Indoor security cameras are one of those products that have really become commonplace lately.
You can get one for peanuts these days and it won’t be an absolute disaster; you certainly don’t need to spend the £90 Google is asking for the indoor Nest Cam.
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Nest Cam review (indoor, wired): What do you get for your money?
Indeed, unless you’re making a serious investment in a multi-camera, multi-device home security setup, you can get three Blink Mini cameras for that price, or two and a Sync 2 module for local storage.
So what does this inflated price get you? For starters, a much nicer premium design. Where the Blink Mini has all the build quality of a Happy Meal toy, the Nest Cam has a heft and sturdiness and a premium level of finish that wouldn’t look out of place in a high-end show apartment.
That weight isn’t just there for show either; it helps hold the camera in position (without the aid of Blu-tack) when sitting on a shelf, and its built-in metal arm makes it easy to tilt and pan the camera lens so that it points exactly where you want it to. .
The Nest Cam also comes with a certain amount of free cloud storage, which its larger rivals don’t offer. It only stores video clips up to three hours in the past – after which the clips are deleted – but at least you can actually use most of the camera’s features without paying a subscription; With Ring’s cameras, if you’re not paying, the only thing you can do is tap into the live stream.
Otherwise, the Nest Cam’s specs are pretty standard. As the name suggests, the Nest isn’t a battery-powered camera, so although video and audio are both sent over your wireless network, power is drawn from the mains. Fortunately, the power cable is long enough – at three meters – that you can position the camera just about anywhere you want, even if your power outlets are in a less than ideal location.
It’s also not weatherproof, so you can’t mount it outside where it might get wet. And it captures video at what is, these days, a fairly standard 1920 x 1080 resolution at 30 fps. It can also capture video in the dark using a single LED.
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Nest Cam review (indoor, wired): What do we like about it?
Look beyond the spec sheet, and the Nest Cam well justifies its premium price. The main attraction is the camera’s AI-driven object detection system, which can identify people, cats, dogs, and vehicles as they cross the camera’s field of view.
Moreover, if you pay for the subscription, it can also do facial recognition.
This information is used to create more informative notifications, which is handy if you need a camera to monitor your pets when you’re away or want to know what time your kids got home from school. And it makes it easier to navigate long lists of saved video clips, as you can filter by item type in the associated Google app’s History view.
Combine object notification with Google’s very flexible motion area detection system, which lets you limit notifications and video clip recording to certain types of events, and you can configure the camera pretty much exactly as you want.
The performances are impressive. It takes a little over a second or two for live video to appear on your phone screen after tapping on a notification. Additionally, there is virtually no lag between motion and sound between the camera and your mobile device.
Obviously the speed of your internet connection on either end will come into play here, but I found that on a standard 38MB/sec broadband link, and with my phone on two bars of 5G signal, there was less than a second of lag for both video and audio.
Video quality is good – it’s certainly crisp enough for reliable facial recognition in my mid-sized kitchen – and the night vision LED was bright enough to reach every corner of this room as well. And I found object detection to be excellent, detecting faces, people and animals accurately and reliably.
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Nest Cam review (indoor, wired): how much does the video subscription cost?
The main issues with the Nest Cam aren’t centered on hardware or software – that’s superb – but on ongoing subscription costs.
As with most security cameras from major manufacturers, there’s a subscription fee to pay if you want access to all the features – £5 per month. This adds support for multiple cameras and stores event video clips for up to 30 days. Don’t be fooled into thinking the free cloud storage option is good enough: a three-hour time window isn’t practical remotely from a security perspective.
Whether you consider this a competitive price depends on how many Nest devices you plan to install, however. If you only need one camera, that’s overkill. Ring’s subscription is less than that, as is the Blink Mini’s cloud storage, both at £2.50 per camera per month.
However, once you get into the realm of multiple cameras and, perhaps, a doorbell, the £5 a month starts to sound better value. Ring and Blink cost £8 per month for unlimited cameras.
Of course, if you buy a Blink camera with a Sync 2 module, or one of Eufy’s security cameras, you also have the option of storing video locally, avoiding the ongoing cost of subscription video storage. It’s not as secure as cloud video storage, but it’s free.
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Nest Cam review (indoor, wired): Verdict
Overall, though, we like the indoor Nest Cam. It is well made and works very well. Object and face recognition is superb, it’s very responsive, and for setups involving multiple cameras, the Nest Aware subscription service is good value.
However, with so many cheaper rivals available, many of which can store video locally as well as in the cloud, the Indoor Nest Cam is hard to recommend wholeheartedly.
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