However, after reviewing dozens of them, I choose to personally invest in a Nest-based surveillance system for my home. So I purchased one indoor Nest camera for my living room and two more outdoor cameras, one for the front door and one for the back door that covers my entire backyard. After using them for 90 days, I decided to share my thoughts on what I like and what I don’t like about Nest cameras, so if you’re currently looking for a surveillance solution, this might help you decide.
- The biggest reason I choose Nest was for its notifications, because cameras are really only useful during and after something bad has happened. Obviously the best time to know something is wrong is during the event and most cameras on the market today can’t inform you in real time. That’s where Nest notifications come into play. I love the messages my cameras send me. For example, I was out of town for a weekend and received a notification that someone was walking up to my front door. By the time they actually reached the door, I was able to access the camera’s feed and talk to them. Turns out they were just leaving a flyer, but had they intended something else, I’d have had video and photos of their face, the car they were driving and the date and time. Being able to know someone is there, see them, talk to them and hear them is an amazing way to know your home is secure no matter where you are.
- Offsite recording; depending on how you look at it, you will either love it or hate it. With Nest cameras, the video goes to the cloud and you pay monthly for this service. It may sound like a bad idea to some people, but consider these two reasons why I feel this method is superior. First, imagine if someone breaks into your home and they steal or destroy all of your cameras in the process and steal/destroy your NVR/DVR…. what good are cameras at that point? Now, you have no record of the event because they took the device that recorded it. With Nest cameras, they can destroy and even steal your cameras, but you’ll still have access to the video, audio and photos of that event accessible online from your phone app, ready to hand to the police. Second, NVRs and DVRs are expensive, they can cost between $200-$5000. A good one can be had for $600-$1200. With Nest cameras uploading to the cloud, you pay per year, per camera. I have three cameras and only want to record for up to 10 days on two of them, so I’m paying $150 per year. In four years I would have paid for that $600 NVR/DVR, but I don’t have to replace any failed hard drives nor do I have to worry about upgrading or maintaining additional hardware. Both of these reasons pushed me over to the Nest cameras.
- They just work and they work great! Nest cameras will inform you of any technical problems. I’ve had very little downtime so far. I also wasn’t expecting much from the nighttime video, but I was quite impressed with how well the infrared works. The audio recording and the built-in speaker also work better than I expected. Did I mention they retail for only $199.99? Installation is quite easy as well, you just plug the camera into the nearest power outlet. No need to run Cat6 back to your NVR/DVR or worry about power-over-Ethernet.
- Nest Aware is a bit expensive, I have three cameras and even with the cheapest plan it still costs me $200 a year for 10 days of recording, which is why I’m only recording on two of them for now. Not including the cost of the cameras, that’s up to $800 for the first year to get going with Nest for just a three-camera system.
- No local recording options, and yes I am aware that Blueiris now works with Nest cameras, but that costs money too. I would like to see a free option for recording to an SD card or a NAS drive in the future from Nest.
- No option to hardwire into your network – I would really like to see this in the next-generation model. All three of my cameras are located in areas where hardwiring is an easy option, but since they don’t have that feature, I’m forced to use Wi-Fi. They work reliably but are less responsive. Expect a 1-3 second delay on the video most of the time.
Would I buy Nest cameras again? You bet! Do I recommend them to everyone? No. People have different needs when it comes to cameras and these may not be best for you (for example in commercial environments). However, for someone trying to make their home more secure on a budget, Nest cameras are a great option! There may be better products and even cheaper ones, but the features Nest offers is what won me over.