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Google Nest Cam with Floodlight review: Lighting the way

Sep 24, 2023

The Google Nest Cam with Floodlight is a great two-in-one device. Here's our review.

Google's Nest offers plenty of choices when it comes to home security options. There are indoor and outdoor cameras - battery and wired models, video doorbells - battery and wired models again, and there is the Nest Cam with Floodlight.

The Nest Cam with Floodlight stands out more than the rest of the range, but it's a two-in-one device combining a security camera with a sensored floodlight and it's been safeguarding our home for several months.

Here's our review to help you work out if it's right for you.

The Nest Cam with Floodlight is excellent. Its modern design won't suit all homes and installation is potentially tricky for those without a current wired light, but it's a great two-in-one device that performs brilliantly overall.

Some features are locked behind the Nest Aware subscription, and so you'll need to factor in the additional monthly cost to get the most out of it and there's no local storage, but they are really the only complaints.

Ultimately, you get both security and lighting in a lovely looking package compared to traditional offerings, while the great performance of both the camera and floodlight, alongside the multitude of features make this a genuinely excellent proposition.

The Google Nest Cam with Floodlight is definitely not subtle in its design but it is a far cry from typical security systems and it's actually very aesthetically pleasing with a lovely soft-to-touch finish. Following in the footsteps of other Nest Cams, the Nest Cam with Floodlight looks like a Nest Cam Outdoor/Indoor Battery with wings, sort of, and we love it.

It's a statement design, though quite modern so it will depend on the style of your home as to whether it blends in or stands out that little bit too much.

The main Nest Cam magnetically attaches in the middle of the device, allowing for easy positioning. Like the Nest Cam (Outdoor or Indoor, Battery), it offers a solid, sustainable and inoffensive design with a white - or Snow as it is officially called - main body and a black front with the camera centred in the middle. A small LED light sits above the camera sensor like other Nest Cams.

The Nest Cam with Floodlight is made from 41 per cent recycled content across its plastic parts and the device is IP54 rated for water and dust resistance so it can handle being outside, as you would hope. In the many months we've had it, it doesn't look at all weathered despite the UK having its fair share of rain.

The Nest Cam in the centre is flanked by two lights, both of which also offer the rounded, Snow coloured plastic body, keeping the design language consistent. Instead of the black front like the Nest Cam though, the lights have frosted plastic fronts.

These are adjustable and sit on hinges, so the entire device is flexible - both the floodlights and the camera itself - with the option to adjust all three to suit your setup, whatever that looks like.

Unlike some of the other products within the Nest portfolio, the Nest Cam with Floodlight has to be wired. There's no battery option - which is understandable as you'd constantly have to recharge it with both the lights and camera at work. That said, the camera element does have a built in battery so in the event of a powercut, the camera element of this device will continue to function, even if you'd lose the floodlight functionality until power was restored.

Installation of the Nest Cam with Floodlight is nice and simple though, if you have a pre-existing floodlight - and therefore power already in place. You'll need a power drill, Philips screwdriver, a level and a step ladder, after which there is a setup and install video you can watch to help make the process easy.

Depending on your skill set, it might be best to have an electrician to hand, though we managed to get it up and running in around 15 to 20 minutes following the video and step-by-step instructions through the Google Home app.

If you don't currently have a floodlight in place at your home, and therefore you're installing the Nest Cam with Floodlight from scratch, this is a much bigger job - much like installing the Nest Video Doorbell (wired) is if you don't have a pre-existing wired doorbell. It will take quite a bit longer and you really will need a professional to help, which will of course add to the cost.

There is a 2-megapixel camera sensor on board the Nest Cam with Floodlight that offers 6x digital zoom, a 130-degree field of view and up to 1080p resolution at up to 30fps.

There's HDR on board too and the picture quality from the Nest Cam with Floodlight is excellent. It's not quite as detailed as the Nest Video Doorbell (1st generation, wired) but you still get a lovely and clear image with more than enough detail, which is important if you actually needed to identity characteristics of an intruder, for example.

Night vision offers up to 20ft illumination from the six high-power 850nm infrared LEDs and again, the quality of the image offered by the Nest Cam with Floodlight is great. You lose some detail compared to daylight images, as you would expect, and the picture changes from colour to black and white, but people, faces and animals are all distinguishable.

Night vision is then assisted by the sensor triggering the floodlight to further illuminate and add clarity to anything within the field of view of the Nest Cam, whilst also allowing you to see very clearly when on.

You can adjust the sensitivity of the sensor in order to determine what triggers the floodlight, and you may want to set up Activity Zones in the Google Home app in order to stop it going off all the time if you are on a busy street.

We have Activity Zones set around our cars at the front of our home, as well as the entire front garden, but not the pavement in between and it means the floodlight turns on when it needs to, rather than all the time. The Activity Zones feature is great - and offers some serious granular detail. For example, we can choose to record events with people only for one zone, and animals only for another, reducing constant unwanted notifications.

The floodlights have a 180-degree field of view and they will detect motion up to 25ft using the two motion sensors on board - which they do brilliantly. There is a maximum brightness of 2400 lumens, which is exceptionally bright when on its full capacity - this can be adjusted though if you find it blinding, or your neighbours complain.

The Nest Cam Floodlight has some great features - a couple of which we have mentioned already, like the ability to set up Activity Zones and adjust the brightness of the floodlight.

The Nest Cam with Floodlight works through the Google Home app as we mentioned, rather than through the Nest app like some older Nest Cam devices. When the Google Home app first replaced Nest, it wasn't the best. It had some big omissions and there were a number of features missing.

The Nest app is still more feature-rich than Google Home, but the improvements that have been made to Google Home since the Nest Cam with Floodlight launched have made it much more user-friendly and intuitive. It's fairly basic but in a good way. Everything is simple to find, such as what the camera records, video quality, whether night vision is on or not and what turns the floodlight on, for example.

The Nest Cam with Floodlight appears under Lights and Cameras in the Google Home app, as well as under the room you have assigned it too - such as the front door. You'll also find any recorded events under the History tab so there are plenty of ways to access the Nest Cam with Floodlight quickly.

You can also turn the floodlight on or off independently, and you can also decide how long the floodlight stays on after its sensor detects motion.

Like other Nest Cams, the Nest Cam with Floodlight offers Talk & Listen so you can speak to someone at your front door through it, and it offers decent audio too, despite being positioned quite high up, allowing you to have a clear and lag-free conversation.

You can also choose to have audio recording on or off separately to video recording. Plus it's possible to filter what the camera records with event video history, and there's familiar face detection too, like other Nest Cams.

A few features, like Activity Zones and familiar face detection are locked behind a Nest Aware subscription, which also allows for 10 days of event history on the basic tier, or 30 days on the higher tier but the subscription brings those features to any other Nest Cams you have too, making it more cost effective than some competitors.

The Nest Cam with Floodlight is excellent. Its modern design won't suit all homes and installation is potentially tricky for those without a current wired light, but it's a great two-in-one device that performs brilliantly overall.

Britta is the Deputy Editor of Pocket-lint and has been a part of the team, covering consumer technology since 2012.You'll often see her name on some of our biggest features, including many of the versus articles and the rumour round ups, but she is also responsible for ensuring all the other great features from other members of the team cover off everything you might want to know about.