Google Nest Cam (battery) review: home security, no wires necessary

No wires, and it can stand up to British weather (Google)

Google’s smart home Nest products are all about turning your gaff into a digital fortress.

And every fortress needs a security system, which is why the tech giant has updated its line of Nest Cam security cameras.

The big change here is the new Nest Cam is now battery operated. You won’t need to find a plug socket (apart from to charge it) or wire it directly into your home’s electrical supply.

Google says it can be used indoors or outdoors (it’s rated IP54 weatherproof, so won’t mind getting wet) and provides a handy mounting plate, complete with screws and rawl plugs in the box. A fiercely strong magnetic base attaches to the plate which the camera then snaps onto.

If you’d rather not drill into a wall, you can stand the camera up either with Nest’s indoor stand (sold separately for £30) or a standard tripod attached to the screw thread underneath the camera.

Google supplies an indoor charging cable that also magnetically attaches to the underside of the camera and can either be left in or removed altogether and stowed away in a drawer somewhere.

It takes around five hours to charge the battery completely and then you’ll see the battery level each time you access the camera in the Google Home app. I haven’t had the camera up and running long enough to wear down the battery yet and I’ve been using it off and on for around five days.

Google gives you everything in the box to get started (Metro.co.uk)

There aren’t any old fashioned paper instructions in the box, all the setting up is done over the Google Home app.

As you’d imagine, being free from wires gives you a great deal of flexibility over where you position the little white sentry. If you’d prefer to have it constantly wired up to the outside of your property, then Google will also sell you a weatherproof cable (5m or 10m) for a further £30.

Underneath the camera is the charging port, a screw for mounts that I’m obscuring with my thumb and a microphone for barking orders at people from far away (Metro.co.uk)

The camera itself has a 130° diagonal field of view and a 16:9 aspect ratio. You view footage through the Google Home app rather than the ageing Nest app. Clearly, Google is working to bring all its Nest products under the Google Home hub.

Once charged up, mounted and connected to your account (you scan a QR code) you’re up and running. The Nest Cam (battery) will supply you with 24/7 live streaming through the app and the ability to detect movement from things like people, pets or falling furniture. It records in 1080p HD quality and can see in the dark thanks to the infrared ‘Night Vision’ mode.

The camera is capable of recording up to three hours’ of footage internally. If you want to get more than that then – like everything in tech these days – you’ll need to pay for a subscription.

Google’s Nest Aware service runs to £5 a month (for the entry level) and affords you up to 30 days of event recording backup for however many cameras you may have in your home. If you intend to keep the Nest Cam powered at all times, you’ll need to pay more (£10 a month) for constant video recording (as opposed to live streaming) and 60 days of backup.

You can buy an additional indoor stand for the Nest Cam (battery) for an extra £30 (Google)

Subscriptions aside, if you delve into the settings, you’ll be greeted with the option to set ‘Activity Zones’. This basically means portioning off sections of what the camera can see and setting different rules accordingly. You could may want to designate the garden as one zone for one camera and have it just watch out for animals, while a second scans the indoors for people. Google’s facial recognition software also plays nice with the Nest Cam (battery) so you can have it tag people it recognises.

Setting up ‘Routines’ in the Google Home app is a necessity for letting the camera know when you’ve left the house. It uses the location from your phone to determine this and will ping you with a notification when you’re a significant distance away to let you know it’s got your house covered.

If you want to get the best possible results, you’ll need to pay for a Nest Aware subscription (Google)

The Google Home app is a bit more fiddly and convoluted than the old Nest app, but that’s because there are so many different products competing for space there. Still, at least it keeps it all together.

And, while setting up and configuring things is a bit of a pain, once it’s all done the results are satisfying. If you’ve got a Google Nest Hub, for example, you can use it as a display for the camera feed.

This opens up the possibility that you may want to move the Nest Cam from it’s place in the hallway or garden and put it next to the cot to use as a baby monitor that links to the Nest Hub on your bedside table. The lack of wiring and easy positioning thanks to the base makes it a simple switch.

The minimalist white design also means this camera will fit most places without causing too much attention to itself. A green LED above the lens indicates when it’s powered on.

The minimalist design means it can fit pretty much anywhere without drawing too much attention to itself (Metro.co.uk)

The Nest Cam (battery) doesn’t come cheap at £179.99 (or £319.99 for a double pack) but it’s competitively priced with rival products like Amazon’s Ring cameras. And if you’re already halfway into the Google ecosystem with the likes of the Nest Audio around the house, it’s obviously the one to go for.

You’ll likely find some of the competition boast more comprehensive features, but the Nest Cam (battery) offers a good blend of simplicity, compatibility and flexibility that make it a good buy for anyone wanting to add a little extra security to their burgeoning digital fortress.

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.


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