Google Nest Cam with floodlight review: good security camera, awkward design

In the event you’re going to put in one out of doors security digicam at your private home, a floodlight digicam is the most suitable choice. You get lights and a digicam in a single unit to seize all of the motion and also you don’t need to mess with charging batteries or drilling holes by way of your partitions for energy cables — a floodlight cam can go wherever you’ve current out of doors lighting. It’s a win-win sensible dwelling system. The one downsides are a excessive upfront worth and a extra concerned set up.

Sadly, the brand new Google Nest Cam with floodlight ($280) doesn’t resolve both of those points, being one of many dearer floodlight cams and having the oddest design and set up course of. However, regardless of these failings, it’s a wonderful floodlight digicam and has a number of advantages over the competitors — which is multiplying.

These advantages embrace a built-in battery backup for if the facility goes out, clever movement sensing so the floodlights aren’t at all times going off when a moth flies by, and on-device processing that interprets to a lot speedier alerts — essential for a security digicam.

Verge Rating

7.5 out of 10

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Good Stuff

  • Good brilliant lights with good controls
  • Fast and free sensible alerts
  • Dependable efficiency
  • Choice of 24/7 recording ($)
  • Constructed-in backup battery

Dangerous Stuff

  • Lesser picture high quality than earlier Nest Cams
  • Subscription plan wanted for security use
  • No siren or helpful sound alerts
  • Poor app implementation
  • Designed for a horizontal set up solely

The Nest Cam with floodlight is functionally a Google Nest Cam (indoor/out of doors) magnetically hooked up to 2, high-powered 2,400 lumen-producing, motion-sensing lights. It has all the identical digicam specs — 1080p HD video with evening imaginative and prescient, a 130-degree diagonal subject of view, two-way audio, IP54 climate resistance, and a built-in battery.

It could additionally document as much as three hours of event-based video clips without cost and has free sensible alerts for movement, folks, autos, and animals.

A siren is the one lacking characteristic on the Nest Cam

The specs are akin to the competitors, though it’s the narrowest subject of view by 10 levels. Ring provides 140 levels in its Floodlight Cam Plus ($180), and Eufy’s $300 choice has a 360-degree rotating digicam and 2K video, which is identical decision Arlo provides in its battery Flood Cam Professional 3 ($250) that may be powered with an AC adaptor. The brand new Wyze Floodlight Cam has the choice of two cameras, so you possibly can survey two angles over 130 levels every.

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The Nest Cam with floodlight is identical digicam because the Google Nest Cam.

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It attaches magnetically and is then hardwired in by way of a brief magnetic cable.

A siren is the one lacking characteristic on the Nest Cam that’s discovered on all of the competitors. In the event you pay for Nest Conscious, you do get the choice to name 911 immediately from the app, however the lack of a loud alarm to scare off a possible intruder is an enormous omission right here. Moreover, each Eufy and Wyze have the choice of onboard storage, so that you don’t must pay for a cloud subscription to view recorded video.

With the Google Nest Cam, a Nest Conscious subscription (beginning at $6 a month) is important when you’re planning to make use of this digicam as a security system. Whilst you get three hours of event-triggered recordings without cost, that’s not going to do a lot good if there’s somebody creeping round your property at 1 a.m. however you don’t see the alert till you get up at 6 a.m.

A subscription provides 30 or 60 days of event-based recordings, 24/7 steady recording, the wonderful Acquainted Faces characteristic, and sound alerts — though just for carbon monoxide and smoke alarms, which is much less helpful for an out of doors digicam. I do miss the “canine barking” and “folks speaking” alerts that got here on the older Nest IQ cams.

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The Google Nest Cam is designed to be put in on a wall fairly than underneath an eave. However even with this barely odd setup, it labored properly as a security digicam.

My colleague Dan Seifert reviewed the Google Nest Cam, and his ideas apply right here — it is a good digicam with first rate video high quality. Nonetheless, it’s not as nice because the Nest IQ cameras had been, whose 4K sensors and longer digital zoom made it simpler to hone in on particulars similar to a reputation badge or license plate. The digicam can also’t mechanically zoom and pan as its predecessors might (and the Arlo can), a helpful characteristic for an out of doors security digicam as it may monitor somebody additional round your property.

Daytime footage is good sufficient to determine folks however when you zoom in it will get pixelated rapidly.

However when paired with the floodlights, the Google Nest Cam will get a clearer image at evening — the added lumens permitting for full-color evening imaginative and prescient. Whereas this doesn’t assist with distance, it does present extra element.

Google has additionally carried out the lighting management properly, supplying you with as a lot management over the floodlights as you get with every other sensible mild. You’ll be able to flip them on and off and dim or brighten them with voice management or within the Google Residence app. You may also add them right into a Routine, to allow them to come on while you depart and switch off while you arrive dwelling.

These are security lights, although, so even on the dimmest setting, they’re nonetheless brilliant, and I wouldn’t plan on utilizing them as out of doors accent lighting.

Nighttime footage is crisp and clear (as much as 20 ft) and when the floodlights kick on (triggered by individual detection on this clip) you get full shade.

There’s additionally loads of management for deciding what triggers the lights and when. You’ll be able to select a number of from movement, reside viewing, and any digicam occasion (similar to folks, animals, autos) to activate the lights at evening, and there are 4 daylight sensing choices to find out how darkish it must be earlier than they arrive on. There’s additionally a setting for a way lengthy the lights keep on as soon as activated, from 10 seconds as much as 5 minutes. Within the Residence app you can even flip them on or off like common lights, with no timeout.

There’s loads of management for deciding what triggers the lights and when.

These choices considerably minimize down how typically I lit up the aspect of my home the place I positioned the digicam. I set it to activate solely when it noticed an individual and created an exercise zone to chop out my neighbors’ pathway, which is adjoining to mine. In comparison with the Ring Floodlight Digital camera put in on the opposite aspect of my home (which additionally has individual detection), it turned on a lot much less ceaselessly.

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The Nest Cam’s two floodlights are managed within the Google Residence app in the identical method as different sensible lighting choices.

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The choice to create exercise zones paired with sensible movement alerts prevents the floodlights from activating too typically.

I’ve two principal points with this digicam: the Google Residence app and the design. I’ll begin with the app. The Residence app does some issues properly — together with lighting management, and it’s nice that the floodlight is about up similar to every other mild within the app. However it’s not good for viewing or managing security cameras; particularly, the timeline view is clunky, and the route into viewing occasions is convoluted (though I do just like the mini GIFs you get while you ultimately land on the Full Historical past web page). The outdated Nest app is significantly better, however Google is transferring away from it, and frustratingly, you possibly can solely use this Nest digicam within the Google app.

Living proof, there aren’t any controls for the floodlights within the digicam portion of the app. You’ll be able to select what turns them on within the digicam settings, however you possibly can’t regulate brightness, flip them on or off, or dim them there. As a substitute, it’s a must to navigate over to the principle Google Residence management web page — about six faucets away — to do any of this. This appears like an oversight and is a irritating consumer expertise.

As for design, Google over-thought this one. A floodlight digicam is an easy idea: lights with a digicam within the center. Most of these available on the market at the moment look remarkably comparable, however the Nest Cam with floodlight has a base that’s virtually a foot lengthy. This implies when you’re putting in on the aspect of your own home on a wall, the digicam extends outwards farther than others do — giving the movement sensor beneath it and the digicam itself a greater view. However when you set up it underneath an eave — the place all my current floodlight wiring is (and I’m not alone right here) — you find yourself with a really lengthy, ungainly wanting system dangling off the aspect of your own home.

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An awkward design makes the Google Nest Cam difficult for an under-the-eave set up.

Putting in the floodlight was additionally difficult, primarily due to this awkward positioning. Attaching the wiring was much like any floodlight system; you should hardwire it to your homes’ electrical wiring utilizing a regular out of doors junction field (and when you’re not comfy with wiring, particularly whereas on the highest of a ladder, I might extremely suggest paying for knowledgeable to put in it — Nest provides this for $179).

The issue got here with getting the precise angle for the digicam. As a result of we needed to set up it primarily the other way up, the very brief wire that attaches the Google Nest Cam to the floodlights left little room for maneuverability. I couldn’t angle it excessive sufficient to seize the entire space I needed to.

Fortunately, the lights themselves have much more flexibility, and you’ll rotate them absolutely forwards and backwards, and simply place them to solid the sunshine the place you need it and never into your neighbors’ window.

Awkward design apart, the Google Nest Cam with floodlight carried out very properly in my testing. The lights reply precisely to the completely different movement occasions — solely turning on for folks, animals, or movement when these had been chosen.

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The ability cable, movement sensor, and microphone seen listed here are designed to go underneath the digicam, however when mounting underneath an eave they sit sideways. The ability cable additionally prevents the digicam from being positioned increased on the magnetic mount.

The lights additionally responded immediately to common movement occasions as these use the movement sensor on the floodlight. The sensible movement activations (for folks and animal) rely on the digicam seeing the individual or animal first, so that they took a second or two longer.

Alerts additionally got here by way of on my iPhone 13 a lot quicker than these on the Ring floodlight digicam I’m additionally testing, possible as a result of Nest’s on-device processing. Nonetheless, Nest’s Acquainted Faces characteristic nonetheless wants some work, telling me at one level it had noticed me outdoors, when it was really the fairly burly Comcast tech on the market working with my connections.

In case you are invested within the Google Residence ecosystem, the Google Nest Cam with floodlight is the best choice when you have the wiring in place. It’s a better option than the battery Nest Cam and the Arlo Floodlight Professional 3, the one different floodlight digicam that’s absolutely built-in with the Google Residence app (the place you possibly can view footage within the app and on a Nest sensible show). The Arlo has an analogous worth and might be put in with out wires if that’s a difficulty, however the lighting isn’t as versatile.

Not one of the new Nest Cams, which embrace an indoor/out of doors battery cam, indoor wired cam and doorbell cam, work with every other sensible ecosystem. So, if you’re working an Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit sensible dwelling, it is best to have a look at Ring, Eufy, Arlo or Netatmo’s Sensible Out of doors Digital camera. These all work with Alexa, and the Netatmo and Arlo additionally work with HomeKit.

Pictures by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

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