Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Review

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the best outdoor security camera you can get, but you’ll have to spend extra if you want it to reach its potential.
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the best outdoor security camera you can get, but you’ll have to spend extra if you want it to reach its potential.
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
1080p HD + 4K image sensor
Broad operating temperature
Invasive installation process

Overview

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor takes what’s great about the Indoor IQ and Nest Cam Outdoor and combines them to make probably the best outdoor security camera out there today.

This thing does everything. It’s weatherproof. It has high-end picture quality, combining 1080p HD resolution with a 4K color sensor. And it packs next-level features like Supersight and facial recognition into an all-new design.

That being said, all these high-end, high-tech benefits come with a high price tag. And if you want the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor to perform at the highest level, you’ll have to fork over more money for a monthly subscription.

Pound for pound, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the best outdoor security camera out there, but we don’t recommend it for everyone—especially if you’re looking for security on a budget.

What we really like:

  • 4K image sensor + 1080p resolution
  • Broad operating temperature

What we didn’t like:

  • High price
  • Difficult and invasive installation

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor specs and standouts

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor improves on the Nest Cam Outdoor in almost every way, with better picture quality, more durability, and a better overall design.

Tech specs

  • Resolution: 1080p HD + 8-megapixel (4K) color sensor
  • FOV: 130°
  • Operating temperature: –40° to 113°F (–40° to 45°C) IP66 rating
  • Power source: Rechargeable battery or indoor AC power outlet
  • Night vision: High-power 850 nm infrared LEDs
  • Dimensions: 5 in. x 3.7 in. x 3.7 in.
  • Weight: 20 oz.

The standout upgrade for the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is easily the 1080p video + 4K sensor combination. The addition of a 4K sensor allows you to zoom in on an image without losing quality, You know in the movies when the detectives keep telling the IT person to enhance the image so they can see the bad guy’s face? It’s kinda like that, but in real life.

Info Box icon

4K sensor ≠ 4K video.

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor does not record 4K video footage. The 4K image sensor helps the camera recognize movement and facial details with greater accuracy, and it makes it possible to zoom in without losing quality.

Another noteworthy improvement from the Nest Cam Outdoor is the expanded operating temperature range. The IQ Outdoor can withstand temperatures almost 40° (F) colder and 10° hotter than its predecessor, which makes it a much better choice for extreme weather climates.

We’ve come to expect improvement in design and functionality from every Nest product we review, and the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor definitely doesn’t disappoint.

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor user experience

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor isn’t easy to install. You will mostly likely have to drill holes in your wall to get this up and running.

Setup and installation

It’s pretty. It’s powerful. But it’s a pain to install. Nest got rid of the hideous exposed power cable from the Nest Cam Outdoor (you know, the one someone could easily cut to disarm your camera?) and went with a cleaner hidden cable design.

While we greatly appreciate the new design, we were pretty bummed to learn that the AC power adapter is designed for an indoor power outlet. That means it’s not weather resistant, which really means you’re going to have to drill holes in your house to properly install this thing.

This kind of security camera installation is pretty common, but it’s still a pain. Nest has provided a How-To video if you want to install the IQ Outdoor yourself. Take a look below.

Nest Pro installation

Here’s the good news: Nest knows that the Outdoor IQ Cam can be difficult to install, so it’s provided a professional installation option. You can use the Nest Pro Finder tool to connect with a local professional installer and request a quote.

Keep in mind that these local installers are not Nest representatives, but independent companies or contractors that can install your Nest Cam Outdoor IQ (as well as other Nest products) for you. This means installation prices and quotes can vary by location and installer.

Notable Features

Supersight

Supersight is Nest’s exclusive new feature for its IQ Cams. The resolution from the 4K image sensor allows Supersight to detect and zoom in on a person’s face and then follow their movement using digital zoom. It actually feels a lot like a pan-tilt-and-zoom camera, even though the IQ Outdoor doesn’t have PTZ capability.

If you’re like us, Supersight alone makes the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor worth the sticker price. But keep in mind that Supersight does require a Nest Aware subscription to work, which means you’ll have to pay extra to get it.

Light Bulb icon

Heads up:

Not all features work without subscription.

Familiar face alerts

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor uses its 4K image sensor to hone in on specific facial features, and it actually learns who to expect and who is a stranger. At first, you’ll receive alerts every time the camera senses a person.

You can then select whether that person is a “familiar face” or not, which allows Nest to learn when it should send you notifications.

Cloud storage

Nest offers 5-day, 10-day, and 30-day cloud storage options through its Nest Aware subscription (which cost $5, $10, and $30 per month, respectively). Nest Aware is technically not a required service, but if you decide to go without, Nest allows for only three hours of free cloud storage.

Storage time3-hour video history5-day video history10-day video history30-day video history
Cost per month Free$5/mo.$10/mo$30/mo.
Cost per yearFree$50/yr.$100/yr.$300/yr.

Think of it this way: You head to a movie like Blade Runner 2049 that has a two-hour-and-forty-four-minute run time. Your phone buzzes with a video alert during the first preview, but since you’re a polite moviegoer, you decide not to check it. By the time you get out of the theater and check your phone, the footage is gone.

Paying for Nest Aware will give you access to recorded footage for up to 5, 10, or 30 days before the video is automatically deleted to make room for more. You can also save video clips to the cloud if you need to hang on to footage for longer, but you will have to manually select the clip you want in the Nest app.

If you’re considering a Nest Cam for your home, plan on paying extra if you want any kind of accessible cloud storage.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor integration

Nest didn’t exactly pioneer IFTTT technology, but it certainly took it to the next level when the Nest Thermostat was introduced. Connecting household devices together is something Nest does extremely well, and its cameras are no different.

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor integrates with all things Nest through the Nest app. Our favorite feature, however, is the ability to tell Alexa (Amazon’s smart home voice assistant) to display a live video feed from your Nest Cam. Keep in mind, this feature only works with an Amazon device capable of displaying video, like an Echo Show or an Amazon Fire TV.

How much does Nest Cam IQ Outdoor cost?

Plan on paying more than the $349 sticker price if you want the full Nest experience.

At $349 MSRP, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is relatively affordable when you consider just how powerful it actually is. The downside is that if you want to take advantage of all of the high-end features, like Supersight and Familiar Face Alerts, you’ll need to pay for a Nest Aware subscription.

Compare outdoor cameras from Nest

Nest Cam IQ OutdoorNest Cam Outdoor
nest outdoor camera
Price$349$199
Resolution1080p +4K color sensor1080p
Field of View130°130°
Operating temp.–40° to 113°F (–40° to 45°C)–4° to 104°F (–20° to 40°C)
Learn moreView on WalmartView on Amazon

Nest Aware subscription

In a very general sense, Nest Aware unlocks advanced features for your Nest Cam. This is the case for any Nest Cam, but it’s especially true for the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor because the advanced features are the whole reason to buy this camera in the first place. (We’re looking at you, Supersight.)

Here’s a breakdown of what Nest Aware gives you, specific to the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.

Without Nest Aware ($0/mo.)

  • Live video
  • Motion/sound notifications
  • Two-way audio
  • Night vision
  • 3-hour cloud storage

With Nest Aware ($5/mo., $10/mo., or $30/mo.)

  • Live video
  • Motion/sound notifications
  • Two-way audio
  • Night vision
  • Activity Zones
  • Alert summaries
  • All-day recording, including Clips and Timelapse
  • Supersight
  • Familiar face alerts

You can get a little bit of a discount on Nest Aware if you’re willing to pay for a full year up front. Check it out.

Storage time3-hour video history5-day video history10-day video history30-day video history
Cost per monthFree$5/mo.$10/mo$30/mo.
Cost per yearFree$50/yr.$100/yr.$300/yr.

For us, a Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is not worth it unless you’re willing to pay for Nest Aware. If you’re cool with that, then we think the IQ Outdoor is actually the best outdoor security camera available. You’ll just want to factor in the added monthly cost and make sure it’s worth it to you to get the best features out there. If not, there are plenty of other outdoor cameras to choose from.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor not your style?

The added subscription price can really be a barrier to entry for the IQ Outdoor. We’re on the fence about it ourselves. So, if you just aren’t feeling it, or you want to reaffirm that the advanced features are worth the added cost, check out some of our other favorite outdoor security cameras.

Nest Cam Outdoor

The original outdoor Nest Camera is a lot easier to install than the IQ version, and it’s about $150 cheaper up front. You won’t get the 4K image sensor with this version, but it’s still a high-quality security camera with 1080p resolution that will integrate with your Nest devices. And it’s a little lighter on your wallet.

Fits these needs:

  • Budget price ($150 less than Nest Cam IQ Outdoor)
  • Easier installation

Arlo Pro 2

arlo reviews

The Arlo Pro 2 offers versatility and easy installation that the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor just can’t match. It’s a truly wireless camera that drops the power cord in favor of rechargeable battery power, which means you can install it anywhere you like without drilling holes.

The Arlo Pro 2 does cost more because it’s part of a camera system that requires a central base station, but it’s also more expandable (up to 15 cameras).

Fits these needs:

  • Truly wireless system
  • Expandable up to 15 cameras

Check out our review of the best outdoor security cameras for more choices we recommend.

The bottom line

We don’t recommend it for everyone, but if you’re willing to pay extra for a Nest Aware subscription, the 4K image sensor is more than worth the added cost—especially when you see what Supersight can do with motion tracking and facial recognition.

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is pricey. It’s a pain to install. But it’s probably the most powerful outdoor security camera out there for a reasonable price.