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Nest Cam (indoor, wired) review: A great indoor camera for Google devotees

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
90
inc VAT

A refined, well-made indoor security camera equipped with Google’s smarts, but it’s expensive

Pros 
AI detection works well
Multi-camera subscription is well priced
Good-quality video and audio with minimal lag
Cons 
Expensive
Single camera subscription is pricey
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Indoor security cameras are one of those products that have become truly commoditised in recent times.

You can get hold of one for peanuts these days and it won’t be an absolute disaster; you definitely don’t need to spend the £90 Google is asking for the indoor Nest Cam.

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Nest Cam (indoor, wired) review: What do you get for the money?

Indeed, unless you’re making a serious investment in a multi-camera, multi-device home-security setup, you can pick up three Blink Mini cameras for this price, or two and a Sync 2 module for local storage.

So what does this inflated price get you? For starters, a much nicer, premium design. Where the Blink Mini has all the construction quality of a Happy Meal toy, the Nest Cam has a heft and solidity to it and a premium level of finish that wouldn’t look out of place in a high-end show apartment.

That weight isn’t just there for show, either; it helps keep the camera in position (without the help of Blu-tack) when it’s on a shelf, and its built-in metal arm makes it easy to tilt and pan the lens of the camera so it points exactly where you want it to.

The Nest Cam also comes with a certain amount of free cloud storage, which isn’t something its big-name rivals offer. It only stores video clips up to three hours into the past – after that the clips are deleted – but at least you can actually use most of the camera’s features without paying for a subscription; with Ring’s cameras, if you don’t pay, the only thing you can do is tap into the live feed.

Otherwise, the Nest Cam’s specifications are pretty standard. As the name suggests, the Nest isn’t a battery-powered camera, so although video and audio are both sent over your wireless network, power is drawn from the mains. Fortunately, the power cable is long enough – at three metres – that you can position the camera pretty much wherever you like, even if your plug sockets are in a less than ideal location.

It isn’t weatherproof, either, so you can’t mount it outside where it might get wet. And it captures video at what is, these days, a fairly standard resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 at 30fps. It can also capture video in the dark, too, using a single LED.

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best home security cameras

Nest Cam (indoor, wired) review: What do we like about it?

Look beyond the spec sheet, and the Nest Cam does a good job of justifying its premium price. The main attraction is the camera’s on-device, AI-driven object-detection system, which can identify people, cats, dogs and vehicles as they pass through the camera’s field of vision. If you pay for the subscription, it can do facial recognition as well.

This information is used to create more informative notifications, which is handy if you need a camera to monitor your pets when you’re away or you want to know what time your kids came in from school. And it makes long lists of recorded video clips easier to browse, as you can filter by each type of object in the History view of the accompanying Google App.

Combine the object notification with Google’s highly flexible motion zone detection system, which allows you to restrict notifications and video clip recording to certain types of events, and you can set the camera up pretty much exactly as you’d like.

Performance is impressive. It takes little more than a second or two for live video to appear on the screen of your phone after tapping on a notification. What’s more, there’s barely any lag between motion and audio travelling from the camera to your mobile device.

Clearly, the speed of your internet connection at each end will come into play here, but I found that over a standard 38MB/sec broadband link, and with my phone on two bars of 5G signal, there was less than a second of lag for both video and audio.

Video quality is good – it’s certainly sharp enough for reliable face recognition in my medium-sized kitchen – and the night vision LED was bright enough to reach all corners of that room as well. And I found the object detection was excellent, detecting faces, people and animals with accuracy and reliability.

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Nest Cam (indoor, wired) review: How much is the video subscription?

The main problems with the Nest Cam centre not on the hardware or the software, which are superb, but on the ongoing subscription costs.

As with most security cameras from big-name manufacturers, there’s a subscription fee to pay if you want to access all the features – £5 per month. That adds support for multiple cameras and stores event-driven video clips for up to 30 days. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the free cloud storage option is sufficient: a time window of three hours isn’t remotely practical from a security standpoint.

Whether you view this as a competitive price, however, depends on how many Nest devices you plan on installing. If you only need one camera, it’s overkill. Ring’s subscription is less than this and so is the Blink Mini’s cloud storage, both at £2.50 per camera, per month.

However, once you get into the realms of multiple cameras and, perhaps, a doorbell, then the £5 per month starts to look better value. Both Ring and Blink cost £8 per month for unlimited cameras.

Of course, if you purchase a Blink Camera with a Sync 2 module, or any one of Eufy’s security cameras, you also have the option of storing video locally, thus avoiding the ongoing cost of subscription-based video storage altogether. It’s not quite as secure as cloud video storage, but it is free.

READ NEXT: The best Ring doorbells to buy

Nest Cam (indoor, wired) review: Verdict

Overall, though, we do like the indoor Nest Cam. It’s nicely made, and works very well. Object and facial recognition is superb, it’s very responsive and, for setups involving multiple cameras, the Nest Aware subscription service is good value.

With so many cheaper rivals available, however, many of which can store video locally as well as in the cloud, the indoor Nest Cam is tough to wholeheartedly recommend.

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