Earlier this year we already looked extensively at a security camera from Logitech, the Logi Circle. In this review we look at the camera from competitor Nest, the Nest Cam. This smart camera can be used to secure your smart home, to keep an eye on your house or to keep an eye on the children.
What is Nest Cam?
The Nest Cam is a Nest product, a company we know from the Nest Protect and the Nest Thermostat, among others. The camera is for those who like to keep an eye on things and know what’s going on at home when they are not around. The camera can also serve as a baby monitor.
The camera offers a wide angle of 130 degrees so that you have an entire room in view. You can view the images via your smartphone, tablet and computer, using an app or the browser. The Cam also has a microphone and a speaker so you can hear what is happening in the room or say something to your pet or child. The camera records in a maximum 1080p resolution and can be used without or with a subscription. However, you only get the most out of it when you have a Nest Aware subscription, more about that later. the camera has a price of 199 euros.
The design of the Nest Cam is as we are used to from the company; sleek and playful. The camera has been given a gray finish and stands on a slim base. Nest supplies a mounting stand on which the camera can be securely attached thanks to magnets. This stand can be mounted on the wall, after which you can simply ‘stick’ the camera, or you can ‘stick’ the Nest to a steel or iron surface thanks to the magnets.
The mounting is a piece of cake and the camera can be placed in almost any angle so that you get a good overview of the room. What we do not understand, however, is the rather ugly white cable that is included to connect the camera to the socket. The cable is 2.5 meters long enough for almost any place, but the cable is quite noticeable, something you would rather not have. Unfortunately, the camera cannot be used without a power supply (no battery or battery) so you have to make do with it.
Installation of Nest Cam
If we learned anything from the Nest Thermostat and Protect, it is that installation is very easy. The Nest Cam can also be installed with two fingers in the nose on your smartphone. Install the Nest app (available for Android and iOS) on your mobile device, create an account, scan the QR code on the bottom of the camera, enter the code of your WiFi network and give the animal a name.
The connection is established quickly and you can start using the camera immediately. In the Nest app you can indicate for which room the camera is intended, something that is especially useful when you have multiple cameras. Thanks to a recent update, you can also see the images from these cameras as windows on the home screen of the app. This way you immediately have a good overview of your entire house.
Settings of Nest Cam
You can adjust various settings, within the app or via the browser. For example, it is possible to have the camera activate automatically when you leave the house (link with your smartphone) and deactivate it when you come home. You can also create a schedule so that you can switch the camera on or off at specific times. Furthermore, the image quality can be adjusted (from 360p to 1080p), you can activate or deactivate the night vision, you can rotate the image of the camera and you can share the camera with someone else using a password
There are also various settings for notifications and sounds / audio. For example, you can have a short sound signal played when you want to say something via the camera, you can mute or turn off the microphone and you can indicate where (mobile and tablet or e-mail) you want to receive notifications when motion or sound is detected. . If you have created extra zones, you can indicate whether notifications are only allowed if something happens in that zone.
Difference mobile and computer
Not all Nest Cam features are available on every device. Nest indicates the following difference via its own website;
Features you can use on a mobile, tablet and computer:
- View your camera’s video history.
- Scroll through all your notifications (for motion, sound, or Activity zones).
Extra functions you can use on a computer:
- View a summary view or a ‘by the minute’ view of part of your Video History.
- Create and share clips.
- Create and share time lapses.
- Create activity zones.
With or without subscription
One thing is very important in the above; in fact, you can only do everything when you have a subscription to Nest Aware. Without this subscription you only have a security camera where you can view live images. Yes, you will receive a notification if something happens, but it is not possible to look back on what exactly happened. You can also still listen and talk through the camera and zoom in on images.
With a subscription you can create activity zones, download clips, create time-lapses of days or hours, quickly retrieve images of notifications and continuously record day and night (not just alerts but everything) for a maximum of 30 days. In addition, Nest indicates that the Aware subscription adds powerful algorithms via the cloud that make it easier to distinguish movements. Think of pets, shadows, car lights, etc. It literally makes the camera smarter. For the subscription of 10 days looking back you pay 10 euros per month or 100 euros per year. The subscription where you can look back 30 days costs 30 euros per month or 300 euros per year.
Quality and use
The Nest app and browser version are very user-friendly. Just like the installation, it is easy to use, with clear menus, quick actions and a good overview. You can easily scroll through the recordings on the computer using a timeline, notifications can be recognized quickly and you can create an activity zone. This zone is an area that you want to draw extra attention to, for example a door. You create a shape on your screen with the mouse and everything within that shape is closely monitored by the camera. You can indicate in the settings whether the camera should also send notifications if something is happening outside that zone. This is useful, for example, if you want to exclude part of the room.
In the Nest app you can only browse the videos of notifications, but this is also childishly simple and fast. You can enlarge the live image when necessary and you can say something via the camera with a simple click of a button. The home screen of both the app and the browser offers a thumbnail view of the live image from the camera.
The Nest Cam’s motion detection is also useful but quite sensitive. If something really happens, for example someone walks in, this will be detected. But, we also received some false reports due to changing light in the room or a flying moth. It may therefore be the case that you receive notifications while nothing is wrong. However, to keep that to a minimum, the Cam has a limit of one notification every 30 minutes. It doesn’t matter how much happens in 30 minutes, you just get a notification. This has its pros and cons. On the one hand, you will not be inundated with notifications on your phone, but on the other hand, something can happen 10 minutes after a false notification, so that you don’t hear anything (or too late). In addition, it is good to know that an active internet connection (on both phone and camera) is always required for the whole thing to work with notifications. If you do not have internet on your phone for a while (or if you do not have internet for a few days when you are on vacation) then you will not receive any notifications until you have internet again. There is no possibility to receive notifications via SMS, for example.
The camera can also respond to sound, for example a door slamming hard or a window being smashed. This is slightly more accurate than the motion detection. Until now we have not had any reports of noise, of course the moments when someone walked in and made noise at the same time. A simple test with a slamming door did produce a message, so it works.
Conclusion of Nest Cam
The Nest Cam is a great looking and easy to install camera for your home. The camera offers good image quality, comes with a number of useful functions, can easily be used by everyone and can be connected to a Nest Thermostat. But Nest Cam isn’t perfect. The choice to report a message only once every 30 minutes can cause unpleasant situations, the supplied power cable does not match the design of the camera and without a subscription the possibilities of the camera are limited. With a price starting at 10 euros, the subscription is not expensive, but there are competitors who also let you watch a day back and download clips without a subscription. The price of the hardware is at 199 euros comparable to that of the competition. The Nest Cam is therefore a well-functioning and looking camera,
- Easy in use
- Lots of uses
- Good video quality
- One notification every 30 minutes
- Subscription actually necessary
- Ugly power cable