Nest Cam Home Security Camera Review

Nest CamAll hail the Nest Cam.  Made by Nest, this is an upgrade to the highly successful DropCam Pro.  Nest purchased DropCam for a whopping $555 million and this is the result of that marriage.  While I’m not sitting in the development room, it looks as though this camera shares a lot of similarity to the DropCam Pro which we reviewed here so I’m guessing this was already in the works when they were purchased.

There are several nice improvements with this camera.  The 1080p full HD video is the most important part of the upgrade.  I like the direction they took with the rotating stand versus the DropCam Pro stationary type.

Software

I was accustomed to using the old DropCam app which was the predecessor to the new Nest app.  I like the Nest app more as it’s easier to use and nicely integrates all the Nest devices into one fairly simple to use app.  The speed of the app is quick and I haven’t run into any stability issues.

The Nest app has a nice zoom and enhance feature.  Zoom into the place that you want a better view of.  It might be blurry.  Click the enhance button beneath the image.  That clears up the fuzzy image very nicely.  Click the zoom-out button when done with the zoom.  That’s a good feature that works much more effectively than the little wand you find on the old DropCam app.

Motion and sound detection are provided as is an interesting home and away feature.  it works like this.  When your device (your phone that controls the cameras) is away from home, the cameras can be set to turn on and detect motion.  Saves you a lot of false alerts in terms of motion and sound alarms.

There’s still no SD slot on these cameras!  I find that annoying and forces the purchaser of these expensive cameras to have to subscribe to their fairly expensive cloud service which is now called Nest Aware.  While guess this extra service truly makes this a security solution since it’s streamed to the cloud, I think it should be optional.  In my case, I have other security cameras streaming to the cloud and use this for my personal monitoring and would way prefer to have it stored locally on the camera.

Now, for what it’s worth, the cloud service is nice.  You can go back in time to see what happened a few days back, in fact, up to 30 days.  It does eat a lot of bandwidth so if your ISP puts caps on the amount of streaming one can do in a month, you might want to think if this feature can cap you out.  If you choose to use it, I suggest the lower resolution because at high definition, this is going to eat a lot of bandwidth.

There are options within the app and on the desktop to turn night vision on or off, turn the status light on or off and change the monitoring schedules.  When using the camera pointed through a window, I like to keep the status light off as it reflects in the window.

Speaking of motion alerts, be aware there are limits as to how many you receive within a period time.  I guess nest thinks once you get an alert that’s enough for the next 30 minutes as that’s all you will get.  I’m not sure if that’s a nice feature or not, but be aware of it.

Connectivity

This is a wireless camera supporting 802.11 a/b/g/n at dual bands of 2.4 and 5 GHz.  Like any wireless connection, use 5 GHz if the camera is close to the wireless router.  Use 2.4 GHz if far away.  Connection of the camera is simple and it’s all done through your smartphone.  Attaching this to my home network was very quick and simple.  I remember my first camera which was a Panasonic.  You almost had to have a degree in Computer Science to get that working.  This was real easy.

Hardware

The Nest Cam is a smaller camera measuring 2.8″ wide x 4.5″ high x 2.8″ deep.  It’s made to use indoors but there are outdoor mounts which will keep the Nest Cam dry.  The case isn’t waterproof and it’s not made to withstand extremely cold temperatures.  a plastic stand is included that swivels manually.  Fortunately the extra wide angle 130 degree range means I won’t need to remotely move the camera.

The camera provides 1080p HD video.  The app allows selection of resolution levels up to 1920 x 1080 so we are talking full 1080p HD video.  You will find that the high definition setting of 1920 x 1080 sucks up a lot of bandwidth and without a good connection, there will be some video lag.  The Nest Cam is going to need to use 5 GHz close to the router to pull that off on a steady basis.

The night vision works really well thanks to the 8 high-power infrared LEDs with an IR cut filter.  The lens is a 1/3”, 3 megapixel sensor with 8X digital zoom.  The zoom works well with the software enabled image focusing function.

There is a 10 foot USB cable and power adapter.  I find that is long enough to use this almost anywhere.  For example, I have one sitting on a window ledge above one of my windows.  The cable is long enough to make the reach to the outlet about 6 feet below the ledge.

The camera has a built-in speaker and microphone for two-way talk.  The quality of the sound is actually pretty good versus other security cameras I have used.

A swiveling plastic stand for tabletop use is included.  I don’t understand why Nest doesn’t include mounts designed for surveillance purposes.  Check out an article entitled Nest Cam and DropCam Mounts for Home Security for some ideas.  There are a lot of innovative mounts from third parties worth a look to truly turn the Nest Cam into a better security solution.

Mounts

The Nest Cam includes a swivel stand which is an upgrade to the old Dropcam Pro’s stationary stand.  There is a magnet embedded in the bottom of the stand to allow mounting on a metal surface.  A variety of alternative mounts is discussed in the article on Nest Cam and DropCam Mounts for Home Security.  A related article on Outdoor Mounts for Nest Cam and DropCam Pro is another worthwhile read as it gives some advice on how to use the Nest Cam outside.

Fun and Different

In the Fun and Different Category, outside what I have already mentioned, the application stands out for me as having a few different features.  You have the ability to integrate other Nest products into the application.  When you logon either through the application or mobile app via browser, the temperature and weather outlook are displayed.  When you start the app, you will see small round live images of all the cameras you have identified to the application.  Naturally, this is limited to DropCam and Nest cameras only.

Summary

So would I buy the Nest Cam again?  Yes.  The video quality is among the best I have experienced and so is the sound quality.  The fact that I can use the same app that I already use for a few of my other cameras is a nice plus too.

Quick Specs:

Video QualityField of ViewCloud SupportSD SupportNight VisionMobile/Web AppAlertsOutdoor
1920x1080130 DegreesYesNoYesYes/YesYesNo

Manufacturer Link:  Nest Cam

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