Big test: 14 connected cameras that keep track of where you are not
It must be said right away that the Cam IQ is one of the coolest home surveillance cameras we’ve had so far. With a 4k sensor, hdr and substantial zoom, the camera can provide really sharp facial images of potential intruders. However, the video material itself is reproduced in good old 1080p, which is still good enough for high-quality home video surveillance.
Design and installation
The Cam IQ is a well-designed, pretty little device. With the exception of the lens itself, the body is entirely white plastic and polycarbonate. The sensor sits on a stand a few centimeters above the flat, rounded foot. The camera is reassuringly heavy and characterized by solid material choices. However, the Cam IQ is equipped with a power cord, which fortunately is long enough that we can easily place it on the window sill a couple of meters from the outlet.
Setting up the device is done in a familiar way: download the Nest app, create an account and pair the phone and camera wirelessly by scanning a qr code on the bottom. Unfortunately, pairing takes time, and we end up having to restart the router to get the app to register our Cam IQ. Then we enter the address, indicate which room the camera is in and let the GPS app in our phone decide when the camera should be off and on.
The Nest app is relatively easy to understand and easy to navigate. The video material is presented in a timeline that is a bit difficult to navigate at first, but otherwise there are no oddities. In the app, of course, you can turn the camera on and off manually, but also change settings for video quality, create schedules and fiddle with a whole host of audio and image-related options. The app also acts as a hub for other Nest devices you may have installed.
Intelligent – for real
As we wrote before, this is a camera that can do much more than just provide you with live video from home. The suffix “IQ” in the name refers, among other things, to the fact that over time the camera learns to recognize the faces of those who live in your home or are frequent guests. In this way, it is easy to find out if there is a burglary in progress or just the wife who comes home over lunch when the notification pings on the mobile phone.
Cam IQ also automatically follows when someone moves in the field of view, which is 130 degrees. The faces are zoomed in and then registered either as known or unknown. We are particularly impressed when Nest’s camera first sees a face image in profile and then recognizes us when we turn our face straight to the camera a few days later. Facial recognition is part of Nest Aware – the company’s subscription service, which we will return to later.
Other handy features include a triple microphone and speaker rig, allowing you to hold a conversation with whoever you’re watching. Both input and output sound are very good, and we’ve found ourselves talking directly in the Nest app instead of calling the person currently in the living room.
We’ll be really impressed after a day or so, when the camera on its own has managed to identify the front door (which is half hidden by a wall and also far away). “Should we put special monitoring on this zone?”, the camera asks, and informs us that via Nest’s web interface we can draw up our own areas in the camera’s field of vision that are to be guarded extra carefully according to activity. Incidentally, logging into the Nest account via the computer provides exactly the same functionality as the mobile app, which in itself is commendable.
Image quality and annoyances
A slider in four steps lets us choose how sharp the image should be. At the highest setting, it is close to razor sharp, while at the absolute lowest it is still approved and also requires significantly less of your connection. We have a thick wall between the router and the camera, which occasionally makes the image grainy regardless of the quality set, and sometimes the Cam IQ completely loses contact with our network. The dark mode can be set manually or automatically and is more than acceptable even in pitch darkness.
If you do not want to be bombarded with Nest notifications in all possible channels, we recommend that you set the notifications to a minimum. Cam IQ is – regardless of what the Nest representative told us – not very good at differentiating “serious” events from less serious ones. At the time of writing, at 3pm in the afternoon, we have already received four notices of activity despite nothing happening at home. Light reflections from outside, sounds from the refrigerator and other distractions unfortunately cause the camera to inform us directly via a ping in the mobile phone. It creates a bit of a Peter and the wolf feeling and can lead to you not taking the notifications as seriously as you perhaps should once the burglar is there.
Much of the smartness of Cam IQ is due to the Nest Aware subscription service. This is where activity zones, facial recognition and video history are found, for example. The service costs SEK 1,000 or SEK 3,000 a year, depending on whether you want ten or 30 days of video history, which feels excessive considering that the camera itself costs close to SEK 4,000. One month is included when you first activate the camera, but then you’ll shell out handsomely to keep your Nest camera fully kitted out.
If we include the expensive subscription service in the review, the Nest Cam IQ is one of the smartest and best IP cameras we have tested. Those who don’t want to cough up those pennies get a well-designed, competent device without that little extra for SEK 3,700 – and then you might as well look for a cheaper alternative. The market is not exactly starved of home surveillance cameras and systems, and the price to unlock the full potential of the Cam IQ may well be too high for many consumers.
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Nest Cam IQ Indoor
Award: SEK 3,699
Type: All-in-one surveillance with motion detection and face recognition
Connection: wifi, bluetooth 4.0
Video resolution, max: Full HD, 1080p / 30 fps, 4k sensor
Field of view: Wide angle 130°
Dark Vision: High performance infrared LED.
Motion detection: Yes, distance unknown
Other: Built-in speaker and microphone
Measure: Height 124mm, width 73.6mm, depth 73.6mm
Weight: 357 grams
Read more: www.nest.com
Well approved regarding sound and image.
Lots of smart features.
Very good design and quality feel.
Oversensitive, warns unnecessarily.
The price is a bit juicy.