Google Nest Cam (battery) Review

The Nest Cam (battery) is a fully Google-integrated device with clear video, easy controls, and smart features right out of the box.

Best wireless camera for smart detection
Google Nest Cam Battery
Nest Cam (battery)
4.3 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    1080p video resolution
  • pro
    Person, vehicle and animal detection
  • pro
    Indoor or outdoor
Katie McEntire
Jan 16, 2024
Icon Time To Read5 min read

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​The newest addition to Google's Nest cameras looks like a bigger, beefier version of the Nest IQ. And, on paper, they have a lot in common.

Both have 1080p video quality, 130° field of view, and two-way audio. But the Nest Cam (battery) brings unique things to the table. It works indoors and outdoors and comes with smart features right out of the box, no subscription needed. And, compared to the price point of the Nest IQ, it's cheaper too.

The new Nest Cam (battery) is 100% wire-free, meaning that you just have to charge it once when the battery's low. We looked at its setup and control, audio and video quality, recording events, and new machine-learning features.

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Is the Google Nest Cam (battery) worth the hype?

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1. Setup and controls

The new Nest Cam (battery) uses the Google Home app instead of Nest's. In fact, Nest’s newest cameras like the Nest Cam (battery) and Nest Doorbell (battery) don’t use the Nest app at all. Thankfully, the process for connecting the Nest Cam to Google Home is pretty similar to setting up other IP cameras like it.

You'll go into the Google Home app and add a device, scan your camera's QR code, and choose the Wi-Fi network to connect it to.

Katie McEntire, SafeWise

Once it's online, all Nest Cam alerts go through Google Home. This also means that it's easier to link it with existing automations from devices like lights or speakers.

Google even recommends pairing your camera with its newest hub for phone-free viewing.

Using the Google Home app to control the camera took some getting used to. But if you're already on team Google with all the smart home gear, it's an instant shortcut for your camera. Accessing videos and adjusting settings through the app is pretty easy.

How to reset your Nest Cam (battery)

Hopefully you won’t need to do this during the setup, but it’s helpful if you change Wi-Fi networks.

On the back of the Nest Cam (battery), you’ll see a small recessed button. Press the button with your finger, pen, or other pointed object (for leverage) and hold. When the camera chimes, it’s all done!

And, while it may be a lot bigger than previous versions, the Nest Cam is designed for mounting to the wall or ceiling. The base doesn't work great pointed head-on. So if you're planning on keeping it inside on a flat surface, you may need to buy the extra stand.

2. Audio and video quality

Nest is back and has a new look, a new app, and new advanced features thrown in. But as far as nuts and bolts and video/audio quality, it feels pretty much the same.

During our tests, we checked the video quality, night vision, and digital zoom. The Nest Cam (battery) comes with 1080p video, which is clear enough to see most details from far away. The image was sharp but grew fuzzy once we tried the digital zoom.

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As competitors like Arlo consistently release cameras with much higher video resolution, the Nest Cam's 1080p quality puts it at a growing disadvantage. But the Nest Cam has some redeeming qualities. Read our comparison of Arlo vs. Nest cameras to learn more.

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How to improve video resolution

You don’t need advanced resolution to get a good picture. Camera placement, lighting, and a strong internet connection can improve what you see on your home security camera.

Nest Cam audio

We also checked the two-way audio, which is the standard for talking or listening to anyone on the other side. The mic and audio settings are adjustable and performed well.

You can adjust listening and speaking volume and turn on notifications for alarm sounds like your smoke or carbon monoxide detector.

3. Recording events

Nest Cam (battery) saves up to three hours of downloadable clips and events for free, no subscription required, which means you can rewind and check on things throughout the day.

We were able to download events within our history and look back over the day. The camera mostly responds to someone coming into or out of the frame.

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So if you hang out on your couch or sit in the backyard, it will notice you but stop watching after a while. That is, until you get up and move again. If you do want 24/7 live recording, you'll have to opt for a Nest Aware subscription.

Do you need Nest Aware subscription?

The Google Nest Cam (battery) comes with a lot of great features right out of the box, so not necessarily. Nest Aware starts at $6 per month and adds bonuses like 24/7 recording. While we were able to see events up to three hours back in time, the subscription gives you access to moments dating back 30 or 60 days.

4. Machine learning features

One of the big brags from Google about its newest Nest Cam is all the improvements to machine learning. But what exactly is that?

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What is machine learning?
Google defines it as a subset of artificial intelligence "that enables a system to autonomously learn and improve using neural networks and deep learning, without being explicitly programmed, by feeding it large amounts of data," which is basically a fancy way of saying, “teaching a system how to recognize patterns, images, and data.”

In the new Nest Cam's case, Google engineers trained the program using over 40 million images, so it can accurately tell the difference between your cat, a delivery, and you.

Now, the Nest Cam can recognize people's faces, pets, vehicles, and packages with better accuracy and from different angles.

All this work aims to cut down on excess notifications and focus on events rather than activity. So instead of being spooked because your camera saw a person walking through your backyard, now, your Nest Cam will be able to label them as someone you know.

But, despite all these improvements in Google's facial and object recognition, and being the only familiar face in my camera's log, it didn't recognize me every time. Different angles, hairstyles, and even glasses seemed to fool the camera.

Nest Cam Battery Unfamiliar Face Detection

Katie McEntire, SafeWise

Thankfully, the beauty of machine learning is that it'll only get better the more it processes. Hopefully, we'll see improvements over time.

Final word

As Google fully absorbs Nest, we expect to see more action from the Google Home app itself. We like that the Nest Cam (battery) includes more than previous cameras without needing an Aware subscription. And, despite not being 100% perfect, the new machine-learning features are really cool.

Our hope is that Nest's add-on service will only improve as it makes the freebies better. Despite the average video and audio quality, the extras and the look of this new camera
really caught our eye.

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Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Google, Google Nest Secure, Google Nest Cam Battery, Google Nest Cam Indoor, Google Nest Cam Doorbell Battery and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.