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Google Nest Cam with Floodlight review: Great but overpriced, as usual
Google Nest Cam with Floodlight
What we like
What we don't like
Earlier in 2021, Google announced a whole bunch of new Nest-branded cameras. Of them, the most significant was the battery-powered Nest Cam (battery). Unbelievably, this was the first-ever battery-powered camera with the Nest name. Now, we have a slight alteration of that product in the Google Nest Cam with Floodlight. Essentially, this is that same Nest Cam (battery), but with a floodlight system incorporated. Read our Google Nest Cam with Floodlight review below for all the info you need!
What you need to know about the Google Nest Cam with Floodlight
- Google Nest Cam with Floodlight: $279 / £269 / €299
When it comes to the camera abilities of this product, they are exactly the same as the Nest Cam (battery). We highly recommend reading our full review of that camera to see what it can do, as we won’t be rehashing that here.
Instead, this Google Nest Cam with Floodlight review will focus on the unique aspects of this variation product, most notably the two LED floodlights and installation procedure.
This version of the Nest Cam does not work on battery power alone. You need to wire it to your existing floodlight junction box. If you don’t have one of those already, you will need to install one first before installing this. Pretty much any local electrician could do it for you. Google also offers an installation service via the Google Store for an extra fee of $179.
However, the camera does have a built-in battery. That way, if your power goes out, the camera can still record footage and save it locally. Once the power comes back, it will automatically upload the saved footage and start recharging. The lights don’t work off this battery power, though. You can control the lights and camera using the Google Home app (the Nest app is not supported).
Looking for an indoor cam instead? There’s also the Nest Cam (indoor) for those that want an in-home security camera from the folks at Google Nest.
The Google Nest Cam with Floodlight comes in a single color — Snow — and is available to buy from the Google Store and most major big-box stores in the US and in various other regions.
As mentioned in our main review for the the non-Floodlight version of this camera, the image quality, activity-sensing features, and durability are great. It can track general motion and use AI smarts to recognize specific things, such as animals, vehicles, and people. If you subscribe to Nest Aware ($6 each month), it can even identify individual people. Note that you will need a Nest Aware subscription to see any footage from more than three hours prior. Once again, you should absolutely check out our full Nest Cam review for more on this.
The two LED lights are incredibly bright. At 2,400 lumens, these are some of the brightest you can get in a smart floodlight system. Adjusting the lights within the Home app is easy. You can make them brighter or dimmer, control how often they turn off/on, and even set them up to work with Google Assistant routines, just like your other smart lights.
Physically adjusting the lights and camera is similarly simple. You don’t need any tools — just move each piece by hand.
Check out: The best Google Nest products
The kit has a traditional motion sensor. This is very sensitive and worked incredibly well in my testing. However, you don’t need to only rely on the motion sensor, as the camera itself can control the lights. This would allow you to, for example, have the lights turn on when the camera spots a person, but not turn on when the camera spots an animal. This extra degree of control is quite welcome and worked well in my testing.
When the lights are on, they are bright enough that night vision on the Nest Cam is not necessary. This is good because the black-and-white night vision is sub-par compared to the competition.
What’s not so good?
Installing the camera is not simple. Even if you have a junction box pre-installed, you’re going to need to be fairly experienced with working with electrical equipment to do this on your own. Even if you have someone else install it for you, though, there’s no way to pre-setup the camera within the Home app. Since there’s no way to plug the floodlight into a standard outlet, you need to connect it to your junction box first. If your Wi-Fi signal is too weak in that spot or if you have a faulty product, you’ll only find out about it then.
Setup is pretty clunky with this device and there's no way to repair a broken LED.
Confusingly, you can control the lights like any smart light (on your main device page within the Home app), but the camera and other lighting features are within the camera’s individual settings. This is not ideal. Having to go to two different places to control the same piece of hardware is clunky. This is especially annoying when you know that the Google Nest Cam with Floodlight doesn’t work with the Nest app, which is a point of serious contention within the Nest community due to axed features and the Home app’s rudimentary interface.
Finally, it is incredibly frustrating that Google forces you to replace the whole set if a light breaks. Google loves to talk up how “green” its products are — it even notes that the Nest Cam with Floodlight is “sustainably designed with 41% recycled content across its plastic parts.” That’s great, but if the whole thing needs to go in the trash just because one of the LEDs burns out, it doesn’t matter how sustainably produced it might be.
Google Nest Cam with Floodlight review: Should I buy it?
The Google Nest Cam with Floodlight is a good camera with a good smart floodlight system attached. Setup is a bit clunky, but once you get it going, it will offer a quality experience.
As with the other Nest Cam products launched in 2021, though, our Google Nest Cam with Floodlight review left us feeling that this is only going to appeal to Google die-hards. The device’s $279 price isn’t quite justified and its inability to work with anything but Google Assistant smart homes will be a deal-breaker for many buyers. Plus, the idea of needing to spend another $279 if a light goes out doesn’t sit with us well at all.
See also: The best smart home devices you can buy
If the price of this product is too high or you aren’t locked to Google, there are plenty of competitor products out there to check out. The Eufy Security Floodlight Camera ($179) is $100 cheaper and offers most of the basic functions of this Nest product. The 2021 Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus ($179) is also $100 cheaper. Both of those competitor products also offer loud security sirens, something the Nest Cam with Floodlight lacks.
Finally, there’s also the Blink Outdoor 3rd gen and Floodlight ($139.99), which is significantly less expensive and runs on battery power. This would be an ideal alternative for renters or folks who just don’t want to go through the hassle of installing a wired system. With both the Ring and Blink cameras, you will need to buy into Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem, however.
Top Google Nest Cam with Floodlight questions and answers
Q: What are the camera’s specs?
A: It has a 1/2.8-inch, 2MP sensor with a 130-degree diagonal field of view. Video is output in 1080p/30fps at a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Q: How far can the motion sensor “see”?
A: The motion sensors can track activity up to 25ft (7.5m) away.
Q: What specs does my junction box need to meet?
A: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz
Q: Do the camera and lights have an IP rating?
A: Yes, they are IP54 rated. The ideal operating temperature for the full kit is -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius) to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).
Q: Does the Google Nest Cam with Floodlight come in multiple colors?
A: No, the only color available is called Snow.
Q: Does the Google Nest Cam with Floodlight support 24/7 recording?
A: Yes, though you’ll need to have a Nest Aware Plus tier subscription.
Q: What happens if someone steals the Google Nest Cam with Floodlight?
A: Google Nest offers a free replacement service in the case of theft. You can find the details here.