Nest Cam IQ Indoor Security Camera

The Nest Cam IQ Indoor comes packed with the latest technology. But is it worth the price?
image of Nest Cam indoor security camera
The Nest Cam IQ Indoor comes packed with the latest technology. But is it worth the price?
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Facial recognition
High-quality audio
Pricey

Overview

The Nest Cam IQ Indoor is the latest addition to Nest’s signature indoor camera line. As with everything Nest, the IQ Indoor comes with a host of high-tech features in a well-designed package. But also as with everything Nest, you’ll pay a premium for what you get.

We think if you have the cash and especially if you already use other Nest products, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor will work well with your existing system. But if you want a less expensive device, there are cheaper indoor cameras with similar features.

What the Nest Cam IQ Indoor does

The Nest Cam IQ Indoor gives you high-end features like familiar face recognition and a 4K sensor.

Nest works really well if you want an indoor camera to keep an eye on people. Whether you want to make sure no strangers come creeping through your house or you just want to keep an eye on your kids, Nest has people down.

image of Nest Cam indoor security camera

Nest Cam IQ Indoor tech specs:

  • 1080p resolution
  • 130° field of vision
  • 20-foot night-vision range
  • 2.4 and 5 GHz compatibility
  • Familiar face recognition
  • Automatic zoom (a.k.a. Supersight)
  • 12x zoom
  • Two-way audio
  • 4K sensor
  • Built-in Google Assistant

Like many other indoor cameras, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor has person detection. It can differentiate a human from an object or an animal. Unlike most other cameras, the IQ Indoor also has familiar face recognition. It not only knows that guy sitting on your couch is human, it also knows he’s your husband Doug.

If all you want is an indoor camera that will let you check in on your dog a couple of  times a day, then don’t bother paying Nest’s high price. But when it comes to recognizing people, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor is a good buy.

It’s also worth noting that, unlike cameras like the Arlo Q and the Logitech Circle 2, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor does not offer many Nest-made mounting options. The Logitech Circle 2 lets you put it basically anywhere. Even the Arlo Q is quite versatile and has a magnetic base.

The Nest Cam IQ Indoor does have a thread at the bottom you can use to attach it to a tripod. But that seems pretty random to us and not all that useful. If you want to mount your Nest Cam on a wall, we’d recommend buying a third-party mount like this one.

Pros

  • Ability to recognize human faces
  • 1080p HD recording with 4K sensor support
  • Easy-to-use mobile app that supports all Nest products

Cons

  • The price of the camera
  • The price of the monthly service plan (Nest Aware)
  • Limited mount options

Nest Cam IQ Indoor user experience

The Nest is easy to use from the moment it comes out of the box—but it doesn’t have many mount options or local storage.

The installation process for the Nest IQ Indoor was incredibly easy. You just download the mobile app on your smartphone and follow the instructions, which basically consist of entering your Wi-Fi password and scanning the QR code on the bottom of the camera with your phone.

Once the camera’s connected to the app, you can name it and set rules, like what time it should arm and disarm. You can also have it arm and disarm based on the location of your phone (a.k.a. geofencing).

Image quality

Nest’s IQ Indoor camera records in 1080p HD and it comes with a 4K sensor. Note that it does not record in 4K quality (which is honestly a good thing because it would take a lot of storage). But the 4K sensor does make it easier to zoom in and still see everything in perfect detail.

The Nest Cam IQ Indoor also uses HDR, which basically makes contrasts sharper and helps the picture look clearer.

HDR works especially well in rooms with weird lighting. When we tested the camera in a dim room with bright light coming in from a window, the camera automatically adjusted the contrast so we still got a clear image. You often see HDR on devices like 4K TVs.

Internet bandwidth

If you already have slow Wi-Fi, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor probably won’t work well for you. The camera uses bandwidth both when it records and uploads video to the cloud and when it downloads video clips or the livestream to your phone. So both your upload speed and your download speed matter.

Nest recommends you have an internet upload speed of at least 2 Mbps, especially if you want to leave Nest recording all or most of the time. The faster your internet, the better, because Nest will eat up a significant amount of your bandwidth.

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Tip

Not sure exactly what 4K is? Learn about this type of high definition here.

You can adjust how much bandwidth the Nest Cam will use, from low to maximum. But if you want the camera to use less bandwidth, you’ll have to sacrifice video quality. And if you’re not getting the best image quality possible then . . . why bother paying for a high-end camera?

Nest Cam IQ Indoor integrations

Nest recently announced the IQ Indoor now has built-in Google Assistant. If you’ve always wanted a Google Home but don’t really care about using it to play music, then good news! The Nest Cam IQ Indoor does almost everything the full-on Google Home can.

Just like with a Google Home or the Google Assistant on your phone, you can ask the Nest Cam IQ Indoor for information like the weather for the day. You can also ask it to add orange juice to your shopping list or for the definition of “lachrymose”—whatever suits your fancy.

We love this integration and think it’s super useful to combine a smart assistant with an indoor camera. Nest’s interconnected devices are already a big selling point for its products—Google Home is just one more technological mark in its favor.

If you want the camera to use less bandwidth, you’ll have to sacrifice video quality. And if you’re not getting the best image quality possible then . . . why bother paying for a high-end camera?

You can adjust how much bandwidth the Nest Cam will use, from low to maximum. But if you want the camera to use less bandwidth, you’ll have to sacrifice video quality. And if you’re not getting the best image quality possible then . . . why bother paying for a high-end camera?

But it’s not all peaches and cream. The Nest Cam’s Google Assistant can’t play music or podcasts, tell you the day’s news, or, weirdly, do some things that control your actual Nest Cam IQ Indoor. While you can tell Google to cast the camera’s livestream to your Chromecast-enabled TV, you can’t tell Google to turn the camera on or take a snapshot.

Hopefully Nest will make that possible one day, but for now, you’ll still have to use the mobile app for full camera control.

How much does Nest Cam IQ Indoor cost?

The camera itself is not cheap, and neither is Nest’s monthly service plan.

We’ve alluded to the fact that Nest makes a pricey camera more than once, and for good reason. The Nest itself will cost you about $300, and that’s not counting Nest Aware, the monthly service plan.

You don’t have to sign up for Nest Aware, but if you don’t, you lose access to a bunch of Nest’s top features, like familiar face detection. You also get virtually no cloud storage, and the Nest Cam IQ Indoor does not have a local storage option.

Nest Aware Plans

Plan namePriceCloud StoragePerson DetectionMotion ZonesCustom Alerts
5-day$5/mo. OR $50/yr.5 daysYesYes Yes
10-day$10/mo. OR $100/yr.10 daysYesYes No
30-day$30/mo. OR $300/yr.30 daysYesYes Yes

Nest recently introduced its 5-day Nest Aware plan, which is good considering $10 per month for ten days’ worth of storage is relatively expensive. Five days isn’t much better, but assuming you don’t need footage longer than that, then $5 per month is at least more affordable.

We’d like to see Nest offer a local storage option in future iterations of its cameras. But cloud storage is increasingly becoming the norm for security cameras, so chances are Nest Aware is here to stay.

Similar products

If you don’t want to pay the Nest price, you can still get a high-tech indoor camera for less.

We think the Nest Cam IQ Indoor works best for people who already have Nest products and want to add onto their existing system or people who really want things like the built-in Google Assistant or familiar face recognition.

If all you want is a high-end indoor camera with decent features, then one of these options might work better for you.

Arlo Q

The Arlo Q is similar to the Nest Cam IQ Indoor in that it’s a wired HD indoor camera with cloud recording. Unlike the Nest, the Arlo Q lets you mount it on the wall—or even on your fridge, since it has a magnetic base. It’s lighter than the Nest, and, like the IQ Indoor, its app offers scheduling, custom modes, and geofencing.

This Arlo cam has person detection (if you pay for a monthly service plan), but it can’t recognize familiar faces. And there’s no built-in smart assistant.

That said, Arlo gives you seven days’ worth of free cloud storage, which is more storage than Nest’s lowest-priced plan—and it’s free.

Fits these needs:

  • People who want a decent indoor camera with generous free cloud storage
  • People who want a simple, standalone indoor camera

Logitech Circle 2

Logitech Circle 2 home security camera

The Arlo Q is similar to the Nest Cam IQ Indoor in that it’s a wired HD indoor camera with cloud recording. Unlike the Nest, the Arlo Q lets you mount it on the wall—or even on your fridge, since it has a magnetic base. It’s lighter than the Nest, and, like the IQ Indoor, its app offers scheduling, custom modes, and geofencing.

This Arlo cam has person detection (if you pay for a monthly service plan), but it can’t recognize familiar faces. And there’s no built-in smart assistant.

That said, Arlo gives you seven days’ worth of free cloud storage, which is more storage than Nest’s lowest-priced plan—and it’s free.

Fits these needs:

  • People who want a decent indoor camera with generous free cloud storage
  • People who want a simple, standalone indoor camera

The bottom line

We love Nest Cam IQ Indoor’s built-in technology, but you can get cheaper indoor cameras with similar features.

We think the Nest Cam IQ Indoor is a well-designed indoor camera that prioritizes the latest technology and high-end features. We love Nest’s commitment to innovation, and we like that the Nest Cam IQ Indoor works seamlessly with Nest’s other products.

That said, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor is expensive—namely, its monthly Nest Aware subscription. It’s a bit better now that Nest offers a $5-per-month plan, but we’d still like Nest to make some of its better features available to people who don’t want to pay for the service plan.

Do you own any Nest cameras? How do you feel about Nest’s devices and technology? Let us know in the comments.