Do you want your security hard or soft? Alfred Camera app goes both ways

The AlfredCam
The hardware AlfredCam is now available in the US, but you could just use an old phone! (Image credit: Alfred Camera Inc)

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.

The Alfred Camera app can see through the camera of any other phone, potentially side-stepping any hardware purchase. (Image credit: Alfred Camera)

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. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Adam Juniper
Managing Editor

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 

Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 

He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones (opens in new tab), The Smart Smart Home Handbook (opens in new tab), 101 Tips for DSLR Video (opens in new tab) and The Drone Pilot's Handbook (opens in new tab)