The $99 Nest Cam (indoor, wired) not only has a cute new design available in multiple colors — there’s even a model that boasts a maple wood base — but it includes several new features that used to require a paid subscription.
We’ve been testing the indoor version of the Nest Cam for the past week to keep an eye on our dogs 24/7. It’s done a fine job that’s sure to make any Google or Nest fan happy. Let’s dive in.
The who, what and how
Who it’s for: Google’s $99 indoor Nest Cam is ideal for those who want to keep an eye on their kids, pets or even their front porch behind the safety of a front window. It will alert you only when you want it to, such as when it sees a person.
What you need to know: The Nest Cam comes with a built-in stand for easy setup and adjusting the area it oversees. You’ll get three hours of video history for any alerts, or you can pay for a Nest Aware Plus subscription to extend that to 60 days, along with 10 days of 24/7 recording.
How it compares: At $99, the indoor Nest Cam is a pricey home security camera compared to options like the $59.99 Ring Indoor Cam or the $35 Abode Cam 2. But it comes with a set of features, like object recognition and alerts, that don’t require a monthly subscription, and it directly integrates with Google’s entire ecosystem of products.
Welcome (to Google) Home
Google is in the process of transitioning its home hardware lineup, such as its new Nest Cams and Nest Hub, to the Google Home app, instead of having devices spread out across two different apps: the Nest app and the Home app.
The move is somewhat frustrating for longtime Nest users who are now forced to manage their old cameras in the Nest app and new cameras in the Home app. Additionally, the new Nest Cams (including this one) can no longer be viewed through any web browser.
Instead, the setup process along with accessing your indoor Nest Cam livestream or recorded clips is done through the Home app. Setup was a breeze for us. Out of the box, there’s a QR code attached to the front of the camera that you scan using the Home app, and then you’re walked through necessary steps like connecting it to your Wi-Fi network, assigning the camera to a room and giving it a name.
Your work isn’t done there, however. You will want to dive into the cameras’ settings and fine-tune what kind of alerts you’ll receive. The final step, though, is creating an activity zone for the camera to monitor.
The Nest Cam can identify people, animals and vehicles in addition to standard motion detection. But it isn’t an all-or-nothing affair. You can turn all of those triggers on but only receive push alerts when a specific object is identified.
For example, we only receive alerts when an animal is detected in the camera’s field of view, even though we have enabled detection for people and motion in general. The reason for only receiving alerts for animals?
Well, we placed our indoor Nest Cam next to our dog’s crate with his bed in it. We chose this location because our puppy keeps escaping from her crate — like a ninja in the night — and hanging out with her big brother. We’ve yet to catch her, but it was worth a try.
The design of the Nest Cam looks like a smaller version of the battery-powered Nest Cam that’s designed for indoor or outdoor use. There’s a small base with a removable mounting plate on the bottom, a metal arm that holds the actual camera portion up in the air and allows you to adjust where it’s facing with minimal effort. It’s available in several colors, including Snow, Linen and Fog. There’s also a Sand with maple wood base model that looks great, but it will cost you a little extra at $119.99.
Included in the box are the camera, a 10-foot power cord with a wall adapter and all of the screws and wall anchors you’d need to permanently mount it to your wall.
There’s little doubt it’s a very cute design that doesn’t call attention to itself inside your home, regardless of where you’ve placed it.
Lights, camera, security
Privacy is a major concern for anyone placing a camera inside their home, regardless if it’s from Google or a lesser-known company like Wyze. For Google’s part, the Nest Cam now uses on-device machine learning to identify objects within its field of view instead of sending images and video to Google’s servers to be processed.
There’s a small indicator light on the front of the Nest Cam that lights up based on when it’s in use. For example, if the camera is on and recording an event, the light is solid green. When someone is actively viewing the camera — say you’re checking on your kids — the light will stay green but begin to flash.
The camera can capture 1080p HDR video using its 2-megapixel sensor. It has a 135-degree field of view that helps capture an entire room. When watching a recorded clip or the livestream, you can pinch-to-zoom on the clip to use its 6x digital zoom.
The video clips we’ve captured have looked good enough for our use case. Even if we were using the indoor Nest Cam as a security camera where we’d want to be able to identify someone in the video, the quality is good enough that we’d have no issues in clearly seeing the person. Clips recorded at night or in low lighting conditions look just as good, thanks to two infrared LEDs that add 15 feet of illumination.
There’s a built-in speaker and microphone that make two-way audio possible from the Home app on your phone. The audio recorded in video clips or heard when using the two-way feature sounds great, but the camera’s speaker isn’t very loud according to participants on the other end of the conversation. In other words, don’t expect to be able to talk to someone a room or two away from the camera. It’s clearly designed for talking to someone close to the camera.
Each Nest Cam includes three hours of recent event recordings for free. Meaning, any time motion or an animal is detected, that clip will be saved and available for you to view or download in the Home app. If you want to extend the amount of time clips are saved, or enable 24/7 recording, you’ll need to sign up for a Nest Aware subscription.
For $6 per month you’ll extend event recording history to 30 days and add familiar face detection, which will tell you who is in the room. Nest Aware also includes smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm and broken glass detection.
At $12 per month, you’ll get 60 days of event recording history, 10 days of 24/7 video history and the same intelligent alerts. The subscriptions cover all of your cameras, which is convenient.
The Nest Cam (indoor, wired) fits nicely in Google’s Nest security lineup, with a stellar design and performance for monitoring inside your home. At $99 it isn’t the most affordable indoor security camera, with the likes of Wyze, Abode and Ring (to name just a few) all available at lower prices.
But its tight integration with the rest of Google’s products and services makes it appealing, especially for those who are already heavily invested in Nest products and paying for a Nest Aware subscription.
If you’re an avid Google user, the new indoor Nest Cam is worth a look. If you’re not, there are less expensive and just as capable options available.