Google Nest Cam with battery review-CNET

Chris Monroe/CNET

Google is again within the sensible residence safety saddle with a brand new $180 Nest Cam. It is battery-powered, rated for outside or indoor use and stands to rival Arlo and Wyze for sensible options and tech specs. However is it actually the most effective?

At $180, it is not essentially the most or least costly. The specs are additionally mid-range and par for the sensible cam course. What you do get from Google for the primary time are free sensible alert options, exercise zones and on-device processing because of a brand new machine studying chip. In the end, it is laborious to suggest over its aforementioned opponents — except you are dwelling in a Nest-only family.

 Learn extra: Google Nest simply launched its new indoor safety digital camera and floodlight cam


  • Free sensible alerts
  • Indoor/Out of doors software
  • Nice Residence app interfacing

Do not Like

  • Nonetheless expensive
  • Solely 3 hours of clips included
  • Heavy and huge


Technically, the brand new Nest Cam is known as the “Nest Cam (outside or indoor, battery),” however that is a handful to sort, so we’ll consult with it merely because the Nest Cam on this evaluation. 

The brand new Nest Cam is designed for indoor or outside use. It is IP54 rated, which implies whereas it is climate resistant, it is not waterproof. It is available in one shade (snow, learn: Google white) and you may mount it both magnetically or with the included wall plate, screws and anchors. It’s battery-operated, however you should purchase a $35 weatherproof energy cable to go together with it if you happen to’d fairly go for a wired outside set up.


The Nest Cam comes with a charging cable and wall plate for mounting. 

Molly Worth/CNET

The digital camera itself is magnetic and snaps onto the included base simply. Although this factor is sort of a pound at 14 ounces, the magnet feels robust sufficient to firmly hold the digital camera on the bottom. The Nest Cam is 3.27 inches large, about 1.25 inches bigger than the Wyze Cam V3.The design is glossy and easy, however these stats add as much as one chunky feeling system. 

Should you’re choosing indoor use (I would not; extra on that later) you may place it on a $30 sold-separately stand that comes with a charging cable to behave like a dock of kinds.

Specs and battery life

This new Nest Cam has all of the digital camera stats you’d count on to see, like 1080p HD video, evening imaginative and prescient, a 130° diagonal area of view, 6x digital zoom and two-way audio. These aren’t standout specs. No, you actually do not want higher tech than that to surveil your yard. 1080P decision will serve you effectively and the evening imaginative and prescient works simply fantastic.

I’d’ve favored to see a wider area of view, particularly for the reason that digital camera on the magnetic stand is not very adjustable. I needed to discover simply the precise top shelf with a view to view my front room and never the ceiling. The indoor stand improves this barely.


A charging stand for indoor use is offered individually. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Battery life is the large query with sensible residence gadgets like cameras, locks and doorbells. Remembering so as to add AAs to your August lock is annoying and so is having to recollect to cost your doorbell or safety digital camera. Google advised me the Nest Cam’s battery life relies on elements like exercise, temperature, and digital camera settings. 

Google estimates the battery to final someplace between 1.5 and 7 months relying on these elements. I charged our digital camera to 100% and 24 hours later, I used to be all the way down to 97% in default battery mode with the automated battery saver enabled. That is about 4 months of battery in these precise circumstances. There are alternatives within the Residence app to regulate frequency of occasion recordings, video high quality and size of clips. There are additionally three battery modes to select from if you happen to do not need to cherry-pick energy settings. 

The Google crew offered these estimates for battery life: 

  • Busy: About 1.5 months battery life (about 20-25 recorded occasions per day)
  • Typical: About 3 months battery life (about 9-12 recorded occasions per day)
  • Quiet: About 7 months battery life (about 2-4 recorded occasions per day)

Residence app screenshots utilizing the Nest Cam.

Screenshots by Molly Worth/CNET

Characteristic freebies

Google is sunsetting the previous Nest Cams and Nest Cam IQs. A lineup refresh was lengthy overdue, and I used to be pleased to be taught that Google is together with extra free options within the new Nest Cam and new wi-fi model of its Nest Doorbell. 

And not using a Nest Conscious subscription, you will nonetheless get alerts for customizable exercise zones. You may set these up within the app — in a menu buried deep within the digital camera settings. Every zone can have its personal group of alerts. For instance, you may set half the view to inform for animals and the opposite half to inform for automobiles.

That degree of specificity is sweet if you happen to’re monitoring a big space with a number of areas. I can think about making a zone that alerts me if the canine leaves the yard and escapes onto the driveway. There are additionally alerts for individuals and basic movement. That is all because of a brand new machine studying chip onboard the Nest Cam.

Included with none subscription, you will additionally get a three-hour occasion historical past and you may obtain every clip. That seems like so much, and at first I used to be impressed. Then I believed in regards to the Wyze Cam V3 I exploit at residence, which incorporates 14 days of occasion historical past without spending a dime. A number of occasions throughout my testing, I encountered an occasion that I used to be notified for and made psychological word to take a look at later, solely to appreciate that it was not obtainable by the point I remembered to examine.

In a single occasion, I used to be solely in a position to watch half a clip as a result of I simply occurred to be viewing it because it expired, at 2:59:30-ish. That might be a private drawback for certain, however I am most likely not the one one who will get busy and forgets to obtain the clip.


Chris Monroe/CNET

That is the place the Nest Conscious subscriptions kick in. Subscribe to Nest Conscious for $6 per thirty days and you will get acquainted face detection and sound alerts (smoke, glass breaking and carbon monoxide), the power to name 911 from the Google Residence app and 30 days of occasion video historical past. Improve to Nest Conscious Plus for $12 a month, and you will get all of these choices plus 60 days of video historical past and 10 days of 24/7 video recording in case your Nest Cam is hard-wired. 

The included free sensible alerts are probably lots for most people. Acquainted Faces is a pleasant contact, however positively one thing I might categorize as a luxurious. Add Acquainted Faces and also you digital camera will notify you of individuals by identify, as synced in your Google account. Sound alerts for alarms are maybe extra sensible, particularly if you happen to journey typically and need to know when one thing’s not proper. I am glad these are included within the $6 possibility and are not behind the Nest Conscious Plus paywall.

What actually makes the Nest Conscious subscription nearly mandatory is the boundaries of the free, three-hour clip storage. Going from three hours to 30 days will make a world of distinction for many customers. It eliminates the psychological load of getting to recollect to obtain a clip rapidly earlier than it is gone. 

Privateness and safety

Should you’re involved about safety, Google is able to pitch its newest promise. Video footage on the brand new Nest Cam is encrypted whereas in transit and whereas at relaxation on Nest servers. Based on the Google crew, these are essentially the most susceptible factors within the information lifecycle. 

Processing for these animal, particular person and automobile detections — in addition to Acquainted Faces recognition — all occur regionally on the system. The Nest Cam’s machine studying chip handles all that. There is no cloud processing. That is not the strongest encryption available on the market. Ring encrypts end-to-end, however solely on wired gadgets and provided that you choose in. 

A inexperienced LED gentle lets when the digital camera is processing or streaming video to a viewer. Add the digital camera to your Residence and Away routines, and you may select to solely document video once you’ve left residence. Residence and Away presence detection is powered by both your cellular system or sensors in choose Nest merchandise. 

One different safety associated factor caught my eye on the Google Retailer’s web page for the brand new Nest Cam. If somebody removes your digital camera (simple to do with the magnetic camera-to-base software) they’re going to change it without spending a dime. What is the catch? You will must file a police report and supply Google with a duplicate inside 30 days. You may learn extra about digital camera theft replacements on the Google assist web page. 


Nest Cam mounts magnetically to its base.

Chris Monroe/CNET

What else is on the market

You might have choices today in terms of outside cameras. Google’s Nest Cam is not the most effective in terms of specs or value.

The same, but smaller, lighter and extra weatherproof Wyze Cam V3 is simply $37 and contains 14 days of clip storage. Even if you happen to add on the Wyze Cam Plus subscription for individuals and object detection, you are still effectively beneath that $180 mark at round $60 for the digital camera and a yr’s subscription. 

Then there’s Arlo’s new $200 Professional 4 digital camera with a 2K decision and wider area of view than the Nest Cam. We liked the Arlo Professional 3 and but, the brand new Professional 4 is even higher than its predecessors. Not solely does it include nice options and dependable service, however it’s truly our favourite outside safety digital camera of the yr. You may learn our full evaluation of the Arlo Professional 4 digital camera right here

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Should you buy it? 

If you have your heart set on a Nest Cam, don’t fret. This one works well and it isn’t even the only camera Google is launching this year. There will also be a wired version for indoor-only use. We don’t have an availability date yet, but Google tells us it will cost $100 — their cheapest camera offering yet.

The Nest Cam does everything I’d expect from it. It works seamlessly with the Google Home app, and Nest Aware offers several nice feature upgrades. Still, it’s a hard sell for me at $180 unless you’re really invested in having Nest products in your home. 

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