Earlier this year, Google refreshed their range of Nest cameras with both wired and wireless camera options that also included a fully wireless doorbell. The wireless camera and doorbell launched in August, but now the wired Nest Cam with Floodlight and Nest Cam Indoor have launched in Australia and it’s time to put them through their paces.
This review will focus on the Nest Cam with Floodlight, but you can check out the Nest Cam Indoor review here.
Priced at $549, the Nest Cam with Floodlight is an expensive option. There’s similar models around from Ring at a cheaper price point, while Arlo offers wireless Floodlight options with a large battery.
Still, Google is promising a lot of smart functions with the Nest Cam range, so a new Floodlight option means we’re keen to check it out.
I’ve spent just over a week with the Nest Cam with Floodlight, and here’s how it went.
The Nest Cam with Floodlight comes with essentially everything you need to physically install the camera if you’re replacing an existing floodlight. If you’re putting it somewhere new, you may find some additional hardware is required.
Installation technically involves an electrician. You’re dealing with 240V AC, so don’t mess around and get a sparky out to put it up. I replaced an old floodlight with existing wiring, so installation was super simple, but may get a little more in depth if you need to add wiring..
As well as including a brief instruction manual, Google has also supplied a fairly comprehensive installation video to check out.
While Malek, my sparky, handled the wires, the actual Nest Cam installation was left to me. It’s as simple as attaching the proprietary power cable to the base of the camera and then attaching it to the magnetic base.
One note on installation is that you can’t install it sideways. You can install it upside down with the app including a setting to invert video, but you can’t install it on its side which is a little odd, but understandable. Still, should be fairly easy to implement in settings, so hopefully there’s an update for this.
As with the Nest Cam Outdoor, I am concerned about security with the magnetic bases – as simple as they make it to reposition the camera, they’re also easy to unplug or remove. Google has an accessory on the Google Store for securing it but it’s currently out of stock.
Setup in the Google Home app is as simple as following the bouncing ball. There’s a QR Code on a sticker over the front of the camera you’ll need to scan which makes installation easier and that’s about it. You get some privacy questions about the Video Recording history and Microphone defaults, but it’s all straightforward.
There are quite a few settings to tweak for the Nest Cam in terms of what it responds to. Google has made the camera software smart, so you won’t get notifications from branches waving or cars driving past at least unless you want to. The Google Home settings allow you to turn on animal notifications – handy for me when the dog walks past and I can talk to her remotely through the day – or for vehicles, or even just general motion.
Of course you can set the video quality, Night Vision settings and even the brightness of the notification lights on the camera itself – solid green is online, blinking green is someone watching and more.
Ultimately there are a LOT of options here, including ways to change those privacy settings on video recording or Mic interaction as well. It’s fairly well laid out and easy to find the settings you want, when you need them.
The camera module itself is the same as that used for the new Nest Cam Indoor/Outdoor, it simply has a hard-wired Floodlight mount to attach to. This means you get the same 1/2.8″, 2-megapixel sensor with 130° diagonal field of view capturing up to 1080p video at 30 FPS in HDR which also includes Night Vision.
The Nest Cam magnetically attaches to the floodlight mount just like the wall mount, allowing you to adjust it fairly easily.
It’s weather resistant with an IP54 rating and Google says they’re UV resistant and have even been through drop testing. The cameras can take extreme cold down to -20°C but only up to 40°C which may become a problem in the extreme heat of an Australian summer, but so far so good in the early summer storms we’ve been experiencing. Ring offers a -20°C – 50°C range on their Floodlight Camera, which has a bit of wriggle room, so we’ll see how summer goes for Nest.
The Nest Cam does include a backup 6Ah battery which means you can continue recording even if you have a blackout to the house. The Nest Cam can record video locally, with up to one hour of video able to be uploaded once the power and internet resumes. This one hour of video is event recording, which translates to about a weeks worth of events. It’s a handy little backup feature really.
The Event View is fairly good, though does run out quickly if you don’t have a Nest Aware subscription – we’ll get to that shortly.
Viewing your timeline of events is through a scrubber which you can simply scroll back through to find the time. It’s not the best way to review events – other cameras break the event view into days to make it easier to find older footage, but it does work. You can also choose what events – people, animals, motion etc. – are shown, so that does narrow it down.
You can download the clips that are capture from Event Details view to keep them if you need them, but if you want the historical footage from the cloud you’ll need that Nest Aware subscription.
Quality of the video is good, though it would be nice to have some 4K action for the $549 price tag. The brightly lit day footage looks great, as does the footage at night when it’s lit by the floodlights.
The Floodlight mount includes dual LED lights capable of up to 2400 lumens maximum brightness. You can swivel these lights around to point where you need fairly easily, letting you customise the light well around your home or building.
You an adjust the brightness of the Floodlights in the Google Home app, though annoyingly not while in the camera interface. Instead you need to go back a few levels to adjust the light brightness and then back to the camera feed – annoying.
The lights have a 4,000K colour temperature which is a warm, white light but you can’t adjust the temperature if you prefer a warmer (more yellow) or cooler (more blue) temperature.
The floodlights will turn on based on the amount of daylight which works fairly well on the Default setting, even with daylight savings in effect. You can also select how long the lights remain on for and also what sets it off and how sensitive it is.
I mounted the Nest Cam with Floodlight in my backyard and the Floodlights have a pretty good throw distance on the default max brightness settings. It would pay to ensure the positioning and brightness aren’t annoying the neighbours and the Nest Cam with Floodlight lets you do that quite easily.
The Nest Cam includes a high quality speaker and microphone allowing for full-duplex two-way audio. Google adds in noise cancellation so you get reduced background noise, making it easier to communicate.
I note the audio isn’t super loud, even at the max volume. It’s still loud enough to have a good conversation through the camera but if you’re getting a little hard of hearing (that’s me!) you may need to take a step towards the camera.
One “missing” feature from the Nest Cam with Floodlight is the lack of siren. A number of competitors include a decently loud siren you can initiate remotely in order to scare off an intruder or alert the neighbours. It’s not a massive hole in the feature set, and Google could implement something through the app if they really want something like that in the future.
The Nest Cam range come with a number of features, though it’s now a matter of whether you want to pay for them.
The Nest Cam range will let you login and view live footage, or view some historical footage but it’s a rolling storage function where old footage is written over as new footage comes in. That is unless you have a Nest Aware subscription.
Nest Aware comes in two options: Nest Aware, or Nest Aware Plus. Nest Aware will cost $9/month ($80/year), while the Nest Aware Plus sub is $18/month ($180/year). The main difference is 30 days vs 60 days Event Video History and the option for 10 days of 24/7 video recording – certainly something worth thinking about for a business.
Feature wise, the Nest Aware subscription adds some quality functionality to the device, with the largest being the cloud storage of footage – up to and including 24/7 video history if you need it. The primary driver for me to subscribe to Nest Aware is the Familiar Face detection, which lets me know when my son or wife has hit the backyard, so the basic Nest Aware sub is all I need.
Should you buy it?
The Nest Cam range are very much suited to those in the Google eco-system. They’re stylish, fairly easy to install and deliver crisp, high quality video both day and night, with the floodlights adding to the night vision as well as your ability to see outside your own home.
The price is about the only sticking point for the Nest Cam with Floodlight. At $549, it’s priced well above options offered by Ring, Swann, Eufy and other manufacturers who offer wired floodlight cameras, some of which include both local and/or cloud recording options and are Google Assistant compatible – though not quite as well as the Nest Cam range, but still.
The quality of the camera and floodlight on the Nest Cam is good, but I wouldn’t be paying full price for this. If you can get it on-sale and are heavily in the Google eco-system, the Nest Cam with Floodlight is definitely worth a look.
You can check out the Nest Cam with Floodlight on the Google Store, or in-store at Harvey Norman, Officeworks, The GoodGuys, JB HiFi and Bing Lee.