Nest Cam IQ Hands-On ReviewBy - 07/19/2017
Hello, Nest Cam fans, there’s a new cam in town, and for $299, $132 more than the current Nest Cam sells for, the new camera, dubbed Nest Cam IQ, will deliver a few extra features.
What’s New with Nest Cam IQ?
Before we dive into what’s new, let’s talk about what’s not new. First of all, the camera design isn’t new. The design is clearly borrowed from Nest Cam Outdoor. The white polycarbonate camera includes a swivel mount that you can place on a flat surface. The stand offers a universal tripod mount, but the camera doesn’t ship with any other mounting accessories like a wall mount. Another major difference between IQ’s design and Outdoor is that IQ is made to work indoors only. But if you’re looking for an outdoor camera with IQ’s features, Nest recently launched one: the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.
IQ also shares a lot of specs with both Nest Cam and Nest Cam Outdoor including the ability to stream video in 1080p FHD at 30 frames per second, night vision, and a 130° field of view. When it comes to differences, they’re in the details.
|Nest Cam||Nest Cam IQ||Nest Cam IQ Outdoor|
|Resolution||1080p||1080p with a 4K Image Sensor||1080p with a 4K Image Sensor|
|Night Vision||Yes, and you can turn off the red lights.||Yes, and you can turn off the red lights.|
|Person Alerts||Requires Nest Aware||Included With or Without Nest Aware||Included With or Without Nest Aware|
|Person Recognition||Requires Nest Aware||Requires Nest Aware|
|Two-Way Audio||HD Talk + Listen||HD Talk + Listen|
|Intelligent Audio Alerts||Requires Nest Aware||Requires Nest Aware||Requires Nest Aware|
|Install||Plug and Play||Plug and Play||Requires Drilling|
|Buy Now||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site|
As you can see, some features are free and some require Nest Aware, so let’s talk Nest Aware.
Nest Aware is Nest’s subscription service. While both cameras offer a few features for free, all the good features require a subscription. Without a subscription, you will have access to push notifications, Home/Away Assist, and 3-hours of snapshot storage. Also, if you own a Nest Protect, you can set the device to trigger your camera if it detects smoke or CO. If this happens, you will automatically get live video from all the cameras in your house, even if you don’t subscribe.
If you do subscribe, you have three options: 5-days for $5 a month, 10-days for $10 a month, or 30-days for $30 a month. Of course, a subscription buys more than continuous video recording.
|Without Nest Aware||With Nest Aware|
|Video History:||3 Hour Snapshots||5, 10, or 30 Days Video History|
|Continuous Video Recording:|
|Zoom 8x:||Yes, 12x for Nest Cam IQ||Yes, 12x for Nest Cam IQ|
|Person Alerts:||Nest Cam IQ and Nest Hello Only|
|Familiar Face Alerts||Nest Cam IQ and Nest Hello Only|
|Supersight Tracking||Nest IQ Only||Nest IQ Only|
|Create Clips and Timelapses:|
|Share Live Streams:|
|Dog Barking/Person Speaking Alerts|
Person Alerts and Recognition
Current Nest Cams include a feature called “person detection”, again assuming you’re subscribed to Nest Aware. Nest IQ tries to top that in two ways. First of all, the camera offers person tracking to all users, even those who don’t subscribe to their monthly service. Second, Nest Cam IQ includes Familiar Face Alerts.
Let’s start with the freemium. The biggest flops with person detection occurred during the first week of testing when I ran the camera in a window facing outside. During this time, false alerts were rampant with 38% of all person detection alerts being false alarms. Nest tagged all sorts of things as people including clouds, a bird feeder, and fireworks.
— Rose Thibodeaux (@Rose_Thibodeaux) July 1, 2017
When running Nest Cam indoors, person detection was much more accurate.
Familiar Face Alerts also require a Nest Aware subscription, but the value prop is pretty clear: Using this feature, the camera will know the difference between friend and stranger. (Unless you live in Illinois.) In working with the camera for three weeks, I found that it was able to recognize me most of the time. Of course, when I threw on some makeup or let my hair down, it assumed I was someone new. It also had trouble recognizing me at night, and sometimes it completely flopped.
My biggest complaint about Familiar Face Alerts is that it’s not tied to anything useful. You can’t ask the camera to stop recording if it sees you nor can you ask it to notify you if it doesn’t see your kids by 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. All it can do is tell you when it sees someone it recognizes and when it sees someone it doesn’t. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see IQ gain more intelligence over time. For example, if it recognizes you, it might set your Nest Thermostat to your favorite temperature, but until that happens, it adds little value.
With Nest IQ, facial detection also turns into facial tracking via a feature called Supersight.
While Nest Cam IQ streams in FHD, it also includes a 4K image sensor (8 Megapixels) and 12x digital zoom. When the camera detects a person, it “hones” in on them and tracks them as they move across the camera’s field of view, in theory. In reality, what I found is that the camera isn’t a skilled tracker. If I walked slowly, stopping often, it was able to keep up. If I moved at a normal human pace, I found that the camera often lagged behind recording things like walls. Of course, you can always zoom out on-demand but as this is one of the big selling features of Nest IQ it’s disappointing.
In theory, the 4K image sensor should also allow for greater clarity, even if a person is several feet away from the camera. And while Nest IQ does offer a 12x zoom, where Nest Cam offers an 8x zoom, I can’t say that I’m sold on the power of the 4K sensor.
Better Night Vision
Another promised feature is better night vision. Nest and IQ have an estimated night vision range of 20 feet, but IQ offers a couple of new features. First of all, it uses LEDs that don’t glow red. Second, its LEDs are 2x brighter than that of the original Nest Cam. And yes, they’ve delivered. IQ’s night vision performance is decidedly more clear than Nest Cam.
Better Audio, Better Communication
In addition to a better visual experience, Nest Cam IQ delivers a better audio experience. The speaker is 7x more powerful than the original Nest Cam, and it shows. The sound is clear and loud.
The camera’s three microphones also provide echo cancellation, noise suppression, and Intelligent Audio Alerts. Intelligent alerts go beyond basic sound detection by listening for sounds like a person talking or a dog barking. Unfortunately, this is yet another hit or miss feature. I played multiple YouTube videos of dogs barking for about 6 minutes total on three different occasions. Only once did I receive an alert. And person talking alerts were very hit or miss. In fact, in running the camera for three weeks, I only received two person talking alerts.
In line with Nest Cam IQ’s improved audio, Nest and Google decided to collaborate and turn Nest Cam IQ into a Google Home.
With Google Assistant living inside Nest Cam IQ, you’ll be able to ask your camera the same questions you ask your Google Home. The collaboration makes perfect sense as Nest Cam IQ is an always-on camera with a speaker and microphones. So why not turn it into a voice controlled device?
However, there are limitations to what it can do. First, you won’t be able to playback music from the camera. Second, Google Assistant can’t control all Nest Cam IQ features. You won’t be able to ask your camera to arm itself or to start recording. However, you will soon be able to ask Google Assistant to show you a live stream on your Chromecast-connected TV.
Working With Others
If you’ve already invested in a Nest Cam setup, don’t fret. Nest Cam IQ will work with the Nest App so that you can manage all of your Nest devices and Works With Nest devices centrally. Like the current Nest Cam, it will also work with third-party devices via IFTTT and Stringify.
Unfortunately, Nest Cam IQ doesn’t list any new compatibilities. It won’t work with HomeKit, which I suppose isn’t too surprising because Nest – Alphabet – Google, but it would have been a nice addition. It’s also missing a direct integration with Amazon Alexa; however, it does work with Echo Show, an Alexa-enabled device that allows you to stream your camera’s feed to the device’s screen. Speaking of streaming, you can also stream footage to your Apple TV and soon, to your Chromecast connected TV courtesy of Google Assistant.
The newly launched features seem relatively insignificant, and after testing them, I’m even more disappointed. IQ is also lacking security features like battery backup and a siren. Over time, I’m sure Nest will increase the usefulness of facial recognition and fine tune other features too. But let’s not forget that they had an entire year pre-launch to fine-tune person detection, and, well, fireworks are not people. In short, IQ delivers all the well loved Nest features in a larger body and with a larger price tag. I recommend sticking with the original Nest Cam for now.
So what do you think? Are the new features worth an extra $130? Nest Cam IQ is available for purchase in the U.S. for $299.00.
How long is the power cord?
It’s 10 feet long.
Does it have a battery?
Does the camera kill your bandwidth?
If running at the highest resolution (1080p), it requires 800 to 2000 Kbps of upload bandwidth.
What’s the IP rating on the outdoor cameras?
It’s IP66. The power cord on the camera is not weatherproof. You must drill into your wall or use an existing opening.
What type of sensor does the camera use?
A 1/2.5-inch 8MP color sensor.