Nestcam IQ w/ 4K Sensor!! – REVIEW

A flagship for Nestcam, the NestCam IQ is equipped with a 4K sensor and great night performance.

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Hey everyone, Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom.  For the past two years, I’ve been using the Logi Circle, and the Nestcam for both my studio and my house.  The newest member to Smart Home Security Cameras is the Nest Cam IQ.  It’s not a replacement to the previous model but will be the flagship to the NestCam lineup.  There’s a faster processor, better image, and some intelligent features which I’ll discuss in this review.  The NestCam IQ retails for $299, making it a pretty penny, so hopefully, with the aforementioned features, it justifies its price.  As always, I’ll place my affiliate links above – click on those links and they’ll give you the most updated prices as of today.  You never know when these things go on sale.

4.9 inches tall 2.9 inches wide Mass 12.6 oz (357 g) Total cable length: 10 ft (3 m)

PHYSICAL FEATURES
The NestCam IQ isn’t as discrete or as slim as the previous models.  It looks great though – very stylish and at the time of this video, it’s only available in white.  Black could come down the road as black would be perfect if you’re trying to hide the camera. The entire unit can be adjusted to virtually every angle.  You can move this 100% vertically up and almost 100% vertically down.  Left and right can also be adjusted to 180 degrees.

The base isn’t magnetized like the original Nestcam for easy mounting on metal surfaces and a mountable wall plate is not supplied either.  However, there is a threaded quarter inch hole if you decide to use your own mount instead.  The base is very sturdy and grippy.  I know some leave their security cameras on an end table, and if you have pets, a child, or you, yourself may bump this, though the NestCam IQ does not easily tip over.

The IQ is connected with a USB-Type C cord, nice to see them adopting the newest technology moving forward, and the cable itself is 10 feet long, or 3 meters for those using metric.  Other than that, that’s basically it.  Very straightforward, very clean design.  It’s not motorized, it’s not weather or waterproof, so this is not an outdoor camera. And for those asking, yes, you can turn off the calming blue indicator light.  But let’s get into the performance.

MICROPHONE PERFORMANCE
First up, the microphones have been significantly improved.  There are three microphones on the IQ itself, and anything within a 20-foot range is very much audible and easily distinguishable.  At 40 linear feet, the NestCam IQ takes a bit more effort to hear, which is to be expected But still, you can make out what I’m saying clearly, the microphones are simply sensitive, in a good way.  On the flip-side, I do have the ability to speak into my phone and talk through the NestCam IQ.  My voice did come across clear, but, the audio is very low on my personal assessment.  Yelling didn’t help either.  If you’re trying to get your pet’s attention, your child, or screaming for grandma in the other room, it will be hard to discern.

VISUAL PERFORMANCE
Moving onto the visual performance, the NestCam IQ features a 1080p resolution.  The IQ did intrigue me by stating it also has a 4K sensor.  To clarify, the video stream is 1080p, and the saved clips I download off of Nestcam are also a 1080p resolution – the 4K sensor is actually used for Close-Up Tracking. When there’s movement, the camera zooms in using this 4K sensor and continues to keep the resolution at 1080p so you don’t lose quality.  When reading the specs at first glance, I thought that was gimmicky – why say 4K when it’s really not a 4K video stream – but giving it some thought, a 4K stream would absolutely destroy my data plan since I look at my stream quite often, and considering most people would use the camera on their smartphones, 4K is overkill for such a small screen.  The Close-Up Tracking worked for the most part, it’s not perfect in following a person with minor jitters, but in general, it’s not bad at all.  You can turn this option off if you’d like.

Focusing on color and brightness, from my tests the High Dynamic Range offered on the NestCam IQ is much more accurate, also much more pleasing to view than any other camera I’ve used before.  I haven’t tested the Logi Circle 2, but I’ll do a head-to-head comparison on that shortly.  In the meantime, as I stated earlier, I still have the first version of the Logi Circle, and it has trouble with a lot of bright light sources and reflections.  NestCam simply handles light much better.

FIELD OF VIEW
Another spec you want to look into when buying any security camera is how wide the lens is, to make sure it captures everything.  The Nest IQ is claiming to have a 130-degree viewing angle as you can see below, though the new Logi Circle 2 will have an up to 180-degree field-of-view.

ALERTS AND NOTIFICATIONS
Next up, let’s talk about alerts – there are two different levels.  First is standard sensing, available on both Nestcam and Nestcam IQ.  If there’s motion or sound detected, you get an email or push notification, or both.  The next level, and I’ll admit, I was a bit bummed to find I had to pay for this feature, but with a subscription to NestAware, you get intelligent alerts.  The camera can distinguish the difference between a person, versus a pet or object.  It can also tell the difference between a person talking versus a dog barking, and provide the corresponding notification.  In addition, if you pay for NestAware, the camera also has the ability to recognize faces.

After the first several hours of testing, the NestCam app records mugshots that it caught on camera, and asks me if I recognize them – I say yes or no, I can assign a name to it, and in the future when someone walks by, let’s say it’s one of my employees here, I get an alert with the person’s name in the notification.  To justify that monthly subscription, you also receive up to 30 days of video recording onto their cloud storage, depending on which plan you buy, you’re able to view saved clips plus time lapses, and set up activity zones for high traffic areas.  In the comment section below, I know some don’t mind paying the subscription at all and find the cloud recording alone worth it, and others not willing to pay as it’s an additional expense – you be the call, let me know down below if you would be willing to pay for something like this or not.

As for accuracy, although I’m 40 linear feet away and entering the office, the camera does detect motion and gives me a notification.  It works well and as good as my previous  Nestcam and Logi Circle.  As for facial recognition testing, I noticed it worked best at 20 linear feet and less.  Anything beyond 20 linear feet, I still receive a notification that there’s a person in the room, but it doesn’t say who, unfortunately.  I guess it can’t pick up faces from somewhat far-away distances.  Audio accuracy has been successful and I didn’t encounter issues with that.

FALSE POSITIVES & NIGHTTIME PERFORMANCE
Jumping into what I call “false positives”, this is quite common with home security cameras. With my previous Nestcam that I still use at the house, if the sun goes behind a cloud and the lighting in the home changes, it triggers a notification that the camera senses movement.  With my testing and placing both my Original Nestcam and the IQ side-by-side, the IQ encountered the same issue.  Anytime previously my Nestcam went off on my Samsung phone, the IQ which I have linked to my Google Pixel XL went off as well, prompting me to check my phone and see if anyone is in my house – a bit bummed by this experience.

And last, jumping over to nighttime performance, I have to hand it to the IQ.  It beats out the Logi Circle by a notch or two, allowing visibility all the way to the end of the room.  Also, and oddly with my Logi Circle, it gave off this weird white haze that I never noticed before – and I did clean them.  In fact, one the Logi Circle’s is maybe a month or two old with no scratches, though the white blotch does go away when you tilt the camera up.

One last thing I wanted to point out, when these camera’s switch to low-light mode, most security cameras turn on their infra-red lights, and they’re clearly visible at night.  With the IQ, there’s barely any indication at all – perfect for having this hide in the shadows.

So, that’s it for this review.  I know it was a long one but, hopefully, the content was useful.  If you have any suggestions for new products to review, be sure to let me know.  As always, my website is here to help you make that purchase decision.  You guys take care, and I’ll see you on the next one.