The Nest Cam Outdoor Review and In-Depth Look

Remember Palantirs from Lord of the Rings? These magical stones made by Elves allowed the evil wizard Saruman to secretly spy their surroundings at any given moment. Today, we don’t have Palantirs, the Elves or magic, but we do have the next best thing – Nest Cam Outdoor security camera.

View attachment 3793 Here comes Nest Outdoor Security Camera

Priced at $199, the Nest Cam Outdoor is a part of the Nest home system of networked gadgets and appliances that are meant to centralize control over the home into a single app on the smartphone. Even when the owner isn’t around, Nest works on its own, reducing energy consumption and overall making the day-to-day life much more pleasant by turning the laundry machine on or off and adjusting the temperature, among other things.

Nest products include everything from lightbulbs to furnaces and use algorithms and sensors to learn about occupants in order to anticipate what should be done next.

Eagle eye

Nest Cam Outdoor boasts 1080p HD video with an 8x zoom, an infrared mode for surveillance during the night and a 130° viewing angle. Since the camera plugs into a power outlet, there is no danger of batteries running out and the camera will only stop working if there’s a power outage or the cable is cut. The entire setup is weatherproof and extremely resistant to the elements, but it’s still advisable to install the camera under the roof to avoid sun shining directly into it or rain smearing over the lens.

Installation breeze

The whole setup weighs mere 11 ounces and is very easy to install. The magnet at the back of the camera will stick to any metal surface, at which point it only has to be aimed at the desired zone and it’s good to go. This is pretty much the ideal setup procedure and the Nest Cam Outdoor can be up and running within 5 minutes of it being unboxed. However, the cam also comes with a bunch of screws and anchors, which can be used if there’s any danger of lurkers nabbing the precious.

Achilles adapter

The power cable is 25 feet long and is more than enough for even the most convoluted cable routes, with the remainder being neatly coiled up and secured with a provided Velcro strip. The power adapter is quite unwieldy and possibly the weakest point of the entire setup, and the best solution is to camouflage it as something else or raise the camera at least 10 feet high. However, in that case it’s possible the WiFi signal for the camera won’t be strong enough to reach the perch.

View attachment 3794 A crucial option

An optional service that enhances the functionality of Nest Cam Outdoor is the Nest Aware monthly subscription. Priced at $10 and $30 a month for 10-day and 30-day video history respectively, the Nest Aware is pretty much a must-have. Since the entire point of buying Nest Cam Outdoor is the feeling of security, the notion of skimping on the subscription only to dread having the cable snipped and camera stolen makes very little sense, but with the Nest Aware subscription it’s at least possible to have videos showing the culprit saved to the cloud.

Person spotted

Special recognition algorithms in Nest Cam Outdoor can distinguish people from objects in the majority of cases and send specialized alerts only when a person’s been spotted. Alternatively, it can alert whenever there’s any movement or sound, but this tends to cause a lot of false alarms if there’s any traffic in the distance. Another boon is the ability to create “Activity Zones”, spots within the camera’s view that can be customized for special alerts. Both of these options require the Nest Aware subscription, and so does the ability to create clips and timelapse compilations.

You won’t believe clip #2

However, being able to share public and private streams of the footage captured by Nest Cam Outdoor is free, though the usability of this function is dubious and the whole thing feels tacked on for the sake of viral marketing. Maybe it’s there so embarrassing clips can be posted to social networks and content aggregators with ultimate ease? If that’s the case, Reddit infinite karma, here we come.

The chokepoint

The Nest app, through which all Nest products are controlled, requires an account to be created and works on iOS or Android, but the streaming capabilities demand at least a 2 Mbps upload connection, which excludes most ADSL and landline connections.

Can you hear me?

The built-in mic transmits sounds through the camera to the smartphone and the speakers do the same in reverse, though their volume isn’t all that great and it’s necessary to shout if the camera isn’t directly in front of the person that’s being talked to.


Overall, the Nest Cam Outdoor is an extremely polished gadget that doesn’t serve simply to increase security, it’s there to give the home a sleek look and can be rightfully called a “smartcam”. Durable, efficient and unobtrusive, the Nest Cam Outdoor will work out of the box and without a hitch, regardless of the user’s level of technical expertise. If Apple – or wizards for that matter – made security cameras, this is what they would look like.

Some retailers have already begun selling the Nest Cam Outdoor, but there have been recent reports of online retailers delaying shipment.

Similar threads