. As our home security camera expert, she has hand-tested and reviewed every major security camera brand and has written more than 300 articles on the topic. Previously, Jaime has contributed to award-winning media outlets such as the Rocky Mount Telegram and the Daytona Beach News-Journal. As a homeowner and mother of two, Jaime is constantly looking for ways to keep her home and family safe. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English/Journalism from the University of Delaware.