After acquiring Nest a few years ago, Google has started to produce a number of security cameras, both indoor, like the Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera that we’ll be discussing today, and outdoor, with the Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera. Both cameras offer similar features, and Google even offers bundles when you buy the Nest Cam Indoor and the Nest Cam Outdoor together. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Clearly, Google is a giant in the tech industry. But can they successfully compete in home security, and how does the Nest compare to other indoor cameras on the market?
We’ll dive into that and more. First, let’s check out the camera. Our Nest Cam Indoor review starts now.
My first impression of the camera is that it’s aesthetically pleasing. The metallic base has a gunmetal finish while the camera itself is shiny black plastic. It’s definitely sturdy, especially for its small size. It comes with a rubber backing and a magnetic base which allows it to be used standing up, on a wall, or on a tripod.
I will say that I do find the white USB cord and adapter a bit jarring with the shiny black finish of the camera itself. It’s like taking that perfect Little Black Dress and putting a white cardigan over it.
I will say that I do find the white USB cord and adapter a bit jarring with the shiny black finish of the camera itself. A friend stated that the white cord is like taking that perfect Little Black Dress and putting a white cardigan over it.
However, this is a small critique, and overall, I love the sleek look of this camera. I also prefer plug-in cameras in general, because you don’t have to worry about dead batteries. While most battery-operated cameras only record when they sense something is in motion, with Nest Aware, the camera records continuously 24/7, a nice feature. But we’ll get to that.
When the box arrived, I was excited to learn more about the Nest Cam Indoor, model NC1102ES to be specific.
Here’s what Nest says about its indoor camera:
- 1080p HD video for a super clear viewing experience
- 24/7 live recording and streaming easily accessible from the Nest mobile app
- Person alerts through Nest Aware, which tells you immediately if someone has invaded your space and shows you exactly what is happening in your home
- Plug-in security so the user never has to worry about dead batteries
- Cloud storage offered for up to 30 days after the footage has been shot
- Built-in speaker and mic so you can communicate with whoever is in the room
- Activity Zones so you can highlight particularly important spaces in your home, such as a door, crib or window
What’s really great about the Nest website is the actual footage from burglaries in homes with Nest. In one particularly moving clip, burglars ransack a woman’s house before she screams “GET OUT” through the built-in speaker. Spooked, the burglars instantly leave. This video really demonstrates the utility of the person alerts and the speaker.
Okay, so the website makes the camera look awesome. That’s why we ordered the Nest Cam Indoor to see how it works firsthand. Let’s jump into our necessary features.
Sure, it’s pretty. But we’re not settling for just pretty. We want to make sure that this camera fits into our standards and ultimately protects your home. Sounds like a lot of work, right? Don’t worry- we’ve done all the hard work for you.
Arguably the most important feature of a security camera is the quality of the video. If you have a camera but you can’t tell what’s going on in your home, what’s the point? Luckily, there is no need to get nihilistic with the Nest camera.
First of all, this camera has beautiful 1080p HD video, the industry standard. The Nest goes above and beyond the industry standards, however, with its ability to zoom in 8x, compared to the industry standard of 3x, and with its field of view of 130 degrees, while many cameras ring in at 120 degrees.
No grainy footage here. We give this camera full marks for its video quality.
Nest Cam Indoor Audio Quality
This camera gives you the ability to speak to whoever is in the room it is monitoring, which is great. Many users who had criminal break-ins were able to banish the thieves by using the two-way audio, so this is a really important feature. It’s also useful for talking to people in other rooms.
An odd feature is the chime sound before the speaker talks. I’m not sure if the idea behind the chime is to make the disembodied voice a bit less scary; personally, I find the chime sound more alarming. Luckily, the chime can be turned on or off, and more importantly, the mic picks up sounds clearly from up to 20 feet away. Impressively enough, users have been saying that the audio on the Nest Cam IQ is even better than the original Nest Cam Indoor, but that’s a topic for another day. Full marks for audio quality.
Nest Cam Indoor Night Vision
The camera has great night vision due to its 8 infrared LED sensors. Another cool feature is that it can integrate with Philips-Hue lightbulbs, allowing motion in the room to automatically turn on the lights. No more stumbling around in the dark for the bathroom. Whether it’s day or night, this camera gives great views and clear video.
The camera also differentiates between different types of light. For example, when I used a flashlight in night mode, the camera didn’t automatically switch to day mode. This is super important, as the camera will continue to shoot clear footage even if an intruder has a flash light. Full marks for night mode!
Nest Cam Indoor Storage
Storage is where things take a bit of a dip. While the camera provides cloud storage for up to 30 days with Nest Aware, there are no local storage options.
The great thing about cloud storage is that it protects the footage from being stolen or damaged, unlike a memory card which can be easily tampered with. Even if the power goes out or if a thief steals the camera, the owner will still have their footage. Plus, the footage is encrypted, making the cloud connection secure.
Nest provides you with different tiers of cloud storage. If you don’t buy Nest Aware with your camera, it will only save your footage for three hours. With Nest Aware, you can extend your storage length to up to 30 days. After that, your footage will be deleted to make room for new footage. However, if there is something recorded that you wish to keep, you can create a video clip and download it to any device with Internet. From there, the clip can be shared on social media or through email.
The good thing about the Nest’s storage is that Google is offering a 30-day free trial of Nest Aware, the software necessary for cloud storage. This is a great way to test out the 10-day video history feature without spending more hard-earned cash.
The disadvantage to having no local storage is that you’re not completely in charge of your footage as far as the way it’s managed and organized.
For the lack of a local storage option, we give the Nest Cam Indoor half marks.
Nest Cam Indoor Smart Platform Integration
The Nest’s smart platform integration is one of its most useful features. As Google owns Nest, the camera is integrated with Google Assistant, Chromecast, and Philips-Hue lightbulbs. It also works with Amazon Echo and Fire TV.
It’s great to be able to talk to my Google Assistant right through my camera. All I have to do is ask my camera to show me my backyard, and, through Chromecast, it will be on my TV screen in no time. Google Assistant also lets you turn the camera off by saying “Ok Google, I’m leaving,” a convenient feature for anyone on the go. It’s easy to launch the Assistant on the Nest camera. Just say “Ok Google” followed by your command.
Of course, the Nest Cam Indoor integrates well with other Nest products, like the doorbell, smoke alarm, thermostat, and more. From your Nest app, you’ll be able to see exactly who enters your home, from the exact moment they push your Nest doorbell to their entrance.
The great thing about Google is that they’re constantly updating. The Nest website tells us that even more integrations are coming this winter, available through easy and free software updates. If you’re a fan of Google in general, this camera is right for you. Full marks for smart platform integration.
Nest Cam Indoor Artificial Intelligence
The Nest camera features facial recognition to let you know who is in your home. While it can’t tell you exactly who someone is, it can detect people and alert you at the exact moment that they have entered your camera’s line of vision if you purchase Nest Aware.
Google’s algorithms allow the camera to tell the difference between a couch and a person, between a dog barking and a person talking. The software learns who your friends and family are, so you are alerted whenever a stranger or a family member enters the frame. Overall, I give the camera full marks for its artificial intelligence.
Nest Cam Indoor Value
This camera is a bit expensive, especially when you compare it to its competitors. While the Amazon camera is $120, the Nest rings in at anywhere from $175 to $200, and that’s not even counting the cloud storage plan. Nest camera subscriptions for cloud storage come in 3 sizes.
All plans come with 24/7, unending recording, smart alerts, the ability to make clips, time lapses, and Activity Zones.
One cool feature is that you get discounts if you buy more than one camera. While one camera from the Nest website is $199, a 3 pack is $397, saving you $200, and a 5 pack is $645, saving you $350. And the free, expedited shipping doesn’t hurt either. Depending on the size of your home, it might be advantageous to get at least a 3 pack of the Nest Cam Indoor Plus, the Nest Cam Indoor is eligible for Amazon Prime, so that’s a bonus.
With the Google Nest camera, the beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Clearly, this is not the cheapest camera around. However, the Google integration makes the camera a great choice for Google fans (or GoogleHeads, a term I’ve just made up). Overall, I give the camera full marks for its value.
Nest Cam Indoor Convenience
In this category, the Nest camera takes the cake. I literally set it up within a minute. All I had to do was plug it in, install the Nest Camera app, scan the QR code, and the camera was ready to go.
A few tips before installing the Nest Cam Indoor: Make sure you add your camera to the app and test video streaming in the location of your choice. There’s nothing worse than bad Wi-Fi, especially when you’re depending on it for your safety.
Mounting the camera is super simple. You can either place is on a horizontal service like a desk or table, or mount it to a wall using the mounting plate or the magnet. The great thing about the camera is that it pivots forward and backward with 180 degrees, and can fully rotate in the stand. Simply do a quick wall mount and adjust the camera as you please. I love this feature because it allows you full freedom in your Nest Cam Indoor installation.
Have you never so much as screwed in a lightbulb? Nest ProWorks allows you to hire an independent contractor to install your camera. Just type in your zip code and you’ll be connected with the right person for the job. But seriously, the installation on this thing could not be any easier.
Whichever option you choose, this product is super convenient and easy to install. Full marks!
Nest Cam Indoor Mobile Application
Now that we’ve discussed the camera itself, let’s talk about the mobile app. This is super important, as it’s how you’ll actually control and access the footage that the camera has captured.
I found the app extremely easy to use. Google knows a thing or two about optimizing a user’s experience, and the Nest app reflects that. Even the most tech-phobic user won’t have any problems controlling their camera with the mobile app. Just login to your Nest camera app and you’ll be at the command center.
The first cool feature of the mobile app is Home/ Away Assist. This allows you to set the times when you’ll be home and away, so that the camera knows when to stream. After all, even the world’s biggest narcissist doesn’t need hours of footage of himself watching Netflix.
You can either set up this feature manually or connect your phone to the Nest- that way your location will be tracked and the camera will stop streaming when you’re home. It’s a convenient way for you to save some storage space, while still being protected when you’re not home. You can even invite friends and family to control the camera as well. Of course, this is an optional feature; the camera can stream 24/7 if you wish.
I really like this feature because it is efficient and convenient. There’s no reason for a camera to be streaming if you or your loved ones are home, but the Nest doesn’t make you constantly check in and out. It does the work for you, so you’ll be protected when you need it.
The mobile app also allows you to set up Activity Zones and person detection, taking security a step further.
Activity Zones allow you to highlight specific points of interest. You can either set the zones up yourself or have the Nest set them up for you. This is a great way to get more meaningful alerts. After all, you’d want to know if someone is coming in through your window when you’re not home, wouldn’t you?
Activity Zones allow you to set up to 4 zones per camera and give each zone a particular shape, color, size, and name. You’ll be alerted when something happens in a particular zone that you care about, like your baby’s crib. You can also use the zones to mark places that you care less about, such as a window looking out onto a busy street. Markers through your video history timeline let you know the activity in each zone, making it easy to track everything. I like the zones because they give the user more specific, meaningful information.
Not only does the camera track spaces, but also the people in the spaces. The Nest’s person detection is essential for getting useful information. No need to get alerted every time your elderly grandma comes to visit! The app makes it easy to set up person detection, so that you’re only getting relevant information.
You can also use the app to change the microphone sensitivity and the status lights. You’ll be able to turn off the camera’s lights to make it look like you’re not recording, a useful feature when it comes to intruders. You can also turn on the lights to announce that the live stream has started.
Nest Aware, the Nest camera’s subscription service, allows you to detect movement and sound on a more advanced level, set up Activity Zones, and save your footage for up to a month. I like that this feature is optional, as people want different levels of involvement with their camera.
The camera comes with 120 GB of storage. For those who want more storage, you can change the quality of the HD. A lower quality video will take up less storage space. All storage is managed through the mobile app.
Finally, the app allows you to rotate the camera, and share it with other people. Think of it as the control center for your home security- in the palm of your hand.
Given the similar features it’s fair to compare the Nest to the Logitech Circle 2 and the Canary All-In-One, both indoor cameras.
Logitech Circle 2
Video-wise, the Circle 2 and the Nest are pretty similar. Both feature the industry standard of 1080p HD, but the Circle 2 has a field of view of an astounding 180 degrees, making it win by a hair over the Nest’s 130 degrees. The Nest has better night vision than the Circle 2, while the two-way audio was crystal-clear on both cameras.
Unfortunately, the Circle 2 doesn’t fare much better than the Google Nest when it comes to storage. They both lack local storage options, but the Circle 2’s cloud storage options are significantly cheaper, with a Basic Safe Circle plan that gets you 14 days of storage for only $3.99 a month.
Both cameras kill it when it comes to smart home integration, partnering with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Fire TV. While the Google Nest also works with Chromecast and Philips-Hue, the Circle 2 also integrates with the Apple HomeKit, a rarity for cameras. If having Apple HomeKit integration is important to you, I’d definitely go with the Circle 2.
The Nest wins over the Circle 2 in terms of artificial intelligence. Both cameras have person detection, but with the Circle 2, it costs an extra $9.99. I was able to set up both cameras easily, but I took off points for the Circle 2- when I accidentally popped off the camera, it took over an hour to get back on. Overall, these are both great cameras and definitely worth their steeper prices, but I would recommend the Nest over the Circle 2 as it has better night vision, artificial intelligence, and is more convenient to use.
Learn more by reading our review of the Logitech Circle 2.
Both the Canary All-In-One camera and the Google Nest camera have excellent video quality, audio quality, and night vision. If field of zoom is more important to you, I’d go with the Nest- it has the ability to zoom in 8 times compared to the All-In-One’s 3. However, if field of view is more important to you, the All-In-One wins, with 147 degrees over the Nest’s 130. The All-In-One does have slightly better night vision due to its 12 infrared LED sensors compared to the Nest’s 8, but loses points for making you pay $9.99 a month for two-way audio.
Again, neither camera has local storage, although the All-In-One’s pricing for cloud storage is more reasonable. For $9.99 a month, you can get 30 days worth of storage, compared to the Nest’s $30 a month for the same time length. Both cameras integrate well with Amazon and Google, and have pretty good person detection software. I had no problem setting up either camera. In general, these are both quality cameras. However, the Canary All-In-One does have some extra features that the Nest lacks, including a 90 decibel siren and HomeHealth technology, a climate monitoring system.
To learn more, read our review of the Canary All-In-One.
I really like the Nest camera overall. It’s user-friendly, has great video and sound quality, and can be customized to suit anyone’s needs. It’s no wonder the Nest Cam Indoor has a 4 star rating on Amazon.
However, as we learned in the 1970s, there are “different strokes for different folks”. While the Google integration might be worth the extra cost to some, those who just want a camera might want to go with a cheaper option. This camera also might not be for you if you feel strongly about local storage.
I would definitely recommend the camera, especially to a more Google savvy consumer. What’s great about the camera is that the user can be as involved or not involved as they want to be. It can act as just a camera, streaming footage of your home, or it can give you more specific information. Whether you’re Bill Gates or you’ve never heard of the Internet, this camera is accessible to all. I’m excited to see future iterations of this camera, as Google consistently innovates technology.