A security camera can be useful, but a “smart” security camera can be even more so. Under this premise was presented a few weeks ago the Nest Cam IQ, a new security camera for indoor – known brand also includes specialized algorithms to be able to recognize different types of sounds, different types of “presences” and to distinguish between faces known and unknown faces. But does it work as well as promised? We have been testing these weeks, and these are our feelings.
Nest Cam IQ, technical specifications
|SIZE||12.4 cm high, 7.4 cm long, 7.4 cm deep|
|CAMERA||1 / 2.5″ and 8 megapixel (4K) sensor, 12X digital zoom, HDR|
|FIELD OF VIEW||130º|
|NIGHT VISION||High power infrared LED (940nm)|
|VIDEO||Up to 1080p with 30fps|
|AUDIO||Speaker and 3 microphones|
|CONNECTIVITY||WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac (2.4GHz or 5GHz), low power Bluetooth (BLE)|
The Nest Cam IQ is a powerful indoor camera, very capable and with a great image quality and wide field of vision. Record with both good light and dark with its night vision mode, and the results in all cases are clear clips (1080p). In addition, it includes three microphones (not only records video, but also audio) and a speaker so you can talk through it.
The camera is controlled from your smartphone or through the browser of a computer. You can access the live video or consult the history, and there are software functionality that go even further, although to use them you must pay a subscription. On this we will delve into the following section.
Free mode vs Subscription mode
Although Nest Cam IQ itself includes basic features, you’ll need Nest Aware subscription mode to get the most out of it . With the camera comes a free trial month, but if later you want to keep it you will have to go through the box. The payment features that Nest Aware includes are the following …
- Uninterrupted recording in the cloud
- Notices of familiar faces
- Configuration of activity zones
- Save and create clips
This means that, if you want all the recorded images to be saved for later reference, you will have to pay. The free version only stores “snapshots” (not clips) of 3 hours of video. The payment depends on: the Standard version stores a 10 day video record for 10 dollars per month (or 100 dollars per year) and the Extended version stores 30 days of video for 30 dollars per month (or 300 dollars per year).
|FREE SUBSCRIPTION||NEST AWARE STANDARD||EXPANDED NEST AWARE|
|VIDEO HISTORY IN THE CLOUD||3 hours (“snapshots”, no continuous recording)||10 days||30 days|
|ALERTS||Person, movement and sound||Person (with face detection), movement and type of sound||Person (with face detection), movement and type of sound|
|AREAS OF ACTIVITY||Do not||Yes||Yes|
|CREATING CLIPS AND TIME LAPSES||Do not||Yes||Yes|
|PRICE||Free||10 dollars per month
100 dollars per year
|30 dollars per month
300 dollars per year
Installation and configuration
The first thing you’ll have to ask yourself when installing your Nest Cam IQ is where you put it. During most of the tests I did, I decided to place it on a table and focus directly on the front door. The camera weighs a lot for its size, so it’s quite stable and you do not have to be afraid of it falling over with a blow, for example.
In this case, it is worth noting that the camera has no battery and must be plugged into the power grid. This, in addition to weighing since the support is ready to go on a horizontal surface (do not give many more options), limits you a lot when choosing your placement. You could, yes, opt for a shelf or another higher place, since the camera head is “articulated” and can point down.
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Once you have the camera placed, the configuration can not be simpler: through an app on your mobile you have to fill in some basic parameters, and the camera starts working. Precisely through the application or its web version you will do all the handling of the recordings of it. As a curiosity, it is also compatible with Apple Watch, so you can receive alerts (only alerts) on your wrist.
It will be essential that you configure well the notifications that you want to receive if you do not want to go crazy. Among the options that you can configure are the following …
- Type: Push notification, email or both.
- When to send: If you want to send notifications to you always or when you are not at home (either by mobile location, because you have configured it so that at a certain time at a certain time you are not at home or because you let it know that you have stepped out)
- Type of activity: People (if you detect people, known or unknown faces), movement (if it detects movement in a certain area you have specified) and noise (you can tell if you hear a person talking, a dog barking or other sounds).
Day to day with the Nest Cam IQ
Once configured, Nest Cam IQ is ready to go. During the several weeks I was testing it, the truth is that I liked many things from the camera and other … well, not so much. We started with the ones that I liked. First, the quality and sharpness of the image, both when there is light and when the night mode is activated.
The sharpness of the image only spoils a bit with the digital zoom that it includes, and that it starts automatically once it detects movement: for example, if one of my cats passed in front of the camera, it fixed its objective on it , he zoomed and followed him throughout his movement through the field of vision.
The applications are simple to use : they have a timeline in which you mark “events”. Just by sliding to the thumbnails, the video stops showing the live feed and retrieves the video from the file, which you can quickly pass back and forth.
You can also talk through the camera, a function that I did not use too much but that somebody finds interesting (in theory, to “scare” the intruders). Of course: if you speak, the option to listen is deactivated during those moments.1
Face detection works reasonably well : once it detects a face and tells you who it is (all through the app), it is usually able to identify that face in different positions and at different distances. Sometimes it fails when it is the same face with and without glasses, but you go back to tell it that it is the same and it does not usually have problems. That does not mean that sometimes you get some scare of “unknown face” when in reality is someone known.
As a matter of fact, I would say that the fact that the applications are not completely thin (the one of the mobile phone was blocked at times and did not allow to go to specific seconds of the video timeline), that a lot of bandwidth is needed so that the image it looks reasonably well in streaming and, above all, despite having an “intelligent algorithm” that Nest presumes, the camera is not able to “pass” the pets.
The utility is reduced if you have pets
“Distinguish people from things,” Nest says in the new Nest Cam IQ. That is the theory, but in practice it is not so simple. During the weeks that I have been testing it, I have received dozens and dozens of alerts. “Your camera has seen someone,” the alert tells me both on my mobile and on my watch. Yes and no: that someone was almost always one of my cats.
To give an example, during one day I received more than 28 email alerts, with their corresponding notification, of which 19 of them corresponded to a cat walking through the field of view of the camera. The first time you get scared when you receive an alert with “a person was detected”, but then you get used to being alert triggered by cats and you stop looking at them (which makes a lot of sense to have a camera of this type).
The strangest thing is that he is not always alert when he sees a cat: it’s as if he sometimes knew that it’s about that, a pet that does not pose any danger, and sometimes it confuses him with a person. The supposed artificial intelligence, of which Nest presumes in this chamber, still does not seem to work fluently, although it is not a disaster either. It is not able to detect the cats in some situations, as I say, but the alerts are not activated when there is a shadow, for example.
With the detection of sounds, something similar happens. I do not know exactly what the camera is set to decide if it should notify you or not of a sound, but among the notices that I usually receive are sneezing, people blowing themselves and, yes, loud noises from when the cats throw something. It does not warn, for example, of people talking, of loud noise coming from the television and other common sounds.