The Nest Cam (Indoor) is the ‘other’ camera that Google released in their refresh of the Nest Cam range last year. The Nest Cam (Indoor) offers a smaller, more streamlined option with a cheaper price point, but without some of the features of the Indoor/Outdoor model.
Priced at $169, the Nest Cam (Indoor) is a far more attractive option than the $329 for the Nest Cam Indoor/Outdoor model, though you lose options like the battery which allows the camera to continue recording in the event of a power outage.
If your power is fairly stable, or it’s not a necessity for 24/7 recording then the Nest Cam (Indoor) offers that option.
I’ve been using the Nest Cam (Indoor) Wired for a couple of months now (House moves are a killer) but it’s given me a lot of insight into the use and what it’s good at, and where it needs some work.
For a start the physical size of the Nest Cam (Indoor) is smaller than its sibling. It’s also only available in matte white here in Australia, whereas the US gets options for beige, pink and green which is disappointing for those wanting a bit of an individual option.
While the Nest Cam Battery has more bulk, it’s also a standalone unit unless you add a stand or power cable. The Nest Cam Indoor though has a wired (1m) power cable attached with USB-A end to plug into the mains adapter supplied in the box. The camera is also attached to a mounting stand with ball and socket for easy positioning. You can also mount the stand to a wall or roof with the included socket found in the base.
The weighted rubberised base means it’s stable on a desk, shelf or wherever you mount it and the arm is easily moved, yet sticks in place when you find the right position.
The front of the Nest Camera Indoor houses the camera sensor, microphone and the status LED. The status LED lights up, pulses or turns off depending on what it’s doing at the time, which includes a green pulsing LED when the camera is in use.
Finally, there’s a speaker grille at the rear for sound to facilitate the two-way communication built-in to the camera.
Compared to the Nest Floodlight Camera, there’s no electrician or any specific mounting required (Unless you need it mounted) beyond plugging it in and heading into the Google Home app (Android and iOS).
Adding a new device in the Google Home app is always the same, simply hit the ‘+’ button in the top left, select ‘Set up device” and choose ‘New Device’.
From there you may be asked to turn off Wifi for the app to detect the camera itself, then you’ll sync settings and find your new camera added to your devices list in the Google Home app.
Features and Use
In terms of Tech Specs, the Nest Cam Indoor wired features a sensor capable of recording FullHD resolution video with HDR at 30fps in 16:9 aspect ratio. The camera itself has a 135° diagonal field of view which offers a fairly broad view of any room from the corners and it also includes night vision, though only in black & white.
Video quality is fairly good, offering you the option for up to 6x digital zoom to see who is in the frame. It would be nice to get the 4K sensor that previous Nest Cam models have had, but price is a factor and the 1080p resolution is definitely sufficient.
There is some slight ‘fish-eyeing’ from the wider angle lens on the camera, but it’s only really noticeable at the edges.
The notifications for activity are excellent, coming through to your phone in essentially real-time. There is a slight lag in the ability to review the footage from when you receive the notification until you can view the footage with ‘This video isn’t available yet’ – but it’s generally only a second or two.
Of course one of the big selling features of the Nest Cam range is the face recognition which will tell you who has entered the frame. You get a 30-day Nest Aware trial with your camera, but after your trial is up, you’ll need to subscribe.
The recognition part is hit and miss, at least until you train the AI. I spent a decent amount of time advising the camera that no, the alert was not an unfamiliar face, it was my son, wife or myself just from a different angle, or in a different light.
One notification I was never able to trigger was for pets. My dog – who lives mainly inside – is a constant companion around the house and while I tripped the recognition, Ellie was very much hit and miss on notifications. I can see her on the camera feed, however she seems to be a black hole sometimes when it comes to the camera.
For the Familiar Face detection in Nest Aware, well, that’s something you’ll need to pay for it, if you find it valuable. For me Familiar Face is a good idea, though I’d like some more granular controls to ignore or notify for specific faces – i.e don’t notify when my wife or I are seen, but notify when my son is seen.
If you’re looking into cameras for the home, unless you’re looking at options with local storage you’ll need a subscription. There’s benefits to having a company manage your video in the cloud, starting with the sheer size of storage you’ll need – especially if you want or need 24×7 recording, there’s also the security of backup and having the footage offsite. For Google, their subscription service is Nest Aware and it comes in two paid options.
You can of course use your Nest Cam Indoor without any subscription if you’re happy with access to the live feed and notifications about someone in the field of view of the camera. If you want more though, including familiar face detection and 24/7 continuous video history – then you need Nest Aware.
Starting from $9 per month/$80 per year with 30-days of event history saved, or you can go up to $18 per month/$180 per year which saves 60-days of event history as well as offering 24/7 video history storage.
Whether you need Nest Aware becomes more convenient, and cost effective as you add more cameras. With a single Nest Cam I wasn’t particularly interested in the additional features, though Familiar Faces was very attractive – however once I added on a doorbell and additional external Nest cameras, the need, or to be more precise, the want, for Nest Aware became more pressing.
The Event History too is wonderful to have as a backup – especially when nailing down a timeline for when someone enters a room. Familiar Faces was hit and miss for me on the Nest Cam Indoor (Wired), but for other Nest Cam’s I use, it was brilliant so it’s a matter of just paying for Nest Aware.
Two-way communication through the camera is good, with audio coming through crisp and clear. The speaker on the rear of the camera isn’t large, but has a decent volume.
There’s very little lag when you’re speaking through the camera, so you can actually carry on a conversation. There’s been other camera systems where you end up asking the person to repeat themselves or speak over the top of each other, but the Nest Cam seems to navigate this issue with ease.
One part of the audio controls I enjoyed was the ability to increase or decrease the volume through a slider in the Settings. It’s been a missing function for some cameras previously, so it’s nice to see it included by default.
Should you buy it?
The Nest Cam Indoor is the cheapest of the new Nest Cam range, and it’s also one of the most functional and best value for money.
Google has been able to include a lot of smarts with the Nest Cam Indoor, however they are locked behind the Nest Aware paywall. Even small features like historical video aren’t available if you don’t pay the subscription cost. While turning a profit is fine, Google does need to add a few more incentives for people wanting a simple standalone indoor camera, without the need for the subscription.
The video and audio quality on the Nest Cam Indoor is good, and the responsiveness of alerts means you can often catch whomever or whatever tripped the alert in the act.
Overall, at $169 the Nest Cam Indoor (Wired) is a good buy, but is more suited to people immersed in the Google Nest ecosystem. If you’re looking at whole home video security coverage, you may want to consider the Nest range as a whole based on all the reviews, but as a standalone indoor camera, this is a good option.
You can find the Nest Cam Indoor (Wired) at the Google Store, Harvey Norman, Bing Lee, Officeworks, JB Hifi and The Good Guys.