Nest Cam

Nest Cam - A Simple Security Camera Solution

Hardware Criteria8.8
Software Criteria9
Video Storage8.2
Hands-on Authority and User Reviews7.9
Home Automation10
Encryption, Encoding, and Care7.5
8.6
Reader Rating: (12 Rates)3.9

The Nest Cam has replaced the Dropcam Pro as the head honcho of cameras in the Nest family. Its launch was highly anticipated by technology lovers everywhere; twiddling our thumbs and imagining what sort of goodness the merger of Google, Nest, and Dropcam would bring, it's possible our expectations were too high. Would the camera accept voice command like Amazon's Echo? Would it control our whole house like Apple's HomeKit? Would it recognize our faces like Netatmo? Would it move inside and outside like Arlo? No. None of that. In fact, it's just a slimmed downed version of Dropcam. Dropcam on a diet.

GOOD

  • Works with Nest and IFTTT
  • Established Brand
  • FHD Image

BAD

  • Premium Features Require a Paid Subscription
  • Lacks Basic Home Security Features
  • Two-Way Talk Lags

Nest Cam Image and Video Quality

When it comes to image and video quality, Nest Cam reigns supreme. Of course the Dropcam Pro wasn't too shabby either, but the difference here is that you can choose. With Dropcam, they decided what resolution was best for you (though they've since upgraded Dropcam to 1080p). With Nest Cam, you can choose between HD 1080p, 720p, or 360p. It's difficult to tell the difference between 1080p and 720p, but the 1080p resolution is slightly better, crisper. It's picture perfect. It's FHD with color accuracy that covers a 130-degree wide angle view with night vision backed by a 1/3", 3-megapixel sensor. The video uses H.264 encoding for smooth video streaming.

Nest Cam kept most of the beloved Dropcam features like 8x digital zoom, free live streaming, motion detection, sound detection, two-way talk, and the option to digitally pan.

Nest Cam As a Home Security Camera

What makes a good home security camera? Is it good because most people in the media love it? Is it good if the picture quality is clear? I would argue that there are many ingredients required to make a good security camera. Nest Cam has some of those ingredients.

For starters, Nest Cam was initially an indoor only camera. You can transform it into an outdoor camera with a third party case, though I haven't tried this, or you can now order the Nest Cam Outdoor to expand your coverage from inside to out. Inside placement is made more interesting as Nest Cam has gotten slightly more bendy. The new stand can collapse and the base is magnetic, or you can twist it off and add a tripod base. All of these options allow for greater placement creativity contributing to home security.

Another home security feature offered by Nest Cam is motion detection, which is an essential security camera ingredient. However, motion detection is still finicky compared to other brands. Did it catch me sneaking around at times? Yes. Did it catch me all the time? No. However, if you are open to paying a monthly fee, there are some features that make the motion detection rad.

Rad motion features are bundled into the paid subscription service called Nest Aware. With Nest Aware you gain access to the super secret Activity Zone feature. With Activity Zones, you can choose what areas of a room to monitor and what to ignore. Nest offers multiple tips for improving this feature for maximum security. For example, if you want to monitor your door they suggest drawing a tiny rectangle at the top of the door instead of drawing an area around the entire door. This helps eliminate any detection caused by someone innocently walking by the door. Instead, you will only get a notification if the door is opened. Also, you can name the zones so your alerts (push or email) will have more data and to make it easier to filter footage at a later date. Instead of motion detected or motion detected in Zone 1 it can say motion detected at the Front Door. This feature makes the motion detection more accurate.

With Nest Aware, you also gain access to advanced motion and sound alerts backed by features like Person Detection. This feature will let you know if the camera sees a person or even if it "thinks it sees a person", once again adding home security value. Even with all the cool features, I'm not sure how I feel about paying $10 or more per month for a camera. I would rather invest that money into a home security system as cameras should be a piece of the puzzle, not the whole pie.

Finally, Nest Cam can also detect sound, which is something some, but not all security cameras can do. In fact, you can ask Nest to only monitor and send alerts if it detects sound.

Of course, if you're like me, setting and arming your camera can easily slip your mind when you have a million other things to worry about. In response, Nest Cam now offers the ability to set up an automatic arm and disarm rules based upon your location. By inputting your address into the app, Nest Cam can monitor where your cell phone is in relation to your inputted address. When you leave home, it will arm. When you arrive home, it will disarm.

Nest Aware and the Nest App

Nest Cam works with the Nest app. The Nest app is new, replacing the Dropcam app. Right now, they support iOS and Android only with a special version for the Apple Watch. Through the app, you can view live footage from your camera and customize your camera. You can also turn the camera on or off remotely and customize settings to your liking. For example, you can set the camera to be on alert all the time, but to only send alerts when no one is home - saving you from a flurry of notifications detecting your at home presence.

The biggest change between the Dropcam and Nest app is that all "Nest" devices can be controlled from this one app, making it easier to create rules between different devices. You can use the app to control your Nest Thermostat, Nest Cam, Nest Protect and even your Dropcam.

Nest has also updated their video history feature. The feature works best if you pay for Nest Aware. If you do, you can use it to skim through your day's events. There are multiple buttons on the bottom that allow you to skip forward or backward to check things out. It also includes Sightline Using Sightline, you can quickly view when events start and end from the mobile app. You can also scroll through recorded footage and use the feature to check out highlighted key moments which are marked with snapshots, so you know if an event is what you are looking for, or something you should ignore. Those who do not pay for Nest Aware still have access to 3 hours of snapshot activity for free. So what else comes for free? As you can see, Nest comes with live streaming but lacks a lot of basic features that are included with other cameras at no cost.

Plan:Free10 Day 30 Day
Price per Month:$0 $10

$30

Amount of storage:3 Hours of Snapshots10 Days of Video30 Days of Video
Cost For Additional Cameras:$0$5/month/camera$15/month/camera
Live StreamingYES
YES
YES
Zoom, Talk, and ListenYES
YES
YES
Activity Alerts to SmartphoneYES
YES
YES
Plan:Free10 Day 30 Day
Motion DetectionYES
YES
YES
Advanced Motion Alerts including Person Detection:Nest IQ Only
YES
YES
Person Recognition NO
Nest IQ Only
Nest IQ Only
Access to Video HistoryNO
YES
YES
Create and Share Video Clips:NO
YES
YES
Create Timelapses:NO
YES
YES
Activity Zones:NO
YES
YES
Discounts for Paying Yearly:NO
YES
YES
Home/Away AssistYES
YES
YES
Intelligent Sound DetectionNO
YES
YES

A Quick Summary

In short, the Nest Cam still offers one of the best visual experiences of any home security camera. Most of the advanced features are reserved for those subscribing to Nest Aware and that will cost you at least $10 per month. The camera would work best if tied to other home automation devices like the Nest Thermostat, Nest Protect, or even to another device via IFTTT. It can detect motion or sound, but do you really want to invest in a monthly fee and other products to make your security camera happy or would you rather find one that is perfectly happy playing alone?

You can purchase Nest Cam online for $199.00.

Updates:

Now you can keep Nest on all the time but turn off motion or sound alerts if you or a family member are home. Just make sure everyone has their own Nest Account so your Nest Cam knows they’re home, or not.

Nest has an outdoor camera and person alerts.

Nest has launched person detection and sightline.