Nest Cam IQ Security Camera Review

Dec 21, 2017 |

4 out of 5 stars

What We Like About the Nest Cam IQ

Nest Cam IQ takes smart, DIY home security to the next level. Not only does it let you know what’s going on when you’re not at home, it also attempts to make sense of what’s happening. Sharp, zoomed-in pictures, elegant design, 24/7 live video, and the ability to recognize faces all make the Nest Cam IQ the most intelligent surveillance camera in its class. Best of all, you’re not required to sign up for a large home security system or commit to a lengthy contract. With Nest Cam IQ, you control the level of security and how much it’s going to cost you.

How Nest Cam IQ Works

The Nest Cam IQ is a stand-alone home security camera designed for indoor use. Using Wi-Fi to connect to the Nest app and your home network, it gives you 24/7 live video streaming and mobile alerts. Like the original Nest Cam, the IQ works seamlessly with the Nest platform, as well as Google Home and Amazon Echo, to provide smart, simple DIY home security.

Nest Cam IQ vs. Nest Cam Indoor

Nest Cam IQ

Nest Cam Indoor

indoor nest camera

Price $299 $199
Monthly Fees $10 or $30/mo. for optional Nest Aware subscription ($100 or $300/yr.) $10 or $30/mo. for optional Nest Aware subscription ($100 or $300/yr.)
Key Features
  • Facial detection
  • Facial recognition (with subscription)
  • 4K sensor
  • Two-way audio with noise cancellation and echo suppression
  • Night vision
  • Facial detection
  • Two-way audio
  • Night vision
Color White Black
Camera 1/2.5-inch, 8-megapixel (4K) color sensor with 12x digital zoom and enhance 1/3-inch, 3-megapixel sensor with 8x digital zoom
Video Recording and Monitoring
  • Up to 1080p at 30 frames/sec.
  • HDR
  • 24/7 live video streaming
  • 24/7 recording (with subscription)
  • Up to 1080p at 30 frames/sec.
  • 24/7 live video streaming
  • 24/7 recording (with subscription)
Alert Methods
  • Push notification
  • Email
  • Push notification
  • Email
Cloud Storage
  • Snapshots are free
  • Cloud storage requires subscription
  • Snapshots are free
  • Cloud storage requires subscription

How We Rated the Nest Cam IQ

SafeWise examined online reviews, expert ratings, and customer feedback to evaluate the Nest Cam IQ. We also analyzed the camera’s specs and compared how the Nest Cam IQ fared in comparison to other stand-alone, DIY security cameras.

Our Review of the Nest Cam IQ

We rated each of the following Nest Cam IQ features on a scale of one to five—with five being the best—including industry ratings and user reviews.

Features of the Nest Cam IQ (4 out of 5)

The new Supersight feature is the Nest Cam IQ’s security superpower. If the camera catches sight of a person, it can automatically zoom in and track their movements. But Nest added a few extra bells and whistles to help this self-monitoring indoor security camera set new standards for image resolution and two-way audio as well.  

Pros

Facial Recognition
Supersight identifies and focuses in on faces to give you an up-close and personal look at who’s in your home. Familiar face alerts let you know who’s coming and going, so you can know exactly when the kids get home from school or when your bestie pops by to “borrow” something from your closet. As soon as the camera registers a face, it sends a mobile alert with a close-up snapshot. If the person is someone who lives in your house or comes around often, you can name them in the Nest app for future reference. If you see an unfamiliar face, you can label it as a stranger.

Bigger, Better Two-Way Audio
This isn’t a new Nest Cam feature, but the Nest Cam IQ does it better. The built-in microphone features noise cancellation and echo suppression, so you can check in on family, pets, or roommates without ambient interference. The IQ speaker is seven times more powerful than the original Nest Cam speaker, making it easy for you to tell Fido to cut out the barking or get off the couch. It can also help you scare off an intruder, even if you’re all the way across town.

Close-Up Tracking View
You can zoom in on movement to get a closer view of a face or action without losing the larger view of the room. Whether the camera auto-zooms or you manually zoom in, there is a small full-view window that remains open in the bottom left corner. You can get a good look at someone’s face without missing any of the other action in the camera’s view.

High-Resolution Images
The combination of a 4K sensor, HDR, and intelligent imaging delivers a crisp image all the way up to 6x zoom. Gone are the days of blurry magnified images that are no good to you or law enforcement. Photo clarity is crucial when it comes to identifying a perpetrator in the event of a break-in.

Cons

Nest Aware Required
Unfortunately, full Supersight functionality isn’t included straight out of the box—it requires a Nest Aware subscription. All new Nest Cam IQ customers get a free thirty-day trial of Nest Aware, which lets you take advantage of the facial recognition features and offers additional cloud storage. Subscriptions run between $10 and $30 per month, or you can sign up for a full year for either $100 or $300, depending on how much cloud storage you need. The good news is there’s no contract required, so you could opt in only during times when the extra security would be most valuable, like when you’re on vacation.

Our Assessment

Supersight is definitely the most exciting feature and the biggest factor that sets the Nest Cam IQ apart from other home security cameras. Not only does the camera let you see what’s going on when you’re away, it also does its best to make sense of the action it captures.

We love the added security and convenience of the facial recognition feature and familiar face alerts; however, it’s frustrating that you need to sign up for an extra service to take full advantage of it. Without Nest Aware, the camera can detect the difference between a person and a thing, but it won’t tell you who it is.

Nest Cam IQ Design (4.5 out of 5)

Nest is known for sleek, elegant design, and the Nest Cam IQ is no exception. The IQ is also designed to integrate with other smart products and systems, including Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Pros

Attractive
If you’re concerned about a security camera interfering with the aesthetics of your home, the Nest Cam IQ will put those fears to rest. The stylish design features a curved, white polycarbonate housing and a sturdy base. It is small enough to fit unobtrusively on a shelf or table, and it looks more like a high-tech home accessory than a security camera.

Smart Home Integration
As with other Nest products, the Nest Cam IQ is designed to communicate with other smart devices. You can use voice control when it’s integrated with Amazon Alexa or turn the camera into an energy monitor when it’s connected to smart lighting systems. For example, if connected with Philips Hue, the IQ can turn lights on or off when it detects motion, adding extra security and energy efficiency.

Cons

Limited Colors
The Nest Cam IQ is available only in white, which can be disappointing if that doesn’t complement your décor. Hopefully, future iterations will offer a few more color choices for design-conscious homeowners.

No Built-in Mount
If you want to set up the camera anywhere that isn’t a flat surface like a table or counter, you have to purchase a separate mount. Because many people like to place security cameras up high, this is a distinct drawback. Even though Nest didn’t include a mount with the camera, it does recommend this mount if you want to attach the IQ to a wall or ceiling.

Our Assessment

Overall, the Nest Cam IQ is an attractive, well-built security camera that is functional and aesthetically pleasing. The only real drawbacks are the limited color selection and the need to purchase a separate mount if you want to use the camera somewhere other than a shelf or table.

Ease of Use (5 out of 5)

The Nest Cam IQ is intuitive and easy to use. From setup to day-to-day use, this is one of the simplest indoor security cameras to operate.

Pros

Easy Setup
One of the best things about the Nest Cam IQ is how simple it is to get it up and going. The whole process—from opening the box to watching your first snippet of live video—should take only about fifteen minutes. For current and previous Nest users, all you have to do is add the Nest Cam IQ to your account. For newbies, you’ll need to download the Nest app and set up an account. Once you’re good to go in the app, you can connect the camera to your home Wi-Fi network.

Intuitive App
Once your Nest Cam IQ is online, you can immediately access the camera’s live feed and start receiving alerts. The Nest App is available on your mobile device or computer, so you can receive alerts and access your camera from just about anywhere. You can also set up a Nest account for everyone in the household who needs to interact with the camera, which makes managing your home simple and convenient. If you give Nest access to your smartphone, it will sense when you leave or come home and will prompt the camera to respond accordingly.

Cons

Limited Scope
The Nest Cam IQ is the ideal size to monitor a single room or doorway; however, if you want eyes on multiple rooms or entry points, you’ll need to buy multiple devices. With Nest selling the IQ for around $300, that can add up pretty quickly.

Our Assessment

Tech devices don’t get much easier to set up than the Nest Cam IQ. Using and accessing the app is simple, and the ability to set up extra accounts for the same camera provides expanded functionality that isn’t usually available. The only real downside is the need for multiple devices if you want to monitor more than one zone in your home.

Alerts (3.5 out of 5)

If the Nest Cam IQ picks up someone talking or walking across the room, you’ll automatically get an alert sent to your smartphone or computer via email or push notification.

Pros

Intelligent Alerts
Unlike other Nest Cams, the IQ comes standard with Person Alerts, which let you know when it sees a person, not just random movement. If you want it to tell you who it saw, however, you’ll need to subscribe to Nest Aware. In addition, the camera will respond to both movement and sound, which adds an extra level of diligence to your home security efforts. It’s also helpful if you’d like to know when your dog barks.

Cons

Still Working Out the Bugs
Because this camera is so new (it started shipping in late June 2017), there are still some issues that need to be worked out. Many customer reviews reported problems with either receiving too many alerts, or not enough. Those with pets in the home tended to get a lot of pings whenever their four-legged pals wandered in and out. Others noticed the camera didn’t send an alert for every event it captured, but rather spaced them out. For example, one customer walked in front of the camera five minutes before a delivery person came to the door; the customer’s movement was captured in an alert, but the delivery person wasn’t.

Our Assessment

It’s hard to judge the effectiveness of a system that’s still so new; however, when you’re relying on a security camera to let you know if your home and loved ones are safe, you want the alerts to be accurate. We definitely expect these bugs to get worked out pretty quickly. Nest has already indicated that it has received a lot of feedback about buggy alerts and is planning to release an update soon.

Nest Cam IQ Costs (3 out of 5)

Because the Nest Cam IQ is ahead of the pack when it comes to security camera features and functionality, it comes with a higher price tag than most stand-alone indoor surveillance cameras. In addition, to take full advantage of the camera’s coolest features, you’ll need a monthly subscription on top of the initial investment for the device.

Pros

No Contracts
Even though you need to subscribe to Nest Aware to receive familiar face alerts and increase your cloud storage, Nest doesn’t require a contract. That means you can opt in and out of the subscription service to increase security when you need it most.

Free 30-Day Trial
All Nest Cam IQ customers receive the Nest Aware service free for thirty days. This gives you the chance to find out if the extra functionality is worth the cost.

Cons

More Expensive Equipment
The Nest Cam IQ starts out at a higher price point than most indoor security cameras in its class. If you need only one camera, then the extra bells and whistles (and the excellent design) might be worth the larger up-front investment. It can become cost-prohibitive, however, if you need to purchase more than one device to get all the security coverage you need.

Extra Nest Aware Subscription
To truly experience the full scope of what the Nest Cam IQ has to offer, you need to sign up for a Nest Aware subscription. Depending on the size of cloud storage you want, that will cost you an extra $10 or $30 per month. Yearly subscriptions will save you a little bit, at $100 or $300 for a full twelve months.

Our Assessment

You don’t need the Nest Aware subscription to benefit from adding the Nest Cam IQ to your security setup, but without it you miss out on the facial recognition features. When you consider that the initial equipment cost is already at the top of the market, the additional monthly cost may be difficult for some customers to manage. One compromise is to subscribe to Nest Aware only when you need extra security, such as during vacations.



How the Nest Cam IQ Stacks Up Against Other Cameras

Nest Cam IQ

Canary

a canary security camera

Piper

a piper security camera

Monthly Fees $10 or $30/mo. for optional Nest Aware subscription ($100 or $300/yr.) $99/yr. for optional Canary Membership None
Key Features
  • Facial detection
  • Facial recognition (with subscription)
  • 4K Sensor
  • Two-way audio with noise cancellation and echo suppression
  • Night vision
  • Automatic night vision
  • Two-way talk (with subscription)
  • Environmental sensors
  • Learning algorithms
  • Siren
  • Night vision
  • Environmental sensors
  • Two-way audio
  • Siren
Color White Black or White Black or White
Video Recording and Monitoring
  • Up to 1080p at 30 frames/sec.
  • HDR
  • 24/7 live video streaming
  • 12x digital zoom
  • Up to 1080p at 30 frames/sec.
  • Desktop streaming with subscription
  • Up to 1080p, variable frames/sec.
  • Live and recorded footage
Alert Methods
  • Push notification
  • Email
  • Push notification
  • Push notification
  • Text
  • Email
Cloud Storage
  • Snapshots free
  • Cloud storage requires subscription
  • 24 hours of video storage
  • Upgrades available with subscription
  • Free cloud storage

How We Rated the Nest Cam IQ

SafeWise examined online reviews, expert ratings, and customer feedback to evaluate the Nest Cam IQ. We also analyzed the camera’s specs and compared how the Nest Cam IQ fared in comparison to other stand-alone, DIY security cameras.

The Verdict

Nest Cam IQ is the first of what could be a new generation of indoor home security cameras. Its powerful camera and facial recognition capabilities have exciting implications for people who care about security. It also makes the reassurance of 24/7 surveillance accessible to almost anyone, no matter their living situation. Apartment dwellers and even students living in dorms can easily set up intelligent home security using Nest Cam IQ. If there’s a reliable Wi-Fi connection, this smart security camera can get the job done.

Whether you’re a home security aficionado, or just getting started, Nest Cam IQ is a great way to upgrade your security and start turning your house into a smart home. Its simple design, intuitive functionality, and advanced features make Nest Cam IQ an intelligent home security choice. Check out current pricing on Amazon, and take the first step toward a safer, smarter tomorrow.

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca has honed her safety and security skills as both a single mom and a college director. Being responsible for the well-being of others helped her learn how to minimize risk and create safe environments. Learn more

Share with your awesome friends.