Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Review

I love all of my Nest products, which is why I’m so excited about the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. Outdoor cameras can be tricky. Not only is it harder to capture clear images of the outdoors due to its light from the sun (or lack thereof), but outdoor cameras also need to be completely durable, able to withstand rain, snow, or shine. Of course, all of my cameras need to pass the Security Baron Necessary Features Test, so I’m hoping that the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has all of the qualities that I’m looking for.

In this review, I’ll go over the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor’s design, video, audio, night vision, storage, smart platform integrations, artificial intelligence, value, and convenience. I’ll also go over the Nest app to make sure it’s bug-free and user-friendly. By the end of this review, you’ll have a good idea of whether or not the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the outdoor camera for you. Let’s get started!

Promised Features

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Box

Not surprisingly, the Nest website makes the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor look absolutely fantastic. It promises a lot of great features, including:

  • Weather-proof: With an impressive IP rating of 66, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor works in temperatures from -40 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Supersight video: In a combination of 1080p HD video with 4K sensors, HDR, and intelligent imaging, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has what they call Supersight video.
  • Excellent night vision: The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor can see up to 50 feet away in the darkest of nights, says Nest.

If all this is true, it might be the best outdoor camera I’ve ever reviewed. But let’s actually open the box before I get too excited.

First Impressions

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor- All Components

Like all of the other Nest cameras, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is really sleek and minimalist. From the side, it looks more like a desk lamp shade than it does a camera. It has a circular, white plastic face with a shiny black camera. Like I said, this thing works in temperatures from -40 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, which covers most places within the continental U.S. It also has an IP rating of 66, which means that it’s completely dust tight and can even withstand powerful water jets. As long as it’s not immersed in water, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor will keep on keeping on.

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

You’ll need to hook up the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor to an indoor power outlet, which is why it comes with a 25-foot cable. I’ll talk more about installation in a bit, but you have a few different options, including plugging it to an outdoor outlet using a weatherproof power adapter, sold separately. The camera uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to connect to the Nest app, which is how you’ll control it remotely.

Okay, now it’s time for my favorite part. Drum roll, please!

Necessary Features

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Necessary Features

You guessed it— it’s Security Baron’s Necessary Features Test! This is where I make sure that cameras meet industry standards and my personal standards for video, night vision, audio, storage, smart platform integration, artificial intelligence, convenience, and overall value. Let’s take a closer look.

Video

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Video Display

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor more than impresses when it comes to video. Like I said, it has HDR, which improves the quality of light in the video. Of course, it has the industry standard of 1080p HD, plus the ability to zoom in twelve times! This will be great for details, especially if you have an intrusion. Finally, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has a wide 130 degree field of view diagonally. Video wise, the camera gets full marks.

Night Vision

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Night Vision

No security camera is complete without night vision. Now, I prefer infrared night vision over night vision from a bright white light, although the latter will be in color. Although I want everyone to know that I have outdoor security cameras in place, I don’t want it to be so obvious that I’m filming them at night. Some things are best kept private, am I right?

Fortunately, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has infrared night vision through 850 nm LEDS.

INSERT OPINION HERE

Audio Quality

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Speaker

Of course, I want to be able to talk to whoever I’m recording through the Nest app, so I’m happy that the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor comes with two-way audio. Full marks!

Storage

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Nest Aware Storage

Now, storage is not Nest’s strong suit, so it’s no surprise to me that there’s no local storage and only three free hours of cloud storage. That’s pretty minimal, especially because I’ve seen cameras with both local and cloud storage, free for up to two weeks! But, every rose has its thorn, I suppose. To get more cloud storage, you’ll have to sign up for Nest Aware. Unfortunately, Nest has the most expensive cloud storage options I’ve seen from a security camera. At $30 for a month of storage, it’s going to add up, especially when you consider that some companies charge only a couple dollars for the same amount of time. No matter which way you slice it, storage is not the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor’s biggest strength, which is why I’m going to have to give it half marks for this category.

Now, Nest Aware isn’t all cloud storage, but I’ll go more into detail in a bit.

Smart Platform Integration

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Integrates with Amazon Alexa

Google owns Nest, which is why it’s no surprise that the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor integrates with Google Assistant. That means you’ll be able to command it with your voice alone, which is pretty awesome. You can also livestream footage from your Google Home Hub or watch it on your Chromecast. And they said you’d never make it on television!

Are you already in the Amazon ecosystem? No problem! The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor also works with Amazon Alexa. If you want to create some home automations, hook it up with your Philips Hue light bulbs. I can see this really coming in handy outside, as you can have your flood lights turn on the minute the camera starts recording. Full marks for smart platform integrations!

Artificial Intelligence

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Facial Recognition

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor comes with person detection, which means that the camera can differentiate between people, animals, and other moving objects. This will save you a lot of unnecessary notifications, because your smart security camera shouldn’t be a nuisance! On top of that, Nest will automatically zoom in on the person, so your camera is showing you relevant footage. As soon as a person is detected, you’ll be notified via the Nest app.

If you want facial recognition in addition to person detection, you can get it through Nest Aware. That means that you’ll be notified with more specific information, not just that the camera detected a person but that your sister is home. Or, the reverse: you can be notified if an unfamiliar face just walked onto your doorstep. Nest Aware will also give you dog barking alerts and person speaking alerts— but more on this later. Anyway, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor gets full marks for artificial intelligence!

Convenience

The first thing you should know? The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a pretty heavy camera, but that’s probably a good thing if you’re going to be placing it outdoors. Now, with any outdoor camera, the installation process is going to be a little bit more involved than if you were placing it indoors, and it’s going to vary widely based on where and how you’re installing it. As far as the digital side goes of pairing the camera with the Nest app and Wi-Fi, that only took about five minutes. Full marks for convenience!

Value

At $349, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is one of the more expensive cameras I’ve reviewed, but it certainly does rise to the occasion in terms of video, audio, night vision, smart platform integrations, and artificial intelligence. I think it’s a great choice particularly if you’re part of the Nest ecosystem, and keep in mind that the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor doesn’t require a hub, unlike some of its competitors. Despite the steep price, I still give the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor full marks for value.

Nest Aware

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Nest Aware

Now let’s talk Nest Aware. With Nest Aware, you can add on five, 10, or 30 days of cloud storage. You’ll also get facial recognition, which includes dog barking, person speaking, and familiar face alerts. Finally, you’ll be able to create activity zones, areas that your Nest Cam IQ Outdoor should pay special attention to. This could be particularly useful for the outdoors, as you probably don’t need notifications from the street, only when someone is on your lawn. Although Nest Aware is pricey,  it does add on some awesome artificial intelligence features which will create highly specific notifications. Of course, it’s on the expensive side, as is the case with all Nest products in general.

The Nest App

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The Nest App with Footage from Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

The Nest app is where you’ll control your Nest Cam IQ Outdoor remotely. You’ll be able to view cloud storage, receive notifications, livestream footage, and speak to people through two-way audio. It’s also where you’ll set activity zones, if you decide to buy Nest Aware. While the app has a decent rating on the Google Play store of 2.7, unfortunately it only has a 2.2 on the Apple store. Apple doesn’t show many of its customer reviews, so it was hard to see what the main complaints were, but the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor may not be the best choice for iPhone users.

Comparisons

Now, I want to compare the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor to two other indoor/ outdoor cameras, its predecessor the Nest Cam Outdoor and the Arlo Ultra. Let’s see how the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor stacks up.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor vs. Nest Cam Outdoor

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Nest Cam Outdoor Magnetic Mount

It’s no big surprise that the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and the Nest Cam Outdoor have a lot in common. Both have 1080p HD vision and 130 degree fields of view, although the Nest Outdoor lacks the 4K sensors, HDR and intelligent imaging of the IQ. Plus, while the IQ can zoom in 12 times, the Nest Cam Outdoor only zooms in eight, which is still impressive. Their features are exactly the same in terms of night vision, two-way audio, storage, smart platform integrations, and artificial intelligence. However, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is slightly more durable than the Nest Cam Outdoor and has a larger temperature range.

But the area where the Nest Cam Outdoor really outdoes its descendant is in its price. While the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor costs a whopping $349, the Nest Cam Outdoor is only $199. I would go with the Nest Cam Outdoor if you’re looking to save money, but stick with the IQ Outdoor if you want superior durability and video quality.

To learn more, read our full review of the Nest Cam Outdoor

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor vs. Arlo Ultra 4K

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Arlo Ultra 4K Camera

At $399, the Arlo Ultra is one of few cameras more expensive than the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, and I have to say that it disappointed in a lot of ways. While Arlo claims the camera shoots in 4K like the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, we found that it actually only worked in 1080p HD. However, its field of view was wider than the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor’s at 180 degrees. Both cameras have infrared night vision, two-way audio, person detection, and integrations with Alexa and Google Assistant, although the Ultra also throws in color night vision.

But keep in mind that you’ll need to use the Arlo hub to access local storage, while the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor doesn’t offer local storage. In terms of cloud storage, the Ultra wins, giving you a week of free cloud storage compared to a mere three hours with the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. Although the Arlo app has better ratings than the Nest app, I had some serious battery and connectivity issues with the Arlo Ultra, so overall, I think the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a much better option.

To learn more, read our full review of the Arlo Ultra 4K camera.

Recap

In sum, I think the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a great choice.

I’d buy the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor if you’re already in the Nest ecosystem, if you want excellent video, audio, night vision, smart platform integrations, and person detection, plus a weatherproof camera.

It’s not for you if you wanted something more affordable, wanted a camera that fit in with your Apple or Microsoft smart home ecosystem, or wanted local storage.

To explore other options, check out the best home security cameras of 2019. 

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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