The Google Nest Cam (battery) is a solid security camera.
Its on-device intelligence has been improved to recognise actual events not arbitrary movement, it has a decent battery and it provides useful features for free.
It does have an expensive up-front cost at $359, and only films in 1080p, you don’t need a subscription to get the most out of this camera and that’s a massive upside.
- Good range of free features
- Looks good
- On-device intelligence works well
- Easy to setup and use
- Expensive initial price
- Only 130° FOV
The Google Nest Cam (battery) costs $359. For a 1080p security camera, that’s expensive. To put it into perspective, the Arlo Essential, also a 1080p resolution camera, costs $229.
The price of the camera alone isn’t always a true representation of the security camera’s value. Most security cameras have must-have features hidden behind subscription payments. When those are considered, that’s when you get a real idea of the camera’s value.
And with that in mind, the Google Nest Cam (battery) is good value. More on this below.
The Google Nest Cam (battery) – which I’ll refer to as the Google Nest from now on-, has a nice design. Its rounded frame and “logoless” smooth white décor looks more stylish than other security cameras like the Arlo Essential.
It can be mounted via a magnetic plate, which has an impressively strong connection – so much so that at first I thought it was built into the camera, or with an included wall plate. Setting it up is easy and the strong magnets allow you to reposition the camera exactly as you need it.
The Google Nest can be used both indoors and outdoors thanks to its IP54 resistance rating, which means it’s weather-resistant but not waterproof. And, as its name states, it’s battery-powered. You can hardwire it, however, you’ll want to use special weatherproof cables that’ll set you back an extra $69 at least.
The Google Nest comes with a new powerful on-board processor that improves its on-device intelligence. The results are great. The camera hasn’t alerted me about a tree moving in the wind or rain drops falling in front of the camera.
It films in 1080p HDR video quality. For a security camera, this is acceptable, however, there are both 2K and 4K competitors available on the market.
For me I’m not sure that a 4K security camera is worth it, as most of the time, I only need to see that a vehicle is in my driveway or an animal is on my lawn. I don’t need to see more specific details than that.
Granted there are circumstances where a higher resolution is beneficial, i.e. number plate identification, but for a home security camera that alerts when a vehicle, animal or person comes into shot, the 1080p HDR video quality was fine.
The Google Nest supports night vision too, which works well. It picks up movement in the dark effectively but it doesn’t come with an integrated spotlight like the Arlo Essential.
It has a 130° field of view which is just wide enough to be functional, though it does feel narrow. Comparing it to the 180° FOV in the, albeit more expensive Arlo Ultra Pro, was a massive difference. The Ultra Pro could cover a much larger area with its ultra-wide lens.
The Google Nest’s battery life changes based on how many events it captures. Google claims that the battery will last between 1.5 – 7 months. This is a massive range but Google has explained that if the camera is recording 20-25 events per day, you can expect around 1.5 months of battery life, 9-12 events, 3 months battery life and 2-4 events you can expect around 7 months of battery life.
I’ve had my Google Nest set up for a week, recording roughly 2-4 events per day and the battery has only gone down 2%. For me, that’s ideal (I live in the middle of the bush). If you’re in a busier area, the longevity of the battery is something you may want to consider – though, it’s on a par with its rivals.
Google Nest’s forte is the features it provides you for free.
Using the Google Home app, you can select what categories you want the Google Nest to notify you about. These are people, animals, vehicles and motion. It’s great. Powered by the new on-board processor it meant I could turn off events that I didn’t want to get notified about. If a cat runs across my driveway, I don’t want to be alerted but if a car comes down it, I want to know.
To go further you can set up alert zones that categorise specific areas of the camera feed. For example, I set up my Google Nest to cover my driveway and my front lawn. On the driveway, I put an alert zone for vehicles and on my lawn, I put an alert zone for animals in case my dog got out. This is easy to set up through the Google Home app. All you do is create a shape on the feed and it’s done. It’s simple and it works well.
The Google Nest’s best free feature is its 3-hour event history. Within 3-hours of an event occurring, you can download the footage of the event to your device. This is all done through the Google Home app and it’s very good value. It adds an extra level of security knowing that if something did happen at my house, I would be able to get the footage and give it to the police.
The Google Nest also has enough storage on camera to record 1-hour worth of footage if Wi-Fi goes down. This is a nice security blanket to have.
If the free features don’t cover all of your security needs you can subscribe to Nest Aware for $9/month. This increases the 3-hour video history to 30-days, provides noise alerts and includes familiar face detection which allows you to store faces so you aren’t alerted when that person is filmed on camera. There’s also Nest Aware Plus for $18/month which has everything in Nest Aware but increases the 30-day history to 60 days and you can get 10 days of 24/7 recording if the camera is hard-wired.
These feel more like luxury features and for my circumstances, I didn’t need a subscription to get what I wanted out of my Google Nest and that was a major plus. It adds a lot of value to the Google Nest.
The Google Nest Cam (battery) is a decent security camera. It has an expensive up-front cost, when compared to other 1080p security cameras, however, the free features it comes with like 3-hour event history and alert zones, means a subscription isn’t required to get the most out of the camera.
There are advanced, luxury features you can get with a subscription. But for most people, I don’t think these will be needed.
It has a good battery life, it works seamlessly with the Google Home app and it’s easy to set up. This is a good-looking security camera that’ll do a great job.