Nest Cam IQ Review

Nest Just Launched A 4K Indoor Camera

Nest Cam is one of our favorite indoor cameras. It features powerful hardware and thoughtful software.

Now that Nest seems to have maximized Nest Cam's potential, we've been left to speculate what's next, and now we know. The answer: an indoor camera with a 4K image sensor. Meet Nest Cam IQ, Nest's latest indoor camera.

Nest Cam IQ Image & Video Quality

The most surprising thing about Nest Cam IQ is its 4K resolution, delivered by a 1/2.5-inch 8MP color sensor. But here's the thing: Nest Cam IQ will not stream or record 4K videos. Instead, it lowers the resolution to 1080p. Of course, 4K plays a role. It all boils down to Nest Cam IQ's ability to zoom. All Nest Cams zoom digitally, which means that they crop out unnecessary parts of a frame enlarging the part that you want to see. The more you zoom in, the lower the image quality becomes. Nest Cam IQ's 4K resolution allows for up to 12x digital zoom vs. the original Nest Cam's 8x digital zoom. Aside from providing a better closeup, IQ's 4K resolution helps enhance home security. More on that later.

(Want to learn more about optical and digital zoom? Click here.)

What about night vision and other features? They've remained mostly unchanged. Nest Cam IQ has a 130-degree field of view, two powerful 980nm IR LEDs for night vision (with no visible red glow), High Dynamic Range (HDR), and two-way talk. The camera's audio has been slightly modified. It now includes an array of microphones with echo cancellation and noise suppression. It also comes with a speaker that is said to be seven times more powerful than that of Nest Cam.

Nest Cam IQ to Enhance Home Security

As you probably know, Nest Cam is an excellent camera for home security. Unfortunately, not all features are free. Most of Nest Cam's smart features, such as person detection and motion detection zones, are only available if you subscribe to Nest Aware, a monthly cloud service offered by Nest.

The same goes with Nest Cam IQ though it does offer a couple of new security features without a Nest Aware Subscription.

Out-Of-The-Box Security Features

Digital Motion Tracking

Back to IQ's 4K resolution. The problem with low-resolution cameras is that when you zoom in to see an intruder's face, the image starts to blur out. What you'll end up seeing is a badly distorted image that potentially has little security value. No bueno. With a 4K camera, if you zoom in on an image, you'll still be left with a high-quality picture. In fact, if Nest Cam IQ sees an intruder, it will automatically zoom in on his face and follow him until he leaves the frame.

A word of caution, don't confuse Nest Cam IQ's digital motion tracking with Koova's motion tracking feature. Nest Cam IQ doesn't pan mechanically. It simply zooms in and digitally moves the frame to follow the intruder restricted by its 130-degree viewing angle.

Person Alerts

Person Alerts is Nest Cam IQ's ability to distinguish people from other moving objects. It's essentially a feature that cuts down on false alarms. If it sees a cat, Nest Cam IQ will know and won't send an alert. If it sees a person or even just a head pop into the frame, it will know and will alert you.

Take note that this feature exists in the original Nest Camas well, but required Nest Aware. With Nest Cam IQ, you can get Person Alerts even without a Nest Aware subscription.

Live Streaming with Two-Way Talk

Nest Cam IQ is also capable of streaming live videos to any smartphone using the free Nest App. When live streaming 1080p videos, Nest Cam IQ requires a minimum upload speed of 2MBPS and can easily consume 150GB to 600GB of upload bandwidth, depending on the amount of motion captured in the frame.

With the Nest app, you can also use two-way talk to speak to people and pets.

Activity History

Finally, you can review a 3 hour history of activity. However, the activity history only shows snapshots, not video clips. If you want to access video history and review older activities, you're going to need a Nest Aware subscription.

Features Unlocked With Nest Aware

Familiar Face Alerts

Another shiny new feature, albeit only available with a Nest Aware subscription, is Familiar Face Alerts otherwise known as facial recognition. With Nest Cam IQ's face recognition technology and Nest Aware's machine learning ability, Nest Cam IQ is able to identify, categorize, and differentiate the face of family members from that of intruders.

Putting this feature into action, Nest Cam IQ can send you a push notification when your child gets home. On the other hand, if it sees an intruder, it will notify you that its detected an unfamiliar face and will suggest that you review your camera's live feed.

Take note that this feature is only available to Nest Cam IQ users, even if you're subscribed to Nest Aware. Without a Nest Cam IQ, you can't use Familiar Face Alerts. In addition, Familiar Face Alerts are not available in the state of Illinois.

Intelligent Audio Detection

Nest Cam IQ can detect loud noises out-of-the-box, but if you subscribe to Nest Aware, you'll be able to get smarter audio notifications. What does "smarter" mean? Without Nest Aware, if your camera hears your dog barking, it knows its a loud sound but it doesn't know if the sound is important or not. With Nest Aware, Intelligent Audio Detection enables Nest Cam IQ to identify the sound of people talking and dogs barking.

NOTE:Nest Cam and Nest Cam Outdoor users who have Nest Aware subscriptions will also be able to enjoy Intelligent Audio Detection.

Motion Detection Zones w/ Door Detection

To further reduce false alarms, you can create motion detection zones. You can set these zones around important areas so that you'll only get notifications of events that matter to you. In fact, Nest Aware can detect doors and create detection zones around them automatically.

Sightline, Timelapse Creation, Video Sharing

Finally, with Nest Aware, Nest Cam IQ gains access to premium features such as sightline, timelapse creation, and video sharing.

Sightline is an easy way of reviewing events using your smartphone. It highlights key events that you missed so you can go over them quickly without having to watch hours of videos.

Timeline creation and video sharing, on the other hand, allow you to create a timelapse video of recorded clips, download them, and share them with your family, friends, or the police.

Video Storage

When it comes to video storage, Nest Cam IQ is similar to Nest Cam and Nest Cam Outdoor. Without a Nest Aware subscription, you'll get a 3-hour snapshot history of events. With a Nest Aware subscription, you'll get access to 10 days or 30 days of video history, depending on which plan you choose.

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

Price and Availability

Nest Cam IQ is now available for pre-order for $299, but you can save if you choose the 2-camera pack for $498. Nest is expected to start shipping Nest Cam IQs by the end of June. If you're a new Nest Cam owner, your camera will include a free Nest Aware trial. After the trial period ends, you can either opt out of the service or continue paying for it.

You can pre-order Nest Cam IQ on Nest's website.