Skip to main content

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) Image used with permission by copyright holder

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).
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Editors' Recommendations

John Velasco
John is the Smart Home editor at Digital Trends covering all of the latest tech in this emerging market. From uncovering some…
There’s no new Nest Hub, but that’s OK
Hosting a Zoom conference through Nest Hub Max.

Google held its I/O 2022 event yesterday, but one much-rumored device was noticeably absent: The Nest Hub. Rumors had originally stated that there would be a Nest Hub with a detachable front screen that would work as a sort of "smart tablet." These were based off leaks that most likely pointed to the newly announced Pixel Tablet, releasing sometime in 2023.  While there is some disappointment among Nest fans, it's not the right time for an update for several reasons.
The 2nd Gen Nest Hub released last year
The 2nd Gen Nest Hub released on March 30, 2021. That means it's been just over a year since new hardware entered the market. The previous iteration of the Nest Hub released three years before that, and even with those three years to develop for it, the hardware didn't change that much. The biggest changes were sleep-sensing capabilities and better audio quality. While a detachable screen could work as a sort of portable tablet, there's not much use for it -- not realistically. Anything a portable smart tablet could do can also be done on your phone, and probably faster.

The one hardware upgrade I can see Google pushing for is a significantly larger screen -- perhaps something to compete with the Echo Show 15. Right now, Alexa has cornered the market on smart displays. The Echo Show 15 is massive and feels like a true smart device, while the Echo Show 10 caters to those who use Amazon's communications features. Both of those devices have a specific purpose, but the Nest Hub has always felt vaguely like an afterthought.
Software is the next frontier
The only smart-home related announcement at Google I/O 2022 focused on new feature updates for the Nest Hub Max (not even the standard Nest Hub.) These updates relied on the Nest Hub Max's built-in camera to recognize when you're looking directly at the device, eliminating the need to say "Hey Google" repeatedly. This is a key feature that makes it more convenient to use; after all, wake words can sometimes be irritating. While watching the event, my own Nest devices triggered several times from the audio cues.

Read more
Which security camera should you buy on Black Friday 2021?
Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera positioned outside.

Now is a great time to start looking at the best Black Friday deals for a security camera for your home. A home security camera is your first and best line of defense when it comes to keeping your home safe, both against intruders and unexpected events. Did you know that some security cameras can detect a fire in the home and others can pick up on when someone falls? There are a lot of Black Friday security camera deals to consider, including great Blink camera deals. Our top pick by far is the Arlo Pro 4.

View Security Camera Black Friday Deals at Amazon
View Security Camera Black Friday Deals at Best Buy
View Security Camera Black Friday Deals at Walmart

Read more
Should you buy a security camera on Black Friday 2021?

Black Friday is just around the corner, but unlike previous years, the Black Friday deals have already begun. The Black Friday shopping period started in October as part of an effort to keep crowds to a minimum in the ongoing pandemic, but that's good news for shoppers. Now is a great time to buy a security camera, especially if you plan to do a lot of holiday shopping and want to combat porch piracy.

View Security Camera Black Friday Deals at Amazon
View Security Camera Black Friday deals at Best Buy
View Security Camera Black Friday Deals at Walmart

Read more