The Nest Cam Wired is the latest smart home security camera from tech supergiant Google. Offering many of the same features as its wireless—but noticeably more expensive—sibling, the Nest Cam Battery, the Nest Cam Wired appears to be the perfect combination of value, convenience, and performance. To see whether it could live up to its own lofty potential, we took the Nest Cam Wired home for a full hands-on review.
Nest Cam Wired: Overview
|Premium design and color choices||Full functionality requires paid subscription|
|Sharp 1080p image resolution||Wired power supply not as convenient as wireless|
|Facial recognition and object detection|
Nest Cam Wired: Review
Design & Setup
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Nest Cam Wired is that it is an objectively handsome device. Featuring a simple, straightforward design that strikes the right balance between unobtrusiveness and elegance, the Nest Cam is as aesthetically pleasing a security camera as you’re likely to find.
You can choose from four different color options: Snow, Linen, Fog, or Sand. We went with Linen, but there’s no wrong choice here. Each color option is handsome enough to complement just about any home décor.
Like its design, setting up the Nest Cam Wired was simple and straightforward. You can place the camera on a shelf (or other flat surface of your choosing) or use the built-in mounting plate to affix it to a wall or comparable surface. We appreciated the additional mounting option but, for the purpose of this review, decided to keep things simple and place the Nest Cam on a bookshelf where it could inconspicuously monitor the action.
Other design features worth mentioning: Along with its 135° diagonal field of view and night vision capability, the camera can tilt forward, backward, and rotate 360°, so you should be able to capture anything that needs capturing. Also—as the name implies—the Nest Cam Wired is, in fact, wired; it has a 10' non-removable power cable, to be exact. The extra cable length does make it easy to install the Nest Cam just about anywhere, though it obviously lacks the overall convenience and aesthetic appeal of its wireless counterpart, the Nest Cam Battery.
Performance & Features
Thanks to enhancements made by parent company Google, the Nest Cam ships with a long list of neat, technologically advanced features, such as AI-backed motion detection and object identification (it can differentiate between people, animals, and vehicles). Being under the Google umbrella also means you can use the Nest Cam with other Google smart home products and applications (e.g., the Google Home app connects directly to the Nest Cam, so you can use your phone to review footage or live monitor.)
In our testing, those features worked perfectly. The Nest Cam Wired easily detected any time a person (or cat) moved within its field of view and immediately sent a notification that arrived in seconds to our smartphone. Both the live and stored footage were sharp enough to see exactly what was going on. The night vision, too, was impressively clear—enough to see someone dragging a giant Snorlax plush through their living room, at least.
Interestingly enough, access to your footage—not the quality of it (which, again, is very sharp)—will likely determine how you ultimately feel about the Nest Cam Wired. That access is determined by whether or not you choose a subscription plan and, if so, which one. Without a subscription, your Nest Cam offers a three-hour window to access and review footage.
So, say the camera detects movement at 5:00 pm: It will automatically start recording and store that footage in your event history. That footage will be available for you to review for three hours—so, until 8:00 pm. After 8:00 pm, that footage is cleared from your event history. That means if you don’t review it within that narrow 3-hour window, you might never know what the event was.
To get longer access to your event history, you’ll need to opt in to one of the two paid subscription plans.
For $6 a month (or $60 annually), you can subscribe to Nest Aware, which extends your event viewing history to 30 days. Up that to $12 a month (or $120 annually), and you’ll get Nest Aware Plus, which gives you 60 days of event history and 10 days of 24/7 video history. Both plans also come with subscription-only features such as familiar face detection and sound alerts—fire alarm, CO2 alarm, and one we thought was especially great for peace of mind: the sound of glass breaking.
In our opinion, choosing one of the subscription plans is a must. Three hours simply isn’t enough of a viewing window to feel good about and the added features are too useful to do without. Of course, adding a subscription means a greater overall cost, which, depending on your budget, could impact whether the Nest Cam Wired is the best choice for you.
At its current price, the Nest Cam Wired offers one of the best value propositions out there. For a comparatively low price, you get excellent video quality, great sound detection, and some truly useful features, such as facial recognition and object identification—just to name a few. You’ll have to shell out some extra cash over time if you want to unlock the camera’s full potential via a paid subscription, but in our minds that doesn’t decrease the value, it improves it. Sure, you’ll end up paying more, but you’ll get more bang for your buck overall.
By no means are we saying the Nest Cam Wired is perfect. Despite a very handsome design, it’s still a wired camera, which, in our opinion, means it will never be as convenient or look as good as its wireless counterpart. On top of that, we don’t love the subscribe-to-unlock approach Google took with the Nest Cam Wired. It’s easy to imagine a scenario where someone buys the Nest Cam Wired without realizing they have to pay more to unlock the best features, and because of that, they feel a bit duped. However, the Nest Cam Wired is a very good camera that’s very popular with users for several important reasons. It looks great. It’s easy to set up and use. It records excellent footage day and night. And whether you opt in for a paid subscription plan or not, you get access to some of the most advanced and impressive features we’ve ever seen in a home security camera. It might not be the perfect security camera, but the Nest Cam Wired is one we would definitely recommend.