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Google Nest Cam review: Stay safe on the cloud

google nest cam review

Google Nest Cam NextPit 09
© NextPit

Are you looking for a smart, flexible security solution that can be operated by a chimp? If you affirmatively answered yes, then you might be a good fit for the battery-powered Nest Cam. You don’t need a hub or other smart home products to get started with the camera. After a few days of checking it out, we have found several obvious strengths and a few weak ones. There are lights, camera, and action!

It’s a good thing.

  • Flexible application possibilities thanks to its magnets
  • Simple setup without the need for additional hardware
  • Reliable and error-free object detection
  • Long battery life of up to seven months

It was a bad thing.

  • Full functionality only with a subscription
  • Cloud-based – no offline use is possible
  • No time control is possible
  • Only one charging cable in the double pack

The first thing that comes to mind is the resemblance of the Nest cam with battery to the internet giant. It has a magnetic base and a camera unit. There is a magnetic holder for the short charging cable. The setup can be done via the Google Home app on both devices. You don’t need to subscribe for a subscription.

What I didn’t like:

  • High-quality and discreet design.
  • Really practical holder and handling.
  • No subscription is required.

What I didn’t like?

  • Charging cable is fartoo short.
  • Only one cable is included.
Google Nest Cam Nahaufnahme
The Google Nest Cam is discreet, but is only available in one color. / © NextPit

There is a battery for both indoor and outdoor use of the Nest cam. It is waterproof in nature and has a design that is pretty good for your living space. The design philosophy of the wireless Nest cam is similar to the design philosophy of the Google Pixel 7 or the Google Stand 2. I like it, but there is no accounting for taste.

It can’t be denied that the Google’s Nest cam is discreet. I was able to attach the cameras to my heating pipes in my apartment, without the need for screws. The camera unit can be attached to metal surfaces with the help of strong magnets in the stand. It’s really clever.

Google Nest Cam Basis
The mount works magnetically, making it easy to adjust. / © NextPit

It makes it much easier to align the cam. The magnets that hold the camera unit to the base are balanced perfectly so that the camera remains stationary at any angle or direction of rotation. I didn’t notice any slippage or movement after it was on the wall for several days.

There are two small dots next to the eye of the 1,080p camera in front of the nest cam. Whenever the camera is recording footage, one indicates via a greenLED. A microphone is behind the other one. The Nest cam has a thread, speaker holes, and a proprietary charging port. You can use the latter to put the Nest cam onto other mounts.

Google Nest Cam auf einem Tisch.
Thanks to the flexible stand, you can also place the camera on a table. / © NextPit

The short charging cable is a real downside to the design. It is not long enough for you to leave the camera in the cradle while charging. It is unfortunate that the only cable in the two-pack is a proprietary solution.

The control center for the cameras is in the Home app. It is free to download on both platforms and offers direct integration of the assistant. Speaker announcements, motion and object detection, and even person recognition are features that are smart.

What I didn’t like:

  • Easy step-by-step setup.
  • Google Home app is intuitive.
  • Detection system is extremely reliable,

What I didn’t like?

  • Some functions are available only via the Nest-Aware subscription.
  • No time control is possible.
  • Only compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa.
Google Nest Cam mit einem Smartphone.
The Google Home app works on both iOS and Android. / © NextPit

The nest cam is a good place to start if you’ve never installed a security camera before. The sticker rests on the camera lens for protection, and you can set it up with the guidance from the Home app. If you need to refer to it in the future when setting up the camera elsewhere, you should stick it on the camera’s manual. You will be able to see the first video image after a few questions about the installation of the Nest cam.

Google Nest Cam Screenshot Home-App
The Google Home app becomes the control center for the Nest Cam. / © NextPit

In the next step, you should use the notification function. When something moves in the camera footage, it is notifies you. After just under 10 minutes, I received the first alert, despite the fact that it was quite cumbersome to enable all the required permissions.

Notifications can be limited to movements, people, vehicles, and animals. When used as a video doorbell, for example, you can say that the Nest cam doesn’t respond to every movement at the front door, but only to new people. There is precise person recognition since the video data is processed via the cloud. In all but one of the cases in which my face was visible on the video image, “Ben” was recognized. It’s really reliable.

Google Nest Cam QR-Code
To set it up, you have to scan a QR code – the process is child’s play. / © NextPit

There is a central feature hidden behind the subscription. Storage for events is unlocked byNest Aware, which costs $6 a month or $60 annually. You can see if the mailman was in front of the house by scrolling back. “Nest Aware Plus” unlocks the real-time history feature, which you have to rely on. The price for the Plus subscription is $12 per month or $120 per year.

The basic features of the cameras are a bit lacking. You can’t turn off the detection during the day because there is no timer. Even though I was only sitting at my desk, the camera constantly detected events. I would have liked to have activated the monitoring at night to make sure no one climbs through the window.

Setting up ofgeofences is an alternative offered by the search engine. You can say that the Nest cam at your front door ignores the movements on the street.

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It’s annoying that there is no support for Siri on theios. Apple’s own voice assistant is not available to flex its muscles, even though it can be controlled via the Nest devices.

The surroundings are recorded in 30 frames per second in a 130 degree angle. A pleasant clear and noise-free night image with a viewing range of 6 meters can be seen at night. The Nest cam is equipped with both wi-fi and battery. The latter is only needed for setup.

What I didn’t like:

  • Clear and low-lag camera image.
  • Good night vision mode.
  • Announcement feature is really handy.

What I didn’t like?

  • No offline operation possible (camera stores only 1h of footage without a network).
  • No pan and tilt function.

The image quality of the Nest cam is very strong. Full HD resolution is sufficient for displaying a clear video image with the ability to zoom in, and the image angle of 130 degrees is sufficient for small rooms like my office that is about six square meters. Night vision is nice and clear at night because the camera automatically switches to it. The visibility of 6 meters is low for some gardens and front doors.

Google Nest Cam Bildqualität
The quality of the Google Nest Cam is pretty good thanks to HDR! / © NextPit

Thanks to an announcement feature, the Nest cam is also flexible. Voice announcements can be made via the camera’s speaker if you tap the microphone icon. You can use this to ask mailmen to place packages under the door, for example, if you want to turn the Nest cam into a video doorbell. It was convenient.

LED-Lampe Google Nest Cam.
An LED light indicates when the surveillance camera is active. / © NextPit

One thing that is less practical and definitely a point of contention for a lot of people is that the option of storing footage locally without a cloud connection is not offered by Google. You can save footage offline with the hard drive in the base station of the eufy cam 3 pro, which I have on my desk. This option is not offered by the internet company. The Nest cam only records videos offline for an hour if the internet is lost.

There are other cameras that have tilt and pan options, but you can’t do that with the Nest Cam.

The name of the device suggests it has a battery. There is no need to worry about the battery life of the smart home device. If you have to get it up and running quickly, charging times of up to five hours are annoying. You will have to buy an outdoor power transformer for a wired installation.

What I didn’t like:

  • Solid battery runtimes, even in busy environments.
  • Operation/charging via powerbank and powerstations are possible.

What I didn’t like?

  • Integrated battery.
  • Cable for outdoor use only sold separately.
Unterseite Google Nest Cam
At the bottom, you’ll find a tripod port and the port for the proprietary charging cable. / © NextPit

The battery-operated Nest cam is a particularly flexible solution. On the manufacturer’s page, the runtimes are listed in three categories. runtimes range from 1.5 months to 7 months when events are detected and subsequently sent to the cloud.

Runtimes according to manufacturer specifications:

  • Busy environment – battery life of approximately 1.5 months (approximately 20 to 25 recorded events per day).
  • Normal environment – battery life of approximately 3 months (approximately 9 to 12 recorded events per day).
  • Quiet environment – battery life of approximately 7 months (approximately 2 to 4 recorded events per day).

The battery life decreased much faster when it was being tried out. I watched the camera image many times a day when setting up and trying it out. I would rather see the manufacturer’s specifications as expected.

The battery for the Nest cam is non-removable, despite the fact that it is mostly made of recycled material. The capacity of the battery will decrease over time, and you will have to buy a new camera after that. A portable battery solution would have been more practical. A gentle charge without quick-charging capability is indicated by the charging times of up to five hours.

Ladeanschluss Google Nest Cam.
You need a special cable for charging – only one is included. / © NextPit

If you want to use the camera permanently, you can connect it to a power outlet and use the additional cable outdoors. The charging cable is extended from one to 10 meters.

You can connect a power bank to the nest cam with the help of theusb-a cable.

For a simple and flexible security solution for your smart home, the Nest cam with battery is a great choice. Thanks to its clever detection features, the quality of the cameras, the video, and the range of functions are convincing. The battery life can be up to 7 months.

It’s a bit odd to improve the security at home by outsourcing it to the cloud. It is not possible to store the data offline on a hard drive or on a network. You need one of the two subscriptions to get access to the videos. If you don’t have a subscription, you don’t get a live view and notification of new events.

The best cameras compared.

It’s the entry price and high recurring costs that make the security solution unattractive to most people. The setup that has been tested costs $350 to purchase and another $120 annually to access the full range of functions. Other manufacturers offer solutions that give you more control over your own data. You will have to give up the practical connection to the smart home and the smart phone from the two companies.

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