Abode Cameras Review

We reviewed the specifications and performance of Abode's security cameras and compared them to competitors.
Best for home security
Abode Iota
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Sits on table
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Indoor only
  • Icon Pros  Light
    All-in-one security system
Best for automatic doorbell
Abode Outdoor Smart Cam
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Mounts to wall
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Indoor and outdoor
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No backup battery
Best for budget surveillance
Abode Cam 2
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Mounts to any flat surface
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Indoor and outdoor
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Motion activity zones

Abode’s three cameras offer vastly different features, but the Iota is our top pick thanks to its impressive compatibility and built-in security system. We also like Abode as a starter system for people new to home security. You can try out both DIY and pro monitoring for these cameras without getting locked into a contract.

What to expect with Abode cameras

Abode’s cameras offer some neat technology, but it’s scattered piecemeal across all three of its cameras rather than combined into One Awesome Camera. (You’ll want to read Best Home Security Cameras if that’s what you’re looking for.) 

Instead, Abode offers niche cameras. The Iota is ideal for smart home security (and it’s particularly fantastic for renters), whereas the Outdoor Smart Cam is designed for outdoor surveillance. Need a ceiling camera? The unreleased Cam 2 is the only Abode camera up for the job.

For the full experience, you’ll probably want all three Abode cameras. You’ll have to subscribe to a monthly plan to use the coolest features, like automations, person detection, and cloud storage, but Abode’s prices are some of the most affordable in the industry. 

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Can be standalone cameras
Pro Bullet Affordable monitoring plan
Pro Bullet Smart home compatibility
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Must be plugged in
Con Bullet Subscription required for full use
Con Bullet Poor video quality

Compare Abode cameras

Best for home securityBest for automatic doorbellBest for budget surveillance
Abode Iota
Abode Outdoor Smart Cam
Abode Cam 2
Price
Two-way audio
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Person detection$6.00/mo.$6.00/mo.Coming soon
Battery backup
Icon Yes  Light5 hrs.
Icon No  LightNone
Icon No  LightNone
Wi-Fi2.4 GHz, 4 GHz2.4 GHz2.4 GHz
CompatibilityAmazon Alexa Google Assistant Apple HomeKit Z-Wave ZigbeeAmazon Alexa Google AssistantAmazon Alexa Google Assistant

Info current as of 6/8/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

What's in the box

Abode Iota

  • Abode Iota 
  • Door or window sensor
  • Key fob
  • 4G SIM card
  • Power cord
  • Ethernet cable

Abode Outdoor Smart Cam

  • Abode Outdoor Smart Cam
  • Corded mount
  • Magnetic mount
  • Doorbell mount
  • Mounting hardware
  • Wall clips
  • Security lock wrench
  • 15-foot USB power adapter
  • Chime connector (contact Abode if yours is missing)
  • Window decal
  • Quick start guide

Abode Cam 2

  • Coming soon

Abode Iota: Best for home security

Best for home security

Don’t be fooled by the lack of gadgets inside the Abode Iota box. This seven-inch tower is jam-packed with features:

  • HD camera
  • Motion sensor
  • 93-decibel siren
  • Two-way audio
  • Person detection (requires $6.00/mo. subscription)

The Iota is one of the most compatible security cameras on the market, integrating with around 160 smart home products. It also has the easiest physical set-up you could ask for: place it on a table and plug it in. 

But the Iota falls short when it comes to video and audio quality. The image often lags and the audio can sound staticky at times. It also has a limited viewing angle, so it might not catch everything that happens in the room.

Excellent choice for renters

The Iota’s all-in-one design makes it perfect for renters. Landlords typically don’t want you to drill holes in the walls or mess up the paint with peel-and-stick devices. The Iota won’t leave a mark . . . except for the stick-on door/window sensor. You’ll have to talk your landlord into that one.  

But the same qualities that make the Iota great for renters also make it somewhat impractical for homes with long entry hallways or expansive layouts. For example, the Iota has to sit on a table or shelf. Do you have a suitable place to put it in full view of your front door? 

With a limited viewing angle of 127° horizontal and 67° vertical, you’ll have to position it so that the camera picks up as much as possible. There also needs to be a plug in the vicinity.

Power source and internet options

The Iota isn’t a wireless system, but it has a backup battery that powers the system for up to five hours. This isn’t a very long time, but it will still offer protection if someone decides to burgle your home during a short power outage. 

Don’t forget to toggle the “on” button on the bottom of the Iota to make sure the battery backup is ready to go.

The Iota also has four internet connectivity options:

  • Ethernet cable (included in the box)
  • 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
  • 4 GHz Wi-Fi 
  • Cellular back-up (requires Pro Plan subscription)

Most of the smart security cameras we review connect to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, so the Iota’s more versatile options stand out.

Video is clear but lags

The quality of your internet connection does affect the quality of the video feed and load times, but a good camera should still function like a good camera. So far, we’re not super impressed with the quality of the Iota. 

The picture looks clear, and since it’s supposed to be full 1080p HD, we’d expect nothing less. It also looks good in night vision mode thanks to an integrated infrared LED light. 

But the lag makes us squirm. It’s choppy, it’s uncomfortable, and it shouldn’t be happening in 2021.

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Three video quality settings

Abode offers high, medium, and low bandwidth settings to help improve streaming quality. Learn more on their website.

There’s also no way to zoom in when checking in on the live feed. The manufacturers might have chosen to leave this feature off because Iota is meant to be used inside in close quarters. Still, it’s a useful and, frankly, expected feature.

Two video storage options

The Iota will record and save clips any time motion is detected. If you pay for Abode’s Standard plan or Pro plan, the clips are saved to the cloud and can be viewed on the Abode app. Clips are automatically deleted after seven days with the Standard plan and 30 days with the Pro plan.

Checklist
Compare Abode plans

Check out our full review of Abode home security to compare the pro, standard, and free plans.

If you don’t subscribe to a plan, the clips are saved to an SD card (not included). You’ll need to remove the SD card and manually upload the clips to a separate device in order to view them. 

We appreciate this flexibility, but free cloud storage would be even better. 

Iota is compatible with pretty much everything

The Abode Iota really blows the competition out of the water in terms of smart home compatibility and integrations. You can connect up to 160 devices to the Iota, so there’s a good chance you already have compatible devices in your home or that you’ll easily find what you’re looking for when you’re ready to shop. 

Check out our overview of Abode-compatible products for more information.

Bell
Subscription required for automations

Iota-compatible devices can be included in home automations, but you’ll need at least the Standard plan to set them up.

Abode Outdoor Smart Cam: Best for automatic doorbell

Best for automatic doorbell

Although you’d never guess by its name, the Abode Outdoor Smart Cam happens to be one of the smartest doorbell cameras we’ve ever seen. It’s not exclusively designed for this purpose since there isn’t a button for visitors to push. But if you wire it to your doorbell chimes, this innovative little camera automatically rings them whenever it senses someone on your doorstep. 

We think this is the perfect solution for people who want a smart doorbell but aren’t in the habit of using their smartphones for every little thing. The doorbell chime gives you an instant alert whether your phone is on or not. Leaving the house for a bit? You can use the app to see what’s happening while you’re gone.

Thanks to person-detection technology, you won’t get false alarms from visiting critters or falling leaves. But if your delivery driver never bothers to ring the doorbell when delivering packages, this camera will let you know it’s time to go to the door.

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The catch

You have to subscribe to either the Standard plan or Pro plan to activate the video doorbell features: 

  • Person detection
  • Push notifications
  • Automations
  • Video clip storage

No quiet mode in the Abode outdoor smart camera

We’re pretty excited about the motion-activated chime feature, but Abode overlooked one option that would otherwise make the Outdoor Smart Cam a hot contender for Coolest Smart Doorbell Ever: quiet mode. 

Don’t want those chimes to sound? Too bad. They’re gonna. 

Quiet mode might be non-negotiable if you have a baby in the house, work night shift, get sound-sensitive migraines, or have any other reason to need nothing but quiet for a few hours.

Light Bulb
Quiet doorbells

If no quiet mode is a dealbreaker, check out these video doorbells instead:

Otherwise, the Outdoor Smart Cam acts as a nifty security camera + “siren” (which, in this case, is a doorbell chime). You’ll know someone’s poking around the front door, day or night, thanks to this security cam.

Notable specs

The Outdoor Smart Cam isn’t intended to be just a video doorbell. It works indoors and outdoors and tolerates temperatures up to 130° F, so it should be okay to mount in a sunny location in most climates. (Incidentally, full sun will also give the best video image quality.)

We’re also impressed by the Outdoor Smart Cam’s 152° field of view. It only takes about a 130° lens angle to make us sit up and pay attention, so you can only imagine how our eyes bugged out at this one. Wide-angle lenses do run the risk of displaying distorted images that look like a panorama gone wrong, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue with the Abode Outdoor Smart Cam.

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Check doorbell chime compatibility

Confirm your current doorbell will work with the outdoor smart cam by contacting Abode customer support.

What could be better

We’re a little disappointed that the Outdoor Smart Cam has no backup battery or wireless option. It must be plugged into an outlet and comes with a generous 15-foot power cord to help you mount it high on a wall. But, depending on where you want to put the camera, that still might not be long enough.

You could have an electrician hardwire this camera into your home’s electrical system to get rid of the cord or choose a solar-powered or wireless camera from a different brand. But if you don’t mind the aesthetic of a cord snaking down the wall, this camera offers a lot of versatility for the price. 

Some users also note that the Outdoor Smart Cam emits a buzzing noise when installed as a doorbell. A chime connector may fix this problem, and it’s supposed to be included in the box with the camera. However, we found some user reviews stating that the chime connector was missing from their box. They were able to get one by contacting Abode customer service.

Abode Cam 2: Best for budget surveillance (coming soon)

Best for budget surveillance

The Abode Cam 2 is slated for release in June 2021. It’s causing quite a stir because it costs only $35 but promises extensive functionality:

  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Two-way audio
  • IP65 weather rating
  • Full-color night vision
  • Full HD: 1080p at 30 fps
  • 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Motion activity zones
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

Difference between Outdoor Smart Cam and Cam 2

Should you purchase an Outdoor Smart Cam or preorder the Cam 2? The Cam 2 is the best choice for two scenarios:

  • Mounting the camera on the ceiling
  • Using the camera in locations that experience temperatures between -4°F and 14℉

The Abode Cam 2 features an adjustable arm so it can be mounted virtually anywhere to get the right viewing angle. Still, this may not be enough to make up for the 31°-narrower lens angle in the Cam 2 versus the Outdoor Smart Cam.

Compare Outdoor Smart Cam and Cam 2 specifications

Abode Outdoor Smart Cam Abode Cam 2
Dimensions2.8 x 2.8 x 2.0 in.1.97 x 1.97 x 1.97 in.
Lens angle152° 121°
Temperature tolerance14ºF to 130ºF-4ºF to 113ºF
Mounting optionsWall, doorbellWall, ceiling

Honorable mention: Wireless wide-angle motion camera

Don’t need anything too fancy? Check out Abode’s wireless wide-angle motion camera. It doesn’t record video clips, so you won’t be able to remotely view a live feed or engage. Instead, it takes three photos when the Abode system is armed and motion is detected. 

It’s meant to be used inside only and fits snugly on a flat wall or in a corner. In low-light conditions, an LED flash will light up when it takes pictures. 

It takes two AA batteries that can power the device for up to five years. The image resolution isn’t fantastic at just 640 x 480 pixels, so don’t expect to see much detail by zooming in.  

To use the motion camera, you’ll need an Abode service plan and an Iota or Gateway manufactured after 2017.

Final word

We like the features of the Abode Iota security system and the Outdoor Smart Camera overall, and we’re excited about the Cam 2s flexible mounting and affordable price. We especially love that Abode allows users to purchase professional monitoring on an as-needed basis. In that context, we think all of these cameras are quite affordable.

Problems with the video quality are hard to ignore, though. If you’re on the fence, we recommend taking advantage of Abode’s 30-day trial period to gauge how well the video feed works for you based on your Wi-Fi connection.

How we reviewed Abode cameras

We spent hours reviewing the technical specifications of the Abode cameras to understand the similarities and differences and used our industry knowledge to compare Abode’s offers to competitors’. 

Any time we couldn’t find clear information published on the site, we called or chatted with Abode’s customer service to confirm. We also read dozens of other Abode camera reviews to discover the consistently good and bad features. 

Check out our methodology page for more information.

Abode camera FAQ

In our ranking of the top 10 best home security systems, SimpliSafe placed second and Abode placed sixth. But Abode is definitely the better choice if you want to integrate a security kit with other smart home devices, including Apple HomeKit.

Abode has a free plan, a $6.00/mo. plan, and a $20.00/mo. plan. Read our full Abode review for more info.

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over seven years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.