In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

Google Nest Cam 2nd Gen Review

A great option for those looking for sharp video and crisp audio who aren't as concerned about baby-specific features
google nest cam 2nd gen video monitor review
Credit: Nest
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $100 List | $69.99 at Amazon
Pros:  High-quality video, clear & loud audio, can be paired to multiple cameras, infinite viewers
Cons:  No baby-specific features, requires a Google account, a barebones app that isn't intuitive
Manufacturer:   Nest
By Wendy Schmitz ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 11, 2022
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 14
  • Range - 20% 10.0
  • Sound Clarity - 20% 7.0
  • Video Quality - 30% 9.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 5.0
  • Battery life - 10% 10.0
  • Features - 5% 6.0

The Skinny

Like previous Nest Cam monitors, the new 2nd Gen option is high quality, simple in looks, and easy to use. It has good video quality day or night, can be paired to multiple cameras and viewers, and has better audio quality than much of the competition. While it has no baby-specific features, it offers the functionality we think is important, like sound activation and basic functionality that makes it a good buy for those looking for great video images. This monitor requires a Google account, but seeing one up isn't hard. It could be annoying for those who don't want one more account to track, but if you have a Google account already, it ties right in. We love that this camera has good long-term potential with a base in surveillance and security; we can see parents using this to monitor busy toddlers, babysitters, or the house at large when your little one gets older. This capability makes this monitor an even better buy in our minds, given the very reasonable price. Overall we love the Nest Cam and think you can get your baby features like night lights and sound machines elsewhere.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Value Award  
Price $100 List
$69.99 at Amazon
$150 List
$150.87 at Amazon
$220 List
$169.95 at Amazon
$30 List
$32.38 at Amazon
$69 List
$51.25 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros High-quality video, clear & loud audio, can be paired to multiple cameras, infinite viewersWiFi range, lots of features, great images, easy to useGreat video quality, lots of features, low EMF readingBudget-friendly, good video quality, WiFi connectivityExcellent battery life, budget-friendly, low EMF reading
Cons No baby-specific features, requires a Google account, a barebones app that isn't intuitiveSub-par sound, higher price, internet dependantDelayed camera control is annoying, no precision adjustment to camera, connectivity issuesPast security concerns, no baby-specific features, must physically move the camera, poor sound qualityManual camera, poor sound quality, mediocre video quality
Bottom Line A great option for those looking for sharp video and crisp audio who aren't as concerned about baby-specific featuresCool WiFi option with all the bells and whistles that is easy to useThe great video quality and tons of baby-help features make this a standout pick, but the delay in the camera control causes a big setback for this modelThis barebones model is easy on the wallet and doesn't compromise on video qualityNot the best video or sound quality, but this simple monitor had the longest battery life we tested by a long shot
Rating Categories Google Nest Cam 2nd... iBaby Care M7 WiFi iBaby M8 2K Smart Baby Wyze Cam V3 VTech VM819
Range (20%)
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
6.0
Sound Clarity (20%)
7.0
4.0
6.0
5.0
4.0
Video Quality (30%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
Ease of Use (15%)
5.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Battery life (10%)
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
Features (5%)
6.0
9.0
10.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Google Nest Cam 2nd... iBaby Care M7 WiFi iBaby M8 2K Smart Baby Wyze Cam V3 VTech VM819
Communication Technology 2.4 / 5 Ghz 802.11 b/g/n 2.4/5GHz 2.4 GHz 2.4 GHz
Indoor Range Test Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity 3 walls, 155 feet
6 walls, 75 feet
Open Field Range Test Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity 400 Feet
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*buyer beware!) Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity 1000 Feet
Max Sound 110 db @ ~1ft 82 db @ ~1ft 85 db @ ~1ft 100db @ ~1ft 67db @ ~1ft
Screen Size n/a n/a n/a n/a 2.8"
Max # of Cameras Not Listed (Unlimited?) Not Listed (Unlimited?) Not Listed (Unlimited?) 5 2
Temperature No Yes Yes No Yes
Movement Detection Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sound Activation Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Talk-to-Baby Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pan/Tilt/ Zoom Zoom Pan/Tilt/Zoom Pan/Tilt/Zoom Zoom Zoom
Battery Life n/a n/a n/a n/a 16 hours 28 minutes
EMF @ 6 Feet from Camera 0.6 V/m 0.75 V/m 0.23 V/m 1.47 V/m 0.22 V/m
Warranty 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year

Our Analysis and Test Results

Nest is a Google-owned company based out of California. They offer all kinds of home products, from wired and battery cameras to spotlights with cameras and smart home thermostats.

Performance Comparison



google nest cam 2nd gen video monitor review - because the next cam is a wifi camera, you will need good internet...
Because the Next Cam is a WiFi camera, you will need good internet but it could be one of your few options if your house is too large for a dedicated monitor to work.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Range


This camera is WiFi only. You will need adequate internet service in your home and on your smart device to use this monitor. It has a downloadable app and can theoretically work wherever you have an internet connection.


This makes it a good choice for larger homes with increased distance or walls between the parent unit and the nursery camera or for those parents who hope to monitor from a different location like work or travel. We recommend trying this camera when you purchase it instead of waiting for your little one to arrive in case your internet speeds are not fast enough to support the service. If you miss your return window, it will be frustrating to have a monitor you cannot use.

google nest cam 2nd gen video monitor review - compared to much of the baby-centric and dedicated monitors, the...
Compared to much of the baby-centric and dedicated monitors, the Nest offers better, easier-to-see video.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Audio / Visual


The quality and clarity of the sound and video for this version of the Nest Cam were slightly less impressive than older models. That said, it is still good quality and better than much of the competition.


google nest cam 2nd gen video monitor review - the nest came has two-way talk to baby, which is better sounding...
The Nest came has two-way talk to baby, which is better sounding than much of the competition. It also has a fairly good microphone as it relays realistic sound to the parent device.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The sound has a maximum volume of 110 dB at a foot away from the device. It is clear but louder than you'll need for a little one crying. The sound is pretty crisp sounding and some of the best in the group. It has minimal tinny qualities and no distortion. It certainly gets the job done for monitoring your baby. The features for sound aren't as impressive as other models, and it lacks great sound activation or filtering if you are monitoring, you will hear everything in the baby's room, including lots of background noise.

The full-screen video image is crisp and clear for the Nest Cam.
The full-screen video image is crisp and clear for the Nest Cam.
Zooming in on the Nest Cam offers a clear visual of the baby's awake...
Zooming in on the Nest Cam offers a clear visual of the baby's awake or alert status, giving you the necessary information to determine your response.

The video quality is good for both day and nighttime viewing. Images are bright and crisp in the daytime with true-to-life colors, and zooming in allowed us to read the third line on our eye chart with ease.


While less clear with full zoom and night vision, the Nest Cam video...
While less clear with full zoom and night vision, the Nest Cam video still offers an image clear enough to provide the necessary information to respond.
As you use digital zoom on any device, the image will become more...
As you use digital zoom on any device, the image will become more pixelated and blurry, but the Nest cam is clearer than much of the competition.

Night-time images are bright. The images are crisp and remain so even in full dark and fully zoomed in. This is in contrast to the competition, which often provides blurry and confusing images at night that only get worse with digital zoom features.

google nest cam 2nd gen video monitor review - we had difficulties setting up our nest cam with the requirement for...
We had difficulties setting up our Nest Cam with the requirement for multiple account setups and connections, creating the need for two attempts.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


This Nest cam isn't as easy to use as some of the competition or the previous Nest options. We had difficulties with setup and daily use that make it less desirable than those monitors you just plug in and go.


It required two attempts to complete the setup with this monitor. Our first attempt required setting up a Gmail account as it wouldn't allow us to create an account with other emails. It also required the creation of a Nest account which it hasn't in the past and seems unnecessary. On the first day, the app was glitchy and seemed incapable of setting up the account at all. The second day was more straightforward, and the app seemed to have self-corrected miraculously for no reason, but we suspect parents who encounter the sort of first-time trouble we did might just pack it up and send it back as too much hassle to bother with.

google nest cam 2nd gen video monitor review - setting up the app and creating an account for the nest cam should...
Setting up the app and creating an account for the Nest Cam should have been easier and while it was less glitchy the second day we tried, you will need a Gmail account and a Nest account to complete the task.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Navigation for the camera takes place through the Google Home app, which is barebones and not visually pleasing or truly intuitive. It took some time to find where the features were beyond recording video, and we had trouble locating

basic features like volume control. There is also a 2-5 second time delay when you reconnect the camera each time you open the app.

Battery Life


The camera on this monitor is wired only with no battery backup. Battery length for this metric is based on your smart device and will vary based on the device and how you use it outside the app.


If you make phone calls, use other apps, play games, or surf social media, the battery life of your device is going to drain quickly. Because we humans use our smart devices for all kinds of competing projects, we recommend using an old phone, tablet, or another secondary device outside of your primary phone for regular monitoring using your personal smartphone for occasional away-from-home check-ins only. While your smart device used exclusively for monitoring should last longer than most of the dedicated competition, we still think you are better off using a secondary device for uninterrupted monitoring.

google nest cam 2nd gen video monitor review - only two-way talk feature is on the main monitoring screen, which...
Only two-way talk feature is on the main monitoring screen, which feels short-sighted and less useful. We wish there was at least volume control on the main screen.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Features


This is not a true baby monitor and, therefore, has no baby-centric features. However, the features it does have, make it more than capable of offering impressive video monitoring with great visuals and good sound. While you might think you need white noise or lullabies, nightlights, and projections, you really don't, and we find most parents don't use these features on their monitors but instead have other devices in the room that offer these features.


google nest cam 2nd gen video monitor review - while it has multiple features, not many are shown on the main...
While it has multiple features, not many are shown on the main screen of the app, making making quick night time adjustments while you are sleepy more challenging.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

  • 2-way talk to baby
  • Digital zoom
  • Multiple cameras/shared viewers
  • Movement detection
  • Screen auto-wake and sleep
  • Night vision
  • Sound activation

Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Levels


While the jury is still out on the effects on infant health and development concerning EMF, we think it is worthy of consideration, and limiting EMF exposure is always a good idea. We tested each monitor for the EMF level it emitted about 6 ft from the camera.


Placing the camera the furthest possible from your baby to still be effective can also limit exposure. Turning the monitor off when not in use is also a good idea. The average EMF reading for the Cam 2nd Generation is 0.6 V/m which is on the lower end of the spectrum compared to the competition. However, several options, both dedicated and WiFi, emit below 0.23 V/m, which is even lower. We are encouraged that year after year; we are seeing an average drop in EMF from baby monitors.

Security/Privacy Concerns


As with any WiFI camera, there are potential security concerns for hacking. While not impossible, we have not found any security concern history for NEst or Google cameras. However, you can also take steps to prevent hacking and keep your monitor and baby safe.

Safety Tips
  • Always perform firmware updates when available
  • Change the password upon setup and frequently over time
  • Choose passwords with 8-12 characters and lower/upper cases, numbers, and special characters
  • Use the smallest field of vision possible to get the job done
  • Unplug the camera when you aren't using it. Often WiFi cameras can be turned on remotely, and you won't know it immediately.

Should You Buy the Google Nest Cam 2nd Gen?


Absolutely. If your goal is long-term use with a quality camera that offers good video and sound, it is hard to do better than the Nest Cam, and the company and quality can give you the reassurance of its durability, longevity, and security. We think most tech-savvy parents will appreciate what it offers and can ignore its shortcomings of no remote camera movement. While it lacks baby-centric features, we think most parents won't miss them and can happily cobble together other products to pick up the slack that also allows for more personal touches in a nursery than a catch-all monitor with poor-sounding lullabies.

What Other Video Monitor Should You Consider?


If the price or commitment to WiFi has you uncertain, the Wyze Cam V3 is a good option. With a similar setup and functionality, the Wyze is a third of the price of the already budget-friendly Nest, and it has the potential for long-term use and security as well. We found the Wyze to be easier to use during testing, and it has somewhat less impressive video and sound than the Nest, but most parents won't notice or mind and might like the extra money they save.

Manufacturer Video



Wendy Schmitz
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