Nest Cam Outdoor Tested - Analytics Strong, Installation Weak

Author: John Scanlan, Published on Sep 23, 2016

After years of claiming an outdoor model was "coming", addressing their biggest user demand, Nest has finally released their Outdoor Camera, an IP67 1080p model, along with improvements to their Nest Aware analytic platform, aptly named Person Alerts, claiming to alert on people and reduce false alerts.

We bought and tested the new outdoor model to see how it performed and whether it lived up to these claims. Inside, we test against the indoor Nest Cam model and a low cost Hikvision bullet to see how the Outdoor Cam stacks up.

We tested:

  • Daytime and low light video quality
  • Installation issues
  • The improved Person Alerts / video analytics capability
  • The new Sightline capability

Summary

In our testing, the Nest Outdoor Cam is effectively an indoor Nest Cam in a weatherproof housing, offering no improvements in low light image quality or IR range. Additionally, its housing and cable/connector design make it easy to vandalize or defeat, while reducing installation flexibility compared to many consumer cloud models.

However, Nest has two key advantages:

  1. Nest Aware with person alerts offer some of the most accurate video motion detection of consumer/DIY cloud cameras we have tested, and better than many commercial cameras.
  2. Sightline offer a much improved timeline compared to Nest's past mobile app, and better than most consumer offerings, where playback/search are notoriously limited.

Video Analytics Bullish Sign

This is a bullish sign for video analytics that Nest has been able to develop highly accurate video analytics, something that has been beyond the capability of many professional video surveillance manufacturers who have tried to do this for years.

While the form factor / construction of this camera will limit professional adoption, this does indicate that Nest has the potential to take this up market into the commercial space where accurate analytics are even more valued. 

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Vs. Hikvision/Ezviz

Compared to Hikvision's low cost Value/Value Plus cameras and/or Ezviz, the Nest Cam Outdoor is limited by shorter IR range/poorer nighttime image quality, is more expensive than many models, and does not include SD card recording, requiring a minimum investment of $10/month. Additionally, Hikvision offers several indoor and outdoor models compatible with the Ezviz (under both brand names) with varying lens options, giving users more flexibility in camera selection.

However, Nest Aware with person alerts offers a clear advantage in motion/analytic accuracy, with few false alerts, a common problem with Hikvision VMD and analytics. Users looking for a minimum of false alerts may be willing to spend more on Nest cameras and Nest Aware.

Pricing

The Nest Cam Outdoor sells for $200 online, the same price as the existing indoor Nest Cam.

Nest Aware plans are priced as follows:

  • 10 day history: $10/mo or $100/yr for first camera, $5/mo or $50/yr per additional 
  • 30 day history: $30/mo or $300/yr first camera, $15/mo or $150/yr additional

These prices are similar to other cloud storage plans. Nest also has a free plan which includes only three hours of video storage, and does not include Nest Aware, person alerts, or clip generation.

Physical Overview

In the video below we review key features of the Nest Cam Outdoor, reviewing specific issues in more detail below.

Magnetic Mount Easily Moved

Because of its magnetic mount, the Nest Cam Outdoor may be easily knocked down or moved, making it easy to disable for a vandal with a stick, broom, or well placed snowball or tennis ball. Even light force on the camera's USB cable causes it to rotate on the mount.

Further, relatively light impact (a light slap) can knock the camera off the mount completely. 

 

Cable Cannot Be Cut/Extended

Because the Nest Cam Outdoor uses a proprietary locking weather resistant USB connector to connect the camera to the power/wireless box, it cannot be simply extended using longer USB cables or extenders as the Nest Cam Indoor and other consumer cameras can.

Users must place the camera within 25' of an outlet. Nest recommends that users without an available outlet use light bulb adapters to power it from a landscape or flood light or call a pro installer to add an outlet.

Additionally, since it cannot be shortened, users installing the Outdoor cam near an outlet must coil up and secure/hide excess cable.

Exposed Cable Vulnerable

The Nest Cam Outdoor's cable is exposed, connected through the bottom of the camera, unlike typical outdoor bullet and dome cameras which route cable through the housing/mount. This means that even if users drill through a wall to mount the camera, the cable is still exposed to vandalism and may be cut or grabbed and used to pull down/move the camera.

Nest Aware Person Alerts

Nests's Person Alerts feature differentiates between people and other motion, prioritizing people over other alerts. Nest sends differing messages depending on confidence, displaying:

  • "Your camera noticed some activity" if no person is seen
  • "Your camera thinks it spotted a person" if there is low confidence a person is seen, generally when the subject is partially/mostly obscured
  • "Your camera spotted a person" if there is high confidence a person is seen

In our tests, we found person alerts to be accurate out to about 25', with no missed activations or false alerts (recognizing objects as people). All instances of "thinks it spotted a person" and "spotted a person" (~30 alerts over two days of testing) were indeed people, in multiple indoor and outdoor fields of view, day and night:

The camera experienced ~3 false alerts over two nights of testing, caused in all cases by cars approaching, causing light changes in the majority of the foreground in the scene. Note that these were shown only as "activity", not people.

Sightline

Sightline shows snapshots from events Nest Aware believe overlaid directly on the timeline so users may quickly review activity (available in mobile apps online). Users may tap on an event to load video and through video by swiping up/down at variable speed.

We found Sightline simple to use in our tests, and quick to review large segments of video. However, scrubbing is coarse, making slow playback of video difficult.

We demonstrate Sightline in this video:

Image Quality Comparison

We shot the Outdoor cam against the original Nest Cam as well as a Hikvision IR dome with similar FOV to see how they compare, using a typical residential scene, viewing a two car driveway.

In a well lit daytime scene at ~45 PPF/~10' distance, the Nest Cams look very similar, with the Hikvision model providing slightly better text legibility.

At ~15 PPF/~30' distance, none of the cameras provide details of the subject's face, but text is more clear and evenly exposed in the Hikvision 1080p model.

At night, with IR on, details are again similar in Nest Cams, but Hikvision overexposes the subject almost completely.

Finally, at longer range, the subject is visible in both Nest Cams, though without details of the subject or chart. The Hikvision camera provides better images of our subject due to its stronger IR. 

9 reports cite this report:

Directory Of 92 Video Analytics Suppliers on Jan 04, 2018
This directory provides a list of video analytics providers to help you see and research what options are available. Video...
Deep Learning Startup Umbo Raises Prices 733% For Analytics on Oct 02, 2017
While the industry overall trend is racing to the bottom on price, deep learning startup Umbo is taking the alternative approach, raising prices on...
Directory Of Consumer Security Cameras on Aug 16, 2017
The consumer camera segment continues to grow, with new startups and models from existing players released seemingly every month. In this report we...
Nest Cam IQ Tested on Jul 10, 2017
Nest has released their latest entry in their camera line, the Nest Cam IQ, touting 4K "Supersight", facial recognition, "HD audio", invisible IR,...
Jeff Bezos-Funded Deep Sentinel Security Startup on Jun 05, 2017
Deep Learning is a rising trend in many commercial security products, and now one entrepreneur wants to bring deep learning to residential...
Ring Floodlight Cam Tested on Apr 20, 2017
Ring has released their latest entry, the Floodlight Cam, calling it the "Evolution of Outdoor Security", touting motion activated floodlights,...
UmboCV Deep Learning Cloud Camera Profile on Apr 05, 2017
UmboCV is bringing deep learning analytics to the market at a surprising low price. The Taiwan / American startup has launched a camera that uses...
Nest Wants You To Be A Pro Dealer on Nov 18, 2016
Dropcam / Nest Cam has been an adversary of security integrators, with them selling direct online and focusing on DIY installations. Now, they are...
Nest Announces Outdoor Camera With Numerous Flaws on Jul 14, 2016
NEST CEO was ousted / resigned after strong criticisms from Dropcam's CEO. One of the key issues was a failure to improve / grow Dropcam's product...
Comments (4) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Hanwha Wisenet X Analytics and VMD Test on May 24, 2018
Continuing our updated testing of camera analytics, we tested Hanwha's Wisenet X analytics for over two weeks in multiple scenes, indoors and out,...
Installing Box Cameras Indoors Tutorial on May 22, 2018
This tutorial starts our physical installation for video surveillance series, starting with Box Cameras, one of the oldest and most basic types....
The Hikvision Smart Classroom Behavior Management System on May 22, 2018
Hikvision's rapidly growing offering of analytics, which we most recently examined with Hikvision's ethnic minority analytics, is now going into...
Dahua Intrusion Analytics And VMD Tested (Poorly) on May 21, 2018
Dahua ships basic analytics on practically all their cameras, ranging from low cost to high end. To see how these analytics work in real world...
Stealth / UCIT - Remote Video Monitoring Provider Profile on May 18, 2018
Can 2 remote video monitoring companies, Stealth Monitoring from the US and UCIT from Canada combine to impact the market and compete in a changing...
Dahua 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (NK8BR4) on May 16, 2018
Continuing our coverage of 12MP sensor fisheye cameras, we bought and tested the Dahua NK8BR4, examining: Default vs. Optimized...
Installing Cameras in Plenums Tutorial on May 15, 2018
There is often confusion about plenum ceilings, with misinformation about what is required when running cables through them and mounting cameras...
Axis 12MP Stereographic Camera Tested (M3058-LVE) on May 10, 2018
Axis has released the M3058-PLVE, a 12MP sensor, stereographic panoramic camera and Axis' first with integrated IR claiming images "sharp to the...
Nortek Acquires IntelliVision on May 08, 2018
One of the largest intrusion manufacturers, Nortek, has acquired the self-proclaimed 'Leader in AI-Based Video Analytics Software',...
Hikvision's Minority Analytics on May 08, 2018
Hikvision has developed and is deploying minority analytics inside China, automatically identifying and categorizing individuals as ethnic...

Most Recent Industry Reports

VMS Server Sizing on May 25, 2018
Specifying the right sized PC/server for VMS software is one of the most important yet difficult decisions in IP video surveillance. In the past...
China: Foreign Video Surveillance Is Security Risk on May 25, 2018
The Chinese government has long acknowledged that foreign video surveillance is a 'risk to national security' and has increasingly and almost...
US House Passes Bill Banning Gov Use of Dahua and Hikvision on May 24, 2018
Today, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 5515, a bill that includes a ban on the US government's use of Dahua and Hikvision. This follows...
Hanwha Wisenet X Analytics and VMD Test on May 24, 2018
Continuing our updated testing of camera analytics, we tested Hanwha's Wisenet X analytics for over two weeks in multiple scenes, indoors and out,...
Ambitious Mobile Access Startup: Openpath on May 24, 2018
This team sold their last startup for hundreds of millions of dollars, now they have started Openpath to become a rare access control small...
Amazon's "Dangerous New Face Recognition Technology" Says ACLU on May 23, 2018
The ACLU has caused a stir, with a new report Amazon Teams Up With Law Enforcement to Deploy Dangerous New Face Recognition Technology,...
Software Only VMS vs NVR Appliances on May 23, 2018
Should you buy your own PC/server and load VMS software on it or get a turnkey appliance (both hardware and software, e.g., NVR, Hybrid DVR) from a...
Buy Arecont: Top Bid $10 Million Cash on May 22, 2018
Last year, Arecont had a deal for a purchase price of $170 million (see Failed Arecont China Acquisition). This year, Arecont has a deal for a...
Installing Box Cameras Indoors Tutorial on May 22, 2018
This tutorial starts our physical installation for video surveillance series, starting with Box Cameras, one of the oldest and most basic types....
The Hikvision Smart Classroom Behavior Management System on May 22, 2018
Hikvision's rapidly growing offering of analytics, which we most recently examined with Hikvision's ethnic minority analytics, is now going into...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact