Nest Cam IQ Indoor Review

Needless to say, Google is an ubiquitous tech company. Not only are they the largest and most popular search engine in the world, but they also have phones, computers, email systems, word processors- the list goes on. Now, Google wants to expand from your digital world to your physical world. In 2014, Google acquired Nest Labs, a smart home automation company that makes thermostats, locks, environmental detectors, and cameras. Today I’ll be talking about the Nest Cam IQ Indoor. After reviewing the Nest Cam Indoor, its predecessor, I must say that I’m very excited about the IQ. It builds on the already impressive indoor camera with enhanced Wi-Fi connectivity and better night vision, video and audio qualities. But is it everything I’ve hoped for?

I’m going to talk about what Nest says you’ll get with the camera, what I thought of it, and of course, I’ll put the IQ through our Necessary Features Test. Then, I’ll review the Nest app and compare it to some competitors. Let’s  hope the Nest Cam IQ Indoor is as smart as it seems!


Promised Features

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Box

I’ll say it- the Nest website is beautiful. It’s curated like a fine art museum, except the art is beautiful shots of cameras. Sounds like my kind of place!

The website and box emphasize a few features of the Nest Cam IQ:

  • Integrated with Google Assistant, meaning you can verbally command your camera
  • Familiar face alerts with a Nest Aware subscription
  • Person alerts
  • 1080p HD video display
  • Audio seven times more powerful compared to Nest Cam Indoor
  • Night vision powered by twice as many LED lights as Nest Cam Indoor
  • 24/7 continuous streaming 
  • Incredible zoom capabilities
  • Three-hour snapshot history– you’ll see key photos of the last three hours of activity in the Nest app
  • Cloud storage

Sure, the Nest website won me over, but let’s take a step back and actually open the box.

First Impressions

Nest Cam IQ Indoor

The Nest Cam IQ Indoor is a very sleek little camera. It has a round white base with a thin stem, leading up to its shiny black camera framed in white plastic. The entire camera is only a little more than five inches high, which is great because it doesn’t take up too much of my precious space.

Opening the box, I see that the camera comes with a power adapter, power cable, and an installation guide. Personally, I like that the camera plugs in- it means I don’t have to worry about changing the batteries. Plus, the cord is thin and white, so it’s not too noticeable in my home. Honestly, this camera reminds me a little bit of the desk lamp in the original PIXAR desk lamp animation- but much more minimalist, of course.

I love that the camera can rotate 160 degrees vertically plus 180 degrees horizontally- this will definitely come in handy when it comes to setting up my camera.

Necessary Features

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Necessary Features

If this were a beauty pageant, the Nest Cam IQ would be crowned queen. However, looks aren’t everything when it comes to cameras. We at Security Baron put every single security camera through our necessary features test, and the Nest Cam IQ is no exception.

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Video

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Video Display

Of course, the Nest Cam IQ’s video quality is 1080p HD, the industry standard. It’s field of view of 130 degrees diagonally also impresses, but what I’m most excited about is the camera’s field of zoom. It can zoom in 12 times digitally, which is the highest field of zoom I’ve seen from a security camera. This feature will come in handy if you ever have an intruder and need to identify them with the police. All in all, the video display sets the standards for home security cameras, so it receives full marks without a doubt.

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Night Vision

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Night Vision

With a whopping 16 infrared LED lights, it’s safe to say that the Nest Cam IQ’s night vision is top notch. I prefer night vision powered by infrared LED lights over bright white lights because with infrared, the intruder won’t be aware that they’re visible in recording. The scene will still remain completely dark, as the camera captures footage that’s clear as day. Kudos to the Nest Cam IQ for raising the bar in night vision- full marks!

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Audio Quality

According to Nest, the Nest Cam IQ has a speaker seven times more powerful than the Nest Cam Indoor- all I can say is, wowza. The camera also comes with noise and echo suppression, creating crystal-clear audio. Like the Nest Indoor, the Nest Cam IQ has two-way audio which allows you to communicate with whoever you’re recording.

Considering the Nest Indoor received full marks on audio, I almost want to give the Nest Cam IQ double full marks, even though that’s not a thing. So thrilled about this upgrade!

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Storage

Nest Aware Storage

Like all of the Nest cameras, if you want cloud storage, you’re going to have to purchase it through Nest Aware. You can choose from five day, 10 day, and 30 day cloud storage.

All of the storage plans come with 24/7 continuous recording, intelligent alerts, clips and timelapses, and Activity Zones, which we’ll discuss more in the “Extras” section.

Unfortunately, there is no way to back up your files locally. While I definitely trust that the Nest Aware cloud is secure, I still like to have my files backed up in two ways, via cloud and local storage. Because of the lack of local storage, I’m going to have to give the Nest Cam IQ half marks for this category.

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Smart Platform Integration

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Google Assistant on Box

I’m pleased to say that the Nest Cam IQ integrates with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa. This gives the user the flexibility to use the camera in various ecosystems. The camera also integrates with Philips Hue lightbulbs, which is a nice touch. Full marks!

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Artificial Intelligence

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Familiar Face Alerts

The Nest Cam IQ Indoor has person detection, meaning it can tell the difference between people, animals, and other moving objects. This feature may seem obvious, but most cameras don’t have it. With person detection, you’ll only receive notifications that matter- after all, there’s no need to know every time the old lady down the street drives by your house. Instead, you’ll get smarter, more specific notifications.

If you purchase Nest Aware, you’ll also get “familiar face alerts,” which take person detection a step further. They can tell the difference between familiar faces, like your family and friends, and unfamiliar faces, possible intruders. Picture this: you’re grinding away in your cubicle when you hear your phone chime. You find an “unfamiliar face” notification that shows live footage of a stranger in your home. From there, you can use two-way audio to scare him away, or call the police. These distinct notifications are worlds more helpful than simple motion alerts. Full marks for artificial intelligence!

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Convenience

Nest Cam IQ Indoor QR Code

Nest cameras are known for being extremely easy to set up, and the Nest Cam IQ Indoor is no exception. All I had to do was add my camera to the Nest app and place it on a flat surface. Of course, it would’ve taken me a bit more time if I wanted to mount my camera, but I digress. Once I put the camera on the table, all I had to do was adjust its view using the livestream feature in my app and connect it to power. Of course, my strong Wi-Fi connection definitely helped. Full marks for convenience!

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Value

Overall, the Nest Cam IQ is a fantastic camera in terms of what you get, although it is a bit on the expensive side. If you’re looking for truly superior video, audio, and night vision, this camera might be right for you. However, in terms of affordability, this camera does fall short, which is why I’m giving it half marks for its value.

Extra Features

With Nest Aware, Nest’s monthly subscription plan, you’ll get a few extras, including activity zones, 24/7 continuous recording, clips and timelapses, familiar face alerts and cloud storage (the latter two are discussed in more detail above). Let’s dive into what each feature means and how well it works.

Activity Zones

Nest Cam IQ Indoor Activity Zones

With Nest Aware, you’ll get activity zones, which basically allow you to mark important areas for your camera, like a baby’s crib or a window. You’ll get special alerts when somethings happens in the activity zones. Plus, the Nest Cam IQ is so smart (hence the name) that it can even make activity zones for you. Pretty cool, right?

24/7 Continuous Recording

With Nest Aware, you’ll get 24/7 continuous recording, which is pretty self-explanatory. You’ll also be able to review your entire video history in the Nest app and share it with the world (or maybe just your Facebook friends).

Clips and Timelapses

One of my friends has a vintage camper up in the mountains, and she loves to record video of her grounds, especially at night. You can’t believe all the funny bear footage she catches and shares on social media! Nest Aware allows you to create clips and timelapses from your footage. You can use them either to help the police find the perp, or just to create cool videos of your life.

The Nest App 

The Nest App

Given that Google has pretty much revolutionized the way we use the internet, I’m a bit surprised at its lackluster ratings- 2.1 and 3.8 on the Apple and Google Play stores, respectively. Clearly, the app works better for Androids (again, not surprising considering Android is a Google company).

I personally had a good experience with the Nest app. I find it super clean and easy to use, although many people online had connection issues. Of course, the app’s connectivity is subject to individuals’ internet connections- make sure you have a strong connection before you set anything up!

Stepping away from customer reviews, I want to talk about the app’s capabilities. The app can control all of your Nest connected devices, your security system, and of course, your Nest Cam IQ Indoor camera. From the app, you’ll be able to receive push notifications including person alerts, communicate with someone using two-way audio, livestream your footage, and see what you missed with snapshots from the past three hours. You can also set the camera to be on “Home” or “Away” mode either manually, or by setting up geofencing, so your phone will let the camera know whether you’re home or not. After all, you’d never leave home without your phone, right? The app is also where you can make any adjustments to your camera- controlling the status lights, microphone sensitivity, the camera’s rotation, etc.

If you buy Nest Aware, you can also use the app to receive familiar/unfamiliar face alerts, set up your activity zones, and review your cloud storage.


Sure, the Nest Cam IQ sounds fantastic. But how does it compare to its competitors? I’m comparing the Nest Cam IQ Indoor to its predecessor, the Nest Cam Indoor, as well as the Canary All-In-One, an indoor camera with similar features.

Nest Cam Indoor

Nest Cam Indoor

Both the Nest Cam Indoor and the Nest Cam IQ Indoor have 1080p HD video and fields of view of 130 degrees, but the Nest Cam IQ can zoom in a whopping 12 times, four more than its predecessor. Both cameras have excellent night vision but again, the IQ wins out- its lights are twice as bright as the original Nest Cam Indoor. Again, as far as audio, the IQ wins again- its speaker is seven times more powerful than that of the Nest Cam Indoor. Both cameras, of course, have two-way audio.

As far as storage goes, both cameras offer cloud storage through the same Nest Aware subscription plans (see above). Both cameras integrate with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Philips Hue lightbulbs. Obviously, both cameras use the same Nest app and are set up the exact same way.

Clearly, the Nest Cam IQ is the better camera, as it expands upon the Nest Cam Indoor in terms of video, audio, and night vision. Of course, the IQ costs $100 more than the Nest Cam Indoor, so it your choice really depends on how much you care about the improvements.

To learn more, check out our review of the Nest Cam Indoor.

Canary All-In-One

Canary All-In-One Closeup

The Canary All-In-One is another excellent indoor camera choice. Like the Nest Cam IQ, it has 1080p HD, the industry standard. While it doesn’t match the IQ with a three times field of zoom, it does have a wider field of view at 147 degrees, making the overall video category somewhat of a draw.

The Nest Cam IQ has four more infrared LED lights than the Canary-All-In-One, giving it superior night vision.  As Canary makes two-way audio part of its paid subscription package, the IQ wins again, offering two-way audio included with the camera.

Neither camera has local storage, which is a shame, but the Canary’s storage is much cheaper. To get 30 days of cloud storage from Canary will cost you $9.99 a month, while Nest would charge you three times as much for the same amount of storage. Clearly, the All-In-One beats the IQ Indoor when it comes to storage.

Both the Canary All-In-One and the Nest Cam IQ have integrations with Google Home and Amazon Alexa, which is awesome. The IQ wins by a hair, however, due to its integrations with Philips Hue lightbulbs. Again, the IQ wins when it comes to artificial intelligence. Both cameras include person detection, while with the Nest Cam IQ, familiar face alerts are available for an additional monthly fee. I didn’t have issues setting up either camera, so that’s a definite tie.

The Canary All-In-One and the Nest Cam IQ Indoor are both great options, but I must say that the IQ is better- if you’re willing to pay about 30% more. It’s your bank account!

For more info, read our Canary All-In-One review.


Now you know everything you wanted to know about the Nest Cam IQ Indoor (but were afraid to ask)! Let’s summarize. The Nest Cam IQ Indoor might be right for you if you’re interested in having:

  • 1080p HD
  • Field of view of 130 degrees
  • Field of zoom of 12x
  • Great night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Integrations with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Philips Hue lightbulbs
  • Person detection and familiar face alerts
  • Easy setup 

While this review was mostly positive, the Nest Cam IQ isn’t 100% fantastic. It has its faults, like:

  • No local storage
  • Expensive cloud storage options
  • Not the most affordable option
  • App is poorly reviewed 

To see even more choices, read our review of the best home security cameras. 

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.

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