The Nest camera is the perfect way to use smart tech well.
Connected to an app, and with impressive and intuitive features, Nest has hit the nail on the head with their simple home surveillance system. We trialled Nest in the Techly office and had some interesting experiences.
The Nest camera gets massive props for its ease of setup. You can comfortably attach or place it on most walls and surfaces (we’ve stuck ours to the wall above the office TV).
The back of the camera is emblazoned with great big QR code. Attaching the camera to your account is as simple as connecting to your WiFi and scanning that code with the Nest App. Your nanna could probably set this thing up.
If your WiFi is a bit dodgy or your QR code is scuffed, you can also set up your camera by plugging it into your computer and following the instructions. Either way works.
Once your camera is added to your account, you’ll be automatically set up with a free trial of Nest Aware. This is where the Nest camera really shines.
Nest Aware adds an extra layer of intelligence to your camera with some neat high-tech features. You can set up alerts when a person is detected, create and share time lapses, keep 10 days of history or tell it to specifically monitor specific areas for activity (like the front door or windows).
At $14 a month, some might find the Nest Aware price tag to be a bit steep. But if you plan to use the camera for security purposes, it’s really kind of essential.
The Nest app itself feels very solid; important when it comes to an app managing your home security. It’s full of well thought-out touches that give a high quality, premium feel when using it. Elements such as the subtle animation of the weather on the main screen, or mini-animations as screens load and move give a very pleasing effect.
Whether you have just one Nest product or a whole collection, the app keeps things very simple to use. Your main screen shows a list of device views, and tapping on any opens that device’s individual live feed.
One of the best things about the camera is that it’s always on, 24/7. Because it runs off power rather than a battery, you can fire up the app at any time and know that the camera’s doing its thing, ready to be viewed.
The feed from the camera is surprisingly smooth, with a wide fisheye lens giving a huge field of view in 1080p HD. Colour range struggles sometimes when large areas of shadow and bright light are both in the shot, but this is more a shortcoming of cameras in general than Nest. Definitely something to keep in mind though when it comes to camera placement around your house.
Notifications also shine, and controls are impressively granular. You can set your notification preferences on a per-device basis, as well as the type of activity Nest detects. For example, I can tell the app I want to be notified via push notification for all instances of people my camera detects, with no notifications for general movement or sound, and only when no one in my family is home. Not bad!
It was a bit of a shock to have a photo of one of our staff appear on my Apple Watch, as the camera had detected movement, labelled it as a person, and pushed the alert to my devices. This truly is the future!
However, this level of detailed recognition relies on the premium Nest Aware subscription service. This is an added monthly cost on top of the devices themselves, but gives you extended history, intelligent alerts, and more.