Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Review

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is one of the best outdoor security cameras you can get, but you’ll have to spend extra if you want it to reach its potential.

A white Nest Cam is on.
4 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    1080p HD + 4K image sensor
  • pro
    Broad operating temperature
  • con
    Requires indoor power outlet
Mindy Woodall
Nov 20, 2020
Icon Time To Read6 min read

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

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

That 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 one of the best outdoor security cameras, but we don’t recommend it for everyone—especially if you’re looking for security on a budget.

  • 4K image sensor + 1080p resolution
  • Best operating temperature
  • High price
  • Tricky installation

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor specs and standouts

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor improves on the first-gen 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) image sensor
  • FOV: 130°
  • Operating temperature: –40° to 113°F (–40° to 45°C) IP66 rating
  • Power source: Indoor AC power outlet
  • Night vision: High-power 850 nm infrared LEDs
  • Dimensions: 5 in. x 3.17 in. x 3.17 in.
  • Weight: 20 oz.
Nest IQ Outdoor

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.

4K sensor ≠ 4K video.
Info Box

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor does not record video footage in 4K resolution. 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 the easiest to install. You will mostly likely have to drill holes in your wall to get this up and running.
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

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 only 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.

If you don't want to go through the rigamarole of installing the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor yourself, you can have a professional do it for you. Nest offers a pro finder tool that hooks you up with a third-party contractor in your area.

Keep in mind—these aren't Nest employees. They're just handy people nearby that can drill through your wall so you don't have to.

Notable Features


Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor shown during nighttime

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 that 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.

Heads up:
Light Bulb

Not all features work without a Nest Aware 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 two cloud storage plan options through its Nest Aware subscriptions (which cost $6–$12 per month). 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.

Nest Cloud Storage options and prices
PlanNest AwareNest Aware Plus
Price$6/mo. OR $60/yr.$12/mo. OR $120/yr.
Amount of storage30 days60 days + 10 days of continuous video recording
Learn more

Data effective 11/20/2020. Offers subject to change.

Think of it this way: You head to a Star Wars movie that has a two-and-a-half-hour run time (or longer). Your phone buzzes with a video alert as you're heading into the theater, 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 30 to 60 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 (If This Then That) 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 $399 sticker price if you want the full Nest experience.
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor in the rain

At $399 MSRP, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a relatively good value 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.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor vs. Nest Cam Outdoor
Nest Cam IQ OutdoorNest Cam Outdoor
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 more List Prices as of 11/20/2020. 15:07 PST. Full Disclaimer

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 (Free)

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

With Nest Aware ($6–$12 per month)

  • Live video
  • 24/7 continuous recording (for 10 days with Nest Aware Plus)
  • Motion/sound notifications
  • Two-way audio
  • Night vision
  • Activity Zones
  • Alert summaries
  • Clips and timelapses
  • Supersight
  • Familiar face alerts

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 $100 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 ($100 less than Nest Cam IQ Outdoor)
  • Easier installation

Arlo Pro 3

The Arlo Pro 3 offers versatility and easy installation that the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor just can’t match. It’s a truly wire-free 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 3 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 wire-free system
  • Expandable up to 15 cameras

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

Recap: Is the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor good?

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.

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Mindy Woodall
Written by
Mindy Woodall
Mindy has been writing about technology for seven years. She covers all things smart home for, and keeps track of the latest robot gadgets. Mindy attended the University of Utah and her work has been featured on the likes of, Digital Care, Hostfully, and more.

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