NEST Cam IQ Outdoor
Photo & Video Cameras / Device
THE NEST CAM IQ, with its 4K sensor and facial recognition, proved to be the best-quality and smartest security camera we’d ever tested at the time. The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor sees the company back with more of the same, this time in a weatherproof model.
Nest joined the outdoor security market with the rather neat Nest Cam Outdoor, which was the easiest external camera we’d ever installed. Thanks to its magnetic mount and use of an outdoor power socket, it could be installed in a matter of minutes; unfortunately, this also made it easier to tamper with.
With the Cam IQ Outdoor, Nest has made the model harder for thieves to remove, but also slightly trickier to install. Now the camera has to be powered by the internal USB Type-C power adaptor, which means drilling a hole through your wall. For maximum security, you can feed the 7.5m cable through the rear of the camera’s mount, leaving nothing visible from the outside.
The alternative is that you can run the USB cable outside for a bit, although this means that someone could more easily cut the power to it.
With the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, a hex key must be used to remove the camera from its mount; this kind of tampering is going to be noticed and recorded on video.
Although the body of the camera is IP66 rated, making it water-resistant and capable of operating in temperatures from –40°C to 45°C, the internals are the same as those of the Nest Cam IQ.
That means that you get a 4K sensor. Although video is recorded in 1080p, having a 4K sensor has two main advantages. First, the video quality should be better, as more detail is captured. Second, you get a 4x zoom into a 1080p picture. Nest uses that with its Supersight tech, which automatically zooms in and tracks suspicious activity.
Cleverly, the camera captures both the zoomed-in view and the full image, so you can switch between the detail and the full picture. As with the Nest Cam IQ, the Outdoor version handles this brilliantly, creating a dynamic image that lets you see exactly what’s going on.
Video quality is outstanding, too. Thanks to HDR and that 4K sensor, there’s a huge amount of detail in the picture, making this by far the best-quality outdoor camera that we’ve tested.
At night, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor switches on its IR LEDs to light up the night. There’s a slight reduction in visual range, and the image gets a little softer, but quality and sharpness is still better than with rival 1080p models.
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is undoubtedly expensive, but it’s also the best-quality external security camera we’ve tested.
Buy a Nest Aware subscription and you get additional features, including the ability to create motion zones and Google’s facial recognition tech to distinguish friend from foe. Faces that you recognise can be marked as such, adding a name to the person, and faces already recognised with the Nest Cam IQ can be carried over as well.
With this information, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor can send you notifications that specify if a known or unknown person is spotted; there’s a catch-all person alert, too, for when no face is detected.
Facial recognition is very powerful, picking us up from a variety of angles with and without glasses on. The more the camera spots you, the better it works. But Nest Aware can and will get it wrong, such as by detecting a known face as a new person. More often at night, the camera can struggle to pick out faces, generating a person alert.
Nest has improved the detection alert settings. Now, with a Nest Aware subscription, for each activity zone that you set to monitor, you can choose the type of alerts that you want: people and general motion. That way, you can narrow down the number of alerts you get. It’s a shame, however, that you can’t choose to be warned only about strangers, ignoring recognised people.
To give the camera its credit, motion detection is spot on, avoiding false positives when it spots general movement (such as foliage blowing in the wind) and accurately picking up people.
There’s also sound detection built in, and you can set the camera to listen out for any combination of general noise, people talking and dogs barking. Again, this is impressive, and we weren’t flooded with false alerts.
Nest Aware used to be expensive, but the entry-level subscription now gives you five days of constant video recording for 3$ a month, or 30$ a year. That’s more than enough for most people. Unfortunately, if you try to get by without a subscription, you’ll only be able to watch footage from the past three hours in the app, so you’ll need to be quick if you do catch a crime on camera. Still, Nest Aware is the best cloud service we’ve tested, with the app letting you effortlessly scroll through your video history, or find a specific alert using the alert view. The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is undoubtedly expensive, but it’s also the best-quality external security camera we’ve tested. With the new cheaper Nest Aware subscription, it’s an easy camera to recommend.
An expensive, but super-smart, well-designed outdoor camera with excellent image quality.