nest cam

Nest Cam (wired) review: This pricey camera offers people detection

The wired, indoor-only Nest Cam (together with Google’s other new Nest cameras for 2021) stands out with free on-device detection of humans, dogs, and cars. This sleek, well-built Nest Cam also has a nice look, simple setup, crisp video performance (including night vision), and (if you want them) inexpensive and value-packed subscription plans.

The wired Nest Cam, on the other hand, isn’t inexpensive. The indoor Nest Cam costs $100, which is a far cry from the ridiculously cheap Wyze Cams, and even Ring’s somewhat more expensive security cameras may appear to be bargains in contrast. Is the Nest Cam wired worth it? Let’s have a look at what we’ve got.

Design of Nest Cam

The wired Nest Cam is reassuringly substantial and solid, measuring 3.88 x 2.52 x 2.24 inches (HxWxD) and weighing 14.1 ounces. Unlike some cheaper and lighter security cams I’ve tested, you’d have to work hard to get the Nest Cam to tip over while it’s lying on a shelf or tabletop. The rounded base (which comes in a solid-wood version for an extra $20) is attractive, and the flexible neck allows you to position the lens in a number of orientations, though not straight up (down is no problem). When the camera is operational, a green light above the lens notifies passersby, and there’s no way to turn it off (according to Google Nest’s privacy policy), though you may decrease its brightness.

nest cam

A 10-foot captive wire terminates in a USB-A connector, which then plugs into a wall wart, powering the Nest Cam. The connector will block a power outlet below it since the cable plugs into the bottom of the power adapter rather than straight out of it.

You may simply place the Nest Cam on a flat surface, such as a shelf or a countertop, but you can also mount it on a wall using the integrated wall plate’s mounting holes (you’ll need to supply your own screws).


The Nest Cam, like other Nest gadgets, is simple to set up and use. Simply open the Google Home app, hit the “+” icon to add a new device, scan the QR code on the camera, and the Home app should instantly connect the camera to your Wi-Fi network. I experienced a snag since the Home app couldn’t detect an “assisting” Nest Mini that I’d previously disconnected, but the connecting process went easily once I turned the problematic speaker back on.

I experienced a snag since the Home app couldn’t detect an “assisting” Nest Mini that I’d previously disconnected, but the connecting process went easily once I turned the problematic speaker back on.

nest cam

After you connect the Nest Cam to Wi-Fi, the Home app will walk you through a series of privacy regulations and opt-ins, as well as ask you which room you want the camera to be in. In my case, the Nest Cam was installed in my finished basement, where it could monitor a door that leads to the main hallway..

Motion detection and notifications

Setting up motion zones on the wired Nest Cam is as easy as moving the zone’s boundaries in the Home app with your finger.

You may then define which types of motion events—including humans, animals, and vehicles—will show up in your event history, as well as which occurrences will trigger a notification, once you’ve set a zone (you can create up to four). Similarly, you may choose whether or not the camera will record and alert you when motion occurs outside of your selected zones.

People, animal, and pet detection is typical fare, but what sets the Nest Cam apart is that it all works right out of the box, without the need for a monthly fee.

Not only is motion detection free, but it is also performed on the camera itself rather than in the cloud, lowering the risk of third parties viewing your video history. People detection on a Ring camera, on the other hand, is only available with a premium Ring Protect subscription.

Google’s Familiar Faces technology, which tells you not just when a person entered a motion zone, but also who it was, is one motion detection function that you’ll have to pay for (I’ll explain how much in a bit). Simply assign a name to a face in the Home app, and Nest Cam notifications will begin informing you of who was detected in which zone.

Live view and event history

The wired Nest Cam delivers an impressively sharp and wide live stream (including the exceptionally clear, if black-and-white IR night mode) with its 1080p image quality and 135-degree field of vision, easily besting the image quality of my Wyze Cam v2 (which, to be fair, cost only $20 at the time I bought it). The live feed can be accessed via the Google Home app, as well as a Google Nest Hub or Hub Max. Surprisingly, though, Nest Cam footage cannot be streamed to a Chromecast via Google TV. The wired Nest Cam is now incompatible with the Chromecast dongle, according to a Google representative, who did not have an update on when support would be introduced.

nest cam

You can engage in two-way chat with anyone in range of the camera by tapping the blue microphone button from the live stream view, while the History tab lets you browse recorded motion events (with long blank gaps where no motion events were detected) or your entire 24/7 recording history for the past 10 days (if you’re signed up for the right Nest Aware subscription plan).
The Google Home app’s “Home history” displays the Nest Cam’s motion occurrences in a timeline, along with labels indicating what type of motion event was taken.

Your “Home history” gives you highlights of recorded events in a timeline, with each event identified by category (Person, Pet, or Vehicle) or name if you don’t want to read through hours of (possibly) dead air (if you have Familiar Faces enabled). When you tap an event, the Home app will take you to the footage.

Nest Aware plans

Finally, I’d like to discuss subscription plans. The wired Nest Cam does not require a paid Nest Aware subscription, as I previously stated. The Nest Cam stores video events from the last three hours out of the box, including person, pet, and vehicle recognition.

If you want a longer event history than three hours, sign up for the Nest Aware plan, which includes a rolling 30-day event history, the Familiar Faces feature, and the ability to alert you of suspicious sounds like glass breaking or a smoke/CO alarm going off for $6 per month (or $60 per year). Nest Aware Plus, which costs $12 a month, extends the video event history to 60 days and adds 10 days of full-on, 24/7 video recording. Each Nest Aware package includes coverage for all of your Nest cameras.

Bottom line

There’s no doubt about it: The Nest Cam (wired) is one of the more expensive indoor-only security cameras on the market, while the Ring Indoor Cam, its counterpart, costs only $60. However, the indoor Nest Cam has an ace up its sleeve in the form of free on-device people, pet, and vehicle detection, whereas the Ring Indoor Cam’s people detection requires a paid subscription. The Nest Cam’s (paid) Familiar Faces feature is also a plus, and its rounded, solid appearance is significantly more appealing than the Ring Indoor Cam’s cylinder design.

Those who are already involved in the Ring ecosystem should continue with Ring cameras. However, if you’re new to home security or already have a few Nest devices, the indoorNest Cam offers a lot of value, even if its sticker price isn’t the cheapest.

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