Nest Cam has taken up a special place in the smart home camera market and it is a key player in the home automation platform "Works with Nest". As the platform continues to grow, more and more people are leaning towards protecting their home with Nest Cam.
Simplicam entered the home camera game as a severe underdog. When it launched in August 2014, it received the welcome of a younger sibling getting patted on the head. Simplicam received strong reviews with the caveat of “it’s not Dropcam Pro (Nest Cam's predecessor)”.
It seemed Simplicam’s greatest detractor was simply the brand it wasn’t and tech writers were critical that usage of its greatest attribute — facial recognition — came at a cost. More on that later. Simplicam will always have a difficult time competing with the Works with Nest network, but a recent bevy of upgrades and features seemed to align Simplicam directly against the industry leader.
Moving forward, there should be plenty of room for competition as this market continues to swell. NextMarket predicts Wi-Fi home surveillance to be a half-billion dollar annual market before 2020 (source). A half-billion is a lot, but that yearly expectation is still less than the price Nest paid for Dropcam ($555-billion).
How do Nest Cam and Simplicam match up?
Both indoor cameras have more similarities than differences. They both boast a comparable aesthetic, sleek and concise. Each measures less than 3-inches across and is easily mounted to a wall, or can be simply shelved by its stand.
Neither requires a computer science degree or more than five minutes to install and connect wirelessly to either iOS (Apple) or Android phones/devices as well as web apps. Both cameras feature night vision and two-way talk capability.
The apps for both are simple to operate. Nest Cam's software is the Nest app which you can also use to control Nest Thermostat and Nest Protect. Simplicam runs on Closeli. Both have on/off camera scheduling and a free live stream which can be viewed from any device.
Nest Cam runs a slightly higher resolution (1080p) compared to Simplicam's 720p HD resolution. Nest Cam, again, gets a nod when it comes to the area covered. It provides a larger range of view (130-degrees) compared to 107 from Simplicam. A twenty-three degree difference may come across as slight, but the change in perspective is really quite significant—nearly 20-percent better vision of the room.
Finally, they both offer push and email alerts for both motion and sound.
|Mounting||Wall or Stand||Wall or Stand|
|Activity Zones||Premium Service||Free|
|Human Recognition (Premium Service)||Detection||Detection or Recognition|
|Field of View||130-degrees||107-degrees|
|IoT Integration||Works With Nest and IFTTT||N/A|
|Cloud Storage||Upgrade; As low as $10/month (3 Hours of Snapshots Included for Free)||Upgrade; As low as $10/month|
|Notifications||Email and Push||Email and Push|
Premium Features and Cloud Storage
If you’re shopping Wi-Fi home cams for recording services, it’s not going to come cheap.
Nest Cam and Simplicam cloud plans are offered in different time intervals, making it difficult to match them up directly. The most affordable option is Simplicam’s introductory 1-day package. For $49.99/year or $4.99/month, users can review and save an hour of snippets from the last 24 hours. For free, Nest Cam offers the ability to view snapshots of the past 3 hours and lets you use the Sightline feature. Basically, Sightline shows you thumbnails of important events so you can easily find them. The smallest paid package saves the past ten days of footage for $100/year or $10/month. Aside from storage, it also gives you full access to Sightline to quickly review days of videos and find important events.
Simplicam has the option to review the past 11 days of recording and save up to 3 hours of clips ($13.99/month or $139.99/year) or the option to purchase 21 days of recording with 5 hours of clips ($22.99/month or $229.99/month). Nest Cam also offers a 30-day cloud plan for $30.00/month.
Both companies offer the ability to add cameras to your cloud service to have additional views of your home. You have to add a plan for each camera, but both companies offer a discount for additional cameras. (50% off for Nest, 40% off for Simplicam). The cameras you add don’t have to be in the same location. Need to keep an eye on the office and on home while on vacation? No worries. Each camera requires a monthly cloud plan, but both offer a discount on additional plans. Both systems can handle as many cameras as your wireless router(s) can support.
Though neither cameras has a true local recording option, subscribers to premium monthly plans for either provider can download footage locally and share with ease.
If you select a monthly plan, you will gain access to premium features beyond cloud recording. One of Nest Cam's premium features, Activity Zones, reduces false alarms. You draw virtual squares around areas you want to monitor and Nest Cam will only look for motion within those areas. It comes in handy if a high-traffic area, like a sidewalk or the street, is in Nest Cam's field of view.
Simplicam offers a similar feature, which they call Detection Zones, for free. If you dig zones, Simplicam wins on price alone.
FACE DETECTION AND RECOGNITION:
Simplicam includes facial detection and recognition in their premium plans. Detection is automatic with a paid plan, recognition must be setup on your smartphone first. This feature is a significant reason it was regarded early on as a potential Dropcam competitor. It is important to note that even one year later, the company has made no bones about the capability still residing in beta. Simultaneously though, Simplicam has put its marketing behind this feature and the ability to reduce alerts and recording periods if it recognizes specific faces. Accuracy might still be in question, but the practicality of adjusting settings for up to 10 recognized faces still holds great value.
Nest Cam has a "person alerts" feature that you can access if you're a Nest Aware subscriber. Person detection gives your camera the ability to tell you if the alert is caused by a person or not. Nest also has a depth sensing features, both require Nest Aware.
Price and Summary
If this were a battle of price, Simplicam wins by $50. Nest Cam runs $199 retail, $149.99 for Simplicam. In this regard, the match up can be summed in one question for users not intending to use any cloud services. Is Nest Cam’s trump of "Works with Nest" and a larger range of vision worth the additional cost? For those that don't know what "Works with Nest" mean, it's sort of the elephant in the room. Dropcam was purchased by a company called Nest (thus, the name Nest Cam), which is also run by Google. Because of that, you can connect Nest Cam to your Nest Thermostat and Nest Protect (smart smoke alarm) and create automation. Beyond that, Nest has a huge circle of friends. Included are Phillips, August, Wink, Insteon, LG, Whithings, and around 50 other big names in home automation and security. So if you're looking for an entire network of home appliance connectivity, this isn't a contest. Nest Cam is the clear winner. Otherwise, if you want to save $50, Simplicam is a solid option with some interesting capabilities.
You can checkout our review of Dropcam here.