Amcrest Alexa

Amcrest Review: Cameras That Work With Echo Show & Spot

Amcrest offers a full array of indoor and outdoor security cameras. However, today, we're only going to take a look at five of them: the ProHD Shield, the UltraHD Shield, the ProHD, the HDSeries, and the IPM-723S outdoor camera. If you're wondering why I singled out these five cameras, it's because they have one thing in common: All are compatible with Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot. If you own an Echo Show or Spot, these Amcrest cameras will add value to your home's security.

Camera Basics

The ProHD Shield and UltraHD Shield cameras are identical in every aspect except for their video quality. They are both fixed indoor cameras with a hexagonal, shield-like form factor, thus the name "Shield." To function, the cameras need Wi-Fi and AC power, although you'll probably need an Ethernet connection and a computer to set them up as the wireless setup process is known to fail at times. You're also required to use 2.4GHz Wi-Fi.

As for installation, you can install the cameras in one of two ways. First, you can set them on top of a table or any flat surface. This installation method requires no additional hardware. You can also mount them on a wall, that is, if you're willing to buy a camera wall-mount with a 1/4-20 UNC screw head, such as this one.

The ProHD and HDSeries cameras are also twins. Both are pan-and-tilt cameras, both are for indoor use only, both require 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, and both need to remain plugged into an outlet. The cameras work best when sitting on a flat surface, but you can also mount them using a third-party mount.

On the other hand, the IPM-723S is a bullet style outdoor camera. It's weatherproof with an IP rating of 67. Like the other cameras, IPM-723S requires Wi-Fi and AC power to work. It also has an external antenna for a better Wi-Fi reception outdoors. If you want, you can also use an Ethernet cable to connect the camera to your router. For installation, the camera's attached base allows you to use screws to mount the camera. Also, the camera itself can tilt up and down on its base, allowing you to adjust for the perfect viewing angle.

Image & Video Quality

Amcrest ProHD Shield

The Amcrest ProHD Shield records and streams videos in 1280 x 960 resolution at 30 frames per second, just a tad lower than 1080p cameras. It has a 140° wide-angle lens. It doesn't offer optical zoom, but it can zoom digitally. It can also see up to 32 feet using night vision thanks to its 12 IR LEDs.

Amcrest UltraHD Shield

The Amcrest UltraHD Shield, as the name implies, offers a higher video resolution. It records and streams in 2304 x 1296 at 20 frames per second, equivalent to a 2K resolution. Like ProHD Shield, it has a 140° viewing angle, a 32-foot night vision range, 12 IR LEDs, and digital zoom.

Amcrest HD Series

The Amcrest HD Series is a 720p camera. It records and streams in HD at 30fps. It's equipped with night vision, allowing it to see up to 32 feet in the dark. However, it's viewing angle is only 85°. On the bright side, it's a pan-and-tilt camera, so while live streaming to your phone, you can enjoy a full 360° view of the camera's surroundings.

Amcrest ProHD

Amcrest ProHD is another pan-and-tilt camera but it has a better image quality than the HD Series. It captures images in 1080p at 30fps, it has a viewing angle of 90°, and it has up to 32 feet of night vision.

Amcrest IPM-723S

The Amcrest IPM-723S offers a 1280 x 960 resolution at 30 frames per second, similar to the ProHD Shield. However, it has a narrower field of view of only 92°. What makes it stand out is its ability to see up to 98 feet in the dark. For outdoor cameras, night vision is essential, which makes IPM-723S's superb night vision range even more appealing.

Amcrest Cameras To Enhance Home Security

Amcrest ProHD Shield and UltraHD Shield

Despite their differences in image and video quality, all five cameras offer the same set of security features.

As with most security cameras today, they are capable of detecting motion. If they detect motion, they can send alerts to your smartphone through the Amcrest View Pro (Android or iOS) app. The notification includes three snapshots of the event. Via the app, you can watch a recording of the previous motion event, watch a live feed, or even speak through the camera using two-way voice. You can also create schedules to tell the camera when to arm or disarm the motion sensor.

In addition to motion detection, all five cameras support detection zones. Detection zones are virtual zones you create around areas you want to monitor. By telling the cameras which areas need supervision, you can significantly reduce false alarms caused by motion detected in irrelevant areas. Even better, you can adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensor for each zone. In high-traffic zones, for example, you can reduce the sensitivity to decrease false alarms further. But for areas where there should be no motion, you can increase the sensitivity.

In addition to securing your home, the five Amcrest cameras use AES and SSL encryption to preserve your privacy. AES is used when streaming videos or saving clips in the cloud. SSL, on the other hand, protects your data when viewing via the browser app. As nice as that sounds, Amcrest cameras have a shaky privacy history. It's a known fact that many of their previous camera models were hackable and contained security flaws. For example, this guy was able to use the Amcrest app to peer into a woman's bedroom.

 ProHD Shield
UltraHD Shield
HDSeriesProHD
IPM-723S
Price
$79.99
$99.99
$59.99$79.99$69.99
UsageIndoor Only
Indoor Only
Indoor Only
Indoor Only
Outdoor (IP67)
Resolution
1280 x 960 @30fps2304 x 1296 @20fps1280 x 720 @30fps1920 x 1080 @30fps1280 x 960 @30fps
Viewing Angle140°140°85° (360° pan-and-tilt)90° (360° pan-and-tilt)92°
Night Vision Range
Up to 32 feetUp to 32 feetUp to 32 feetUp to 32 feetUp to 98 feet
ZoomDigitalDigitalDigitalDigitalDigital
Motion Sensor
YES
YES
YES
YES
YES
Two-Way Talk
YES
YES
YES
YES
NO
Cloud Storage
YES
YES
YES
YES
YES
MicroSD Card Storage
Up to 128GB
Up to 128GB
Up to 64GB
Up to 64GB
Up to 64GB
NVR Storage
YES
YES
YES
YES
YES
Works With Echo Show and Spot
YES
YES
YES
YES
YES
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Video Storage

As for video storage, all five cameras offer the same options.

First, you can store videos in the cloud. Amcrest offers four hours of free cloud storage. This means your event clips or manually triggered recordings will stay in the cloud for four hours. What will happen to them after four hours? Poof! They will be gone forever. If you want to save important clips, you can download them and save them to your computer or smartphone's internal memory. Another downside to the free cloud storage is that it can only support one camera. If you want to add more Amcrest cameras to your home, you must pay for a cloud storage account.

Prices start at $6/month for 7-days of cloud storage, or you can opt for more. Amcrest has both a 14 and 30-day cloud storage option.

Second, all three cameras can store videos locally to a microSD card. The ProHD Shield and UltraHD Shield cameras both support up to 128GB microSD cards, while the IPM-723S supports a card size of up to 64GB.

Finally, they are all compatible with Amcrest NVRs. Amcrest offers a variety of NVR options starting at $65.99.

Working With Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot

The highlight feature of the five Amcrest cameras is their compatibility with one of the best known AI assistants in the smart home market today, Alexa. Being the voice and mind behind Amazon Echo and other Echo products, Alexa works with smart home brands to provide voice control for automated homes.

Recently, thanks to the release of Echo Show and its smaller sibling Echo Spot, Amazon was able to offer a new level of integration. Using your voice, you can now ask Alexa to stream a live feed from your camera to your Echo Show or Spot screen. This type of integration is supported by a number security cameras, including ProHD Shield, UltraHD Shield, ProHD, HDSeries, and IPM-723. You can simply say, "Alexa, show me my living room camera," and Echo Show will promptly show you a feed from your camera designated to your living room. Take note that for this to work, you'll need to name and identify the location of each camera.

Is the Echo integration helpful? In certain situations, yes. For example, Echo Show is designed to sit on bedside tables, kitchen counters, or in other places where hands-free control is recommended. Let's say it's the middle of the night and you hear a thud. Instead of fumbling in the dark to look for your phone, you can simply say, "Alexa, show me the living room." Fast. Easy. Convenient.

However, there's a catch. Integrating Amcrest cameras with Alexa requires an Amcrest Cloud account. As mentioned earlier, the free cloud account only supports one camera per user. If you want to integrate more than one camera, you need to pay at least $6/month.

Pricing & Availability

All five cameras are available for purchase on Amazon. The ProHD Shield sells for $79.99, the UltraHD Shield for $99.99, the ProHD for $79.99, the HDSeries for $59.99, and the IPM-723S for $69.99. The two Shield cameras are available in black and white, while the ProHD, HDSeries, and the outdoor camera are available in black, white, and silver.

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