Google Nest Cam Review
Pros: Facial recognition, great night vision, redundant power source
Cons: Big/conspicuous camera, no camera speaker, expensive
Compare to Similar Products
Google Nest Cam
$199.00 at Amazon
$35.98 at Amazon
$49.98 at Amazon
$99.99 at Amazon
$24.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Facial recognition, great night vision, redundant power source||Inexpensive, most features available without subscription, color night vision||Vertical/horizontal panning, color night vision, no subscription required||Great audio and video quality, color night vision, in/outdoor rated||Sufficient live and download video quality, good onboard microphone|
|Cons||Big/conspicuous camera, no camera speaker, expensive||Plug-in power source, no remote panning, no backup battery||Indoor use only, no back-up battery, so-so sound quality||No local data storage, requires paid subscription to record, battery power only||Poor night vision, relatively slow frame rate, no onboard speaker|
|Bottom Line||This is a high-quality camera with many useful security features that will be especially appealing to those using the Google Smart Home platform||A high-performance camera at a low price that allows access to most of its features without a subscription||A top-performing, remote panning camera at a low price with no hidden charges||Good camera if you don't mind having to pay for a monthly/yearly subscription||An all-around decent quality camera that cuts a few corners to keep the price low|
|Rating Categories||Google Nest Cam||Wyze Cam v3||Wyze Cam Pan v2||Ring Stick Up Cam B...||YI 1080p Home|
|Recorded Video Quality (35%)|
|Monitoring Performance (35%)|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Specs||Google Nest Cam||Wyze Cam v3||Wyze Cam Pan v2||Ring Stick Up Cam B...||YI 1080p Home|
|Camera Type (Indoor or Outdoor)||Indoor and Outdoor||Indoor and Outdoor||Indoor Only||Indoor and Outdoor||Indoor Only|
|Encryption Types||AES 128-bit, SSL/TLS||AES 128-bit||AES 128-bit||TKIP, AES, TKIP + AES||Yes, type N/A|
|Wired or Battery||Battery and Wired||Wired||Wired||Battery||Wired|
|Smart Device Compatability||Google Assistant||Amazon Alexa
|Amazon Alexa||Amazon Alexa|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The ultra-reliable Google Nest Cam sports a futuristic look despite its relatively large proportions. Its powerful magnetic mounting system makes setup and positioning a breeze, and its app interface is intuitive and easy to program. This is the camera for you if you want facial recognition, redundancy in power and storage, and you're willing to pay for it to work with the Google Smart Home platform.
Recorded Video Quality
As the name implies, the recorded video quality metric is an assessment of the camera's stored visual data instead of the live streaming video and sound that is evaluated separately. The Nest Cam did well above average in this assessment. The camera performed particularly well while recording at night; however, the daytime video was a bit lackluster, particularly where fine details were concerned.
While the quality of the recorded video is more than useful for most security applications, we were disappointed that its recording duration defaults to 30 seconds. The only way to record beyond this length is by going into the live feed, which triggers a recording while activated. By comparison, much of the competition has rolling recording storage that covers a week or more.
Another concerning detail in every test recording made with this camera was a weird digital artifact that preceded the video. This did not negatively impact the recording, and it may be a defect of the unit that we received. It is not what we expected from a camera at the high end of the price spectrum and that otherwise performed well in our evaluations. That said, the Nest Cam has a fixed 130º field of view which is more than adequate for most applications. And, though the night vision on this unit isn't in color, it rendered a level of detail among the best in the class.
The evaluation of the Nest Cam was made in comparison to the other products in the class. All cameras in this review were mounted in the same location and recorded the same events. The score that the Nest received was the result of a side-by-side comparison to the other recordings rendered by the competition.
The monitoring performance metric assesses the camera's live video quality, sound quality, and, if applicable, the onboard speaker quality. The Nest Cam led the class in this series of assessments. The unit's preeminent position was largely on account of its silky smooth real-time video.
As with the recorded video quality metric, live video assessment is a comparative analysis. In the case of the live video analysis, we used a stopwatch to measure and delay between actual events and those rendered on the monitoring device (a laptop in this case). The Nest had a nearly undetectable lag (less than one second).
We also tested the sound delay between the actual event and its emission from the speakers on our device. Interestingly, the sound preceded its cause on-screen when making sound quality recordings. The effect was minimal but nonetheless odd to observe. Despite the motion/sound discontinuity, the sound quality overall was good, if a bit echoey at times.
Finally, we looked at the sound quality of the camera's speaker. While the Nest lacks an event alarm, the user can speak through the camera remotely. We found that the speaker was loud and clear. Overall, the Google Nest Cam has one of the highest quality speakers that we had the pleasure to test.
Ease of Use
The ease of use evaluation looks at how the user interacts with the device. The main focus of this metric is on the app used to monitor the camera and program alerts and other functions such as facial recognition. However, we also look at the way in which the camera's data is stored and camera mounting hardware. The Nest Cam does fairly well in this evaluation earning an above-average score.
The Nest Cam uses the Google Home app on your smart device. Your connected camera(s) is on the app's home screen. By tapping the camera, you enter a home screen for that specific camera, which accesses the recorded history and live view. Additionally, you can set up specific notifications like a person, vehicle, animal, smoke, and CO2 detection and change audio and video settings. You can also turn the camera off entirely if you want. The app is easy to learn simply by playing with it for a short time.
In the storage evaluation portion of our assessment, the Nest Cam fared well. The camera has both cloud and internal local storage options (accessed wirelessly), which will appeal to those weary of the cloud or those who just like redundancy in their security systems. The cloud storage is subscription-based and will retain data for 30 days before the oldest records are erased.
Finally, the Nest Cam comes with a magnetic base and hardware for wall mounting. We liked the magnetic base because it was very easy to position the camera. The magnet is quite powerful, too. So, there is little risk of it shifting or falling.
We look at value as a balance between the price of a product (both in the long and short term) and its performance in the tests and analysis that we put it through. The Google Nest Cam is expensive. However, it is a quality, easy-to-use device with good features. Additionally, it is designed to seamlessly integrate with Google's Smart Home platform — an aspect that Google fans will appreciate. In consideration of these particulars, we think the camera is a good value if you already (or want to) use the Google platform. If not, there are significantly less expensive devices that will give you the same functionality.
The Google Nest Cam offers users superb night vision, dual power sources, redundant data storage, and an easy-to-use app. Moreover, it is designed to work seamlessly with other products in the Google Smart Home line. It has useful customizable alerts, a quality onboard speaker, and is easy to set up. The only significant mark against this product is that it is really expensive compared to similar cameras. That said, if you're already committed to the Google Smart Home platform, it's worth the money.
— Nick Miley, Matt Spencer, and Austin Palmer
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