Last updated May 8, 2019
Pro: high quality video, easy to navigate app, works with other Nest products
Con: can't record video footage, not enough compatibility with other smart platforms
While there is a wide variation in the features connected security cameras offer, the basics are the same: a wide-angle video camera, the ability to view live video from this camera remotely via a smartphone app, a motion detector that sends alerts to a smartphone, and the ability to record and store captured footage.
When all these aspects are considered, the top-selling connected security camera also happens to be the best, (if not far from perfect): the Nest Cam ($199).
Ironically, the Nest Cam supplants what had been considered the best in the business, the Dropcam Pro. Why ironic? Dropcam, a start-up, was gobbled by Nest, which had itself been gobbled up by Google.
GearBrain also looked at a variety of models other than the Nest Cam and Dropcam Pro to reach our conclusion. We considered the now-discontinued Simplicam ($149.99), the Piper ($199), the Canary ($199) and the izon View ($99.95) – a small sample of available cameras currently flooding into the market with more to come.
What makes the Nest Cam the best cam is its high video quality – it's one of the few connected cameras offering full 1920 x 1080p video. Plus it's remarkably easy to set up with your local Wi-Fi network, and its app is easy to navigate and use. Nest Cam is also reliable – unlike other cameras that seemed to drop its connection far too often, the Nest Cam only lost its connection when the entire Internet was out. And of course Nest Cam is Nest compatibility, which means it shares an app with other Nest smart products.
On the con side, wider compatibility with other smart platforms would have been nice. Let's face it, Nest isn't exactly a full-service smart device provider. And there's no way to record video footage unless you subscibe to Nest's $10/month cloud storage service.
Some critics have complained the Nest Cam sends out only one motion detected alert every 30 minutes, but I find this is not only adequate but actually a good thing. I've tested several connected security cameras and finally had to turn the alerts off because they just kept on coming. As with most camera apps, you can turn the Nest Cam alerts on or off, and frankly, you'd only turn them on if you left home. The one time your castle is broken into, one alert every 30 minutes is going to be plenty.
All things considered, the Nest Cam is our choice as the top connected security camera in the do-it-yourself/monitor-it-yourself (DIY/MIY) marketplace. Do note, however, that support for IFTTT (and likely Alexa too) will be terminated by Google on August 31, 2019. The company said on May 7 2019 that it will be closing its Works with Nest platform, ending interactions between all Nest devices and systems like IFTTT. Automation will instead be handled by Google's own new Works with Google Assistant program. Nest buyers will now also have to create their own Google account, if they do not already have one.
To learn more about the DIY/MIY home security segment, check out GearBrain's Home Security's Disruption Eruption: What You Need To Know.