Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

A photo of Nest Cam

The new indoor Nest Cam is as stylish as security cameras become.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Google’s updated Indoor Nest Cam is one of the coolest security cameras you can buy. The $ 100 wired camera comes in four colors and replaces the regular black version that has been on the market since 2015. It original The Nest indoor camera is basically a tribute to the brand’s Drop camera past, while this new indoor security camera introduces Google’s new aesthetics to the smart home.

And the new indoor Nest Cam is incredibly smart. Its brushed pastel colors and faux wood base are comfortable and perfect for most homes. But the Nest Cam is still plagued by an eye-catching problem: it’s completely dependent on the Google Home control and configuration app, making it challenging to bring into a home populated with vintage Nest devices.

Similar to security

This is the third Rede camera which I have been going through for the last two months, and so far it is the cutest of the flock. It is available in four colors, including Linen, Snow, Fog and Sand, which is the version I tested for this review. It looks blushing personally. I wonder how this particular design will hold up over time, considering that this indoor Nest camera is in its time as the original camera was (and that camera now looks super dated).

At least Google’s indoor camera offers some flair with its fake wooden base. The tripod and camera are one piece, and even the cable is permanently attached. You can position the camera from right to left, but to rotate it forward or backward, rotate it almost 180 degrees around the base before it will bend. It took me a few tries to figure it out, and it’s certainly not as intuitive as the super-cheap TP-Link Case Spot camera I just reviewed. You can also mount the camera on a wall with the supplied hardware.

A photo of the new and old Nest cameras, side by side

The new generation meets the previous generation.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The new indoor Nest Cam is not the smallest security camera available. It’s about an inch bigger than cheap models like the aforementioned Spot camera, and it’s shorter than its predecessor. But due to its modern look, it fits nicely into the backdrop of a home. It took a few days before my cousin, who regularly visits my house, realized that the beautiful little device on the shelf was a security camera.

Under the radiator hood

The new indoor Nest Cam is a 2-megapixel camera with a 135-degree field of view and up to 6x digital zoom. It has HDR capabilities, night vision, H.264 encoding and can record 1080p video at up to 30 frames per second. It is also capable of 24/7 live view, considered as one of Google’s highlighting features for its latest security cameras. All cameras except Nest Doorbell is able to record around the clock.

The new indoor Nest Cam does not feel like a performance upgrade from the original. Granted, you can not buy that camera anymore as it has been disconnected. But if you add this new model to your series of old faithful, you certainly will not notice a difference in camera quality.

A photo showing shots side by side

On the left is a preview of the camera for the original Nest Camera, and on the right is the preview of the new indoor Nest Cam.
Picture: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

There is a slight difference in lighting between the two cameras that I saw while testing both devices side by side. The new camera takes in more light to help reveal details around the room. The old indoor Nest camera also has a slightly narrower field of view, but it is hardly noticeable between the two camera views.

I set up the cameras in my family room overlooking the sliding door to the backyard. Both cameras had trouble controlling the exposure from the outside during the day. I could not look into the backyard of any of them. However, I preferred the new Nest Cam’s lighter preview in general, as it offered better contrast between subjects like my daughter’s toys.

A photo example from the indoor Nest Cam

An evening photo of our back with the new indoor Nest Cam.
Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The new indoor camera can recognize objects and faces, which the original could not. It can tell between animals, humans and generic movement, and it also acts as a sound identifier for smoke alarms. Just like Other things thaw The Nest cameras we have reviewed detect Nest Cam faces and let you identify them. This data is stored locally and is encrypted. But to learn the machine, you need to carefully mix through each person before the camera finds out who they are.

I noticed that the new indoor camera pretty quickly retrieved data from the other cameras. All cameras in the same home share a familiar face library. The idea here is that you do not have to learn every new camera that comes into the fold.

Prepare to pay for Nest Aware

A photo of Nest Cam turned down

Each Nest Cam is only as good as its Nest Aware subscription.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The Indoor Nest Cam was a solid performer during my nearly two weeks of testing, though I look forward to turning off constant announcements since I placed it in one of the busiest rooms in the house. Unlike the other two Nest cameras I have tested, this one has no battery, so it must be constantly connected to record recordings.

Google has shifted around its Nest Aware subscription so that its free users have a few more perks than before. But they are still not enough if you want full use of the cameras. On the Indoor Nest Cam, you can watch events for up to three hours after they happen without paying a fee. However, it is a small bit of time if you rely on the device for monitoring around the clock.

In that case, pay for Nest Aware, at least for the time frame you plan to be away from home. Nest Aware costs $ 6 / month or $ 60 / year for 30-day clips and intelligent alerts for familiar faces and smoke alarms. But if you want access to up to 10 days of footage 24/7, upgrade to Nest Aware Plus, which is the highest level for $ 12 / month or $ 120 / year. Both subscriptions include emergency calls from the Google Home app and work for all Nest devices, including speakers and smart screens.

Long live the Nest app

One of the most challenging parts of migrating over the new Nest Cam is that if you have one of the older Nest cameras on your network, you need to mix between the older Nest app and the Google Home app to manage them all. At the very least, the Google Home app lets me view each camera at once while turning them all on and off, no matter what year they were made.

The biggest problem with migrating from Nest to the Google Home app is that the scheduling of the camera has changed. Instead of allowing you to manually set the start and stop times for each camera stream that you could in the Nest app, adjust Home & Away Routines instead. My old Nest cameras are scheduled to turn on at a specific time each night and turn off in the morning, but the new Nest cameras rely on the location of the phone or manual interaction to switch between Home and Away mode. You need to pre-program modes so Google knows which cameras to turn on and off. I prefer to schedule them at certain times during the day instead of worrying about my routine being run.

This two-app system will not last forever. Google has committed publicly to correct this experience, even though there is no specific time frame. Either way, the ending is close to the Nest app, and you’ll need to figure out how to work with the Google Home app.

A photo of Nest Cam on a shelf

The indoor Nest Cam is really nice. But you can change your tune when you realize that a Nest Aware subscription gets the most out of this $ 100 camera.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Worth buying?

The Indoor Nest Cam is the cheapest of Google’s security cameras. It is priced competitively against budget brands like Eufy SoloCam, which offers features like high-resolution feeds and custom activity zones at a similar price. However, you still need to include the monthly or annual subscription price on Nest Aware if you want more than a three-hour storage period for recordings.

You should only consider the indoor Nest Cam camera if you are already integrated into Google’s smart screens and speaker ecosystem. It is certainly a well-designed security system when paired with any of the Nest smart screens and other accompanying devices. But unless you are married to Google, cheaper security cameras like the TP-Link Kasa Spot camera work well to take care of the house without charging a monthly fee.

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