Google Nest Cam Hands-On Review

Even with new and improved models out there, the original Nest Cam is still worth a look.

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
  • pro
    Great user experience
  • pro
    Nest device integration
  • con
    Expensive
Mindy Woodall
Managing Editor, Home Security & Smart Home
Read More
November 16, 2021
5 min read

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Nest Cam has long been a crowd favorite for its versatile placement options, easy installation, and smooth integration with all things Nest. Since this little camera came out a few years ago, Nest has built on its success and released newer, better versions of its security cameras.

So, we thought we’d borrow Hermione’s Time Turner, turn back the clock, and see how the original Nest Cam Indoor holds up and whether it’s still worth considering today.

(Spoiler alert! It’s still a pretty slick little camera.)

What we really like:

  • Super easy installation
  • Versatile placement

What we don't like:

  • Nest Aware subscription recommended

Nest Cam Indoor specs and standouts

One of the biggest standouts for the Nest Cam Indoor is the versatile mount base that it carried over from when the Nest Cam used to be Dropcam. You can completely disconnect the camera from the mounting bracket and place (or drop) it anywhere you like. This versatility is only slightly spoiled by the need to be within a cord’s length (10 feet) of an indoor power outlet.

Tech specs

  • Resolution: 1080p HD
  • FOV: 130°
  • Pan and tilt: None
  • Power source: Traditional AC (indoor) power outlet
  • Night vision: 8 infrared LEDs
  • Dimensions: 2.8 in. x 4.5 in.
  • Weight: 7.1 oz.

All the Nest Cam's placement choices, combined with 1080p HD resolution, make the Nest Cam a great choice for a nanny cam since you can install it in a discreet location and still capture a high-quality image.

Nest Cam user experience

Source: Reviews.org

Setup and installation

Setting up our Nest Cam actually took less time than getting it out of the box. (For real. That thing is packed in there pretty tight.) Nest has streamlined the setup process to make it as easy as possible. It’s a quick four-step process.

  • Step 1: Download the Nest app and create an account.
  • Step 2: Plug in and power on the camera.
  • Step 3: Scan the QR code on the back of the Nest Cam.
  • Step 4: Done.

Ok, so it’s really a three-step process, which is even better. The whole thing took about five minutes—two of which were spent trying to come up with a name for our house. (The Red Keep, by the way.)

Our experience

Video quality

At 1080p HD resolution, the Nest Cam was the best of the best when it first came out years ago. But that also means it still holds up well against the competition today. We set it up on our mantle and were able to make out clear details in the kitchen and living room area, 30+ feet away.

Source: Reviews.org

The Nest Cam also has a 130° diagonal field of vision, which meant we could keep an eye on multiple entrances (front door, garage entry, and sliding door) all within the same frame. Not every floor plan will allow for this type of coverage, but for us, the wide FOV was ideal.

Notifications and alerts

Nest’s notifications left something to be desired. We were a little disappointed because when we purposely triggered the motion detection, our Nest Cam took several minutes to notify us via email. It’s not necessarily a deal breaker since the Nest Cam does so many things well for a reasonable price, but it’s definitely something to consider if you prefer timely notifications.

It’s worth noting that if you pay for a Nest Aware subscription, you gain access to an Alert Summary feature, which does exactly what it sounds like—it gives you a summary of any notifications and alerts you received, all in one place (the Nest app).

Notable features

The Nest Cam comes with some standout features like Activity Zones, Timelapse, and Nest integration through the Nest app. Keep in mind, some of the advanced features (Activity Zones and Timelapse) are available only with a Nest Aware subscription.

Source: Reviews.org

Activity zones

Activity Zones might be our favorite feature of the original Nest Cam. Basically, it allows you to select a specific area to focus on within the Nest Cam’s view. So, for instance, you can set up the camera to ignore the bottom half of the screen so you don’t get a notification every time your dog walks by (unless you want to). Or you can select the area around your entryway so you get an alert when someone enters your home.

Activity Zones is a very practical feature, and it helps the Nest Cam know when to notify you so your phone doesn’t blow up with needless alerts.

Timelapse

Just because you’re recording every minute of every day doesn’t mean you have time to review the footage. This is where Timelapse becomes your best friend. It gathers footage triggered by motion throughout the day and displays it to you in quick succession.

This means you review only the video clips that actually show activity instead of looking at hours of footage of your empty living room. You can jump to triggered footage and quickly scan for any unusual activity.

Nest integration

Nest Cam easily integrates with other Nest products through the Nest app. This used to be limited to the Nest Thermostat, but as Nest has released more smart home devices, integration is playing a much bigger role.

Nest is also set up to work with other IFTTT devices.

How much does the Nest Cam cost?

Nest Cam tech specs
FeaturesSpecs
Price$124.98
Resolution1080p
Field of vision130°
Pan and tiltNone
Wi-Fi compatibility2.5 and 5 GHz
Night vision rangeYes
Learn more

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 06/15/21 8:30 MST) Full disclaimer

MSRP for the Nest Cam Indoor is $199, but you can almost always find it for cheaper on Amazon or another online store. Less than $200 for an indoor security camera with the versatility and video quality of a Nest Cam? That’s really hard to beat. So, if you’re looking for the best bang-for-your-buck option, definitely check the Amazon price on a Nest Cam.

Nest Aware subscription

Paying for Nest Aware gets you two things. First, you get access to video cloud storage—beyond the abysmal three-hour storage limit you get for free. And second, you get to use the advanced features we mentioned above (mainly Activity Zone, Timelapse, and Alert Summary). Here’s what a Nest Aware subscription will cost you.

Nest Aware prices and plans
Plan name
Price
Amount of storage
Details

Nest Aware

$6.00/mo. OR $60.00/yr.

30 days

Nest Aware Plus

$12.00/mo. OR $120.00/yr.

60 days+ 10 days of continuous video recording

Data effective 06/15/2021. Offers subject to change.

We have a love-hate relationship with the Nest Aware subscription—that is, we love all the features it unlocks, but we hate paying for it. Technically, it’s an optional service, but if you want your Nest Cam to be anything more than a glorified live-streaming webcam, you should plan on paying the $5–$30 monthly subscription.

Recap: Is the Nest Cam good?

Don’t get a Nest Cam if you’re not willing to step up and pay for a monthly subscription. All the really cool features and capabilities come with Nest Aware—without it, Nest Cam is just a really nice live-feed camera.

That said, even after years of competition and upgrades, the Nest Cam Indoor is still a formidable security camera. Its 1080p video quality and 130° field of view compete with almost most cameras on the market today. And when you consider you’re getting that for less than $200, it almost feels too good to be true.

Still not sure if the Nest Cam is for you? Check out our Best Home Security Cameras review to compare your other options.

Or, if you like the Nest Cam Indoor but find it’s not techy enough for your taste, the newer version, the IQ, has facial recognition and other updates.

Is your house ready for a Nest camera?

Whether you pick the Nest Cam Indoor, Nest Cam IQ Indoor, or some other indoor camera, you need to get your home camera-ready.

Recommended internet plans

Your security camera needs a decent Wi-Fi connection to transmit data to your smartphone. We suggest a plan with a high download speed to make things easier.

Recommended internet plans for Nest Cam Indoor
Service
Plan
Price
Download speed
Details
Xfinity Internet - WestFast$50.00/mo.*Up to 300 Mbps
Verizon Fios Home InternetInternet 400/400$69.99/mo.400 Mbps
AT&T FiberAT&T Internet 300$55.00/mo.300 Mbps
Data effective 11/11/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 24 months with No Term Agreement. Includes $10/mo automatic payments and paperless billing discount.
Price per month with Auto Pay & without select 5G mobile plans. Fios plan prices include taxes & fees
Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Plus taxes & fees. Internet speed claims represent maximum network service capability speeds and based on wired connection to gateway. Actual customer speeds may vary based on a number of factors and are not guaranteed. For more information, go to www.att.com/speed101.

Recommended mobile plans

To access your camera when you aren’t connected to the internet, you may want to look into a phone plan with unlimited data.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon.com. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Reviews.org utilizes paid Amazon links.

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

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