Nest Cam IQ Indoor
Easy to setup and use, but expensive ongoing costs and fast Internet requirements can sting
[SPECS]1/2.5-inch, 8-megapixel sensor with 12x digital zoom, 1080p at 30 frames/sec H.264 HDR video, 4K stills, 130-degree FoV, 940nm infrared LED night vision, 3-microphone array, 802.11ac 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz.
If you’ve been in the market for an IP camera and looked online for reviews, you’ve probably heard about the Nest Cam. The brand has been incredibly popular in the USA, releasing multiple cameras with varying features. Google (Nest is a division of Google) has finally made the brand available in Australia, bringing the flagship Nest Cam IQ to our shores.
The build quality of the Nest Cam IQ is great, and the sleek white minimalist design will suit most homes. The fully adjustable stand and long USB-C power cable makes placement easy, but the bulky USB power adaptor prevents plugging in another appliance next to it. Setup of the Nest Cam IQ is a piece of cake. Download the very polished iOS or Android app and you’re guided through the process of adding the camera to your Wi-Fi network and creating a Nest account.
Unlike other Wi-Fi cameras, the Nest needs an always on Internet connection. There is no way to store video locally. The upside of always needing an Internet connection is that your video is safe if someone breaks in and vandalises the camera. It also allows Google to work its machine learning magic on your video. The downside however, is an ongoing cost to access that video and the need for a fast Internet connection. Pricing for a Nest Aware subscription starts at $7 a month and provides a 5-day video history. If you don’t pay, the camera still works, just with fewer features.
Nest say the camera requires between 800 to 2,000 Kbps of upload bandwidth, so those on ADSL and NBN tiers below 50/20 will struggle, as will those with Internet plans that count upload data. At its highest quality setting, the Nest Cam IQ can use around 400GB/m of data. That’s just for one camera – if you place three in a home, that’s even more of a strain on your Internet connection and almost 1TB of data a month sent to the cloud.
The Nest smartphone app has a handy “Home/Away Assist” feature that can set your camera to turn on only when you’re away from home, conserving bandwidth. When your phone leaves your home’s boundaries, the camera turns on. When you come back, it turns off. You can also set a schedule to only record certain days and times. The Nest app also allows you to give access to the camera to family members, so they can keep an eye on things and use the Home/Away Assist feature.
The benefit of sending video Google is that they can use their large server power to analyse your video and do face recognition. This is a level above normal motion detection, allowing you to receive alerts only when strangers wander by. The technology isn’t perfect however, sending alerts for people already registered in the Nest system quite frequently.
Image quality from the Nest Cam IQ is solid provided your Internet connection is fast enough. Night vision is monochrome and the IR light bright enough to cover most indoor spaces with ease. Disappointing is the fact that the camera has a 4K sensor, yet only captures 1080p video. It would be nice to have it capture 4K H.265 video for those with the Internet connections to support it. The microphone feature is handy to get the attention of pets or tradies when you aren’t home.
Compared to other IP cameras, the Nest Cam IQ is expensive at $479. Then there’s the monthly payments you pretty much have to pay to get the full feature set. Plus, you need a really fast Internet connection to make everything run smoothly. That’s a lot of conditions, but if you can tick all those boxes, the Nest Cam IQ is a high-quality product.