Abode Cam 2 review: A reliable budget security camera

A compact, versatile security camera that can go indoors or out, the Abode Cam 2 is a wired surveillance cam that works either with Abode’s excellent smart security system or as a standalone camera. At £35, it’s a budget camera with a handful of high-end features, including 1080p HD video, full-color low-light vision, night vision, activity zones, motion-activated recording, person detection, and 24/7 recording – although the last few require a monthly fee. More for less: Best budget home security cameras

There’s Alexa and Google Home interaction, but no HomeKit – as with Abode’s other camera, the Iota. There’s also no spotlight or zoom, and it has a pretty narrow 121-degree field of view. With no local storage, you do need to pay a monthly fee to view recorded footage.

But for £35 there’s still a lot on offer. So, how does this £35 camera stack up against the other budget security cameras that work indoors and out, such as Wyze Cam 3 and the Ring Stick Up Cam? We’ve been testing the Abode Cam 2 for a couple of weeks now, read on for our full review.

Abode Cam 2: Design and install

The Abode Cam 2 camera is small and compact and not at all dissimilar in design from the Wyze Cam 3. It has the same white body and flexible base with a built-in hook for mounting to a wall, although it’s a fraction smaller and feels less bulky. Unlike the Wyze Cam 3, there’s no Micro-SD slot for local storage, no built-in siren, and no magnetic base for easy mounting.

It also doesn’t have the ability to listen for smoke or CO alarms when indoors, as the Wyze Cam does
Wyze Cam 3 on the left and Abode Cam 2 on the right.

It’s powered by a USB cable and power brick that plug into any standard wall outlet. The camera housing is rated as weatherproof (IP65), but the cable doesn’t look particularly weatherproof, neither does where it plugs into the camera. And the power brick definitely isn’t, so it needs to be plugged in inside.

The Abode Cam 2 has a built-in adjustable mount that you can easily manipulate once installed to get the view you need. To mount it to the wall you screw in an included screw and slide the base over the screw head – it’s a bit basic, but it works. Setting up the camera is simple.

Download the Abode app, and either sign up for or log in to your Abode account, select “Add Device” in the devices list, choose Abode Cam 2 and follow the prompts.
As we’ve mentioned, Abode has a full security system/ z-wave smart home hub, but the Abode Cam 2 can work with or without that.

If you don’t have an Abode system you can easily set up any number of these cameras for home security surveillance and control them all from the Abode app. All the features (which we’ll discuss next) work whichever way you set it up, the only real difference being if you have an Abode system you can use the camera to trigger automations with other devices connected to your Abode system. Connection to an Abode system also gives you the ability to automatically have the camera switch on and off when you leave home or arrive home – which you can’t do if you use them outside of the Abode system.

Abode Cam 2: Features and subscription

Without paying for any monthly plan, the Abode Cam works just for viewing a live stream through the Abode app. To unlock most features – such as motion-activated recording, person detection, and activity zones, you’ll need to sign up for one of Abode’s two paid subscription plans. The Standard Plan is designed for camera-only users, it costs £6 a month and gets you cloud storage of motion-activated recording for up to 10 days for all your cameras.

You can also add 24/7 recording for an additional £9 a month, for a total of £15 a month. The other option is Abode’s professionally monitored Pro Plan for £20/month, but this is only worth considering if you have the security system. With the cloud storage, you also get “Smart Detect,” Abode’s intelligent notifications.

This means you can set the camera to notify you when it sees a person. Abode says pet and package detection are coming soon. Activity zones help further customize your notifications.

All recorded events are captured on the overall timeline in the app, which you can filter to see motion or person events. When you click on the camera itself in the app you get a timeline view for that camera with the clips either highlighted by the time they occurred or in a bulk view of every recording.

Even with 24/7 recording enabled, however, you can’t scroll through and see the timelapse-style view a lot of 24/7-capable cameras offer. Instead, you have to go to a specific time and click to see the video for that event. This makes the 24/7 recording less useful, as you can’t scroll through and see all the activity your camera caught, you have to click on a specific time.

You can save money for 24/7 recording by paying £99 upfront for a year. The Abode Cam 2 works with both Alexa and Google smart displays, for pulling up live video with a voice command. But sadly there is no HomeKit integration as there is with Abode’s Iota Cam that’s built-in to its security system base station.

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Abode Cam 2: Video quality and in use

Video quality is very good, clear, with bright colors and impressive detail.

We particularly like the boundary boxes that highlight any movement – which makes it easy to quickly see what might need your attention. Although when there was a lot of motion – such as a person walking through the frame, some artefacting occurred, and the quality dropped significantly. No HDR imaging also meant some spots were a bit blown out during the brightest parts of the day, and the color low-light vision only kicked in once during our testing.

Most of the time we just got the standard (and still very good) monochrome night vision.

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This is because the starlight sensor that enables full color needs some light to work, and apparently, there was rarely enough on our back porch for it to kick in. Our biggest disappointment in terms of the video was the lack of any zoom.

What you see is what you get, you can’t magnify the image to get a better view of the action. The audio quality was also very spotty, a lot of static made it hard to hear a person clearly, although they could hear us talking to them pretty well. One big positive of this camera is the very reliable Abode app, which responded to motion or people alerts quickly, opening up to the recording in just a few seconds with barely any lag time.

Loading a live stream was similarly snappy, and the app never crashed or timed out as is our experience with a lot of smart camera apps. If you have an Abode system, this camera is an easy choice. Abode only has one other stand-alone camera – the Outdoor Smart Cam – which has higher specs but costs £200.

Adding the Abode Cam 2 to your system opens up a host of automation possibilities with Abode’s powerful CUE automation system. The camera’s pixel-based motion sensor can be used as a trigger to activate your alarm system or turn any connected devices on or off. You can also add the camera to automations – such as have it record a clip, or start or stop recording based on time of day (including sunrise or sunset), or based on your phone’s location, or your alarm system’s state or mode.

However, if you have professional monitoring enabled, the camera isn’t able to provide video verification directly to the monitoring center, as Simplisafe’s new outdoor camera can, instead you’d have to share the clips manually.

Abode Cam 2 One of the cheapest indoor/outdoor cameras around, Abode Cam 2 is a very capable, easy-to-use smart home security camera. An inexpensive cloud storage plan adds 10 days of event-based recordings and person detection.

Continuous, 24/7 recording is available for £9 a month.

However, video and audio quality aren’t the best and the lack of zoom is disappointing.

But the excellent Abode app means this camera is super reliable, which is what you need in a home security camera.

  • Super cheap
  • Person Detection
  • 24/7 recording
  • Excellent app
  • Alexa/Google integration
  • No zoom
  • No HomeKit
  • No local storage
  • Poor audio quality

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