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Nest Cam with Floodlight review: Floods give the Nest Cam new tricks

What happens when you combine an outdoor Nest Cam with floodlights? Well, there’s the Nest Cam with Floodlight, which is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin.

The regular outdoor Nest Cam has a companion component in the form of a massive pair of floodlights that attach to the camera like guardian angels resting on the camera’s shoulders—though installation is more practically done the other way around.

Design and specifications of Nest Cam

The huge floodlight housing is what attaches to your wall fixture; like any outside light fixture, it must be firmly fixed on a wall or ceiling and linked to household electrical wire.

The camera is attached to a magnetic mounting location in the middle of the two lights, with a short pigtail wire connecting it to the floodlight unit for power. The Nest Cam with Floodlight looks a lot like the recently introduced Ring Floodlight Cam Pro, only it’s a lot more appealing, even if it’s only available in white.nest cam

Let’s take a look at each component of the package, starting with the flooding. At a slightly cold 4000 Kelvin color temperature, the two units generate 2,400 lumens of brightness (adjustable down from there).

The floodlights are simple to aim but keep firmly in place, so you don’t have to worry about them slipping over time and requiring you to use the ladder. The light housing’s motion sensors have a 25-foot range and a 180-degree field of view.

The camera itself is identical to the current-generation Nest Cam, a cup-shaped device with a 130-degree field of vision that records 1080p video. Because the camera can be easily popped off its mounting without the use of tools, the magnetic mounting technique offers convenient positioning, but it also makes for an easy opportunity for theft.

There’s also two-way audio and conventional infrared night vision, albeit the bright spotlights seem to negate the night vision. The entire package has an IP54 rating, which provides limited protection against dust intrusion and resistance to water splashes from all directions.

Wireless setup

The Google Home app’s setup is identical to that of the standalone Nest Cam, and it’s still one of the easiest in the industry.

You won’t need to do anything except scan the QR code that covers the lens temporarily while it’s in the box if you have any other Nest devices. Everything else is handled by the app, which connects the camera to Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz are both supported) without requiring any more input. If you’re starting from scratch, the system isn’t that difficult to set up and can be completed in minutes, including the installation of certain necessary firmware upgrades.

Features and functionality

Again, this camera is identical to a conventional Nest, and video quality is excellent both during the day and when the floodlights are turned on when motion is detected. (Sensitivity can be adjusted, and floods can be manually turned on and off if required.) If you use infrared video, the quality is acceptable, but it has a smaller range and less clarity than the image from the floodlights.

This camera has the same constraints as other Nest cameras: you only get 3 hours of cloud-based recording for motion-detected events if you don’t have a subscription. Nest Aware ($6/month or $60/year) gives you 60 days of motion recordings, while Nest Aware Plus ($12/month or $120/year) gives you an additional 10 days of 24/7 video recording, which is the only method to receive 24/7 recording of any kind.nest cam

Nest’s playback system hasn’t won me over yet. If you don’t have the Nest Aware Plus subscription, the normal timeline allows you to scroll back in time indefinitely, but it’s tiresome because you have to comb through a lot of dead time that has no video associated with it. Again, the Ring timeline is far superior.

With Nest categorization based on the person, vehicle, animal, or foreign face—or just plain motion—the “whole history” remains the preferable approach to spot goings-on. (Features like face detection and audio detection, as well as glass breaking and smoke/CO alarm detection, are only available with one of the paid subscription plans.) The system correctly identified pets and people right away, providing a better experience than the regular Nest Cam.

Bottom line

The Nest Cam with Floodlights costs $30 more than the Ring Floodlight Cam Pro (at press time), and Google’s subscription rates are normally a few dollars extra each month. Despite this, the two have a lot in common and operate well together.

If you already have a Ring device, I’d recommend sticking with it, whereas anyone with a Google Home device should probably go with the Nest Cam. It’s not impossible, however, to switch allegiances from time to time. I wouldn’t be bothered by either option keeping an eye on my house.


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