Google Nest Cam Outdoor Review

The Google Nest Cam Outdoor has all the features you want in an outdoor security camera plus a few extras.

Google Nest
4 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    24/7 continuous recording option
  • pro
    Familiar face detection
  • con
    Requires indoor power outlet
Mindy Woodall
Contributing Writer, Home Security & Smart Home
December 27, 2021
7 min read

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As far as outdoor security cameras go, the Google Nest Cam Outdoor is one of the best. It has just about everything you could possibly want or need in an outdoor camera, including HD video, two-way audio, night vision, familiar face detection, and a 24/7 recording option.

That’s not to say the Nest is perfect: it has a couple drawbacks. But on the whole, if you want a durable, reliable security camera with cloud storage and excellent tech features, the Nest Cam Outdoor does not disappoint.

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How the Google Nest Cam Outdoor works

The Google Nest Cam Outdoor has a magnetic mount that makes it easy to install (but might also be a flaw).

The Google Nest Cam Outdoor hooks onto just about any surface on the outside of your house. It has a magnetic mounting base that you can screw into a wall or even attach to a flat metal surface like a door frame.

This camera is technically wireless, but that really just means you don’t have to connect it to your internet router with an Ethernet cable. You do still have to plug this baby into a wall outlet—and it has to be an indoor one. So be prepared to drill a hole through your wall or awkwardly thread it through a door.

nest outdoor cam out of the box
Google Nest Cam Outdoor model details
ModelGoogle Nest Cam Outdoor
Field of vision130º
Battery typeAC power
Zoom8x digital zoom
Night visionYes
Two-way audioYes
24/7 recordingYes
Local storageNo
Cloud storageYes
Learn more List Prices (as of 06/15/21 9:00 MST) Full Disclaimer

Google Nest Cam Outdoor installation

Aside from the part where you have to figure out what to do with the power cord, the Nest Cam Outdoor’s installation is pretty simple.

Once you figure out where you want to put the camera, you just secure the mounting plate to the wall with the screws that come in the box. Nest includes some wall anchors, too, but not a screwdriver or drill—you’ll need your own.

Included Google Nest Cam Outdoor installation tools: 

  • Camera wall plate
  • Adapter wall plate
  • Screws
  • Wall anchors
  • Cable clips

Once you have the mounting plate securely installed, the Nest Cam’s magnetic base snaps right onto it. It’s a strong magnet too. It’ll take you a bit of effort to pull the cam off the mount again.

Pro tip
Light Bulb

The bottom of the Nest Cam Outdoor’s mounting plate is also magnetic, so you can just put it on any flat metal surface outside if you want to. But we think it’s safer and more secure if you screw it in place. It would be a shame if your camera slid off and fell on your concrete patio.

Now this is where things get a little trickier. The Nest Cam Outdoor has a power cord that must be plugged in to an indoor outlet. The camera and the cord itself are both weatherproof, but the AC adapter is not.

You can drill a hole through your exterior wall and slide the wire through there, or thread the wire through a doorway. We recommend drilling because then the wire won’t interfere with your door closing, and you won’t get the wear and tear of closing your door on the wire all the time.

Once the camera’s up and plugged in, you need to download the Nest app and create an account. The app will ask for things like your email address and your location. Once that’s all finished, you just scan the QR code on the body of the camera, and you’re ready to catch your nosey next-door neighbor on (digital) film.

One concern: the magnetic base

The Nest Cam Outdoor’s magnetic base is convenient, but it also makes it relatively easy for a thief to snatch your camera off its mount and take it with them.

If that did happen, you’d still have footage of the event. (It would just go straight to the cloud.) But the Nest Cam is an expensive little camera, and you don’t want to lose it.

If you’re worried about it, you might want to consider upgrading to the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. Everything the Nest Cam Outdoor can do, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor can do better. Plus, the IQ requires a security screwdriver to take the camera on and off its mount. Thieves can’t just grab n’ go.

Nest Cam Outdoor


Google Nest Cam Outdoor monitoring

The Google Nest app makes it easy to adjust the settings on your camera, view the livefeed, and review past footage. You can get push notifications and email alerts for absolutely everything that happens in your yard, or you can set specific activity zones to keep an eye on the areas that matter to you.

Some cameras give you activity zones in blocks, and you can select which ones are active. It’s imprecise, and you might get more alerts than you want for one area but not enough for another.

Nest lets you draw custom activity zones, so you can adjust exactly which areas you want to get alerts about. You can even color code and label the zones, so you get specific alerts about each one. It makes it much easier to sort through your notifications and see which ones are important.

Heads up

To get some of Nest’s coolest features, including activity zones, you have to subscribe to a monthly Nest Aware plan.

Google Nest Cam Outdoor pricing

The Google Nest Cam has mid-range pricing, but you’ll want a monthly subscription to go with it.

None of Google Nest’s products are known for being nice to your budget. Nest almost always has the best tech around, and that comes at a price.

That said, the Google Nest Cam Outdoor is a bit of an older model, so you’ll pay less than you would for the Nest Cam Outdoor IQ (the newer, fancier model). If you still want a high-quality Google Nest camera, but looking to save some money, the Nest Cam Outdoor is a good option. Plan to spend around two hundred dollars.

Google Nest Cam Outdoor pricing
Learn more

Google Nest Cam Outdoor

$199.00 List Prices (as of 06/15/21 9:00 MST)

For some of the features like familiar face detection, 24/7 recording, and activity zones, you'll have to subscribe to the Nest Aware plan. Without Nest Aware, you'll only have access to three hours' worth of motion-activated clips. Nest Aware is your gateway to all of Nest’s coolest features but it comes with an additional price tag.

Nest Aware monthly plans pricing
PlanNest AwareNest Aware Plus
Price*$6.00/mo. OR $60.00/yr.$12.00/mo. OR $120.00/yr.
Cloud video storage30 days60 days
Continuous video recording storageNone10 days
Learn more List Prices (as of 06/15/21 9:00 PST)

Features that require Nest Aware: 

  • 24/7 continuous recording
  • Timelapses
  • Clips
  • Custom activity zones
  • AI features (like familiar face detection)
  • Smart alerts
  • Multi-day cloud storage

Google Nest Cam Outdoor user experience

The Google Nest app is easy to use and lets you customize the Nest Cam Outdoor’s settings.
Nest Outdoor Cam


The Nest Cam Outdoor is pretty easy to operate through the Google Nest app. The app lets you adjust alerts and settings, so you don’t have to sift through 50 million alerts about waving tree branches or passing cars every day.

The Nest app gets good reviews through Google Play and the Apple App Store. Google Play users give it a little over four stars,1 and App Store users give it nearly a full five stars.2 We’ve also found the app to be full-featured and intuitive. You won’t have to spend a couple hours just trying to figure out where everything is—it’s pretty simple.

Google Nest Cam Outdoor camera quality

The Nest Cam Outdoor has 1080p recording and 8x digital zoom. We consider 1080p pretty standard these days, and you’ll get detailed, clear images with it.

The 8x digital zoom is also useful if you need to zoom in on a license plate of a passing car or need to zoom in to see if that’s a stranger in your yard or just your neighbor grabbing their missing football.

Want even better resolution?
Info Box

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has 1080p resolution along with a 4K image sensor and 12x digital zoom. The 4K image sensor means that, even though the camera has 1080p resolution, you can zoom in on images and still see every detail really clearly. It also has Supersight, a feature that automatically zooms in on people and follows their movements.
View at Best Buy

Keep in mind that high-resolution video recording uses a lot of internet bandwidth. Make sure your internet connection is up to the task before you go wild with Nest’s 24/7 HD recording. If it’s too much for your internet speeds or data package, you can lower the resolution through the Nest app.

Google Nest Cam Outdoor integrations

The Nest Cam Outdoor works with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. It also works within the Google Assistant app, so you can connect other devices that also work with Google Assistant, like Philips Hue lightbulbs.

Of course, the Nest Cam Outdoor will also work with your other Nest devices. If you already have a Nest Secure home security system or a Nest Hello video doorbell, then your Nest Cam Outdoor will fit right in.

Complete your Nest home with Google Nest Audio.

Similar products to the Nest Cam Outdoor

Check out some other options for outdoor security cameras.

If you’re not sure the Nest Cam Outdoor is right for you, check out some other outdoor security cameras we recommend.

Arlo Ultra

Arlo Ultra 2-camera starter kit

Source: Arlo

If you thought the Nest Cam Outdoor had decent technology, then the Arlo Ultra will blow you away. With features like 4K resolution, color night vision, and a built-in spotlight, the Arlo Ultra is the crème de la crème of security cameras.

The Arlo Ultra camera is best for: 

  • People who want the best tech features available
  • People who want 4K resolution
  • People who want 100% wire-free cameras

Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

Source: Google Nest

The Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor gives you everything the New Cam Outdoor does but more. It has a wider field of vision, a longer range of detection, a built-in LED ring light, and a 4K sensor for better image quality. It also costs twice as much as the Nest Cam Outdoor, but if you want the best tech, it’s an excellent choice.

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is best for: 

  • People who like the Nest Cam Outdoor but want an even better version
  • People who want better image quality when you zoom in

Check out our Nest Cam IQ Outdoor review.

Want to protect more than just your yard?

For better security than a single camera could ever give you, we recommend a smart security system. Check out our Best Home Security Systems review to compare the best systems on the market.

Recap: Is the Nest Cam Outdoor good?

The Nest Cam Outdoor has top-notch features and excellent integrations.

The Nest Cam Outdoor is a great choice for an outdoor security camera. It lets you keep an eye on your yard, talk to any visitors (or intruders) through two-way audio, and see everything clearly—even in the dark.

This cam isn’t the latest and greatest model on the market, but its features still hold up, and you can get them for cheaper than you’d pay for something brand new and fancier, like the Arlo Ultra. If you’re a smart-tech fan who wants an outdoor security camera, Nest will serve you well.


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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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