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Hands-on review: Google Nest Cam (Battery) and Nest Cam Stand
Fri, 12th Nov 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Almost eight years ago, Google purchased Nest Labs for a tidy sum of USD $3.2 billion who, at the time, specialised in smart thermostats and smoke detectors. At the time, this was the tech giant's second-largest acquisition after Motorola.

Since then, Google has released dozens of Nest products, and we've just had a few weeks with some of their latest – the Nest Cam Battery (Outdoor or indoor). These can be purchased in a one or two-pack and for this review, we chose the latter.

We were also sent the Nest Cam Stand, which is an option if you plan to use your Nest Cam indoors and don't want to worry about charging the battery.

FutureFive recently reviewed the similar wired indoor Nest Cam and the Nest Doorbell.

What's in the box?
Other than the two Nest Cam cameras, included in the box for each is a magnetic plate, wall plate, wall screws and wall anchors, along with a single charging cable and power adaptor for charging. Everything is very well presented and, dare I say it, very ‘Apple'.

The Nest Cam cameras themselves are rather uneventful to look at, but they do look and feel as though they're solidly built with a white matt finish. They're quite weighty, too, coming in at 398g each.

Set up
Google Home is Google's hub to allow you to connect all of your Google IoT (Internet of Things) devices, such as cameras, smart speakers, TVs etc.

Setting up each Nest Cam camera is a piece of cake and is done by clicking ‘New device' and scanning the QR code that's temporarily stuck to the front of the camera. Once this is done, you need to plug the camera in via the supplied charging cable and power adaptor, and the camera's status light will pulse blue to inform you it's ready to start the setup process.

Once you select whether the camera will be used indoors or outdoors, you'll then need to connect it to your WiFi, and then choose what room your camera will be located in. This is to ensure managing the cameras is easy, should you have more than one. Depending on your chosen location, you might need to move it around a few inches here and there to ensure it has a stable connection to your WiFi, although this is probably only an issue should you choose to set it up outdoors.

Google recommends placing the camera between 1.8m and 2m from the ground if you do choose to install it outside.

Once your Nest Cam camera is set up, everything is operational via the Google Home app. Out and about and worried about any potential intruders at home? Simply open the app and tune in. It's really that simple. 
The Nest Cam features a 2-megapixel colour sensor with a 130-degree field of view and can operate at up to 1080p at 30 frames/sec. There's also a 6x digital zoom should you need to get a closer look at whatever you're filming.

The Nest Cam can also operate between -20 degrees and 40 degrees, so it'll perform outside no matter whereabouts in New Zealand you're located. It's also IP54 rated, meaning it can withstand dust, rain and snow. The batteries can last over seven months, although this will diminish significantly should you install the camera in a spot that is heavy in foot traffic.

Should the Nest Cam detect movement, it will instantly start recording, which is signalled on the camera via a green light. This light will blink to let the subject know that someone is watching the feed via the Google Home app.

The app will send you a push notification when the Nest Cam detects movement, and it also knows whether it was a person, animal, vehicle, or something else that set it off.

Google offers a free trial for Nest Aware which is a subscription that allows you to go back and view your clip history over the past 30 days. Without this, you can only watch clips from up to three hours ago, which is something to consider if you're constantly away from home and don't want to keep reminding yourself to open the app and download any clips before they disappear. Subscriptions start from $9 per month.

We set up the Nest Cam cameras in various positions during testing, including inside the fridge to test the camera's capabilities in cooler temperatures. It performed well.

The aforementioned Nest Cam Stand was perfect for setting up the camera indoors and could double-up as a baby or dog monitor. It's worth mentioning that Nest Cam sports six high-power infrared LEDs, meaning footage at night is clear and precise.

At $359 for one Nest Cam (or $669 for the two-pack and $969 for the three-pack), there are certainly cheaper home surveillance options out there – see products from Arlo and Ring.

However, the fact that the Nest Cam is sold by Google, you have the benefit of linking all of your Google devices via the seamless Google Home app, which is a big plus for buyers given the amount of IoT devices that are currently available.

The Google Nest Cams are a great option if you're conscious about security at home, especially if you have other smart devices that can link to the app.