You typically have to pay more before a smart security camera can detect people, but the Nest Cam wired indoors only (along with Google’s other new Nest cameras for 2021) sets itself apart by free on-device detection. people, pets and vehicles. That’s a great feature for this smooth, solidly built Nest Cam, which also boasts an attractive design, easy-to-use setup, crystal-clear video performance (including night vision), and (if you want them) affordable subscription plans. and valuable. .
One thing the wired Nest Cam isn’t, however, is cheap. At $ 100, the indoor Nest Cam is a far cry from those crazy inexpensive Wyze Cams, and even Ring’s somewhat pricier security cameras can seem like bargains by comparison. So is the wired Nest Cam worth it? We’ll see.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best home security cameras, where you will find reviews of competing offerings, as well as a buyer’s guide on the features to consider when purchasing this type of product.
The Nest Cam works with a 10-foot captive cable that terminates in a USB-A connector, which then connects to a wall wart. Because the cord plugs into the bottom of the power adapter rather than straight out of it, the connector will block an outlet underneath.
As I just mentioned, you can simply place the Nest Cam on a flat surface, such as a shelf or countertop, but you can also mount it on a wall using a pair of mounting holes on the built-in wall plate (you will need to supply your own screws ).
The wired Nest Cam is designated as an indoor-only camera, hence the lack of an IP (ingress protection) rating. If you want a Nest Cam that can survive the elements, you will need to purchase the battery-powered Nest Cam.
As with other Nest devices, getting the Nest Cam up and running is a breeze. Just turn on the Google Home app, tap the “+” button to add a new device, scan the QR tag on the camera, and the Home app should connect the camera to your Wi-Fi network automatically. I had a problem because the Home app couldn’t find an “auxiliary” Nest Mini that I had previously unplugged, but once I turned on the wayward speaker, the connection process went smoothly.
After the Nest Cam is connected to Wi-Fi, the Home app will guide you through a variety of privacy policies and options, and will also ask you in which room the camera will reside. In my case, I put the Nest Cam in my finished basement, where it could (along with an existing Wyze Cam v2) keep an eye on a door that opens into a common hallway.
Motion detection and notifications
Setting motion zones on the wired Nest Cam is a simple matter of dragging the zone boundaries with your finger in the Home app.
Once you’ve created a zone (you can create up to four), you can designate what types of motion events, including people, animals, and vehicles, will appear in your event history, as well as which events will trigger a notification. Similarly, you can determine whether the camera will record and notify you of motion events. outside their designated areas.
Detection of people, animals and pets is pretty standard, but what makes it special about the Nest Cam is that everything works out of the box, without the need for a paid subscription. And that motion detection isn’t just free, it’s also done on the camera itself, not in the cloud, reducing the chance of third parties browsing your video history. In contrast, you cannot get people detection on a Ring camera without signing up for a paid Ring Protect subscription.
A motion detection function that Will you have to pay (I’ll detail how much in a moment) is Google’s familiar faces technology, which tells you not just when a person entered a motion zone, but who they were. All you need to do is put a name on a face in the Home app, and then the Nest Cam notifications will start telling you who was seen in which zone. I found that the Nest Cam correctly identified familiar faces more than nine out of 10 times, and on those occasions when it couldn’t identify a person, it was because their face was almost completely hidden from view. My daughter’s recent haircut also drove the Nest Cam crazy, but I solved that problem by adding her new look to her Familiar Faces entry.
Live view and event history
With its 1080p image quality and 135-degree field of view, the Wired Nest Cam offers an incredibly sharp and wide live stream (including exceptionally clear infrared night mode, albeit in black and white), easily surpassing the image quality from my Wyze Cam v2 (which, to be fair, was only $ 20 at the time I bought it). You can access the live stream from the Google Home app, as well as from a Google Nest Hub or Hub Max. Surprisingly, however, I can’t cast Nest Cam images to a Chromecast with Google TV. A Google representative confirmed that the wired Nest Cam is currently incompatible with the Chromecast dongle and did not have an update on when support could be added.
From the live stream view, you can tap the blue microphone button to engage in a two-way chat with anyone within range of the camera, while the History tab allows you to browse recorded motion events (with long blanks where no motion events were detected) or (if you’re signed in to the correct Nest Aware subscription plan) your entire recording history 24/7 for the last 10 days.
If you’d rather not scroll through (potentially) dead air hours, your “Start History” shows you the highlights of the events recorded on a timeline, with each event tagged by type (Person, Pet, or Vehicle) or name (if having familiar faces enabled). Touch an event and the Home app will jump to the footage.
Nest Aware plans
Finally, let’s talk about subscription plans. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t need a paid Nest Aware subscription to use the Nest Cam with cable. Out of the box, the Nest Cam will store video events that occurred in the previous three hours, including detecting people, pets, and vehicles.
If you want an event history longer than just three hours, you can sign up for the $ 6-a-month (or $ 60 / year) Nest Aware plan, which offers a continuous 30-day event history, along with the faces feature. family members, plus the ability to alert you to suspicious sounds, such as glass breaking or the firing of a smoke / CO detector. For $ 12 a month, Nest Aware Plus increases video event history to 60 days, while adding 10 days of full video footage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Each Nest Aware plan covers all the Nest cameras in your home.
There’s no question: the Nest Cam (wired) is one of the more expensive indoor security cameras on the market, and its opposite number, the Ring Indoor Cam, sells for just $ 60. That said, the Nest Cam Indoor has an ace up its sleeve with its free on-device human, pet and vehicle detection, while the Ring Indoor Cam requires a paid subscription for human detection. The Nest Cam also scores with its familiar faces feature (for a fee), while its solid, rounded design is much more homey than the Ring Indoor Cam’s cylindrical look.
Of course, those who invest in the Ring ecosystem should stick with Ring cameras. But if you’re just getting started with home security or already own a few Nest devices, the Nest Indoor Cam is great value, even if its tag price isn’t the cheapest.