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Nest Cam IQ Review: Smart indoor security camera, at a premium price

4

The Good

  • Compact and well-designed
  • Good quality capture and stream
  • 2-way comms

The Bad

  • Pricey
  • Premium subscription for full features

Our Nest Cam IQ review follows full testing of this smart indoor connected security camera. Featuring 24/7 live streaming of your home at 1080p HDR video quality, as well as two-way communication and a premium subscription option, the Nest Cam IQ is an enticing option for anyone who needs peace of mind in the UK. It's not cheap, though.

Home security has always been a hot topic, so it's no surprise that you can buy dozens of different indoor cameras to monitor your personal space when you're away.

One of our favourites of recent times is the Nest Cam, one of the more premium options when it comes to smart security cameras. Setup is simple, the accompanying app offers all of the features you'd hope for and video quality is more than good enough for personal use.

Now we have the Nest Cam IQ, a fresh upgraded model for 2017. This boosts some of the specs and the design of the original, while adding some worthwhile new features too. Of course, at £299 here in the UK, the Nest Cam IQ ain't cheap - just like its predecessor. Especially when you factor in the subscription costs to access all of the cool features.

So should you stump up for the Nest Cam IQ to protect your home? Here's our full review.

Read next: Best home security smart cameras which work with your phone

Nest Cam IQ review: Design

The Nest Cam IQ is suitably dinky and sleek enough to fit in with pretty much any kind of home decor. You can swivel the rotating head to capture any kind of angle you like, and you'll have to make sure you get a suitable view of the room before heading out. After all, there's no way to remotely move the lens via the app. Thankfully the 130-degree lens offers a wide-angle glimpse of the surroundings, which really helps out.

That bundled charging cable is long enough for convenient placement anywhere in the room. You won't have to stick it right next to a spare mains socket.

An LED ring around the lens appears to be mostly superfluous, especially as there's a separate indicator light which flashes green when the camera is on.

Nest Cam IQ review: Setup

Setting up the Nest Cam IQ is pleasingly simple, as with most smart connected gear these days.

Once you've plugged in the camera, all you need to do is download the Nest app from the Google Play Store or Apple's App Store. This leads you through the setup process, which basically involves scanning a QR code on the base of the Cam IQ and then connecting to your WiFi network.

Of course you'll have to sign up for a Nest account also, which is free to do and again nice and quick. This also allows you to add others, so your family members or housemates can have full access to the camera feeds and features.

Check out the full setup process in our unboxing and installation video below, which also shows off the app and the Nest Cam IQ's main features.

Nest Cam IQ review: App and features

After setup, the Nest app becomes your all-encompassing hub for accessing your cameras and their features.

From the main menu you can see all of your connected cameras (in case you purchase more than one), with the ability to tap on each to see a live view at any time. Video quality is 1080p Full HD, with HDR support as well as IR visibility. That means you'll get a clear glimpse of any lurking intruders, even at night.

From here you can also see snapshots of any activity captured by the chosen camera. What exactly is available will come down to whether you've stumped up for the premium Nest Aware subscription; more on this later.

You can also communicate with anyone in the room, as the Nest Cam IQ has a built-in mic as well as a speaker mounted on the back end. Audio quality is great, with crystal clarity and echo reduction to keep things audible. Great news if you wish to tell some thieving bugger to get on out of your house.

If a camera does detect motion, you will be alerted (if so desired) via a push notification on your phone, and/or in email form. That way you can decide for yourself on the best course of action.

The detection system worked perfectly in our personal tests. Any kind of movement was immediately flagged, so we could check the app to see exactly what was happening, with a good view of the action. Recorded footage even zooms in on the motion in question, which is quite a neat effect.

Of course, our ever-wandering cat companion meant that we got lots of alerts throughout the day, usually because she was heading for another snack.

You can simply leave your camera turned on at all times, schedule it to activate during set periods, or even detect automatically when you leave home. This is accomplished using your phone's GPS tracking, which is a great feature for full peace of mind.

Nest Cam IQ review: Nest Aware

One of our only complaints with the Nest Cam IQ is that after spunking out £299 on a single camera, you then have to pay a further £8 per month (or £80 per year) to access the most premium features.

A 'Nest Aware' subscription gives you the Familiar Faces feature for one. This allows the camera to learn regular inhabitants of your home, which can then be used to cancel alerts and so on. It doesn't always work, although accuracy levels are pretty strong for a home camera. Either way, it's a feature we'd have expected all users to enjoy, given the premium asking price.

Likewise, only Nest Aware customers can set up 'activity zones'. These are areas in the field of view of the camera which are either vitally important (such as something valuable, or a doorway) or to be ignored entirely (for instance, a TV which may cause unwanted alerts).

One premium feature we don't mind coming at an extra cost is the 24/7 continuous recording, which offers up to 30 days of footage stored online. You can even create your own edited videos from this footage, including nifty timelapse efforts.

Nest Cam IQ review: Verdict

The Nest Cam IQ is a pricey bit of kit, especially given that subscription cost to access the most premium features. However, we can't deny that it does exactly what you need for that price. Video and audio quality is fantastic, the app is pleasingly simple to use and you can rest assured that your home is being well looked after when you're away.

You can buy the Nest Cam IQ now in the UK for £299 per camera.

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