Nest Cam (battery operated): Google's comeback review

Nest Cam (battery operated): Google's comeback review

Nest Cam (battery operated)

It's been four years since Google's last Nest Cam. Since 2017, the number of affordable security cameras, even under 100 euros, integrated lights and other features has increased significantly. Google must therefore justify the cost of 199.99 euros for the new Nest Cam (battery operated).

The answer is that Google did it easily. When testing the Nest Cam (battery operated), we liked its design, ease of installation and solid performance. It is probably one of the best indoor or outdoor security cameras, with the advantage of not requiring any subscription to use.

Google Nest Cam, the rear of the camera on the left and the top view on the right. © 2021 Alphabet Inc.

Price and availability

The Nest Cam (battery operated) is sold for 199.99 euros on the Italian Google Store. Pre-orders began in the summer of 2021 and the camera is available from the end of August. It is available exclusively in white.

At the time of purchase, Google suggests some accessories to complement the Nest Cam (battery operated). In the list of accessories we point out the table stand (€ 34.99), various types of weatherproof cables (the cost varies according to the length: € 34.99 for 5 m, € 39.99 for 10 m). br>
Unlike Arlo, a manufacturer that offers a plethora of accessories for its security cameras, Google has chosen to focus on a few additional and optional items. Wasserstein, a US company specializing in the production of accessories for third-party security cameras that later became part of Google's Nest offer, has developed a series of accessories for the Nest Cam: currently only one of these is available in Italy, the Wasserstein Anti-Theft Support, at a cost of € 14.99. We do not know if Google will distribute the other accessories developed by Wasserstein in our country.

Design and installation

The Nest Cam (battery operated) is similar to previous Google security devices. It has a cylindrical body, with a flat camera surface and a rounded back. The dimensions of the Nest Cam (battery operated) are approximately 8 cm and are more or less the same in both length and diameter of the camera. The camera resembles a coffee cup, although the minimalist design may also recall some of the IKEA products.

In the lower part of the camera we find the screw holder, a USB-A port for charging and a small speaker. There is also a small button to reset the camera.

While you can use the screw mount to secure it, the rear of the camera is designed to magnetically hook onto the included base. This makes it much easier to position the Nest Cam (battery operated) than other security cameras. However, the magnetic holder also makes it much easier to remove than competing products. Therefore, as an added safety measure, the Nest Cam (battery operated) will not turn on until it is in its cradle. Attention: this support is not available separately.

Included in the package there is also a bracket to screw the magnetic base to the wall or ceiling, along with a couple of screws and plugs.

Audio and video performance

Like most security cameras, the Nest Cam (battery operated) has a resolution of 1080p. A resolution that, in tests, produced crisp, clear images. Above all, the night vision is incredibly clean, so much so that many details of the clothes of those who are framed can be distinguished.

The precision of the “Familiar Faces” function is also surprising. The Nest Cam (battery operated) can easily identify faces indicated as "familiar", even from a few imperfect photos, thanks to the Google software.

One of the features present in the other security cameras, in the models with resolutions above 2K like the Arlo Pro 3, Arlo Pro 4 and Arlo Ultra 2, it's digital pan-and-zoom. This feature allows you to zoom in on the subjects shot by the camera, a particularly useful function in outdoor environments to recognize someone who is far away or approaching. Unfortunately, digital pan-and-zoom is one of the few features absent from the (battery-powered) Nest Cam due to the "only" 1080p resolution.

A shame when you think about how the speaker is and the Nest Cam's microphone (battery operated) are able to transmit our voice and the voices of our visitors effectively and without having to turn up the volume or scream to interact.

Home automation features and the smart home

Currently the Nest Cam (battery operated) is only supported by the Google Home ecosystem. This means that if you have a mixed system or if you own older Nest Cams, you need to use multiple apps to manage all your security cameras.

If you have a smart display (like the Nest Hub Max) you can view a live feed from the Nest Cam and interact with who we see in the frame. Considering that Nest's old cameras supported Alexa smart displays, it's reasonable to assume that the (battery-powered) Nest Cam could also be integrated into third-party devices in the future.

While the (battery-powered) Nest Cam doesn't work with HomeKit, you can solve with a hub for home automation and smart home. One example is the Starling Home Hub, one of the best-in-class exponents, but it hadn't yet added support for the new Nest Cam at the time of writing.

Google Nest Cam, top and side view. © 2021 Alphabet Inc.


During setup, the Google Home app searches for nearby Nest devices. The purpose is to use them to simplify the process of setting up the Nest Cam (on battery). Unfortunately, skipping this automated part to enter your connection details yourself requires numerous attempts. Integration with other Nest products, such as the Nest Protect smoke and CO detector, is also not always excellent and may require you to "bring" the Nest Cam (battery operated) closer to products already in your home.

Clicking on the Nest Cam (battery operated) icon in the Google Home app shows a screen with battery charge and camera status. From here, you can also activate live view, see your video history and change the Nest Cam's settings (on battery). You can view your recording history on both a scrollable timeline and a list with thumbnail preview images. These images are all small GIFs, a clever solution to quickly show you everything that has been recorded.

The settings menu could be a little clearer, as you don't always immediately understand what each item does . To change the camera settings, for example, you need to open the "Device Features" item in the Settings menu and first select the "Events" item, then "Viewed Events" or "Heard Events" to change the behavior of the object.

"Events seen" covers all visual things and also allows the user to select them more precisely: main areas of activity, detection of familiar faces and warnings about which you would like to be warned (divided in turn into categories: people, animals, vehicles).

The “Heard events” also allow you to receive alerts if the camera detects the presence of carbon monoxide or smoke. However, these interesting features can only be activated when the Nest Cam (battery operated) is connected to the power supply.

Going back to the main settings menu, by clicking on Video you can set everything about the recordings: it is You can select the maximum length of the same (from 10 seconds to 3 minutes), change the quality, night vision and motion sensitivity.

Battery life

You can use the Nest Cam both when powered by cable and battery only. The company estimates battery life to be around 7 months recording two to four events per day, 3 months nine to twelve daily events, and about 1.5 months with more than 20 events per day.

As mentioned above, Google sells an outdoor extension cable for the camera. At the moment you will have to buy third party accessories and accessories outside of Italy if you want to recharge with solar panels or other ways.

Memory and subscription costs

One of the key features of the new Nest Cams are the three hours of storage, which includes identifying people, animals, vehicles and custom activity zones, offered by Google.

These three hours of video are stored on the Nest Cam itself (on battery): it means that, even if the object is offline, you will still be able to view any footage.

If you want to save videos from longer periods, two subscription plans are available in Italy. Called “Nest Aware” and “Nest Aware Plus”, the two plans provide for the payment of 5 € / month (50 € / year) or 10 € / month (100 € / year) respectively. The first includes 30 days of video recording; the second extends the save to 60 days and adds 10 days of 24/7 video history. These plans are unique to any number of Nest devices you have. Unfortunately, there are currently no installment plans in Italy.


The Nest Cam (battery operated) is a superb home security camera. It is a much more interesting product than the previous models, despite some shortcomings in Google's offer in Italy and the (for now) immature Google Home. Probably the Nest Cam (battery operated) is the best security camera for most people and apartments.

The video is crisp and clean, the camera is well designed, and the Google Home app is packed with functions - although limited only to the latest model and waiting to implement the predecessors. But the Nest Cam (battery operated) includes some of the most popular features, such as video storage, and Google leaves it up to the user whether to subscribe or not. It may not be the cheapest security camera on the market, but the Nest Cam (battery operated) is a must-have solution.

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