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Google Nest Cam Review

This is a high-quality camera with many useful security features that will be especially appealing to those using the Google Smart Home platform
Google Nest Cam
Credit: Google
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $180 List | $189.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Facial recognition, great night vision, redundant power source
Cons:  Big/conspicuous camera, no camera speaker, expensive
Manufacturer:   Google
By Nick Miley, Matt Spencer, and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Apr 18, 2022
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 11
  • Recorded Video Quality - 35% 7.5
  • Monitoring Performance - 35% 9.1
  • Ease of Use - 30% 7.4

Our Verdict

The Google Nest Cam is an upmarket camera that is great for live monitoring — it is almost lag-free and has good sound quality and exceptionally detailed night vision. The unit also has sophisticated programmable alerts to detect individual human faces, cars, and animals. It serves as a smoke and CO2 detector, too. The camera is rated for both indoor and outdoor use and has both plug-in and battery power sources as well as onboard and cloud storage options. A subscription is required to unlock the camera's full capabilities. However, it is an easy-to-use app that will justify the expense for many.

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Google Nest Cam
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Google Nest Cam
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $180 List
$189.99 at Amazon
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Pros Facial recognition, great night vision, redundant power sourceInexpensive, most features available without subscription, color night visionVertical/horizontal panning, color night vision, no subscription requiredGreat audio and video quality, color night vision, in/outdoor ratedSufficient live and download video quality, good onboard microphone
Cons Big/conspicuous camera, no camera speaker, expensivePlug-in power source, no remote panning, no backup batteryIndoor use only, no back-up battery, so-so sound qualityNo local data storage, requires paid subscription to record, battery power onlyPoor night vision, relatively slow frame rate, no onboard speaker
Bottom Line This is a high-quality camera with many useful security features that will be especially appealing to those using the Google Smart Home platformA high-performance camera at a low price that allows access to most of its features without a subscriptionA top-performing, remote panning camera at a low price with no hidden chargesGood camera if you don't mind having to pay for a monthly/yearly subscriptionAn all-around decent quality camera that cuts a few corners to keep the price low
Rating Categories Google Nest Cam Wyze Cam v3 Wyze Cam Pan v2 Ring Stick Up Cam B... YI 1080p Home
Recorded Video Quality (35%)
7.5
7.5
7.1
8.4
6.5
Monitoring Performance (35%)
9.1
7.8
7.8
9.0
7.8
Ease of Use (30%)
7.4
8.7
8.7
5.3
8.4
Specs Google Nest Cam Wyze Cam v3 Wyze Cam Pan v2 Ring Stick Up Cam B... YI 1080p Home
Camera Type (Indoor or Outdoor) Indoor and Outdoor Indoor and Outdoor Indoor Only Indoor and Outdoor Indoor Only
WiFi Type Dual-band
802.11a/b/g/n
2.4 GHz
802.11b/g/n
2.4 GHz
802.11b/g/n
2.4 GHz
802.11b/g/n
2.4 GHz
802.11b/g/n
Encryption Types AES 128-bit, SSL/TLS AES 128-bit AES 128-bit TKIP, AES, TKIP + AES Yes, type N/A
Resolutions Available 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p
Wired or Battery Battery and Wired Wired Wired Battery Wired
Smart Device Compatability Google Assistant Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
IFTTT
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
IFTTT
Amazon Alexa Amazon Alexa

Our Analysis and Test Results

The ultra-reliable Google Nest Cam sports a futuristic look despite its relatively large proportions. Its powerful magnetic mounting system makes setup and positioning a breeze, and its app interface is intuitive and easy to program. This is the camera for you if you want facial recognition, redundancy in power and storage, and you're willing to pay for it to work with the Google Smart Home platform.

Performance Comparison


Google Nest Cam home security camera - the google nest cam is a simple and effective camera that is easy to...
The Google Nest Cam is a simple and effective camera that is easy to set-up on its magnetic base.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Recorded Video Quality


As the name implies, the recorded video quality metric is an assessment of the camera's stored visual data instead of the live streaming video and sound that is evaluated separately. The Nest Cam did well above average in this assessment. The camera performed particularly well while recording at night; however, the daytime video was a bit lackluster, particularly where fine details were concerned.


While the quality of the recorded video is more than useful for most security applications, we were disappointed that its recording duration defaults to 30 seconds. The only way to record beyond this length is by going into the live feed, which triggers a recording while activated. By comparison, much of the competition has rolling recording storage that covers a week or more.

Another concerning detail in every test recording made with this camera was a weird digital artifact that preceded the video. This did not negatively impact the recording, and it may be a defect of the unit that we received. It is not what we expected from a camera at the high end of the price spectrum and that otherwise performed well in our evaluations. That said, the Nest Cam has a fixed 130ยบ field of view which is more than adequate for most applications. And, though the night vision on this unit isn't in color, it rendered a level of detail among the best in the class.

Google Nest Cam home security camera - the nest has high-quality night vision despite the lack of color.
The Nest has high-quality night vision despite the lack of color.
Credit: Matt Spencer

The evaluation of the Nest Cam was made in comparison to the other products in the class. All cameras in this review were mounted in the same location and recorded the same events. The score that the Nest received was the result of a side-by-side comparison to the other recordings rendered by the competition.

Google Nest Cam home security camera - the nest is a great unit for live monitoring, leading the class in...
The Nest is a great unit for live monitoring, leading the class in this comparative analysis.
Credit: Matt Spencer

Monitoring Performance


The monitoring performance metric assesses the camera's live video quality, sound quality, and, if applicable, the onboard speaker quality. The Nest Cam led the class in this series of assessments. The unit's preeminent position was largely on account of its silky smooth real-time video.


As with the recorded video quality metric, live video assessment is a comparative analysis. In the case of the live video analysis, we used a stopwatch to measure and delay between actual events and those rendered on the monitoring device (a laptop in this case). The Nest had a nearly undetectable lag (less than one second).



We also tested the sound delay between the actual event and its emission from the speakers on our device. Interestingly, the sound preceded its cause on-screen when making sound quality recordings. The effect was minimal but nonetheless odd to observe. Despite the motion/sound discontinuity, the sound quality overall was good, if a bit echoey at times.

Finally, we looked at the sound quality of the camera's speaker. While the Nest lacks an event alarm, the user can speak through the camera remotely. We found that the speaker was loud and clear. Overall, the Google Nest Cam has one of the highest quality speakers that we had the pleasure to test.

Google Nest Cam home security camera - placed outside, the nest can greet a guest in real time through its...
Placed outside, the Nest can greet a guest in real time through its onboard speaker.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Ease of Use


The ease of use evaluation looks at how the user interacts with the device. The main focus of this metric is on the app used to monitor the camera and program alerts and other functions such as facial recognition. However, we also look at the way in which the camera's data is stored and camera mounting hardware. The Nest Cam does fairly well in this evaluation earning an above-average score.


The Nest Cam uses the Google Home app on your smart device. Your connected camera(s) is on the app's home screen. By tapping the camera, you enter a home screen for that specific camera, which accesses the recorded history and live view. Additionally, you can set up specific notifications like a person, vehicle, animal, smoke, and CO2 detection and change audio and video settings. You can also turn the camera off entirely if you want. The app is easy to learn simply by playing with it for a short time.

Google Nest Cam home security camera - the nest has good data storage options in both the cloud and...
The Nest has good data storage options in both the cloud and onboard, which one accesses wirelessly as opposed to an SD card.
Credit: Chris McNamara


In the storage evaluation portion of our assessment, the Nest Cam fared well. The camera has both cloud and internal local storage options (accessed wirelessly), which will appeal to those weary of the cloud or those who just like redundancy in their security systems. The cloud storage is subscription-based and will retain data for 30 days before the oldest records are erased.

Finally, the Nest Cam comes with a magnetic base and hardware for wall mounting. We liked the magnetic base because it was very easy to position the camera. The magnet is quite powerful, too. So, there is little risk of it shifting or falling.

Value


We look at value as a balance between the price of a product (both in the long and short term) and its performance in the tests and analysis that we put it through. The Google Nest Cam is expensive. However, it is a quality, easy-to-use device with good features. Additionally, it is designed to seamlessly integrate with Google's Smart Home platform — an aspect that Google fans will appreciate. In consideration of these particulars, we think the camera is a good value if you already (or want to) use the Google platform. If not, there are significantly less expensive devices that will give you the same functionality.

Conclusion


The Google Nest Cam offers users superb night vision, dual power sources, redundant data storage, and an easy-to-use app. Moreover, it is designed to work seamlessly with other products in the Google Smart Home line. It has useful customizable alerts, a quality onboard speaker, and is easy to set up. The only significant mark against this product is that it is really expensive compared to similar cameras. That said, if you're already committed to the Google Smart Home platform, it's worth the money.

Nick Miley, Matt Spencer, and Austin Palmer
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