Google Nest Cam 2nd Gen Review
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Google Nest Cam 2nd Gen
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|Bottom Line||If you value video and sound over baby-centric features, the Nest Cam is a good choice for you||See clear images on this easy to use WiFi camera with loads of baby-centric features||The video quality and plethora of baby-specific features make this a favorite, even if the lack of camera precision and delay is annoying||This wallet-friendly WiFi option offers great video even if lacks baby-centric features||This straightforward monitor has impressive battery life, but the sound and video are subpar|
|Rating Categories||Google Nest Cam 2nd...||iBaby Care M7 WiFi||iBaby M8 2K Smart Baby||Wyze Cam V3||VTech VM819|
|Sound Clarity (20%)|
|Video Quality (30%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Battery life (10%)|
|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|
|Max # of Cameras||Not Listed (Unlimited?)||Not Listed (Unlimited?)||Not Listed (Unlimited?)||5||2|
|Battery Life||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||16 hours 28 minutes|
|EMF @ 6 Feet from Camera||0.6 V/m||1.42 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.
This camera is WiFi only. To use this monitor, you will need adequate internet service in your home and on your smart device. 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.
Audio / Visual
The sound and video quality and clarity for this Nest Cam version were slightly less impressive than older models. That said, it is still good quality and better than much of the competition.
The sound has a maximum volume of 110 dB 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 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 allows us to read the third line on our eye chart easily.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.