Abode’s 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.
Abode Cameras Review
Abode cameras review
- : Best for home security
- : Best for budget surveillance
- : Honorable mention
Abode recently announced its new Wireless Video Doorbell. Since it doesn't need to be hardwired to an existing chime, it'll be a versatile option for renters or older homes.
However, we're worried it might have some of the Wi-Fi issues we experienced when testing other Abode cameras. Stay tuned for our hands-on review.
What to expect with Abode cameras
Abode’s cameras offer some neat technology, but it’s scattered piecemeal across all 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). Need a ceiling camera? The Cam 2 is the only Abode camera up for the job. And now that Abode has discontinued the Outdoor Smart Cam, the Cam 2 is the only option for outdoor security.
For the full experience, you’ll want the Iota and the Cam 2, since the Cam 2 can't be added to smart home automations without the Iota or the camera-less Gateway hub. You’ll also 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.
Compare Abode cameras
|Best for home security|
|2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, Ethernet,|
4G cellular backup
|Amazon, Apple, Google, Z-Wave,|
|View on Abode|
|Best for budget surveillance|
Abode Cam 2
|2.4 GHz Wi-Fi||Amazon, Google||View on Abode|
Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Abode Iota: 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 sometimes 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 completely 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 three internet connectivity options:
- Ethernet cable (included in the box)
- 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
- 4 cellular back-up (requires Pro Plan subscription)
Most of the smart security cameras we review connect only to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, so the Iota’s more versatile options stand out.
Our Iota testing experience: Unstable Wi-Fi connections
Our testers had mixed experiences connecting the Iota to Wi-Fi.
For example, I couldn't get the Iota to connect to Wi-Fi at all, which meant the Iota had to stay close to my modem so I could use the Ethernet port.
Another tester had no problem getting the Iota to connect to Wi-Fi, but our third tester never got to test the Wi-Fi connectivity because the app crashed during setup.
Iota video quality is clear
In the Abode app, you'll see a preview of the live video footage. Tap on this preview to view the true livestream.
The preview quality is extremely grainy, but the actual livestream looks crisp.
Screenshots: Cathy Habas, SafeWise
Since the Iota streams in full 1080p HD, we’d expect nothing less than a crisp image. It also looks good in night vision mode thanks to an integrated infrared LED light.
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.
Video quality settings
Abode offers high, medium, and low bandwidth settings to help improve streaming quality. You can also switch between 720p and 1080p.
Check out our screenshots below to see how it looks in the app.
Screenshots: Cathy Habas, SafeWise
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 10 days with both the Standard and Pro 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.
Abode Cam 2: Best for budget surveillance
The Abode Cam 2 was released in June 2021, and we tested one shortly after. It costs less than $40 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
Our Abode Cam 2 testing experience: setup issues
As with the Abode Iota, our testers had different experiences with the Cam 2.
I could never get the camera to pair with the app. The setup process is relatively simple, but at one point you have to scan the Cam 2's QR code with your phone camera. The app froze every time.
I sent the same camera to another tester who had no trouble setting it up. We both had up-to-date iPhones, so the issue is still a mystery.
Image quality decreases in low light
The Cam 2 had crisp image quality when live streaming in normal light conditions. In low light conditions, the image started to look grainy.
Screenshots: Celeste Tholen, SafeWise
Good motion detection
The Cam 2 sometimes failed to detect motion on the periphery, but it always noticed people moving in its central field of view.
The Cam 2 ignored movement from a curious cat, even when it filled most of the screen. Note that you need to enable "person detection" in the app to make sure the Cam 2 ignores other movement.
Poor audio quality
The Cam 2's audio quality left a lot to be desired. Although it occasionally worked correctly, at one point it was impossible to hear the person speaking through the camera because the audio was extremely garbled.
Then it was impossible to hear the person speaking through the app because the audio shut down completely.
The camera's microphone and speaker volume also had to be constantly adjusted in the app.
—Celeste Tholen, Cam 2 tester
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.
We like the features and specs of the Abode Iota security system and the Cam 2 overall. 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 setup, Wi-Fi connection, and audio 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 this camera works for you.
How we reviewed Abode cameras
We conducted hands-on testing for our Abode cameras review and spent hours reviewing the technical specifications of the Abode cameras to understand the similarities and differences. We also 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
No, the Abode Outdoor Smart Cam has been discontinued. Abode split the Outdoor Smart Cam's features into the Cam 2 and the upcoming Wireless Video Doorbell.
It depends on whether you prioritize video quality and long-term cloud storage or home automation and third-party compatibility.
Ring doesn't offer many third-party integrations, but it offers more camera options—including an extensive lineup of video doorbells and powerful outdoor cameras—and stores footage for 60 days. Abode's camera lineup is limited in comparison, and footage is stored for only 10 days.
Learn more in our direct comparison of Ring vs. Abode.
Abode has a free plan, a $6.00/month plan, and a $20.00/month plan. Read our full Abode review for more info.
See more questions and answers on our Abode FAQ page.