Prior to Nest introducing the Cam Outdoor, there was one common flaw with home security cameras. And that was the durability of them, as many of them couldn’t with stand the elements or let alone be installed without some protection if being used outside. This all changed when Nest unveiled the weather proof Nest Cam Outdoor. It brings the power and features of the Nest Cam, to a larger and more durable variant. Since the hardware between Nests security camera offerings is similar, their software experience is quite intuitive as they live within the same ecosystem as a whole.
Design and Hardware
A big highlight of the Nest Cam Outdoor would be that it can be mounted or fixed outside. The camera itself is relatively small, across the front you have a width of 2.8-inches and from front to back it comes in at 3.5-inches. It weighs in at just 11-ounces, so all-in-all the Cam Outdoor takes up relatively small space. Similar to other Nest products it comes in one color option, a white one with a black front.
The front of the Cam Outdoor has both a lens and sensor technology–this is a majority of the technology that makes the security camera work. Nest has chosen a 1/3-inch 3-megapixel sensor that has 8x digital zoom. It records and live streams video at up to a 1920 X 1080 resolution at 30 frames per second. I say up too as the stream depends on the internet connection, given that a faster speed makes for a better stream. With
With security cameras, you want a unit that has good peripherals. It features a 130-degree view that allows you to pan across the field of view. This can work in both day light and at night, thanks to an infrared setup. The Cam Outdoor has eight high-power infrared LEDs that are paired with an IR cut filter. The video quality is pretty solid, definitely on par with the Canary and Dropcams– it certainly makes do, and stable internet connection only improves on this experience.
With a security camera, the video is only half of the experience as hearing is just as important as seeing. Nest has implemented a basic microphone, simple speaker, and an RGB LED notification light. These connected smart home security cameras don’t focus on audio, and this is evident with the Cam Outdoor. If you are speaking with someone who is in relative proximity, the intercom function works well. With that being said, it doesn’t carry out the intercom feature, as well as video doorbell, does. Granted the Nest Cam Outdoor is mostly for monitoring rather than an intercom use.
Lastly, the installation process is made easier as everything is included in the box. The Cam Outdoor itself is secured to the wall or wherever you are mounting it via a magnetic mount. Being that it is magnetic, you can position the camera to almost any angle you would like. The power cable gets run through or under the magnet as well, and it would require some power tools and a professional installer if you’d like. You do get screws, mounting brackets, 25 feet of cable, and everything else you will need in the box as well.
Using the Nest Cam Outdoor
Being that all Nest products live within their ecosystem, connecting the Cam Outdoor to your account is a simple as opening the Nest application and after the onscreen instructions. From there the live feed of the camera will live within the app and will be alongside other Nest Cams, Dropcams, or learning thermostats from the company. On the main screen of the application, you get an overlook of your “home” and then a live feed of the camera.
If you tap on the feed to get a closer look, you get pulled into a full-screen look at the visuals. Audio will be instantly turned on as well, allowing you to monitor the location. Panning and zooming are relatively easy, with a simple pinch and zoom. If you hit the “talk” button, the intercom function can be accessed. And out of the box, you will be able to do all of this through a 24/7 live stream.
Nest also offers a subscription service that works like a more traditional home monitoring service. It is called Nest Aware and allows for continuous recording and notifications of movement or action in the scene. The alerts are pretty smart and make use of some impressive technology, as it can tell the difference between a person walking or a car driving down the street. From there it will intelligently alert you via a push notification and an automatic recording, if you have, it turned on to do so. The only downside here is that Nest Aware is subscription service that starts at $100 a year.
Even with some shortcomings, at $199 you can’t really beat the Nest Cam Outdoor for what it does well. As I said, in the beginning, a connected security camera that is weatherproof to handle the elements and easy to use is hard to find. And granted there aren’t many competitors that can go to head-to-head with the Cam Outdoor at this price. But with a unique magnetic mount, it allows for the end-user to angle it to their liking, get it integrated with an easy to use app, and get a clear view of what’s going on. If you are already part of the Nest Ecosystem with a few Nest Cams or even Dropcams in your home along with a thermostat, I would highly recommend the addition of a Cam Outdoor. And if you are not part of the ecosystem but looking for a simple to use outdoor security camera, I would definitely consider this offering– The Nest Cam Outdoor is available for $169.95 from Amazon.