The Alfred Camera app's philosophy was simple; why buy a new smart security camera when you can use an old phone. That approach earned it 70 million users, but now it has announced a new product, AlfredCam, which puts it firmly in the hardware battle against big names like Blink, Ring and Google's Nest.
The Alfred Camera app is available on both the App Store (opens in new tab) and Google Play (opens in new tab), and can use any other phone, or webcam, as a camera. This enables you to build a monitoring system, like any other smart home security setup, but from any spare phones you have lying around. Inevitably this created waves thanks to its flexibility and low initial cost compared to alternatives.
• Read more about the best indoor security cameras (opens in new tab) on the market right now
Phones have their limitations, however (and Alfred Systems has a significant installed base), so after a protracted roll-out, the second wave of AlfredCams are now shipping in the US. The indoor camera can be connected to the Alfred Camera app in more-or-less the same way a phone can, but comes with infra-red night vision (as you'd expect) and a microSD card for storage (not a given in this category, but a plus). It weighs 68g and stands at 4.13 inches / 105mm.
Like longstanding hardware companies, the Alfred system offers premium features for a subscription fee. A $5.99 monthly (approximately £4.90 / AU$9.00) or $29.99 yearly (£24.50 / AU$45.00) subscription grants HD viewing and recording, zooming, AI person detection, zones, longer clip recording, scheduling and ad removal. You heard right – the free app has ads. Because Alfred is account, rather than device, based, this fee applies across all connected devices, so compares well with other brands.
Interestingly, in keeping with the character of the scrappy Alfred Camera app brand, the company's website has approached the device in a manner that many in marketing might question. It shares very convincing 'reviews' – which we can't imagine are entirely impartial – but dows list positive and negative features for its own devices. Mostly positive, though!
If this article was of interest, you might like to check out the best cheap security cameras (opens in new tab) and the best CCTV cameras (opens in new tab) – or perhaps even just best fake security cameras (opens in new tab) if you simply want a visual deterrent.