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HOME / Smart Home / Nest Cam Outdoor vs Nest Cam IQ vs Nest Cam Indoor
Nest Cam Outdoor vs Nest Cam IQ vs Nest Cam Indoor
Which Nest Cam security camera is best? Here are the major differences...
Before we begin, let me just preface this buyer guide with one thing. We have posted a full Nest Cam review for all the different cameras so if you want the nitty-gritty details be sure to check out the individual reviews. In this post, we are just covering the main differences between the three security cameras and who we think each camera is right for. First up, let’s talk about the OG security camera from Nest – the Nest Cam Indoor. I would recommend checking out our full Nest Cam Indoor Review first for the all juicy fine points.
Basically, this is the base model in the Nest family. What you get the with the Nest Cam Indoor, you’ll also get as a baseline with the other two cameras as well. So let’s just run through what that entails very, very quickly. The Nest Cam Indoor shoots super crisp 1080p footage and has a 130 degree wide-angle field of view, which allows you to capture entire rooms and even a little more. You also get pretty impressive night vision – the camera can even tell the difference between a flashlight and sunlight. Additionally, the camera is equipped with two-way audio so you can listen in or talk to whoever is in your house. You can customize the alerts you receive based on activity types (People, Motion or Sound) and choose how you receive them (email or push notifications). As you would expect these days, the camera is compatible with a bunch of other smart homes devices, such as Philips Hue [see on Amazon], August Smart Lock [see on Amazon], etc. That gets us to the whole Nest Aware situation – basically if you just buy the camera and don’t buy Nest’s monthly subscription plan you only get access to the previous three hours of footage. Or you could pay $10 a month and get access to 10 days of video history or $30 per month for 30 days of video history. The Nest Aware subscription also comes with extras like the ability to setup activity zones, access intelligent alerts and create clips and time-lapses to share with friends and family. Okay, that’s the extremely short version of what you get with the Nest Cam Indoor, but what about any differences? Glad you asked.
Well, most importantly is price. The Nest Cam Indoor retails for $199 but we have seen it as low as $160 before on Amazon. Meanwhile the Nest Cam IQ retails for a whopping $299, although we have see it as low as $270 before. So basically a solid $100 less the Cam IQ. And just for reference the Indoor retails for the same price as the Outdoor, which we will get to in a minute.
Another minor advantage the Indoor has over the IQ has to do with mounting. The Indoor comes with a wall mount and the camera can swivel to become completely flush with the wall. Meanwhile, while the Cam IQ can also be mounted, the camera head will set flush with the wall. Just keep in mind that all three of the Nest Cams are wired so you will need to have access to an outlet within somewhat close proximity.
As you can see, we are kind of grasping at straws for major differences. At the end of the day, this is the base model and it comes with their base model price, which is still kind of expensive in the grand scheme of things. Still, it’s a solid security camera all things considered. We see it being perfect for someone who wants to check-in on their home in real-time (assuming no monthly subscription) but doesn’t need all the extra features the Cam IQ offers.
Next up, we have the Nest Cam IQ. So you basically get the Nest Cam Indoor but it adds two really neat features. First, while it streams at 1080p like the Indoor, the Cam IQ actually has a 4K sensor so when you zoom in while looking at the footage, you don’t lose any clarity in the video, which is big time. Overall, this is a big plus – definitely a major improvement over the Nest Cam Indoor, which can get quite blurry when you pinch and zoom.
The other upgrade comes in the form of facial recognition. You do need a Nest Aware subscription for this but basically the camera can tell who is who and alert you of strangers. The camera can even follow them around the room and zoom in on them with that 4K sensor. The facial recognition is pretty cool in theory but honestly, right now it’s not that accurate. I literally got alerts and had to approve the same person multiple times just because the angle or lighting was slightly different. So those are the two big upgrades over the Nest Cam Indoor. It’s definitely the nicest overall camera Nest offers. I already mentioned the price above – it’s ~$100 more than both the Indoor and Outdoor cams.
So are those two features worth the extra $100? No, not in my eyes. Look, I think the majority of people would get a Nest Cam just for a little added security, to check-in on your pet maybe and to receive a real-time alert if someone actually does break into your home. With that said, I think the 1080p footage the Indoor offers is just fine and while the 4K sensor is nice to have, it’s just not worth the extra $100. That’s just one man’s opinion though. It’s still one heck of a security camera – i’m not arguing that.
Last up, we have the Nest Cam Outdoor, which is basically just the Nest Cam Indoor but it’s rated for outdoor use. So that means it can handle temperatures from -4F to 104F. And actually I live in Northern California, which can get above 104F during the summer and I have not had any issues, nor have I had the wind mess up the angle of the camera or anything. The camera is IP65 rated meaning there are no concerns when it comes to rain. As long as it’s not submerged in water, you’re good to go. So as you probably guessed by looking at the name, that’s the major advantage this camera has – it can hold up to the harsh conditions mother nature sometimes throws our way.
Now on the downside, it is a wired camera so it will require some actual installation. You’re going to have to drill-in and find an outlet in your garage or attic or whatever makes sense for your situation. Fortunately for me, I had the perfect outlet in the attic of my garage so it was no big deal but it might not be as easy for a lot of people out there. Also, you will need WiFi for the camera to be useful so you’re going to have to find a spot where you are still in range of your router. I would recommend checking the spot you are thinking about putting the cam with your phone or computer before actually installing to make sure the WiFi will reach.
So that’s it. The reason why it gets best value tag from us is because of it’s versatility. The Nest Cam Outdoor could be used indoors if needed or outdoors if needed. That’s just simply something the other two cameras can’t offer. Plus, it’s more affordable than the Cam IQ and we regularly see deals on it on Amazon. We’ve seen it as low as $160 before.