More than six months after its original line of aging Nest cameras began running out of stock, Google has taken the wraps off a quartet of new Nest cams, including a floodlight cam and a successor to the Nest Hello video doorbell.
Boasting smaller designs, updated features, and more affordable price tags, all four of the revamped Nest devices also come with a killer feature: on-device, AI-powered detection of people, animals, vehicles, and (for the doorbell) packages, all without a subscription.
Among the new devices is the $99.99 Nest Cam, a wired camera that marks the first Nest camera to be priced less than $100 (well, a penny under, anyway), while the $180 Nest Doorbell boasts a head-to-toe field of view and runs on either battery or low-voltage wired power. Also coming soon is a $180 wireless Nest Cam, which can run on either battery or wired power and can be installed either outdoors or inside, plus the $280 Nest Cam with floodlight.
Two of the new Nest products—the Nest Doorbell and the battery-powered Nest Cam—will arrive on August 24, while the wired Nest Cam and the Nest Cam with floodlight are coming “at a later date,” Google said. So far, we have the most details about the two devices that are coming this month.
New Nest cameras and doorbell
First up, the Nest Doorbell features HD (960 x 1280) resolution with HDR and a 3:4 aspect ratio for a head-to-toe view of visitors. Equipped with night vision (up to 10 feet), a 145-degree field of view, and a speaker and microphone with noise cancellation, the doorbell connects to Wi-Fi networks (either the 2.4- or 5GHz band) and also supports Bluetooth.
Available in four colors (snow, linen, ivy, and ash), the Nest Doorbell can run wire-free. You’ll be able to regulate the doorbell’s battery usage (as well as the power usage for the battery-powered Nest Cam) from the Google Home app. Depending on the frequency of video events you opt to record, you expect anywhere from a month to six months of battery life from the doorbell.
If you prefer the Nest Doorbell to run on wired power, you can connect it to your existing doorbell wiring, and it will also work with a conventional doorbell chime. Of course, the doorbell can ring on your Nest smart speakers and displays, too.
Next up, the battery-powered Nest Cam comes with 1080p HDR resolution, a 130-degree field of view, night vision (up to 20 feet), and a speaker and microphone for two-way voice chat.
The Nest Cam’s battery is rated to last between 1.5 and 7 months depending on usage, and as with the Nest Doorbell, the Nest Cam can also run on wired power. Designed to meet IP54 standards for protection against dust ingress and splashed water, the camera comes with a magnetic wall mount, or you can place it on a shelf or other surface using an optional stand. (You can read all about IP codes in that linked story.)
Details are a little sketchier about the two “coming at a later date” cameras. The wired Nest Cam, we’re told, will (similar to the Nest Doorbell) come in four colors, with one of the models slated to arrive with a wooden base, a homey and unique touch.
The Nest Cam with floodlight, meanwhile, is the first floodlight to be designed “from the ground up” by the Nest team, and along with the Nest Doorbell and the battery-powered Nest Cam, it will be able to locally store up to an hour’s worth of video events in case of a Wi-Fi or (in the case of the battery-powered Nest cams) a power outage. Once the power or Wi-Fi is restored, the cameras will then automatically upload their videos to the cloud.
On-device people detection
Thanks to its new, faster motion-detection algorithms, Google says its latest Nest cams are more precise at detecting motion events, such as the approach of a visitor, the scampering of a pet cat or dog (and yes, the cams can tell the difference between felines, canines, and other “classes” and “subclasses” of objects), a car rolling onto your driveway, or a dropped-off package (for the doorbell). The cams are also better at screening out extraneous occurrences, such as tree branches swaying in the wind, according to Google.
All those motion event algorithms run on a “cutting-edge” TPU chip that sits directly on the devices themselves, meaning that people, vehicle, pet, and package detection all happens locally rather than in the cloud.
Best of all, intelligent motion events on the new Nest cams don’t require a paid Nest Aware subscription. On many competing security cams, including Amazon’s Ring cameras, intelligent alerts for detected people, vehicle, and packages do require a subscription. You need a Ring Protect subscription even to get video recordings; without one, you get only a live video feed.
While people, pet, vehicle, and package detection will be available for free on the new cams (along with customizable activity zones and three hours of video events), “Familiar Faces,” an existing Nest feature that identifies visitors by scanning their faces, will require a Nest Aware subscription.
The standard Nest Aware plan costs $6 a month or $60 a year, and includes Familiar Faces functionality, 30 days of event video history, and Sound Sensing (which sends you alerts when your Nest speakers and cameras hear suspicious sounds, like breaking glass or fire alarms). Nest Aware Plus ups the event video history to 60 days, while also serving up 10 days of 24/7 video history for wired Nest cameras.
Sightline migrates to the Google Home app
Besides the new Nest cameras, changes are coming to the Google Home app as well. Most importantly, a new version of Sightline, which displays motion events in a timeline format, will move from the Nest app to the Google Home app.
The Google Home app will also let you see and control all your Nest cameras in a single view, as well as filter recent motion events in the Home feed, while a Home History view will let you scroll through every motion event for your connected Nest cameras.
We’ll have detailed reviews for all four of the new Nest products once we spend time with some test units, so stay tuned.
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Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices.