Why the Nest Cam is my Baby Monitor of Choice

Nest is a great brand for introducing anyone that has thought about making their home a ‘smart’ home to ‘smart’ home technologies. Nest, which was purchased by Google in 2014, has a host of smart home products including a thermostat, smoke alarm, and indoor and outdoor cameras.

Being an expecting father, I wanted to find a baby monitor that met my short list of required features. I wanted to be able to see live video, day or night, from any device I had with me at the time. I have an Android tablet, iPhone, a Windows laptop, and an iMac. This means that whatever I chose had to be truly cross platform.

Among the baby monitors on the market, the options are very few. Some are cross platform, some do streaming, but they don’t do alerts very well to let you know when there is activity. Baby monitors as a whole are just good enough to get the job done. I wanted something better than ‘good enough’.

The Nest Cam‘s feature set is plentiful, but here are a handful that sold me on it:

  • Nightvision that activates automatically.
  • Live streaming 24/7.
  • Works with any OS/device. Even browsers.
  • Notifications for movement and sound.
  • Notifies you via email, smartphone, etc.
  • Highlights activity for easy navigation.
  • Export clips, timelapse, etc.
  • 2-way talkback.

Home Test

I decided to pick up a Nest Cam to test it out for myself ahead of our pending due date. For a month now, it has been keeping watch on my house day and night. I get alerts when my dog sneaks into the nursery to snoop around. The video is crystal clear, streaming at 1080p most of the time and 720p when the network is congested.

Perhaps my favorite feature is the night vision, which works very well. The black-and-white looking image is lit by infrared light. Objects close and far away are well lit.

Another great feature is the ability to turn the indicator light on and off. This makes it easy to hide the camera or simply to make it less noticeable in the room. When the time comes, we will have a great, easily concealed nanny cam to keep tabs on our son while we’re out of the house. It also makes it a much more effective security camera by not drawing attention to itself.

The Nest app itself is a kludge. It would be a lot better if you could type in a specific time and jump to that rather than thumbscroll through and jump minutes before or after where you actually need to be. The browser interface is even more difficult. I found video to get stuck “loading” for extended periods of time from Chrome on macOS.

Being able to view recordings from the past also costs money. For 10-days of 24/7 video archives, you’ll need to pay $10 per month or $100 per year. That cost doubles for 30 days of archived footage. You can export video at any time and keep it for yourself for future viewing and/or upload to YouTube.

Another drawback is that the Nest Cam requires continuous power. Where a solution like the Ring Stick Up Cam runs off of battery power for extended periods of time, the Nest Cam has no such thing. This is one of the costs of having 24/7 HD streaming.

Summary

Overall, the Nest Cam is a great value, and one that will undoubtedly get a lot of great use in our home. Will it be our only electronic baby monitoring device? No. It will be a video component in addition to the traditional walkie-talkie style audio monitor.

For now, I couldn’t think of a better value for the buck for home video surveillance.

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