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Hands-on review: Google Nest camera with floodlights
Mon, 28th Feb 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

I have recently moved away from the city to a house in rural New Zealand. Up until this point, I have lived in apartment buildings. While small and expensive, buildings come with a few layers of security. From access codes to security cameras in the common areas, it is hard to not feel safe. When planning the house move, security was one of my biggest worries. One of the measures I took was to install a Google Nest camera with floodlights.

Unboxing and installation: 

I was a little nervous when I first sat down to unbox and install the Nest camera. The camera is meant to replace an existing floodlight which luckily the house had. The camera comes with everything possibly needed for the installation except a Phillips screwdriver which is not an issue as every house has at least a few of those. The box comes with The camera, the floodlights, a mounting plate, screws, wire connectors and a hook to hold the lights while you connect the wires and security screws to make sure no one can simply grab the camera and go as it attaches to the lights using powerful magnets.

When adding the Nest camera to the Google Home app, the app plays a video explaining exactly how to replace an existing light fixture with the Nest. The video makes it very clear. My light fixture was much older than the one they described, as the house was built back in the 1960s. This meant that the installation required a lot more than just connecting the hot, neutral and ground wires to the right spot. This meant that I had to get a licensed electrician to install the Camera, but with that being said, I had never replaced an outside light before, especially not one with old and faulty wiring.


After the Nest was finally set up, I was excited to see how it actually performed. The lights themselves can be adjusted manually to target the areas desired. Once on, they are very bright. 2,400 lumens bright, to be exact. The Camera had no problems illuminating the entire front yard. I actually thought it was too bright and turned it down to around 50% brightness. The Floodlights perform exactly as any outdoor sensored light would. They sense movement; they go on. They can also be scheduled to function on a schedule and can be remotely controlled from the app.

I was curious to see how the Nest Camera will perform as it is meant to be the star of the show. The camera performs really well in all conditions. It records in 1080P and is triggered by motion. It even has an option to pull up a live feed. This takes a couple of seconds to load based on how good the Wifi is. One annoying thing is that when you pull up the live feed, you can't control the lights. The Google Home app considers them two separate devices. So if you hear something outside at night and you want to pull up the feed, you have to go into the light, turn it on, and THEN pull up the live feed. It would make a huge difference if Google ads a light button to the Nest Camera live feed.

The disappointing part:

The Nest Camera is a superb device that supports heaps of features like face recognition and encrypted unlimited cloud storage. It sounds like the $500 device is worth it, right? Well, not really. All of the fancy features are locked behind a subscription paywall. This means that after dropping $500+ on a Google Nest, you then will have to pay the monthly subscription fee to be able to use it in any meaningful way. The Camera without the subscription-only has three hours of local recording which will fill up pretty quickly. This is not an issue if the entire household security is the Nest line, as that makes the subscription more worth it.

As part of my house security, I have installed a Eufy doorbell that has a 2K camera and is connected to a Homebase that provides access to unlimited local storage with no subscription fees. With products like this on the market, I think Google needs to up their game.

The verdict: 

The Google Nest Camera with floodlights is a superb device. The quality is top notch. From the second you pick it up, you can tell that this is a device that will not fail you. You will have to be prepared to dish out a monthly subscription to take full advantage of it. If that is something you are able to afford, then the Camera is definitely a win.