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Google Nest Cam Battery review: Getting used to disappointment


Google’s line of Nest cameras have at all times supplied spectacular {hardware}, however they’re costly and the present lineup is getting a bit lengthy within the tooth. Enter, the brand new Nest Cam, which incorporates a battery so you possibly can mount it anyplace, even when that location is way away from energy. Should you’re on the lookout for lengthy battery life, this digital camera has it. The remainder of it, not a lot.

The digital camera is lacking capabilities at launch that older Nest cameras have, and the Residence app is simply not able to host your safety digital camera feeds. The slick {hardware} would possibly nonetheless work for some individuals, however this is without doubt one of the few Nest merchandise that I’d describe as a disappointment. The excellent news is essentially the most notable issues are software program, and that is fixable. Nicely, doubtlessly fixable.


Decision 1080p, HDR, 16:9, 130-degree FoV
Safety IP54, operates from -4°F to 104°F (-20°C to 40°C
Energy 6,000mAh battery, magnetic cable
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4GHz/5GHz) Wi-Fi, BLE
Colours White
Measurements 3.27×3.27 inches, 14.04oz (398g)
Value 9.99


Mounting design The magnetic mount is straightforward to put in, and the digital camera attaches securely.
Offline storage Can save video within the occasion your connection drops.
Assistant integration Talks to your different Google issues with little or no configuration.
Battery life Even with frequent wake-ups this digital camera ought to run for over a month with out a recharge.
Versatility Because of the battery and mounting choices, you possibly can put this digital camera anyplace—indoors or out.


Video high quality The sensor is simply 1080p, and the feed seems to be noticeably compressed. Gradual to get up.
Offline storage once more The machine’s storage is proscribed to caching occasions for later add as a result of unlocking true native storage would intervene with Google’s subscription mannequin.
Clunky app help The Residence app is getting crowded and complicated. Digicam options really feel incomplete.
Costly equipment This waterproof digital camera does not include a water-proof cable. That’ll set you again $35. The stand is $30.

Design, {hardware}, what’s within the field

Even from a distance, the brand new Nest Cam seems to be like a Nest product. It has the identical bell-shaped white physique as the corporate’s different cameras, made even sleeker with the addition of a battery. Now not will energy availability dictate the place your digital camera goes, which makes it a lot simpler to control all areas. The unit is surprisingly massive and heavy, so it isn’t one thing that can fade into the background. Folks will see this factor, and a few of them would possibly attempt to steal it. Google says it’s going to exchange a stolen digital camera, although.

Picture Gallery (2 Photographs)

There’s a small, recessed energy plug on the underside aspect of the digital camera. Annoyingly, it is a proprietary magnetic port that solely works with Google’s {hardware}, and the outside model of the cable prices . That port can also be the place the non-obligatory stand connects. It is good that you would be able to go away it plugged in if you wish to document repeatedly as an alternative of solely recording occasions—the brand new Nest Doorbell cannot do this even when it is linked to energy. The cable is straightforward to connect, however it seems to be backward to me, extending towards the entrance of the digital camera as an alternative of the rear. Additionally on the underside is a speaker, permitting you to interact in a dialog with anybody close by.

The magnetic mounting system is nice, however I want the digital camera got here with the tabletop stand (or that the stand did not price a whopping $30). It features a wall mount, which is simpler to connect than most. A couple of screws, and it is all set. You then simply snap on the digital camera, which is held extraordinarily effectively. You may regulate the angle, however there’s a sensor inside that detects when it is on the magnetic mount. Should you angle it too far off-axis, this sensor loses contact and the digital camera thinks it’s not mounted. So long as you needn’t do something wacky with the mounting location, you should not have any drawback establishing the brand new Nest Cam.

App, options, and video

It has been clear for a while that Google is shifting away from the Nest app and towards Google Residence. Its previous couple of Nest units have solely plugged into the Residence app, however that is much less annoying for a wise show than it’s for a digital camera. The Residence app is changing into a cluttered monstrosity, and its digital camera options are nonetheless incomplete. I do not precisely love the Nest app, which is beginning to look fairly dated, however the Residence app has loads of shortcomings for digital camera administration. I’ll say, although, the setup course of within the Residence app could be very fast and simple. It is a full end-to-end walkthrough, similar to you’d get within the Nest app. You scan the digital camera’s QR code to start, after which the app guides you thru every step, even going as far as to supply directions based mostly on the kind of mounting {hardware} to your wall.

That is the primary time the Residence app has dealt with digital camera notifications, and so they’re quicker than the notifications from the Nest app. This digital camera helps on-device processing moderately than working all the pieces by the cloud. Consequently, notifications seem in a few second, and there is not any awkward refresh to get the thumbnail like with the Nest app. I very a lot respect that Google caught with the animated notification previews, too. There isn’t a net interface for this digital camera, so the Residence app is the place you will spend most of your time. There is a historical past timeline just like earlier Nest units, however it takes ages to scroll, and leaping between dates is simply potential within the “full historical past view,” which reveals an inventory of occasions however takes a while to replace as new occasions are recorded.

The digital camera does not document repeatedly in battery mode, waking solely when there’s an occasion to document. These movies seem in your digital camera historical past, and you’ll at all times hearth up a dwell view within the Residence app. Attending to the dwell view is a bit annoying, although. There is a digital camera hyperlink on the prime of the app which opens a non-customizable checklist of all of your cameras. The feeds should reconnect for those who scroll away, and issues are gradual to load while you’ve received cameras from multiple producer in your own home. Nonetheless, partial credit score for supporting cameras from totally different corporations in a single app. Including new Assistant/Residence connections is fairly tedious, although. It is smoother for those who follow Google {hardware}. You too can scroll down within the app to seek out the digital camera in its room location, however that takes even longer.

Additionally, because of the on-device processing, some beforehand paid options like exercise zones are actually included with the digital camera. That is useful if you are going to put the machine in a high traffic space however do not desire a dozen pings per day. You will get all of the notifications if you need, however the digital camera allows you to slim the scope to individuals and/or animals. Sadly, there is not any customized clip performance, and downloading occasions is just not introduced in an apparent means. There is a obtain button on the prime of the display screen, however it solely seems when you have got the occasion information panel open. It took me a superb 10 minutes of poking round within the app and settings earlier than I spotted that. Assume you possibly can go to the online to get a extra strong Nest-style function set? Nope, there isn’t any net interface for this digital camera in any respect.

Google’s previous couple of cameras have had 4K sensors that supported lossless zoom, however that is not an possibility right here. The brand new Nest Cam is simply 1080p, and the picture high quality seems to be like a step down, even in comparison with the 1080p output of older Nest units. As you possibly can see within the samples, the video (set to most high quality) seems to be a bit muddy, flickery, and the dynamic vary is middling—unusual contemplating it is imagined to have HDR. I’ve additionally had points with the digital camera failing to wake shortly sufficient to document the start of occasions. Typically I simply get a tiny fragment of video as the topic leaves the body, which isn’t useful when there is not any 24/7 feed to fall again on. That is after growing the default sensitivity and boosting the utmost clip size.

I assume all these video quirks are to assist preserve battery life and inside storage, and the movies get the job completed for those who simply need alerts about what is going on on throughout the digital camera’s subject of view. Should you’re hoping to share, edit, or save these clips, you will not be pleased with the Nest Cam. The upshot is that the digital camera lasts a very long time on a cost. The longevity will range based mostly on how typically it has to get up to document, however mine is doing so fairly continuously all through the day (as a result of canines). I am on observe for six or seven weeks of battery life.

Picture Gallery (2 Photographs)

Do you have to purchase it? Score 6.5/10

Google Nest Cam (Battery)

For most individuals, no, you should not purchase a Nest Cam but—wait and see if Google can handle a few of its shortcomings. The exception is in case you are all-in with Google Residence. Even when it isn’t considerably higher or worse than, say, an Arlo digital camera, the Nest Cam integrates with all of your different Google units, and setup is a breeze. The digital camera has some nice enhancements over previous Nest units, just like the battery, free exercise zones, and offline caching. On the identical time, the Residence app is just not perfect for managing cameras, there are some lacking options, and the video high quality is simply okay. You must anticipate a few of that with a battery-powered digital camera, however it exacerbates the sluggish activation and flickering points—what little video I do get of an occasion does not even look good.

The Nest Conscious subscription is much less spendy than it was once, having dropped the per-camera pricing final 12 months. It is $6 per 30 days for those who solely need to retain occasions and $12 if you wish to hold 24/7 video within the cloud. Conscious additionally provides options like facial recognition, however that is imagined to be an on-device function with the brand new digital camera. It does not sit proper with me that Google is paywalling one thing your {hardware} is meant to do regionally. The $180 asking value additionally feels a bit excessive, given all the problems I’ve seen. Though, that is par for Nest {hardware}.

For many who have constructed their good properties round Google, the Nest Cam matches proper in. That is me—I primarily use Google {hardware} round the home, and I would favor to make use of Google’s wire-free digital camera even when it is missing in some areas. I’ve had Arlo cameras for years, however the reliability has by no means been nice. The Nest Cam does not enhance on that side, however the remaining is a small step up (Arlo’s non-hub digital camera has horrible battery life, for instance). So, I’d contemplate shopping for just a few of those units, however I am not going to advocate them usually till Google can handle among the shortcomings.

Purchase it if…

  • You have already got a number of Google good dwelling units.
  • There is not any energy outlet close to the placement it is advisable to monitor.

Do not buy it if…

  • You do not already use Google Nest {hardware}.
  • You want high-quality video footage.

The place to purchase

UPDATE: 2021/11/03 13:22 EST BY RYNE HAGER

I purchased one for myself, and I’ve regrets

After reviewing the battery-powered Nest Doorbell (and whereas caught in NYC for just a few days), I opted to select up one of many new battery-powered Nest Cams to go together with it. I’d already been utilizing the Nest Doorbell with out a Nest Conscious subscription, so it made sense for me to be the one to check out how the Nest Cam stacks up for these unwilling to pay. And, briefly: It doesn’t.

Just like the Nest Doorbell, except you pay for a Nest Conscious subscription, you solely get a rolling three hours of recordings and alerts. Which means the free expertise can’t even let you know a few theft that befell at 3 AM for those who occur to sleep previous 6 — and that is ridiculous. Google informed me beforehand that it believed this was aggressive with different choices, however I disagree: Wyze does higher with two weeks of rolling cloud storage for free (admittedly, with a 12s restrict and a cooldown), and each Eufy and Arlo provide native storage mechanisms. Ostensibly totally on-device options like Acquainted Face detection are additionally paywalled, regardless that Google confirmed to me that performance is constructed proper into the {hardware} itself that you simply already paid for.

Nest Cam Battery eave (1)

For $180, I believe Google must be providing extra for the bottom expertise. 24 hours of recordings can be cheap, and Google actually shouldn’t be paywalling hardware-level options while you paid an up-front price for that {hardware}.

On prime of that, I’ve the identical complaints that I did for my Nest Doorbell. The digital camera additionally likes to flicker when recording in shiny mild — I assume that’s a bug that Google can repair ultimately. And, even on the highest potential sensitivity settings, the digital camera can’t acknowledge individuals or animals till they’re inside one thing like ten or twelve ft. Utilizing it on battery energy, most of my alerts begin effectively after they need to, and I don’t take pleasure in steady recording for context — although utilizing it plugged in would repair that subject. Nonetheless, alerts straight-up miss individuals or motion that is likely to be additional away. For a “safety” digital camera, the Nest Cam (Battery) lets loads of issues slide.

The battery life I’m getting is a little bit worse than Ryan — most likely as a result of I needed to crank issues just like the sensitivity settings and recording high quality to attempt to enhance my outcomes. At round 4-6 weeks, I’m not precisely thrilled that I’ll must cost the digital camera fairly so continuously. I put mine in a spot that’s kind of arduous to achieve in an eave, with very exact framing, and it’s troublesome to get it again precisely the place I would like it with the magnetic mount. I actually want Google supplied some sort of alignment device for the Residence app the place I may evaluate the present view with a saved snapshot — even higher if it may information me barely for the right way to tweak the digital camera in its mount to get again to these outcomes.

Nest Cam battery charging cable port

Charging can also be annoying. Not like the Nest Doorbell (Battery), the Nest Cam doesn’t take a typical USB Kind-C port for energy; you want a particular magnetic cable with pogo pins. I don’t find out about you, however I are likely to misplace issues on a regular basis, which is an enormous a part of why I like how ubiquitous USB Kind-C is on this far-future 2021 dystopia. And I simply know for a truth that each time I take this digital camera inside to cost it, discovering the one dumb particular cable I would like will imply looking out by drawers and cupboards. One way or the other, the Nest Doorbell managed the identical IP54 ranking with a full-blown USB Kind-C port on the again, and I want Google had completed the identical right here.

In the end, for those who aren’t going to pay for a subscription, you shouldn’t purchase the Nest Cam (Battery). And for those who aren’t already knee-deep in Nest cameras, then I believe you actually shouldn’t purchase one. You will get 5 Wyze Cam v3s for a similar value, festoon your total dwelling within the heat and watchful gaze of good safety cameras, and luxuriate in higher video high quality (particularly in low-light) and free cloud recording. Google providers and Assistant integration aren’t nearly as good with Wyze merchandise, however I wouldn’t pay 5 occasions extra for that alone, given all the Nest’s different drawbacks.

Frankly, I want I hadn’t purchased my Nest Cam (Battery), and I believe that claims all of it.

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