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Google has three new Nest Cams, but there’s really only one you should buy

If you didn’t know yet, Google announced a trio of new security cameras in its Nest Cam lineup. The upgrades were long in the making given that the original Google Nest Cam was released in 2015, followed by the outdoor variant in 2016 and subsequently two cameras in the Nest Cam IQ series — the Nest Cam IQ Indoor and Outdoor in 2017. The toughest part about Google’s new Nest Cams is that they’re all similarly named, but they essentially break down to a battery-powered model, another with a floodlight, and an indoor cam that requires a wire for power.

While the indoor model is Google’s lowest-priced security camera ever with a $100 sticker price, I would actually vouch for choosing the battery-powered model instead. It’s without question the most versatile of the bunch. Here’s why.

Double duty security, inside and out

The Google Nest Cam (battery) with the optional table stand.
Google Nest Cam (Battery)

Google didn’t make it easy for consumers to discern the difference by choosing the same “Google Nest Cam” naming conventions for its three new cameras, but the Nest Cam (battery) is unique because it can function as either an indoor or outdoor camera. Everything the Google Nest Cam (wired) could do, the Nest Cam (battery) can do as well.

Sure, you can mount it somewhere on a wall or corner inside your home, but you can easily transform it into a surface-level security cam with an optional accessory. The Google Nest Cam Stand costs $30 and attaches to the Nest Cam (battery) to enable it to sit on flat surfaces such as desks, side tables, and countertops. You can even choose to keep it as a battery-operated camera or switch to a wired connection for constant power. Whichever you decide on, it’s this level of versatility that makes the Nest Cam (battery) the most versatile model in the new lineup.

Of course, you can choose to keep it outdoors — where it’ll be able to withstand the elements because of its IP54 weather-resistant construction. Whether it’s attached outdoors or inside, cozy on a side table, the Nest Cam (battery) offers the most configurations.

Saves video clips when the power goes out

A hand adjusting the Google Nest Cam (battery).

I love how security cameras provide us with a blanket of security when we’re home or not, but power outages can effectively decommission a camera from doing its job. Both the Nest Cam (wired) and Nest Cam with floodlight require a constant supply of power, so once that source is compromised, they can’t do their jobs.

In contrast, the Nest Cam (battery) offers more peace of mind because of this particular scenario. Although, most people would suspect that the Wi-Fi connection would go down as well because your home’s wireless router is off — so wouldn’t that also render the Nest Cam (battery) useless? Not at all. That’s because processing is done on-device, plus it’ll store up to one hour of recorded events locally.

Power outages are huge gaps for many other security cameras, but you can trust that the Nest Cam (battery) will continue doing its job — regardless if the power goes out or if the Wi-Fi goes down.

Still cheaper than Nest Cam IQ

Google Nest Cam (battery) mounted outdoors.

Honestly, it’s tough to overlook the $100 price tag of the Google Nest Cam (wired). It’s Google’s cheapest security camera ever, which would make anyone think harder about going with the $180 Nest Cam (battery). For the $80 difference, I still find more value in the battery-operated model because of the reasons I mentioned already. However, it’s wise for me to mention the pricey cost attached to Google’s previous Nest Cam IQ cameras — and there were two separate models for indoors and out.

The indoor and outdoor versions of the Nest Cam IQ were priced at $300 and $350 respectively, which in the world of security cameras are ridiculously expensive. There were reasons for that, like the 4K camera sensors they used, but they were well above the average cost for most general security cameras. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been using the Nest Cam IQ Indoor for almost two years now and I’m still impressed by its picture quality, but it makes for a tough sell given its price.

I know what I can buy better with $300, so knowing that the Google Nest Cam (battery) is more obtainable at $180 certainly helps to indicate that it’s the best camera in the lineup. Saying that is one thing, but I’ll know for sure if it holds true once it’s properly tested.

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