There is a plethora of security cameras and Nest, a Google company, has to be there too. But the Nest Cam family is just that little different, as other Google products tend to be.
My recent introduction to Nest was via its Nest 2nd generation smoke and CO detectors which nearly scored a perfect 5-out-of-5. These are what smoke detectors should be.
Well apply that same thinking to Nest Cam – the mix of design, hardware, software and now Google Assistant make them almost perfect.
Today we review the Nest Cam indoor, Nest Cam outdoor and the Nest Cam IQ with Google Assistant. As they all use the same Nest App, the functionality is similar.
Review: Nest Cam indoor, Nest Cam outdoor and the Nest cam IQ with Google Assistant
Download the Nest app for Android, Android TV, Android Wear, iOS, Apple TV, Apple Watch, Windows 10 or macOS – our tests were with Android. As far as I can find no other camera has so many controlling devices/OS.
- Create a Nest account (do not use Facebook or other third-party sign-ins)
- Set up your home and Wi-Fi login
- Add the camera/s via a QR code scan
- Play with a vast array of settings – we will come to that later.
You can extend the app’s functionality with Nest Aware – the Nest cloud. While I dislike subscription services almost every other security camera maker has them too. So, let’s see if my bias can reduce via cognitive dissonance.
Nest Cam IQ $479
This has the most features of the three as it has Google Assistant – but not all functionality you expect from a dedicated speaker. More impressive is sending its video output to a TV screen via a Google Chromecast.
For starters, it is cute in a Google Pixel way. Matte white chalk, egg-cup shaped, rounded exterior on a small pedestal. The front is all 130° FOV, HDR, glass lens camera, three-mics, PIR and IR lights behind a black fascia. The rear has a speaker that uses Google Mini’s quite good speaker technology – it’s loud and clear. Of course, that statement depends on Wi-Fi and Internet strength – in our tests it was excellent on both counts.
Power is via a 3m USB-C cable to the base of the pedestal – it is a shaped connector that only fits the IQ. The power supply is 15V/1.87A which is a part of USB-C PD 2.0 but we far as I can see the supply does not have 5V to 20V variable output. After using battery operated cameras and the issues of recharging, especially with solar panels where most do not work it is actually good to use a fixed power source.
The pedestal is for desk/ledge ‘sitting’ or has a standard ¼” tripod hole for the wall mount – a more permanent fixture. It has an almost 180° of swivel and up to 160° tilt.
The Nest Cam IQ camera is superb
The camera has an 8MP 4K sensor that enables 12X digital zoom without too much loss. This is called super sight and the camera can auto-zoom to the action.
It records the video stream in H.264, [email protected] and can fall back to lower resolutions if Wi-Fi bandwidth is an issue.
Wi-Fi is AC Dual band, 2×2 MIMO (10-points!) and it also has Bluetooth LE for initial phone connection. Add a six-core processor, and you can see why it costs a little more.
Note: If your home is relatively dark during the day, e.g. curtains closed or a dimly lit hallway it may revert to IR mono recording. If you are monitoring the entry door, consider placing a lamp or a Philips Hue IFTTT light in the area to enable colour recording.