Is Nest Aware worth it?

I am pretty unapologetic for my love for Nest Cams. Right now I would argue that no other smart security camera maker even comes close to the durability, picture quality, and ease of use of Nest’s flagship cameras. Ever since they introduced the Nest Cam IQ and Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, there simply haven’t really been any competitors. That is, however, excluding cost. These cameras are definitely worth the extra cost in terms of the quality you are getting, but some would argue that there are better deals to be had with cheaper cameras.

This is especially true when it comes to premium subscriptions which bring additional features. There are some cheaper cameras which don’t require any monthly subscription at all. However, I would argue that you are still sacrificing a lot of quality and features with these cheaper security video cameras. Nest Aware, Nest’s premium monthly subscription for their smart home cameras, brings with it some unique features only available on Nest Cams.

Is Nest Aware worth it? Short answer: Yes. We think that if you are looking for the absolute best quality smart home video camera, Nest Cams are your best bet. And the extra features that Nest Aware brings are actually worth it since Nest lowered their monthly fee per camera.

Read more about why we think Nest Aware is totally worth it if you are looking to buy Nest Cams or already use them in your home.


What is Nest Aware?

Nest Aware is Nest’s premium monthly subscription which Nest offers for all of their smart security cameras. Nest introduced this premium pln with their original indoor Nest Cam and has continued to offer it in their Nest Cam Outdoor, Nest Cam IQ, Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, and even their Nest Hello doorbell camera.

Nest Aware is intended to add optional features to your Nest Cam which are not available in a free plan.

What devices use Nest Aware?

As mentioned before, Nest Aware is compatible with the following Nest devices:

Nest Aware is only used for Nest’s smart security camera line-up since one of its main features is to add full-motion cloud storage of Nest Cam footage. There are also additional features that Nest Aware brings to the table on all of the cameras Nest offers.

You can use Nest Aware with these Nest Cams

Nest Aware works with all of these Nest Cams. Not shown: the very awesome Nest Hello video doorbell

What do you get with Nest Aware?

Cloud video storage

The biggest additional feature is cloud storage of full motion video from your Nest Cam. Without Nest Aware you can view your live feed on the Nest App, but you are limited to only snapshots of motion events. And these snapshots are only available for 3 hours after they are recorded. With Nest Aware it enables 5 day, 10 day or 30 day full motion cloud storage. This means that you can review any moment in your Nest Cam history within this time range after the fact.

With Nest Aware you can also export clips from your recorded video in the cloud which you can save on your computer or throw on Dropbox or Google Drive for long-term storage. So when a burglar comes knocking, you can be sure that you can export this footage to send to the cops. Or when your baby daughter takes her first steps, you can pull that footage from the cloud.

Furthermore, you can create time lapses from the desktop Nest interface when you have a Nest Aware subscription.

Activity zones

One of the most useful features offered by Nest Aware is the ability to setup activity zones. This means that you can put a border around specific areas in the camera’s frame like the front door or driveway. Once these activity zones are setup then you get more rich notifications that tell you when someone or something enters these zones. In my experience activity zones are a very effective way to limit false alarms and excessive notifications. In the Nest app you can actually set to prioritize activity zone notifications instead of telling you about every bit of movement in the frame.

Nest Aware Activity Zones

Nest Aware allows you to set Activity Zones which can cover important areas of the camera image and give rich notifications for each zone.

Person detection

Another beauty of Nest Cams is their ability to actually recognize people from objects. Most other cameras I have used fail miserably when it comes to recognizing people. You don’t care when a shadow comes over your front step, but you sure as hell care when the Amazon delivery guy shows up with your long awaited delivery. Person detection brings these smarts to any of the compatible cameras from Nest.

Intelligent motion detection

Nest Aware ups the smarts available to figure out when the system should send you a notification using advanced algorithms in their cloud system. This results in more accurate motion and sound alerts than you get with a camera lacking the cloud computing power offered by Nest Aware. And more accurate motion and sound alerts result in less false alarms like shadows or branches triggering a notification. In my experience I got way less of these types of notifications with Nest Aware enabled.

Familiar face detection

One of the more amazing features from Nest Aware applies to the Nest Cam IQ, Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and the Nest Hello only. This is the ability for the system to use Nest’s cloud infrastructure to use artificial intelligence to recognize the face of people you have told it to remember.  This results in rich notifications which actually tell you WHO is on camera. With Nest Hello this goes even further by allowing the system to literally announce who is on camera through your Google Home and Google Home Mini devices. How awesome is that?

Nest Cam IQ familiar faces

The Nest Cam IQ, Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, and Nest Hello can detect familiar faces using custom AI with Nest Aware

Advanced audio alerts

For those dog owners out there, the Nest Aware service adds something called Dog Barking alerts to your audio alerts. This can actually discern between a dog barking and any other noise. And equally useful is the ability for Nest Aware to be able to notify you when it hears a person speaking. This can be really helpful when someone is just off camera but is speaking. I personally had a contractor come into my apartment without prior notice and stand off camera speaking on his phone. Luckily voice alerts told me that someone in my apartment was speaking.

Supersight tracking

For the Nest Cam IQ and Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, Nest Aware utilizes these cameras excellent 4K camera sensor to offer a mind-blowing zooming technology which can follow subjects around the frame without losing image quality. This can be really handy when you need to identify a person’s face on screen. Luckily you can also zoom out and view the full frame at any time (even within a recording) with this feature. It’s truly amazing to watch the camera follow subjects around the screen. Unfortunately the original Nest Cam and Nest Cam Outdoor cameras do not have the hardware to use supersight.


How much does Nest Aware cost?

If you asked me a year ago, I would have told you that Nest Aware is a bit expensive. But since Nest launched their $5 a month charge, I recommend it to any Nest Cam owner. This $5 covers your first camera for a month and any additional camera in your system will cost another $3. This is not a bad price considering all of the amazing features you get. The full motion video recording alone is worth the price of admission.

If you want more cloud storage time, you can pay $10 a month for 10 days of storage and $30 a month for 30 days of storage. But I think for most folks 5 days is enough time to login and download any relevant clips before they are over-written.

Have a Nest Cam with Nest Aware already? Did you know that you can downgrade to the more affordable $5 per month Nest Aware subscription? Find out how

What about the competition?

The biggest advantage of Nest is the ability to have full motion recording of all of your Nest Cam activity. Pretty much all of the other camera systems on the market either give you still photos of any events or record quick clips of motion and sound events of up to a minute. This is fine for obvious events that occur, but sometimes more subtle things happen on camera which may not even trigger an event. This is where it is super handy to be able to scrub through the actual full-motion footage.

Probably the best direct competition to Nest is the Arlo Pro 2. They take a totally different approach though. They offer only short video clip recording which allows the cameras to be fully wireless and run solely on batteries for up to 3 months. Nest does need to be plugged into a direct power source, but I still prefer the full motion alerts.

Smart Home Smackdown: Nest Cam IQ Outdoor VS Arlo Pro 2

Nest’s biggest competitor is from Arlo right now. But Nest’s full motion video recording is still best.

Lastly, Nest’s smart alerts which leverage Nest’s cloud algorithms and AI are heads and shoulders above other security cameras on the market. With Nest Aware you will get less false alarms than anything else out there.

Conclusion: Is Nest Aware worth it?

Absolutely. If you have a Nest Cam or intend to buy one soon, then you owe it to yourself to subscribe to the $5 Nest Aware plan. You will get full motion video cloud recording, smart motion and sound alerts and some really excellent AI functions with the Nest Cam IQ and Nest Hello models. Overall, this is one video camera subscription which is actually worth it.

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