- Crisp, 1080p video quality w/ 130 degree wide-angle viewing
- Excellent night vision capability
- Sleek design with several placement options
- Easy to setup and use
- Works with other smart home devices
- Alerts are a little finicky
- Microphone/speakers could be better
- Need Nest Aware for extra features
Sure it’s expensive, but the Nest Cam Indoor is a pretty good security camera all things considered.
You’ve most likely heard the Nest name before. They’ve been on the forefront of the smart home movement for some time now and their smart learning thermostat [see on Amazon] is a best seller. But Nest has more to offer than that – they also make some pretty awesome security cameras. For awhile, Nest only offered the Dropcam Pro, which was pretty popular in its own right, but soon upgraded to the much better Nest Cam, which was later renamed the Nest Cam Indoor when the Nest Cam Outdoor [see on Amazon] was launched in September 2016. I know that’s a lot to follow so today we’re just focusing on the Next Cam review.
Design / Set-Up Process
First up, let’s just talk design. The Nest Cam Indoor looks pretty attractive in my opinion. It’s got a sleek, gray metal stand that props up a smooth, black camera eye and it’s fully adjustable so you can tilt the camera or maneuver it just how you like it. The camera offers a few different placement options as well. First, of course, you could just let it stand by itself on a shelf, desk, cabinet, table, etc.
It also comes with a wall-mounting plate so if need be you can find that perfect position and mount it on a wall. Lastly, the base is magnetic so you could affix it to your fridge for example. Just keep in mind though that the Nest Cam Indoor is a wired camera so you will need access to an outlet (the power cord is 10 feet long) or be able to drop it into the wall and hard wire it. You will definitely have to get creative on hiding the wire. In my house, I was having trouble finding an ideal spot – I wanted to find a location that would obviously capture a good portion of my front-door/entryway but also conceal the wires so it still looked clean. Quite the dilemma – so you may want to move some furniture around or think about where you want to put the camera first before purchasing.
The setup process is a breeze. Nest claims it takes only a couple minutes to setup and they aren’t too far off. Just plug in the camera, download the Nest app and follow the instructions on screen. It’s very easy.
Features / Performance
The Nest Cam Indoor has a 130 degree wide-angle field of view, which allows you to capture entire rooms and more. But perhaps the best thing about the Nest Cam is its super crisp 1080p footage. The 1080p quality combined with the wide-angle lens and the 8x zoom capability is pretty awesome. On top of that, the camera offers some pretty impressive night vision. The camera can even tell the difference between a flashlight and proper sunlight. It’s definitely a feature that doesn’t get enough love from consumers. The 8x zoom is nice to have but it is somewhat limited. Once you pinch and zoom in, a fair amount of detail gets lost and it can be come a little blurry. The zoom capability is a lot better on the Nest Cam IQ [see on Amazon] – check out our full review on that for more info. Bottom line though, the video quality on this bad boy is pretty darn good – I don’t think you’ll have any complaints in this department.
In terms of alerts, you can pick and choose which types of alerts you want to receive. Nest offers People alerts, which is kind of self-explanatory – basically you will be alerted when the camera spots a person. Then there’s motion alerts for when it senses motion and sound alerts. You can turn these alerts on/off, pick between email and/or push notifications and decide when to receive them (i.e. home/not home). The Home/Away Assist feature is also pretty nice – basically Nest will use your phone’s location to turn off the camera when you get home or turn it back on when you leave (this is optional). Or you could always just create a pre-determined scheduled for the camera to follow. I will say here though that the alerts can be a little finicky. You get a lot of them and they can become annoying. For the most part the motion sensing is pretty good but the camera does trigger a lot of false alarms. For example, pretty much everyday I get an alert saying the camera noticed some strange motion in my entryway but really it’s just my American flag (which is about 50-60 feet away) blowing in the wind. But I guess at the end of the day it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Okay enough with alerts. Let’s talk two-way audio, which is one of the camera’s best features. Think of the camera as a two-way baby monitor – you can actually talk and listen through the camera, which is pretty awesome. Want to say hi to your dog? No problem.
You see a burglar in your house? You can yell at them that the boys in blue are on their way. See your kids going for the cookie jar before dinner? You can give them a little verbal slap on the wrists to wait for that kale casserole. So it’s a super cool feature but it is limited. The mic and sound quality is average at best. Also, it does have a little lag between you talking and the person hearing or vice versa – still anyone near the camera will still be able to hear what you have to say albeit it might be 2-5 seconds late.
Also just to note here, the Nest Cam Indoor is obviously compatible with other Nest devices but it’s also compatible with other third-party devices as well, such as Philips Hue, August Smart Lock, etc. Check out the full list of Smart Home Devices Compatible with Nest.
Nest Aware Subscription
Now, in terms of storage and how you view your security footage, there are a few options. First, you can just pay nothing (other than the camera itself of course). Nest will give you access to the previous 3 hours of footage each day based on major events like the camera sensing a person or movements. Or you could always just check-in on your camera at anytime to see what’s going on in real time. And honestly, this will probably due just fine for most people.
Or you can sign up for Nest Aware, which Nest likes to throw in your face a lot. The base subscription of Nest Aware is $10 per month (or $100 if you pay for the full year) and you get access to 10-days of video history, which is essentially the main reason you’d pay the monthly fee. In addition, Nest Aware allows you to set up Activity Zones within the camera’s view and get notified when there’s movements in that particular zone (I think of people using this feature for a baby crib for example).
Nest Aware also allows you to create clips and time-lapses to easily share with friends and family…or the police if you do happen to get robbed (let’s hope that doesn’t happen). Lastly, you can access intelligent alerts, in which the camera discerns between a person or a thing to make sure your notifications are relevant and helpful. You can also setup different users (based on phone locations) so if Nest knows you or someone else you’ve setup is home, you can have it send or not send alerts…whichever you’d like.
Nest also offers an extended subscription, which is $30 per month or $300 for the full year. You get everything mentioned above but instead of 10 days of history you get access to 30 days of video footage. I can see this being more helpful for business owners or people who own second homes.
Nest Cam Price
The Nest Cam Indoor retails for $199. Yes, pretty expensive for an indoor security camera. But we do frequently see deals on it on Amazon so we would recommend checking back here and there. We’ve seen it as low as $160 before.
If that’s too much, you may think about checking out the Logitech Logi Circle Camera [see on Amazon], which is another great indoor security cam. You can sometimes find it below $140.
The Nest Cam Indoor is a solid security camera – no doubt about it. It’s easy to setup, it’s easy to use, it boasts crisp video quality and offers some other really cool features to boot. The question, as it almost always does, comes down to price. At around $170-$200 plus possibly a $10 monthly subscription, is it worth it? That’s a hard question for me to answer. Each person’s situation, neighborhood and how they value security is different. All I can say is that this camera will most likely not disappoint. If extra security is what you are after and you have the money to spend, you can’t go wrong.