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Setup

The Quick Setup card did not lie. Setting up both the Foscam C1 and Nest Cam was insanely simple, taking just a few minutes, including the time to take screenshots. After downloading the Nest Cam app and creating an account and answering a few questions, the app pops up with a QR code reader that I simply used to scan the code on the back of the camera (just like the Foscam C1). The wireless network information entered into the app is sent to the Nest Cam via Bluetooth to complete connection and you are done.

The image below shows the key setup steps, from scanning the camera to being online. If you note the phone time in the upper right hand corner, you see that from scanning the QR code to being online with video was three minutes, and that included taking screenshots, accidentally exiting the app, etc.

Nest Cam QR code setup screens

Nest Cam QR code setup screens

It should be noted that the QR code method isn't the only setup option. If you don't happen to have an iOS or Android device, no worries, you can still connect Nest Cam to a computer via USB and configure it the old DropCam way. Since the QR code method worked so easily, I had no reason to try the other method, although I had done it before with the old DropCam HD.

Once set up, live video can be accessed via the Nest app on Android or iOS device or via a browser at https://home.nest.com/login, which you see below.

Nest Cam entry screen

Nest Cam entry screen

Features

Nest Aware, which is the subscription based video recording, is available in 10 and 30 day plans. Without Nest Aware, your video history is not saved to the cloud. Unlike any other vendor I've reviewed, Nest Aware (and the old DropCam) record continuously vs. snapshots of simple motion events. Keep this in mind as we look at pricing, as it gets complicated. Nest Aware charges per camera and per situation, which is a bit different than the other vendors who usually charge "up to x number of cameras". The graphic of the different plans is shown below.

Nest Cam pricing plans

Nest Cam pricing plans

Seems simple enough right? But wait, there's more, much more. I feel sorry for Nest representatives who have to explain the following pricing schedule to customers; there's no better way to explain it than to post a large graphic.

Nest Cam pricing plans

Nest Cam pricing plans

As you can see, you can mix and match 10 and 30-day plans, which is great and complicated at the same time. You can also have cameras at different locations (like your beach house) all in the same plan, although the first camera at each location will always be full charge. (Everything at a beach house is more expensive though anyway...)

Nest Aware's timeline is simple, intuitive and available on iOS and Android devices and via browser. All options include the ability to watch your video history and look through all of your motion and sound alerts, as well as zooming and enhancing the image (which we'll get to later) and two-way audio. It takes a browser on a computer to expand your video history for a minute by minute view, create motion detection zones, create and share clips and create and share timelapses. The timeline view via the browser is shown below, the action buttons are rather self-explanatory. The little dots along the bottom are sound and motion events.

Nest Aware's timeline view

Nest Aware's timeline view

Nest Aware has very configurable motion detection settings, including the ability to set up to 3 different zones to include or exclude activity from alerts. Nest Aware's motion algorithms are very good. The cloud service pays attention to color (such as tree leaves) as well as shape and texture to help determine if an alert is needed. Nest Aware also incorporates face detection to try to determine if alerts are important. Nest Aware can also alert based on sounds, but it won't just continue to send alerts for something like an air conditioner running; it looks for fluctuations in sound when sending alerts. The motion detection area I set within Nest Aware is shown below.

Nest Aware's motion detection area settings

Nest Aware's motion detection area settings
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