Google 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
4 out of 5 stars
  • Check
    Familiar face recognition
  • Check
    High-quality audio
  • X
Mindy Woodall
Managing Editor, Home Security & Smart Home
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December 02, 2020
7 min read

The Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor has been around for a while, but it's still 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.

Let’s dive deeper in this Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor review.

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.

Nest Cam IQ Indoor tech specs:

  • 1080p resolution
  • 130° field of vision
  • Night vision
  • 2.4 and 5 GHz compatibility
  • Familiar face recognition
  • Automatic zoom (a.k.a. Supersight)
  • 12x zoom
  • Two-way audio
  • 4K image sensor
  • Built-in Google Assistant
Nest Cam IQ Indoor

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 boy sitting on your couch is human, it also knows he’s your son.

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.

How good is Nest’s facial recognition?
Heads Up

Right off the bat, the facial recognition on this Nest camera is not awesome. We tried it out for a day and got mixed results. But according to Nest, the cameras “learn” over time, and the recognition gets better.

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 on Amazon.

  • Ability to recognize human faces
  • 1080p HD recording with 4K image sensor support
  • Easy-to-use mobile app that supports all Nest products
  • The price of the camera
  • 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.
image of Nest Cam base

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 better for your internet usage, to be honest). 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.

Info Box

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

side view of Nest Security Camera

The Nest Cam IQ Indoor 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 Assistant 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 we recommend paying for a service plan on top of it.
A white Nest Cam is on.

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 plan prices and features
PlanNest AwareNest Aware Plus
Price$6.00/mo. OR $60.00/yr.$12.00/mo. OR $120.00/yr.
Cloud storage30 days60 days + 10 days of continuous video recording
Person detectionYesYes
Motion zonesYesYes
Custom alertsYesYes

Data effective 12/02/2020. Offers subject to change.

Depending on how much storage you want, you can choose from the Nest Aware or Nest Aware Plus plan. Choose the Nest Aware plan for 30 days of storage or the Nest Aware Plus plan for 60. The Nest Aware Plus plan also gives you 10 days' worth of continuous video recordings.

Most cloud storage plans cover only event-based recording. When the camera detects motion, it will record a clip of what's happening. But continuous video recording records full-time.

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

The Logitech Circle 2 is all about versatility. It lets you put it basically anywhere you want, it works both indoors and outdoors, and it gives you 24 hours' worth of free cloud storage.

If you want a single camera model for all your surveillance needs, then the Logitech Circle 2 is a good choice.

Fits these needs:

  • People who want a versatile indoor/outdoor camera
  • People who want to mount their camera somewhere unique, like on a window

Recap: Is the Nest Cam IQ Indoor good?

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—including its monthly Nest Aware subscription. We’d like Nest to make some of its better features available to people who don’t want to pay for the service plan.

Still not sure if the Nest Cam IQ Indoor is the right camera for you? Check out our Best Indoor Security Cameras review to compare more options.

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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