- The Nest Cam Outdoor has a durable construction and is rated for -4° F to 104° F temperatures
- Easy to use with a great mobile app
- Works with Amazon Echo devices and other smart home products
- HD wide angle lens covers a large area
- 24×7 live streaming with notifications for people and suspicious activity
- Loss of clarity when you zoom in (i.e. cannot see license plates)
- Requires Wi-Fi to be useful
- Service plans can get expensive over time and the camera is less helpful without a plan
- Not cordless (i.e. some installation needed)
- No alarm feature
The Nest Cam Outdoor is a really good IP outdoor camera for anyone that wants to keep a better eye on their property.
The Nest Cam Outdoor offers tremendous HD clarity with a 1080p camera and incorporates a wide angle field of view capable of covering entire yards. We set the camera in the front of the house and the camera is able to film the entire front yard, capturing anyone that walks up to, or by, the house. It also is weatherproof with an easy-to-use mobile app that makes Nest Outdoor fun, which is something you don’t hear many people say about an IP security camera.
Nest Cam Outdoor Installation & Setup
Setting the camera up is not as simple as it is with the Nest Cam Indoor, but it’s still relatively easy compared to a lot of other cameras out there. First up, you need to attach the quarter-size base to your house. You can do so with screws or the strong magnets in the base if you want to attach to a metal beam, for example. From there, the camera mounts onto the base in a ball in socket style system, again using extra strong magnets. This allows you to turn and tilt the camera however you’d like in order to get the desired image. This works reliably and I haven’t seen the wind change the camera angle just yet, but in very high winds you may want to check in on the camera. From there, you need to supply power to the camera. Nest Cam Outdoor comes with a 25-foot weather-resistant cable that you can either plug into an outlet or hard wire if you’re inclined. For me, this meant drilling into my garage’s attic and plugging into the nearest outlet. It wasn’t an issue, but for some folks the installation process will definitely be more arduous. Once you supply the power, however, you’re good to go…assuming you have a reliable Wi-Fi signal. Wi-Fi is actually the first thing you should check when installing the camera. If you have a Wi-Fi signal in the spot where you want to mount the camera, well then you’re good to go and can start mounting it. If not, you may want to look into other outdoor cameras such as the NetGear Arlo Pro [see on Amazon].
Nest App and Nest Aware Membership
After getting the camera in place and powered up, you need download the Nest app and start configuring settings, etc. This is all very easy to work with and if you have multiple cameras or properties, the footage is all housed in one app. The downside with Nest is that in order to view video history you need a Nest Aware membership, which is $10 per month (or $100 per year) for a 10-day video history and $30 per month (or $300 per year) for a 30-day video history. To start, however, you have a 30-day free trial so you at least can experience what Nest has to offer. In addition to the video history, both plans will give you access to custom notifications based on the camera noticing people or suspicious things. Without Nest Aware, you will have access to the prior three hours of footage based on major events as determined by the camera. If you want the most out of the Nest Cam Outdoor, you’ll definitely want to get one of the memberships. We see the base membership more for the average home owner, but the $30 membership is likely targeting people with cabins, etc. or business owners. Without the membership, you can still check in on your camera at anytime, however, then you cannot skim through old footage, which is definitely a disappointment. In terms of filming a crook, the memberships are clearly the best way to go, but simply having the camera installed and leaving the green light on can be a deterrent enough sometimes. By the way, you can turn the green light off whenever you’d like.
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Nest Aware memberships bring you better notifications, meaning it can discern between a person and a thing and notify you accordingly. This is very helpful, as suspicious activity tends to be less alarming than getting a person alert. While Nest can be a little finicky with the suspicious activity alerts, the person alerts are hardly ever wrong. Additionally with Nest Aware, you can setup Activity Zones that allow you to highlight an area that you care about in particular, to get personalized alerts. For the front yard, this wasn’t so helpful, but if you have the Nest Cam Indoor [see on Amazon] and want to tell between the front door and garage door exit, the Activity Zones can be helpful. On top of that, Nest Aware allows you to quickly piece together clips to share with friends, family, and the police, which is a helpful feature. Same thing goes for timelapses.
The Nest mobile app really is the lynchpin to customizing and working with your Nest Cam Outdoor. You can setup what nest calls “Home/Away Assist,” which allows the camera to track your phone’s location to tell if you are home or away. You can setup multiple people for this so it doesn’t just have to be the primary Nest user. We have Nest disallow notifications when someone is home because they can be too much, but when we leave we have the notifications automatically kick back in. Similarly, you could have your camera turn on or off based on your location. This is one of the best features of the Nest Cam system.
The other big time feature that the Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest app bring you is 2-way audio. You can speak through the app, as though it’s an intercom, to get the attention of a visitor or burglar—it can be startling and that’s a good thing. In fact, you can talk so someone and they can talk back to you, almost like a walkie talkie. There is a little lag between when the Nest user speaks and the other person hears them, but it’s still really neat to have. You can do this on the Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam IQ as well.
Nest Cam Outdoor Video Quality
It shoots at 1080p, which ends up being very clear, however, on the downside whenever you pinch to zoom in, you do lose clarity quite a bit. So much so that sometimes people that aren’t right next to the camera are indeterminately blurry—same thing with license plates. The Nest Cam IQ [see on Amazon], on the other hand, has a 4K sensor, so while it streams in 1080p, it actually allows you to zoom without the footage becoming pixelated…too bad it’s an indoor-only camera We’d like to see the same thing with a generation two of the Nest Cam Outdoor. While, I’m not a fan of having to pay the monthly fee, having the 4K sensor would easily be the biggest improvement that Nest could make to this camera. Beyond that, however, it is really nice that the Nest Cam at least has 1080p and night vision, which for the record works great!
Arlo vs Nest Outdoor Review
When thinking about Arlo vs Nest Cameras, the big items that you have to consider are (1) video quality (2) power cable vs. rechargeable batteries and (3) video storage. We will expand on this more in our full Arlo vs Nest Cam review, but for now, here’s the basics. Both cameras allow you to check in on them 24×7, are weatherproof, have 2-way audio, utilize a wide angle lens, and have night vision.
The Arlo Pro, however, shoots video at 720p whereas Nest does 1080p. Point 1 for Nest. The Arlo Pro can be used wired or wireless and Arlo claims with low usage, the Pro can get 4-6 months between charges. This will surely be less if you’re using the camera more and record video constantly. Regardless, the fact that you can go wired or wireless definitely means that Arlo gets the edge here so point 1 Arlo. As for video storage, NetGear gives you 7 days of audio- and motion-triggered recordings for free, plus you can plug a USB drive into the Arlo Base Station to store footage locally. Point 2 Arlo, although it is somewhat disappointing that you need a Base Station for your Arlo Pro and the Base Station needs to be connected to the Internet via an Ethernet port. The Arlo Pro has a 100+ decibel siren that can be controlled remotely by the Arlo owner, or triggered by motion or audio, something that Nest does not give you access to. As you can see, on paper Arlo wins in a few critical areas, but 720p vs 1080p could be a deal breaker for some people.
Final thoughts with Nest Camera Review
The Nest Cam Outdoor is one of the best IP outdoor cameras that you can get. It’s shoots 1080p, it has an easy to use app, it’s capable of 2-way audio, and it allows you to monitor your house 24×7 whenever you’d like. On the downside, it still requires a cable, the monthly subscription can become expensive, and the zoom capabilities aren’t great. Additionally, for some folks with limited internet plans, the Nest Cam Outdoor may use up too much bandwidth, although you can adjust how much the camera uses within the app. For us, it was about 100GB per month, which is well under our allotted bandwidth for the month. Should you run out and buy the Nest Cam Outdoor? Maybe, but first you should check if the camera will have a decent Wi-Fi signal and how hard the installation will be fore you.