google is backSafety saddle with a new $180 Nest Cam. It is battery powered, rated for outdoor or Stands for use and opponent And For smart features and technical specifications. But is it really the best?
At $180, it’s not the most or least expensive. Specs are also mid-range and par for the smart cam course. You get free smart alert features from Google for the first time, activity zones, and on-device processing thanks to a new machine learning chip. Ultimately, it’s hard to recommend its aforementioned competitors—unless you’re living in a Nest-only home.
- free smart alerts
- Indoor / Outdoor Application
- Great Home App Interfacing
do not like it
- still expensive
- Contains only 3 hour clips
- heavy and big
Technically, the new Nest Cam is called the “Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor, battery),” but that’s a mouthful to type, so we’ll just refer to it as the Nest Cam in this review.
The new Nest Cam is designed for indoor or outdoor use. It’s IP54 rated, which means it’s weather resistant, but it’s not waterproof. It comes in one color (snow, read: Google white) and you can mount it magnetically or with the included wall plate, screws, and anchors. It’s battery operated, but you can buy a $35 weatherproof power cable to go with it if you opt for a wired outdoor installation.
The camera itself is magnetic and easily snaps onto the included base. Even though this thing weighs about a pound at 14 ounces, the magnet feels sturdy enough to keep the camera firmly on the base. The Nest Cam is 3.27 inches wide, about 1.25 inches larger than the Wyze Cam V3. The design is sleek and simple, but those stats add up to a chunky feeling device.
If you’re opting for indoor use (I won’t get into that later) you can put it on a $30 sold-out stand that comes with a charging cable that acts like a dock.
Specs and Battery Life
The new Nest Cam has all the camera stats you’d expect, like 1080p HD video, night vision, 130° diagonal field of view, 6x digital zoom, and two-way audio. They are not standout specs. No, you really don’t need better technology than this to survey your backyard. 1080p resolution will serve you well and night vision works fine.
I’d love to have a wider field of view, especially since the camera isn’t very adjustable on the magnetic stand. I had to find a shelf of just the right height to see my living room and not the ceiling. The indoor stand improves this a bit.
Battery life is a big question with smart home devices like cameras,And . Remember to add AA to your annoying and therefore having to remember to charge your doorbell or . Google told me that the battery life of the Nest Cam depends on factors such as activity, temperature, and camera settings.
Google estimates the battery to last between 1.5 and seven months, depending on those factors. I charged my camera to 100% and 24 hours later, I was reduced to 97% in the default battery mode with automatic battery saver enabled. About four months of battery under those exact conditions. The Home app has options to adjust the frequency of event recording, video quality, and clip length. If you don’t want to cherry-pick the power settings, there are also three battery modes to choose from.
The Google team provided these estimates for battery life:
- Busy: Battery life of about 1.5 months (about 20-25 recorded incidents per day)
- Typical: Battery life of about 3 months (about 9-12 recorded incidents per day)
- Calm: Approximately 7 months of battery life (approximately 2-4 recorded incidents per day)
Google is discontinuing the older Nest Cams and Nest Cam IQs. A lineup refresh was long overdue, and I’m glad to learn that Google is adding more free features to the new Nest Cam and the new wireless version of its Nest Doorbell.
Without a Nest Aware subscription, you’ll still receive alerts for customizable activity zones. You can set them in the app – in a menu buried deep in the camera settings. Each region can have its own set of alerts. For example, you can set half the scene to notify for animals and the other half to notify for vehicles.
That level of specificity is good if you’re monitoring a large area with more than one location. I can imagine creating a zone that alerts me if the dog leaves the yard and runs off to the driveway. There are also alerts for people and general movement. Thanks to a new machine learning chip in the Nest Cam.
With no subscription included, you’ll also get three hours of event history and you can download each clip. That sounds like a lot, and at first I was impressed. Then I thought of the Wyze Cam V3 to be used at home, which includes 14 days of event history for free. Several times during my testing, I encountered an event for which I was notified and mentally noted down to watch later, only to realize that it lasted as long as I remembered. It was not available.
In one instance, I was only able to watch half the clip I was watching as it ended, at 2:59:30-ish. It could certainly be a personal problem, but I’m probably not the only one who gets busy and forgets to download clips.
This is where the Nest Aware subscription starts. Subscribe to Nest Aware for $6 per month and you’ll get familiar face detection and sound alerts (smoke, glass breaking and carbon monoxide), the ability to call 911 from the Google Home app, and 30+. Days of event video history. Upgrade to Nest Aware Plus for $12 per month, and if your Nest Cam is hard-wired, you’ll get all those options plus 60 days of video history and 10 days of 24/7 video recording.
The included free Smart Alerts are just too much for most people. The familiar faces are a nice touch, but definitely something I would classify as a luxury. Add familiar faces and your camera will notify you of people’s names, as synced to your Google Account. Sound alerts are probably more practical for alarms, especially if you travel often and want to know when something isn’t quite right. I’m glad they’re included in the $6 option and aren’t far behind the Nest Aware Plus paywall.
What really makes a Nest Aware subscription almost essential is the free, three-hour clip storage limit. Going from three hours to 30 days would create a different world for most users. This takes the mental load of remembering to download a clip quickly before it’s gone.
Privacy & Security
If you’re concerned about security, Google is ready to deliver on its latest promise. Video footage of the new Nest Cam is encrypted during transit and at rest on Nest servers. According to the Google team, these are the most sensitive points in the data lifecycle.
Those processing for animal, person and vehicle recognition – as well as familiar facial recognition – all happen locally on the device. The Nest Cam’s machine learning chip handles it all. There is no cloud processing. This is not the strongest encryption on the market. Ring encrypts end-to-end, but only on wired devices and only if you opt in.
A green LED light lets you know when the camera is processing or streaming video to a viewer. Add a camera to your home and away routine, and you can choose to record video only when you leave the house. Home and Away presence detection is powered by either your mobile device or sensors Select Nest products.
Another security thing caught my eye on the Google Store page for the new Nest Cam. If someone removes your camera (easy to do with the Magnetic Camera-to-Base application) they will replace it for free. what’s the catch? You must file a police report within 30 days and provide a copy to Google. You can read more about camera theft replacement on Google support page.
What else is out there
You have options these days when it comes to outdoor cameras. Google’s Nest Cam is not the best when it comes to specs or price.
Equal, yet smaller, lighter and more weatherproofIt’s only $37 and includes 14 days of clip storage. Even if you add on a Wyze Cam Plus subscription for people and object detection, you’re still well below that $180 mark at about $60 for a camera and a one-year subscription.
then there’s arloWith 2K resolution and a wider field of view than the Nest Cam. we loved And yet, the new Pro 4 is even better than its predecessors. Not only does it come with great features and reliable service, but it’s really our favorite of the year You can read our full review of the Arlo Pro 4 camera .
should you buy it?
If you have your heart set on the Nest Cam, don’t fret. It does a great job and it’s also not the only camera Google is launching this year. There will also be a wired version for indoor use only. We don’t have an availability date yet, but Google tells us it will cost $100—their cheapest camera yet.
The Nest Cam does everything I’d expect from it. It works seamlessly with the Google Home app, and Nest Aware offers a number of nice feature upgrades. Still, it’s a tough sell for me at $180 unless…