What’s Better Canary, Angee, Nest Cam, or Nest IQ?By - 10/26/2018
Home automation is a hot topic and Canary, Nest Cam, Nest Cam IQ, and Angee are five of the hottest products that fall somewhere between automation and self-monitored home security. Notice, I left Piper off of the list. When I originally wrote this article in 2014, Piper was strong. They lost momentum post acquisition in 2014. And now? Piper is no longer selling Piper.
That said, I’ve personally tried all of them, except for Angee which only started shipping recently, and I live with Canary, Canary View, Canary Flex, Nest Cam, and Nest Cam Outdoor.
Canary is a camera that’s been around for a bit. Canary Flex can work outdoors. Canary View is a cheaper version of Canary. Nest Cam replaced Dropcam and Nest Cam IQ is the latest Nest Cam which offers a few super-powered features. Angee is a new product fresh from Kickstarter. Piper nv was the latest version of Piper, adding night vision and other upgrades. All of the devices have several things in common. They are all easy to install, and setup and they all provide some level of home security and smart home automation.
Video Quality – Who is the best?
While Canary, Nest Cam, and Angee offer many built-in features, the primary feature of all of the cameras is video surveillance. All offer FHD video while Nest Cam IQ takes it a step further by offering a 4K image sensor (8 Megapixels) backed by a 12x digital zoom and night vision. (As Canary Flex is an indoor/outdoor camera, I’ve compared it in greater detail to the Nest Cam Outdoor here.) While there are subtle differences between the units, all offer a reliable experience.
Video Quality Winner?
The winner for video is Nest Cam IQ followed by Nest Cam. Nest decided to focus on one thing, and they got it right. The original camera offers night vision and bank-level encryption. It also has 8x zoom. As already mentioned, the IQ bumps this up to a 12x zoom backed by a 4K image sensor. However, Canary is a close third, and the picture quality is fantastic.
|Google Play Rating||3.4 Stars||3.4 Stars||4 Stars||3.7 Stars||3.3 Stars|
|iTunes Rating||2.5 Stars||2 Stars||2 Stars||2.2 Stars||2.1 Stars|
|Home Automation||Works with Wink & IFTTT via Wink, Google Home, Alexa Devices With Screens||Z-Wave, AllJoyn Certified, and IFTTT||Works with Nest, IFTTT, Stringify, Alexa Devices With Screens, Google Home||Considering Future Integrations with IFTTT, Alexa, Google Home, LIFX, Ring, Nest, Sonos, and August||Plans to Work With Z-Wave Plus, IFTTT, Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, Lyric Ecosystem|
|Resolution||1080p||1080p||1080p (Nest IQ Also Has a 4K Image Sensor)||1080p||1080p|
|Viewing Angle||147-degree (Flex is 116°)||180-degree||130-degree||350-degree, Mechanically Tracks Motion||145-degree|
|# of IR LEDs||12||12 (Piper nv Only)||8||# Unknown||# Unknown|
|Two-Way Audio||Members Only|
|Door / Window Sensors|
|Battery Backup||Flex Only|
|Text or Phone Call Alerts|
|Internal Siren||Manual (Flex No Siren)||Automatic|
|Supports Motion Zones||With Nest Aware Plan|
|Person Detection||Nest IQ Includes Person Detection for Free or Facial Recognition with Nest Aware; Nest Cam Includes Person Detection with Nest Aware||Includes Facial Recognition (Coming Soon)|
|Auto Arm/Disarm||Rule Based Only|
|Indoor / Outdoor||Canary and View Indoor, Flex Indoor/Outdoor||Indoor Only||Nest Cam Outdoor and Outdoor IQ Sold Separately||Indoor Only||Indoor Only, MotionViewer Has Outdoor Version|
|Local Storage||Download Clips, Video Sharing Members Only||Download Clips||Download Clips With Nest Aware Plan||1.5GB Local Storage||8GB Flash Drive|
|Cloud Storage Cost||$0 – $19.99 Per Month||$0||$0 – $30.00 Per Month||$16.99 – $19.99 Per Month||$0.00 – $14.99 Per Month|
|Cloud Storage Amount||24 Hours – 30 Days||QTY 1000, 25 second clips||3 Hours, Snapshots Only – 30 Days||Unlimited||24 Hours (72 Hours Free Cloud Storage Coming Soon)|
|Where to Buy||Amazon||Amazon||Visit Site||Visit Site|
How is video stored?
Canary video is stored in the cloud. The free plan supports up to four cameras and lets you view the last 24 hours of footage recorded. Recorded clips are limited to 30-seconds in length. Their paid plan is called a “Membership.” With a Membership, you get 30-days of video history, Incident Support, unlimited video downloads to your phone, two-way audio, custom modes, desktop streaming, and a 2-year extended device warranty. You will also be able to share an unlimited amount of clips. You can share video via text, email, or even to social sites like Facebook. Membership is $9.99/month for the first five devices and $4.99/month for additional cameras.
Nest Cam footage is also stored in the cloud. All users can review three hours of snapshot activity for free. If you prefer more, they offer three cloud storage options. The base cloud package offers 5 days of rolling video storage. The pricing for the base package starts at $5 per month, or you can bump up to the 30-day plan for $30 per month or the 10-day plan for $10 per month.
Last but not least, comes Angee. Angee offers unlimited cloud storage for event videos. It uses smart triggers and video loops to record activity in a manner that is very similar to what Piper offered. One thing that sets them apart is that they also offer onboard storage, which can hold about one hour of HD video and record footage even if the camera is offline. However, there’s one pretty big catch: cloud storage is tied to a subscription service.
Angee recently decided to switch their marketing strategy from offering Angee as a product to offering it as a part of a service. This means you can only use Angee if you subscribe to their Basic ($16.99 per month) or Extended ($19.99 per month) plans. The advantage of getting Angee as a part of a service is that it reduces the upfront cost because both plans include the hardware for free. Upfront you will pay for the first month of service and a one-time $25 activation fee. However, keep in mind that they are only leasing Angee to you and that you must return it in good condition if you cancel your subscription.
Video Storage Winner?
The winner is Canary. Free storage plus the fact that you can bookmark an unlimited amount of clips gives it an edge. Nest Cam is second as it’s the only option that offers 24/7 continuous video, and in some situations, having access to a continuous video history is necessary. Angee is last because it requires a subscription, but the unlimited cloud storage offer is generous.
Which Mobile App Reigns Supreme?
All of the cameras support Android and iOS. Nest Cam and Canary also work with Apple TV.
For as long as I’ve been using it, Canary’s app has been easy to use. The app lets you view live and recorded video footage as well as set alerts for air quality, motion, and connection (i.e., if your camera goes offline).
The only issue I’ve had with Canary’s app is the same issue I’ve had with other camera apps; occasionally there is a lag when viewing video from a remote location. If you’re worried about something and want to check in, this can be frustrating. Viewing video when you’re connected to Wi-Fi is faster than using 3G or 4G; however, a recent update to the Canary app specifically targeted the lag, and they’ve reduced the average wait time to under 6 seconds.
Canary has other apps too including one for Apple Watch, Android Wear, and Apple TV. Their Apple TV app allows you to view a live video stream and view recorded clips from all of your Canary cameras. Finally, they do have a web app, but you must be a Canary Member to access this feature.
Nest Cam has consolidated all of their cameras, including Dropcam, IQ, IQ Outdoor, Hello, and Nest Cam Outdoor, under the Nest app. In addition to cameras, the app supports the Nest Thermostat, Nest Protect, Nest Secure, and Nest Aware services. The Nest app also includes the option to add family members so you can share access to your Nest products with those you trust and a “home and away” feature to automatically arm and disarm your camera. However, after using the family sharing feature, I found it flawed as family member access is not customizable. For example, you can’t give your family access to just one camera nor can each family member set their own alerts. As an example, I gave my family access to a camera placed at my grandmother’s. They can now view the camera at my grandmother’s and also the camera I have at my house. There is no way to limit their access. And while they want alerts from my grandmother’s house, they don’t want alerts from my house. Unfortunately, it’s all or nothing.
Finally, although the Nest app provides an overall clean experience, the app is not impervious to the issues facing the Canary app. It also works best when streaming video from Wi-Fi and viewing video from a PC works better than using the app.
Angee launched an iOS and Android app. They also mentioned a web app during their Kickstarter campaign, but that’s not yet available. From the app, you should be able to view who is home and who is away as well as view a detailed activity timeline that includes logs from your camera and any attached sensors. Through the app, you can also set up push notifications of events, view saved video clips, live stream from your camera, and customize settings.
Mobile App Winner?
Nest Cam. The app is clean and simple to use. There is very little latency when trying to view video, and they frequently provide updates and new features that benefit, not punish, the customer.
Smart Home = Smart Products
Canary offers several built-in automation features like a temperature sensor, humidity sensor, and air quality sensor. You can set acceptable levels within the app and receive alerts if something falls out of range. For example, you can receive an alert if your home’s temperature rises above 80 degrees.
The built-in sensors become even more interesting if you own a Google Home device. For example, you can say, “Okay Google, ask Canary for the temperature at Home,” or you can ask Google to retrieve your home’s humidity or air quality. Canary also works with Echo Show, Echo Spot, and Fire TV. You can ask your Alexa-enabled device to show a live feed from any of your Canary cameras.
Finally, Canary works with Wink. Right now, the two are limited to arm/disarm triggers. If you leave the house, Wink can arm Canary. If you unlock your door, it can disarm Canary, and so on. While this is useful, Canary already had a fairly good automated arm/disarm feature through geo-fencing. If you want to connect them in a more useful way, you can tie Canary’s mode changes to channels on IFTTT via a Wink shortcut. You can then connect Canary to lots of smart things, from Amazon Echo to Philips Hue.
Nest Cam and Nest Cam IQ, as standalone units, are not set up for home automation. However, they are such popular devices that they are compatible with a number of other systems such as Works with Nest. Through Works with Nest, the cameras can connect to other compatible devices for added protection. They can also connect to the Nest Protect and the Nest Learning thermostat.
Nest Cam also has its own IFTTT channel. IFTTT is a third party application that allows Nest to speak to other connected devices including Philips Hue, Amazon Echo, and even self-monitored home security systems like Scout. Using IFTTT, Nest connects to other devices using recipes, now called Applets, that work in an “If This Then That” format. For example, if Nest detects motion, it can trigger your Hue lights.
Nest Cam and Nest Cam IQ also work with voice-controlled AIs. All Nest cameras work with Amazon Echo Show, a version of Amazon Echo that has a screen. Through this integration, you can ask your Echo Show to display your live feed. Nest Cam IQ will also receive a software update this winter that will activate Google Assistant. This update will let you talk to Google Assistant, Google Home‘s AI, via the camera itself. Also, you can ask Google Assistant to stream live video feeds of Nest Cam IQ to your Chromecast.
Angee also combines home security with home automation. They plan to launch their own IFTTT channel, and they sell security tags. Tags are sensors that can be placed to monitor for activity. They can monitor for motion as well as open/close movement. For example, they can let you know when someone enters your front door. The camera was also promised to include both a temperature and a humidity sensor, but that’s nowhere to be seen.
Finally, Angee has plans to be an Amazon Echo-like personal assistant. During CES 2018, I was given a hands-on demonstration of Angee’s voice persona-Angee. The feature is still in beta and had some hiccups, but it works. You can ask it simple questions like requesting the time, but you can also ask for information on security events. When Angee first announced Angee, Amazon Alexa wasn’t a thing. Since Alexa and Google Assistant devices are now prominent in many homes, Angee’s voice assistant will not be as complex as originally planned. Angee plans to leave certain tasks to the competition. In fact, they’re embracing the idea of potentially adding other voice assistant integrations in the future.
During their initial campaign, they also claimed integration with LIFX, Ring, Nest, Sonos, and August. Unfortunately, they’ve decided to focus on Angee’s built-in features for now. Though they are strongly considering adding integrations in the future, a timeframe on integrations is TBD.
Smart Home Winner?
The winner is Nest.
While not full-blown home security systems, all of the systems can be used for self-monitored security. They all offer some form of motion detection with alerts sent directly to a smartphone. Then, when an alert is received, all of the systems allow you to log-in to visually confirm the incident via a mobile app.
Canary has a built-in siren that can reach 100db to warn intruders, as well as a 3-axis accelerometer which will notify you if someone has tried to tamper with or move your Canary device (although the latter feature has never worked for me). The biggest downside to Canary’s siren is that it’s not automatic. You must catch someone in the act and press the siren button in order for the feature to work. And like a real home security system, it has multiple modes.
Canary can sense when you are home or away and can change its settings accordingly. You can even schedule different behaviors for different cameras. For example, under Home Mode, you might set one camera to record and one not to record.
To make motion alerts and recordings as accurate as possible, the camera includes smart features like adjustable sensitivity, Masking, and Person Detection. Masking allows you to create a custom shape within the camera’s field of view. Your camera will ignore the area which is handy for ceiling fans, televisions, etc. For free, Canary also includes person alerts. If the camera sees a person, your push notification will change from “motion detected” to “person seen.”
To expand on Canary’s ability to protect your home, you can add other devices and a Membership. With a Membership, Canary offers two-way audio, custom modes, and Incident Support. With Incident Support, they will assign a team member to help you sort through your video history to find evidence if your home is the victim of a burglary.
Finally, All-in-One shares the same app as Canary Flex and Canary View. Flex offers a new level of home security as it can be powered using a battery and can work inside or outside. They also sell several mounts for creative placement. With the right mount, you can hang Flex from a tree, put it in a cabinet, place it on a porch, or set it on a table. Canary View, unfortunately, lacks some of the original Canary’s security features including a siren and HomeHealth monitoring, but it sells for $99.00.
|Canary All-in-One||Canary View||Canary Flex|
|Extra Sensors||Temperature, Humidity,
Air Quality, and a Siren
|Usage||Works Indoors||Works Indoors||Weatherproof|
|Connectivity||Wireless or Ethernet||Wireless||Wireless|
|Mounting||Upright Only||Upright Only||Upright or Wall-Mounted|
|Two-Way||Two-Way Audio For Members Only||Two-Way Audio For Members Only||Two-Way Audio For Members Only|
|Package Detection||Package Detection For Members Only|
Finally, while Canary teased the launch of a HomeKit compatible camera, the project is a no go. Canary no longer plans to launch Canary Plus, a HomeKit-enabled camera.
Nest Cam is for video surveillance only. The camera has built-in motion and sound detectors as well as two-way audio, but the motion detector is too sensitive to work as a home security device unless you’re willing to pay.
A Nest Aware subscription adds home security intelligence. It can add video history, better alerts, activity zones, person alerts, and the ability to create and save video clips. When you pay for Nest Aware, you are granted access to extra compute power, which is needed to run algorithms. These algorithms are used to intelligently decide which motion and sound events are important, and which are not. It can do this through face detection and depth sensing. A feature called Sightline also makes it incredibly easy to review video history from the mobile app. You can scroll through hours of footage and review snapshots at a glance. And of course, you can control multiple devices including the outdoor camera and Nest Cam IQ from the same app. Finally, Nest Aware adds intelligent sound alerts. The camera not only detects sound but can also tell you if it hears a person talking or a dog barking.
As a more expensive device, Nest Cam IQ includes a few extra freebies. First of all, it includes person detection for everyone, even those who do not subscribe to Nest Aware. Second, it includes a feature called Supersight. If the camera detects a person, it will use its powerful zooming ability and image sensor to lock in on their face and follow them as they move through the camera’s field of view. If you pay for a Nest Aware subscription, Nest IQ also includes facial recognition.
Nest has also launched a security system called Nest Secure. The system includes a hub that has a built-in 80dB siren (Nest Guard), two door/window sensors with built-in motion sensors (Nest Detect), and two key fobs (Nest Tags). The system sells for $500. They also plan to debut a video doorbell (Nest Hello). Like Nest Cam IQ, Hello can recognize faces if you are subscribed to Nest Aware. Better still, if you have a Google Home or any Google Assistant enabled device, Nest Hello will use the device to broadcast who’s at your door assuming it sees a “Familiar Face” and you’re subscribed to Nest Aware.
Angee is more than a camera, as it can connect to tags that help monitor entryways and windows. But, it also has some truly unique features that set it apart from the other options.
- 360° Rotation – Angee is part robot. It can automatically track motion and mechanically turn to follow activity.
- Automatic Arm/Disarm – Angee isn’t the only camera with this feature, but the approach is unique. Angee uses a two-step authentication process. It doesn’t just rely on your smartphone; it also uses voice recognition.
- Angee offers activity zones for free. The camera includes 4 activity zones that you can use to designate what areas should be monitored and what areas should be ignored.
- Battery backup. Piper also offered battery backup, but Angee’s approach is unique. If Angee loses power, it will continue to record footage to local storage and can run on battery power for approximately 8-10 hours.
Home Security Winner?
Nest is the winner, that is if you’re willing to invest. For one, Nest Aware makes Nest Cams a lot smarter, even offering facial recognition to Nest Cam IQ owners. Cloud storage with continuous recording is also a great feature. Finally, Nest Secure lends door/window sensors as well as motion sensors to Nest Cam’s intelligence.
Angee is also a promising option. It uses tags, voice recognition, and can mechanically track an intruder.
Warranty and Support
Canary units ship with a 1-year warranty, unless you upgrade to a Membership which offers a 2-year extended device warranty. They also offer a 60-day risk-free trial. If you don’t like it after 60 days, send it back for a full refund.
Nest Cam ships with a 1-year “replace or repair” parts warranty. Nest Cam IQ includes a 2-year limited warranty. Nest also offers a 30-day return policy though you must pay for return shipping.
Finally, because Angee is offered as part of a subscription service, it is warranted for as long as you’re a subscriber. They will repair or replace your Angee camera if it’s damaged, assuming normal use.
Canary. Not only does Canary offer a warranty, but they are so certain that you will love your camera that they are willing to let you live with it for 60 days.
Buy Them and Overall Winner
Of the four cameras presented, Nest is the best. Yes, I’m leaving Nest IQ off of the list. After testing it, I don’t feel that the extra features are worth the extra money. That said, if you choose Nest, I recommend paying for Nest Aware. It offers person detection, which helps cut down on false alarms.
Canary was my top recommended indoor camera for years. It has an excellent video quality, automatic arm/disarm, and some home automation, but recent changes negatively affected users who don’t pay for a Membership. Though they reversed some changes, the process showed instability.
Piper fell behind post an acquisition. And now, they’re dead in the water. Though you can still buy Piper on Amazon, don’t do it!
Angee looks pretty amazing, but until I test it, I can’t recommend it.
You can order Nest Cam IQ on Amazon.
You can purchase Nest Cam on Amazon.
You can purchase Angee from meetangee.com.
Since originally writting this review, we’ve removed Piper, as it is no longer sold, and FLIR FX.
FLIR looked promising several years ago but hasn’t maintained pace with the competition.
For those who are interested, FLIR includes smart zones which allow you to draw areas within the camera’s field of view virtually. These zones tell the camera which areas you want monitored versus ignored. They also offer RapidRecap. RapidRecap is an email program sent to users condensing an entire day’s footage into a few seconds of footage by overlapping the footage and time stamping activity. Like Canary, you can use FLIR FX for free or pay for premium features. The free plan includes three RapidRecap videos per month and 48 hours of event storage. Their $9.99 per month plan adds unlimited RapidRecap videos and seven days of event storage. Finally, their $19.99 per month plan includes unlimited RapidRecap videos and 30 days of event storage. While this all sounds great, other reviewers have shared that it doesn’t live up to expectation.
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Last Updated 10/26/2018
Angee officially launched.
Read Previous Updates
02/23/2018 Nest reduced the entry price of Nest Aware from $10 per month to $5 per month.
02/6/2018 Updated post-CES 2018 visit with Angee.
12/15/2017 Canary changed Membership pricing and announced Person Detection.
11/17/2017 Canary added night mode back to the free plan and extended clips to 30-seconds.
10/16/2017 Piper is no longer selling Piper and Canary works with Google Home.
09/25/2017 Google Assistant is coming to Nest Cam IQ, and Nest Secure is launched.
08/01/2017 Canary launched two-way audio and a web app for members as well as decreased the lag time for all users. They also updated Membership pricing and storage.
07/20/2017 Updated post testing Nest Cam IQ.
5/31/2017 Nest IQ Launch and Canary Masking
12/1/2016 Canary and Nest Cam offer Apple TV support.
08/18/2015 Piper supports water sensors.
01/02/2016 Added Nest Cam and more information on Canary as well as updated ratings.
01/15/2016 Added Piper support for smoke sensor, motion sensor, and door locks.
01/21/2016 Piper added AllJoyn Certification
03/10/2016 Nest now supports family access and geo-fencing.
03/31/2016 Nest has an IFTTT channel and also offers email alerts.
04/27/2016 Canary offers video sharing.
05/17/2016 Canary has added temperature, humidity, power lost, and air quality alerts.
05/19/2016 Added Angee
6/20/2016 Canary announces Homekit and Piper adds compatibility with the Fibaro motion sensor
7/28/2016 Nest Outdoor Camera and Person Alerts Added
9/8/2016 Nest adds Sightline, Outdoor Camera, Personal Alerts, and Snapshots
9/20/2016 Added Canary Flex
11/26/2016 Added Family Access Test Results
12/1/2016 Canary and Nest Cam offer Apple TV support