New Google Nest Cam Tested

Author: Derek Ward, Published on Jun 29, 2015

The most important advance for the new Google Nest Cam is video analytics.

Though this has not been the focus in the mainstream press, IPVM testing shows that their video analytic advances are significant. We bought a Nest Cam and conducted testing in 4 environments: residence / home, conference room, office, and warehouse.

The rest of the new model contains a mixture of moderate advances and detractions from the previous Dropcam Pro model.

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Comments (15)

So worth it to upgrade from Dropcam Pro?

If you depend or what to depend on accurate alerting, certainly worth it.

Otherwise, everything else is incremental and unless you have money to burn or love having new gadgets, not a huge difference.

Nest Cam is 1080p resolution, whereas Dropcam Pro is 720p.

To clarify, are you saying that the Nest Cam now streams 1080p to the cloud? Because they both have 1080p sensors, I think.

Your testing seems to show that the Nest Cam's enhancement wand has lost much of its ability to improve the baseline picture, am I interpreting that correctly?

When IPVM says 'resolution' we mean streaming unless we specifically call out the sensor.

As a point of fact, Dropcam claimed that the Pro had a 3MP sensor (this is called out in a later version of the Dropcam website before Nest shut down the Dropcam website).

When IPVM says 'resolution' we mean streaming unless we specifically call out the sensor.

That's good that you make that distinction, since many in the mainstream media are or have misleadingly reported the Dropcam Pro as 1080p or 1080p enabled.

Ironically, if they wait long enough they may be right as this complaint on a thread from nest.com shows:

This makes no sense from a tech perspective though, since Dropcam has said numerous times that the Dropcam Pro's hardware supports it. Thus, it's a matter of updating the camera's software to compress and handle the video appropriately. - Scottwww

Yes, we are working to bring 1080p to Dropcam Pro cameras in the near future as we improve our software and connectivity. - Nest Mod

Mostly though I was curious on whether IPVM agrees that the Nest Cam enhancement wand does not seem improve its picture the way that the DropCam Pro's did.

I thought the magic wand just "enhanced" the image by bringing it to the actual resolution the image was capable of? Which is why the NEST version would not do too much since it is already at 1080p.

I thought the magic wand just "enhanced" the image by bringing it to the actual resolution the image was capable of?

Yes, I agree that is the reason it is happening. As John patiently explained to me over a year ago:

With Dropcam, enhanced mode only encodes a subsection of the FoV so part of the FoV is thrown out and the other 'enhanced' part gets encoded. The reason why the image quality is significantly better with dropcam 'enhanced' is that (1) they adjust the exposure just for the specific region... (2) since Dropcam maxes out at a 720p stream but uses a 1080p imager, what they are essentially doing is digitally cropping the 1080p stream to the 'enhanced region' to a 720p stream.

Looking back, it may well be that the enhancement function had access to an underlying 3MP sensor, as John informs, not just a 2.1MP one. Either way it would seem that because they have increased the stream resolution but not the sensor resolution, they have taken a good deal of magic out of the 'wand'.

I was asking only if anyone else interpreted the pictures the same way.

However, with these changes, there are still some aspects of Nest Cam that have not changed since Dropcam, like the ability to save recordings locally to an SD card.

I understand they (nest) they want the revenue that their service provides but until they offer either in camera storage (SD) or storage to a pc/mac they miss the mark imo...

Good point.

As you can see, they are pushing it the other way, adding the analytics to what comes with the subscription.

It will be interesting to see - When will rivals embed an SD card in their offerings, make it as seamless to setup and use as Dropcam/Nestcam/Google and cut into their market? Or can Nest defend the subscription pricing with more premium features like the analytics?

True. I think the question that most people will need to answer is are analytics worth the subscribtion and storing my video on someone elses computer or can I settle for a camera without analytics, store it on my computer and save the monthly subscription cost.

Nest Cam is now charging $10 for 10 days of stored recording as their basic subscription service per month, giving users 3 more days of saved recordings for 3 cents more.

Should say 5 cents more. Those two pennies add up quicker than you think!

/sarcasm

Just adding your two cents in, eh? ;)

You need to increase the IPVM membership and raise some money. Then maybe you can afford some furniture in your conference room.

Sorry - couldn't resist.

I just got mine for $150 on Black Friday and it works nicely I like it! The app is easy to use. I have not signed up for nest aware yet and when I do I will post in here with my thoughts on it.

I still love my original Dropcam so no rush to update yet unless you report all kinds of cool new features Michael!

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