Leaderboard: Security WiFi Cameras with Cloud Storage TechStage

We put ten WLAN cameras with cloud storage through their paces. This leaderboard shows which is really worth it.

Almost all of the cameras we tested do a good job in terms of motion detection and notification. You report reliably via the app when something is happening. Above all, there are differences in the range of functions and equipment. And at the important point of image quality, the chaff separates from the wheat.

Cloud-based WLAN cameras are primarily aimed at users who do not want to grapple with commissioning an IP cam. An important point is the storage of recordings in the operator’s cloud, so that the user does not have to set up his own server or network-connected storage (NAS guide). However, the cloud services at the manufacturer of the security cameras are generally restricted: Only those who subscribe to a fee can enjoy the full range of functions.

We tested the following cameras:

We have summarized alternative cameras and camera systems in our article Test Winner: Surveillance Cameras for Inside and Outside.

In this context, the cloud usually refers to online storage on which the cameras store their material. Depending on the manufacturer, the complete video runs on the provider’s server; if the camera detects movement, the corresponding clip is marked. With other models, only the recordings on which something happened happened to end up in the online memory.

Both variants have their advantages and disadvantages. If the motion detection did not work reliably, the material is gone as in the Yi Home Camera 2020 (test report). And if everything is loaded onto the network, this not only costs data storage, which the provider can easily pay for as with the Ring Indoor Cam (test report) or Arlo Pro 2 (test report), but also its own data volume.

Advantage of the cloud solution: You do not have to provide storage space at the recording location and the recordings are protected. No burglar will steal the hard drives from the servers at the other end of the world – it is much easier with cameras with an integrated SD card such as the Yi Home Camera. In addition, there is no need to worry about configuring network storage or dealing with IP addresses and port forwarding. The cloud provider also takes care that you can access your recordings or the live image at any time and from anywhere.

Of course, the whole thing also has disadvantages. In addition to the bandwidth mentioned above, which is required for the uploads, it often costs money as in the case of Ring, Blink, Smartfrog, Logitech and Arlo. The one-time investment in a surveillance camera becomes a permanent block of costs. Usually it is only a few euros a month, but over the years it adds up. On the other hand, you put yourself in the hands of the camera manufacturer. Only the manufacturer knows whether its networks and online storage are configured correctly and securely.

Our favorite among the tested security cameras is the Somfy One + (test report). This is not just a WLAN security cam, but an all-in-one security solution for the home. The device integrates a 90 db loud siren and can be networked with motion detectors and other sensors from the manufacturer. Somfy One also works with Amazon Alexa, Google Nest and TaHoma.

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Somfy One + is the most professional security camera in the test. Not least because the user of the camera even gets his own security service for 9.99 euros per month, who checks what is going on in the event of an alarm. Viewing and downloading videos of events in front of the lens costs nothing, the owner has to pay 4.99 euros per month for the entire video history.

The IN-8015 (test report) of the German company Instar is number 2 on our leaderboard. It is a swiveling camera for indoor use, the company also offers various cameras for outdoors. We liked the good image quality and the quick response when turning the camera. The latency in the live image was also lower than in any other model in our test series.

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The Instar IN-8015 is not as intuitive to use as some other IP-Cam, but in addition to a wide range of functions, it offers more extensive setting options. As far as additional costs are concerned, the user is not required to have a monthly cloud subscription. There are vouchers for 10 GB of storage space on the company’s server for one year. The price of just under 30 euros for the following year seems fair to us. The cloud is optional with the Instar IN-8015, recordings can also be saved on an SD card in the camera or on an FTP server.

The Eufycam 2c (test report) lands in 3rd place with easy operation, good recording quality, precise detection and local data backup. The app’s cloud service allows access to the locally saved recordings. The transmission to the smartphone takes place via 256-bit encryption (AES). Recordings and person recognition work perfectly with the cameras. Especially night vision shots on the 2c are above average bright and rich in contrast. Unfortunately you have to do without a siren in the camera. The local storage cannot be expanded either. If it is full, old recordings will be deleted. Although the manufacturer wants to change this via software update, there is no exact date for it.

The Arlo Pro 2 WLAN camera (test report) scores in the test for expandability and use via app and web portal. The cam is suitable for inside and outside. Not only is it cheaper than the first-generation Arlo Pro, it also has tidy cloud subscriptions (Link to the provider). At the time of testing in February 2019, the tariff jungle caused a grade deduction.

Now you can use the Pro 2 free of charge with live stream and notifications or pay around 3 euros a month for all other functions such as the detection of people, animals and vehicles as well as 30 days of cloud storage. For 4.50 a month there are also video recordings in 4K – who needs it. This brings the Arlo Pro 2 a better place in our leaderboard.

The Logitech Circle 2 (test report) is suitable for use inside or outside the front door. In addition to the good and solid workmanship, we liked the image quality and the performance of the camera over the network. The Circle 2 can also score in terms of operation and user interface: No other cam can be controlled more intuitively in our test field.

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At first glance, what it offers sounds fair when it comes to using the Logitech cloud. Without a subscription, there is access to the recordings of the last 24 hours; for 14 or 31 days, EUR 3.99 or EUR 9.99 per month is due. However, this refers to the use of only one camera. With three cameras and a 31-day subscription, the user is at just under € 18 a month.

Night vision, motion detection and as small as a nectarine – the Blink Mini surveillance camera (test report) costs just 35 euros. Setting up and operating the camera is child’s play. The range of functions is extensive and the image quality is outstanding.

Test report: Ring Indoor Cam

The only downside is the poor quality of the audio recordings and the cloud subscription requirement. Because only those who pay monthly can use the Blink in full. When recording sound, there is permanent noise in every recording. Voices can still be heard fairly clearly, but the noise covers a lot. It is not possible to back up data locally, for example using a micro SD card. Instead, you have to buy the Blink-Sync module 2 separately if you want to save your video recordings locally. Those who don’t do this rely on the cloud. As with Arlo or Ring, you pay 3 euros per month so that you can save your recordings.

Although the IP camera from Smartfrog (test report) does not look like much in terms of value, it convinces us in terms of functionality and reliability in reporting. As with almost all devices in our test series, there is also motion and noise detection, baby monitor function and night vision. All of this worked well in the test. We also like the option of integrating several smartphones and computers into the system as additional cameras. Up to ten devices work together.

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We don’t like Smartfrog’s pricing so much. It doesn’t make much sense without additional costs. The buyer has the option to “rent” Smartfrog for € 5.95 a month, after 24 months the cam then becomes the property of the user. The cost includes a subscription with access to the surveillance videos from the past 24 hours. Smartfrog is also available without a subscription, then the hardware costs just under 150 euros and there is only access to the video material of the last four hours.

The Ring Indoor Cam (test report) convinces above all with performance and operation. We like speakers, night shots and the general picture quality in the test. We recommend the cam as a supplement to existing domestic ring systems. Unfortunately, only the ring cloud is available as the only storage for the recordings. Unfortunately, because the free version only offers live stream and notifications on the smartphone. If you want a memory, you pay 3 euros per device per month. In addition, Ring keeps coming in negative headlines when it comes to data breaches (Link to heise). You only get eighth place in our leaderboard.

The fact that the Canary Flex (test report) ended up in ninth place is mainly due to the poor image quality. While all other IP cams were at least satisfactory in this regard, the quality here is disappointing – although the manufacturer even promises a 1080p image sensor. However, the resolution of our videos was only 720p. The latency in the transmission of the live image was also very high with the Canary Flex.

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We liked the camera, which is intended for both indoor and outdoor use, in terms of functionality and performance, but there are only a few setting options. For example, there is no option to manually record a video. The user can download videos of the activities detected by the camera up to 24 hours after recording, for up to 30 days per month for $ 9.99.

The Yi Home Camera (test report) costs just 25 euros and delivers a good result day and night. Unfortunately, that’s about it. Digital motion and noise detection are unusable – they simply don’t work. But the biggest problem is that data protection is not guaranteed for the camera. It stores recordings, among others, in the USA, but also in other countries in which Yi is active; so also China. If you can live with it, you get a camera for 25 euros that shows the picture of your own apartment from all over the world.

Best quality also costs a lot. This is shown, for example, by the Arlo Pro 2 or Eufycam 2c. Ultimately, however, it depends on the individual areas of application. If you already have a Blink subscription, the Blink Mini is worth it. If you definitely want a cloud storage with a German location, then the Instar is an alternative.

We have summarized alternative cameras and camera systems in our article Test Winner: Surveillance Cameras for Inside and Outside.