Shortly after moving into our home on Oahu, my partner and I installed what felt like a lot of security cameras. Our house boasts an excessive number of exterior doors, plus a whole lot of windows, and I watched too many scary movies as a kid. We also wanted the ability to keep an eye on the place when venturing off-island. What we didn’t anticipate was how much entertainment we’d get from unexpected camera footage. Our Google Nest Cam with Floodlight, in particular, has provided reassurance, amusement, and helpful lighting.
When shopping for a smart home camera system, there are always a number of considerations. Personally, because I’ve chosen to relocate to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, extended travel is most practical when visiting family and friends on the mainland. This also makes a wired camera more convenient, as a rechargeable battery adds one more thing to remember before heading out the door. Above all, I shied away from anything too large or eye-catching because I didn’t want my brand-new neighbors to think I was a) paranoid or b) guarding the sorcerer’s stone in here. Finally, I needed an easy app experience so that checking on my home wouldn’t become a headache.
Google Nest Cams offer all the basics of a home camera, plus easy installation and fantastic integration with the Google Home app.
The Google Nest line checks all of the above with moderately sized, user-friendly cameras that are easy to install. Each unit has a 2MP 1/2.8-inch sensor that records in a 16:9 aspect ratio at a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. The cameras also support HDR, offer a night vision feature, and boast an IP54 rating so they can stand up to the island’s rainy season. All parts even come in white (Snow), which blends in with my home’s trim.
The cameras communicate seamlessly with the Google Home app, and each pushes notifications to your phone when triggered. They can even broadcast to a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa display. The Google Nest Cams also use an on-device chip to send accurate smart alerts more privately. They can recognize people, animals, vehicles, and general motion (including swaying trees, which I can vouch for). You can even designate zones to ignore types of movement, like vehicles or animals. If you pay for Nest Aware, the cameras can recognize and notify you of specific people (like “Kaitlyn seen,” for example, when I grab laundry I forgot about at 2:00 AM).
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
In short, these cams can do a lot. And yet, there’s one that does even more: the Google Nest Cam with Floodlight. My favorite of the bunch, the Nest Cam with Floodlight, adds the power of illumination. As the name suggests, the unit comes with a powerful set of bulbs that turn on when it detects motion. It also features two-way audio for talking to anyone who approaches. It is designed to replace an existing outdoor floodlight. You can customize its light settings and brightness, set up a schedule, or turn on the light as needed from a distance.
This might sound like a simple concept, but the addition of lights makes the camera more useful than just a security measure. Attached to our back shed, the floodlight makes it easier to complete evening tasks (i.e. the aforementioned laundry). Plus, when it pops on as I make my way to the gate at night, I feel like I’ve just gotten caught trying to escape Alcatraz. It also makes alerts less creepy as you can immediately see what the camera detected. (Not that the girl from The Ring would be any less alarming in a spotlight.) It’s a comfort and a convenience.
The Google Nest with Floodlight adds broad illumination for an even more useful security device.
Fortunately, though, it consistently captures nonthreatening footage in its 130-degree field of view instead of anything sinister. For example, I had no idea how many cats parade along our back wall each night or that cats had such late bedtimes. I even watched one stalk a gecko like I was recording my own personal discovery channel.
By day, the camera regularly records our attempts at domestic chores and home improvement projects. I’ve watched the film of me paint-spraying wicker furniture, and I have to say, the form is impeccable. Meanwhile, when my partner sets up shop to work with power tools, I can check on him live like an adult baby monitor. Plus, if he runs behind schedule, the floodlight is ready to keep him working after hours.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
I can’t say enough about the ease of the Google Home app or the reliability of the Google Nest Cam with Floodlight. It installs in minutes with basic tools and offers all the basics of a home camera system. From creatures of the night to behind-the-scenes struggles of home maintenance, the Google Nest Cam isn’t just practical; it’s a fun investment as well.
Nest Cam with Floodlight is essentially a 2021 Nest Cam (battery) strapped to a floodlight system.
This model adds a pair of floodlights to the standard battery-powered Nest Cam, enabling better illumination for both video and people physically present. The lights must be wired separately, connected to a junction box installed by an electrician.