Nest Cameras

Our experts weigh in on Nest's four security cameras, the Nest Cam Indoor, Nest Cam Outdoor, Nest Cam IQ Indoor and Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.

  • Innovative person detection technology
  • Choice of free or paid plan options
  • Compatible with third-party platforms

A subsidiary of Google, Nest has been producing home automation products since 2011. The product that made its name was the Nest Thermostat, which is not only programmable but Wi-Fi enabled and self-learning. Since its acquisition by Google in 2014, Nest has produced a number of smart home products. They include those associated with security, such as smart locks, video doorbells, and surveillance cameras.

The first Nest Cam was released in 2015, one year after Google Nest acquired the Dropcam company. The first Nest Cam was for indoor use only. In the intervening four years, the company has developed three other Nest Cams.

Features

Some smart home security cameras are designed for either indoor or outdoor use. However, this is not the case for the different varieties of Nest Cam. Each camera is intended for either indoor or outdoor use. Fortunately, this information is included in the name of each camera, so it would be difficult to accidentally purchase the wrong type unless you really failed to pay attention.

Common Features

All Nest Cams have the following features in common:

  • 1080p HD image
  • 24/7 live video
  • Three-hour snapshot history
  • Night vision
  • Phone alerts
  • Talk and listen
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Compatibility with other Google Nest smart home products

To explain a few of these features in a bit more detail, each camera can connect to an app on your smartphone that not only provides you with an alert when the camera detects something but also allows you to customize your settings. Night vision allows you to monitor unusual activity even in the darkness when intruders may be more likely to lurk. Each camera is equipped with a microphone and speakers so that you can communicate. This feature works similarly to a baby monitor and provides another method of frightening away potential burglars. Compatibility with Google Home, Chromecast, and Google Assistant means that you can do things like send Nest Cam footage to your TV or control the camera(s) with voice commands.

Indoor Versus Outdoor

There are two indoor varieties of Nest Cam and two outdoor varieties. The indoor cameras have some basic features in common. Both are easy to install by simply plugging them into a wall. Both have an adjustable stand and a magnetic base that allow you to mount them just about anywhere you want. Both have the capability to plug into either a wall outlet or USB port by simply adding or removing the plug prong on the cord.

Outdoor Nest Cams may be more difficult to install than their indoor counterparts because they may need to be hardwired. They are weather-resistant and tamper-resistant with a detection range of 50 feet and a 130-degree field of vision.

Nest Cam IQ Versus Basic

There are the standard indoor or outdoor Nest Cams, and then there is the Nest Cam IQ. Like the standard version, the Nest Cam IQ comes in either indoor or outdoor varieties. The Nest Cam IQ is larger than the standard version, although some people find the updated design less sleek and more bulky. It can do everything the standard unit can do, but it also offers some special features of its own:

  • HD talk and listen (compared to the standard definition of the basic units)
  • Supersight (4K sensor, close-up tracking view, HDR)
  • Person alerts (detects the difference between a person and another object, such as a pet)

What Supersight means in practical terms is if someone is sneaking around your home, the camera will zoom in on the individual and track his or her movements so that you know what is going on at all times. When it comes to Talk and Listen features, the HD system with the Nest Cam IQ varieties allows you to talk with the mere push of a button, whereas with the basic units, you need to press and hold the button as though you were using a walkie-talkie.

Nest Aware

In addition to your Nest Cam, you can also subscribe to the Nest Aware program for an extra monthly fee. Without Nest Aware, you can only record three hours of video at a time. With Nest Aware, you can record continuous video for days on end and store your recorded video in the cloud. Nest Aware also gives you the capability to create time-lapse videos and edit video clips. With Aware, you can also monitor certain areas more closely when you set up “activity zones.”

Even if you do not have the Nest Cam IQ, you can get person alerts with a Nest Aware subscription. Familiar face alerts are an exclusive feature only available to Nest Cam IQ users who also subscribe to Nest Aware. This special feature allows the camera to alert you when it sees a face it does not recognize.

It should be noted that the Nest Aware plan is optional. You do not need to subscribe to use your Nest Cam(s) but will not have access to the extra features if you choose not to subscribe.

Costs

Since most homes can benefit from more than one security camera, Nest offers bundle packages that allow you to purchase multiple units at a reduced price for total protection of your home. The pricing table below, however, is based on the purchase of a single unit.

Camera Name/TypeCost Per Unit
Nest Cam Outdoor$199.99
Nest Cam Indoor$199.99
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor$299.99
Nest Cam IQ Indoor$349.99

There are three different Nest Aware plans available. The price for each is based on the time span for which they provide continuous video recording. Thus, a 30-day plan costs $30 per month, a 10-day plan costs $10 per month, and a five-day plan costs $5 per month.

If you choose not to subscribe to Nest Aware, there are no ongoing monthly costs to use your Nest Cam(s).

Summary

Reviews of Nest Cam products note repeatedly that they are on the high-end of the price spectrum compared to similar products. However, they also observe that Nest Cams are among the best you can buy, thus suggesting that the additional price may be justified.