Nest Cam Outdoor Review
Nest offers two outdoor cameras, the Nest Cam Outdoor and the more expensive and advanced Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.
If you’re heard of one security camera company at all, it’s pretty likely Nest. Owned by Google, Nest cams are some of the most trusted home security cameras around, which is why I’m super excited to review the Nest Cam Outdoor. In this review, I’ll be checking it out in terms of video, audio, night vision, storage, smart platform integration, artificial intelligence, value, and convenience. I’ll also be looking at the Nest app, and comparing it to some of its toughest competitors. At the end of the review, I’ll help you decide whether or not the Nest Cam Outdoor is right for you. Let’s get started!
Right off the bat, Nest is telling me things about the Nest Cam Outdoor that I definitely like to hear, such as the fact that it has:
- 1080p HD video: Not shockingly, the Nest Cam Outdoor has the industry standard in video display.
- Integrations with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa: No matter which ecosystem you’re in, you can vocally command your Nest Cam Outdoor and set it up for some home automations.
- Artificial intelligence capabilities: With Nest Aware, you can buy person detection and facial recognition for the Nest Cam Outdoor.
This is all speaking my language, but let’s open the box before we get too excited.
My first impression of the Nest Cam Outdoor is that it’s as sleek as its predecessors, the Nest Cam Indoor and the Nest Cam IQ Indoor. Instead of having a black frame, it’s a stark white, with a shiny circular black camera face. Being an outdoor camera, it works in temperatures from negative four to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, which may work for some people, but not others. The camera also has an IP rating of 65, meaning it’s dust-tight and can even be sprayed with a 6.3 mm water nozzle without any damage. Just don’t spray it with anything bigger or immerse it in water and it’ll keep working. The camera plugs-in via a cable and adapter, which means you’ll never have to replace its batteries.
You know where I’m going with this, to our Necessary Features Test. It’s how I review all my cameras and make sure that they’re up to snuff in terms of video, audio, night vision, and more. I have high hopes about the Nest Cam Outdoor, so hopefully, it doesn’t disappoint.
The Nest Cam Outdoor has 1080p HD video, the ability to zoom in eight times, and a wide field of view of 130 degrees, meeting or exceeding industry standards for each specification.
Like its cousins, the Nest Cam Outdoor has infrared night vision through eight LED sensors. I prefer infrared night vision as compared to color night vision from bright white light because it’s more stealthy. While a bright white light in the middle of the night (excuse the rhyming) is something that you just can’t miss, infrared sensors are way more subtle. And if I’m using a security camera, I don’t want anyone to know that but me!
Fortunately, the Nest Cam Outdoor has two-way audio, which means that you can speak through your Nest app to whoever your camera is pointing at. If you go on the Nest website, you can see real videos of people using two-way audio to stop break-ins as they’re happening, a great way to show their utility.
Storage is where things get a little wonky. Unfortunately, the Nest Cam Outdoor has no local storage options and only gives you three hours of free cloud storage. Beyond that, you’re going to have to invest in Nest Aware. Lucky for you, Nest recently reduced the pricing of cloud storage, so it’s pretty inexpensive.
Nest Aware also includes some other features, which I’ll talk about in just a few paragraphs.
Smart Platform Integration
As Google owns Nest, it didn’t surprise me that the camera integrates with Google Assistant and Chromecast, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Nest Cam Outdoor also integrates with Amazon Alexa and Fire TV. So not only can you command the cameras with your voice and livestream your footage on the big screen, but you can also hook the cameras up to the other connected devices in your ecosystem and make some convenient home automations.
Remember when I said I’d get back to Nest Aware? Yea, that’s happening now. So the Nest Cam Outdoor doesn’t come with person detection or facial recognition, which is a bummer, but you can buy it through Nest Aware. Not only will you get person detection and facial recognition, but you’ll also get dog barking alerts and person speaking alerts. That’s going to create way more meaningful and specific notifications, not just that your Nest Cam Outdoor detected motion but that your mail is here, or that there’s an unfamiliar face on your doorstep. So even though the Nest Cam Outdoor doesn’t come with artificial intelligence, I’m still going to give it two thumbs up as person detection is available.
The first thing you do to set up your Nest Cam Outdoor is plug it in. From there, you’ll scan the QR code in the Nest app and connect the camera to Wi-Fi. Now it’s time to install your camera. Now, the Nest Cam Outdoor has a magnetic mount, allowing you to easily place it onto any magnetic surface. If that’s not an option for you, you’ll just screw it into a wall. The camera has a 10-foot long cord and an extra 15-foot long extension cord, so make sure you place it within 25 feet of an outlet. Overall, the Nest Cam Outdoor is very easy to use, especially if you already have Nest products.
The Nest Cam Outdoor costs $199, a tad expensive for a security camera but only by about $50. But when you think about the Nest Cam Outdoor’s features, its durability, temperature range, smart platform integrations, video quality, and more, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. It’s even enough to outdo the pricey storage and facial recognition through Nest Aware, so overall, I think the Nest Cam Outdoor is a great value.
Now let’s talk more about Nest Aware. Aside from giving you cloud storage plus artificial intelligence capabilities, it will also give you activity zones. This is particularly important for outdoor cameras, in my opinion, because the camera may cover an area that’s not your property, like the street. Activity zones let you tell the camera what to focus on and what to ignore, creating even more specific notifications. With Nest Aware: There’s the little girl from next door on your lawn. Without Nest Aware: The Nest Cam Outdoor detected motion. Which do you prefer?
The Nest app is your mobile command center where you’ll arm and disarm your camera, view cloud storage, receive notifications, and livestream footage. While the app has a great 3.8 rating from the Google Play store, unfortunately, it only has a 2.1 from the Apple store. I was surprised to see that the majority of the Apple store reviews were one-star, and it’s making me rethink whether the Nest Cam Outdoor is a good choice for iPhone users.
Now I want to compare the Nest Cam Outdoor to two indoor/ outdoor cameras, the Arlo Pro 2 and the Logitech Circle 2.
Nest Cam Outdoor vs. Arlo Pro 2
The Arlo Pro 2 and the Nest Cam Outdoor are similar in many ways, with the exact same video specifications. Both have two-way audio and integrations with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, while the Arlo Pro 2 also works with IFTTT, Apple HomeKit Stringify. Neither camera has any A.I features included, but both offer person detection through paid subscription programs.
That’s where the similarities end. Although both cameras have infrared night vision, the Nest Cam Outdoor’s is superior. In a reversal, the Arlo Pro 2 gives you both local and free cloud storage for a week, while the Nest Cam Outdoor has no local storage and only three hours of free cloud storage. The Arlo Pro 2 costs $20 more than the Nest Cam Outdoor, which is pretty negligible when it comes to your home’s security. I would recommend the Arlo Pro 2 for iPhone users, as their app has a 3.9 rating compared to the Nest app’s 2.1. But for Android users, I’d go with the Nest Cam Outdoor for its superior night vision.
For more information, read our full review of the Arlo Pro 2.
Nest Cam Outdoor vs. Logitech Circle 2
Now let’s talk about the Logitech Circle 2, an indoor/ outdoor camera $20 cheaper than the Nest Cam Outdoor at $180. Both cameras have 1080p HD video, but while the Nest Cam Outdoor can zoom in eight times, the Logitech Circle 2 can’t zoom in optically at all. But, it makes up for it with an 180-degree field of view, 50 degrees more than the Nest Cam Outdoor, so they end up being kind of equal for video. Unfortunately, neither camera has local storage.
Both cameras integrate with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Fire TV, but the Circle 2 also works with Apple HomeKit. Keep in mind that the Nest Cam Outdoor works with Chromecast and Philips Hue light bulbs, so it will definitely come down to your personal preference. Neither camera comes with person detection, but they both offer it in paid subscriptions, the Circle 2 at $9.99 a month. Both cameras have two-way audio, but I preferred the Nest Cam Outdoor’s night vision to the Circle 2’s. Overall, I’d choose the Nest Cam Outdoor over the Logitech Circle 2. Even though it’s more expensive, the night vision is better which is particularly important for an outdoor camera.
To learn more, read our full review of the Logitech Circle 2.
Overall, I’d definitely recommend the Nest Cam Outdoor, but I know that people have different personal preferences for what they’re looking for in an outdoor camera, so let me break it down for you.
Choose the Nest Cam Outdoor if you’d like…
- Great video, night vision, and two-way audio: The Nest Cam Outdoor hits or exceeds industry standards for these three categories.
- Integrations with Alexa, Google Assistant, and more: Whether you’re in the Google or Amazon ecosystem, the Nest Cam Outdoor will fit right in.
- Highly-rated app for Android: The Nest App has a 3.8 rating on the Google Play store.
But avoid it if you definitely don’t want…
- No local storage: You won’t be able to have the footage automatically upload to a micro-SD card.
- Only paid person detection and facial recognition: Although artificial intelligence capabilities are available for the Nest Cam Outdoor, you’ll have to pay a minimum of $5 a month to get them.
- Poorly-rated iPhone app: As the Nest app only has a 2.1 rating on the Apple store, I can’t recommend the Nest Cam Outdoor to iPhone users.