Nest took the next step after its purchase of Dropcam yesterday by releasing a new monitoring camera, the Nest Cam. It's an unassuming little camera that looks a little like a gray Google Maps pin, with a simple heavy base and a microUSB port on the bottom. It records 1080p video at 30fps (a step up from the last Dropcam's 720p) with a 130-degree field of view, and you can subscribe to Nest Aware to store up to 30 days of footage in the cloud. You can also set up Activity Zones so you'll be alerted if something moves in a certain portion of your frame.
Nest claims that you can set it up in less than 60 seconds and, well, that seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to test. So we started our stopwatch (not really) and got down to it. The thing that took the longest with the Nest Cam was dealing with our relatively poor Wi-Fi in the corner of the office we chose to install it. So 60 seconds from unboxing to live video streaming to your iPhone is totally doable if you've got solid Wi-Fi (and Wi-Fi also seems to be a requirement for non-grainy video, I think).
We'll have a full review of the Nest Cam soon, but in the meantime here are some photos of the device and notes about the setup process.
- Here's the box. It has an Apple-esque pulltab to open it up and the pieces inside are cradled in well-shaped PaperFoam.
- There's the Nest Cam, with a Nest logo protecting the 130-degree lens. The Nest Cam can also see at night thanks to 8 infrared LEDs that are built into the camera.
- The base of the Nest Cam is made of zinc and it's heavy enough to keep it stable. You can unscrew the camera if you'd prefer to mount it to something else and it can rotate and stay in place at any angle.
- Told you: any angle.
- The Nest Cam has a tiny indicator light above the camera lens that tells you its status.
- The back is rubberized so it shouldn't damage any walls and it connects via microUSB.
- It comes with a super long USB cable. 10 feet to be exact.
- It also comes with a magnetic wall-mounting plate and the screws you'll need to attach it.
- To set up the Nest Cam, you just open up the Nest app, tell it you have a new device, and then point it at the QR code on the back of the camera.
- You'll also need to punch in the code for your Wi-Fi into your phone so it can be transmitted to the Nest Cam. Did I mention it has a magnetic base? It does, and here it's attached to a fire extinguisher box.
- That's it! The Nest Cam is all set up and it's time to have some fun with it. You can zoom into an area and click "Enhance" to have it permanently zoomed into that zone, for example. We'll dig much deeper into the app in the full review.
- Check out that field of view. It's wide. Also, it's pretty grainy here, but it seems like that's the fault of our sketchy Wi-Fi, not of the Nest Cam. We'll have much more to say when we've had more time with it.
- Things get distorted a bit when they're super close to the Nest Cam. One last note: you can talk to people from your phone to the Nest Cam, but it's not full duplex. You hit the mic button, then talk, then hit "done" to hear their response. When you hit the mic button, the camera makes a little beep so people in the room know to listen. Also, it probably beeps to chastise people who want to poke the Nest Cam. Do not poke Nest Cam. DAN.