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One of the things that we love about Nest is that it sends you a snapshot when it hears something or when it detects movements that are out of the ordinary. When you get an alert, you can easily see what happened but you’re limited to a snapshot.
Well, you can watch the live stream, but that may not be an option for some people. For instance, they may have their phones off or are in a situation where they cannot get to their phone when an alert comes. If this happens and the snapshot that the Nest Cam sends is not helpful, the ability to review the video taken in that particular time would be really helpful.
This is where Nest Aware comes in. Nest Aware is a cloud recording service that offers continuous recording of your Dropcam’s or Nest Cam’s feeds. It saves the recordings to the cloud, allowing you to access them when you need to.
There are three Nest Aware subscription packages available to users.
There’s the 5-Day Subscription, which offers 24/7 recording and which means you will not miss anything. When something important happens, you will get an alert on your smartphone.
This package costs $5 a month with a discounted price of $50 a year. The $10 savings you get from opting to pay yearly for this subscription means that you would be paying only around 14 cents a day. Nest would store your recorded videos for five days.
If you see something interesting that you would want to share with friends or keep a copy of, then you can use the clips and time-lapse features. Clips are for those shorter moments that you want to save, such as your child’s first steps. Meanwhile, if you have a particularly long video segment that you want to share, you can create a timelapse. So let’s say that you want to share that footage of a grizzly bear wandering into your yard to friends, but the bear stayed for 15 minutes. You can use the timelapse feature to create a video of that, so when your friends play it back, it will look like it’s in fast forward mode, and the 15 minutes could be shortened to a minute or two, or even just a few seconds.
There’s also the 10-day subscription and the 30-day subscription packages. They both offer the same features as the 5-day subscription, but the only difference is that these subscription packages offer a longer video history. For only 27 cents a day, you can get a 10-day video history with the 10-day plan, while you spend only 82 cents per day if you want a 30-day video history.
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You can set your Nest camera to send you an alert if it detects a person, sound, or movement. Once the camera sees a person, you can also set it so that the camera takes a snapshot of that person and then sends it to you.
On top of these, Nest cameras will also send you an alert if a camera has been removed from your Nest account, or if the camera goes offline.
And if you use other Nest devices, you can also get alerted and sent a snapshot of any emergency clips. For instance, if your Nest Protect detects smoke, it can send a signal to the Nest Cam so that it takes a snapshot of your house and then sends you the image.
All of these work even without a Nest Aware subscription. But with Nest Aware, you get smarter alerts, including:
1. Familiar face alerts. Nest knows a familiar face when it sees one and when it does, it will instantly alert you about it. For instance, Nest will send you an alert when your housekeeper arrives.
2. With a subscription to Nest Aware, your Nest camera will be able to send you an alert if it hears a person talking or if your dogs bark.
3. E-mail alerts with snapshots. You can choose to have alerts and notifications sent to your phone. If this is the case, the e-mail notification will also include a snapshot of the event.
On top of these, a Nest Aware subscription will allow you to set up four custom activity zones. This, in effect, will tell Nest to send you alerts only when the movement, sound, or person takes place within this area. This feature can help lessen the number of notifications that you get.
More than that, Nest Aware gives you access to their advanced algorithms, which means that the motion and sound detectors will be able to more accurately know if what moved was a person or some other object. These cloud-based algorithms make the sensors smarter; this way, you get fewer alerts and definitely close to no false alarms.
Things you should know
1. Not all devices you use to access Nest Aware are equal.
Nest Aware allows you to create clips for shorter video segments that you want to share, as well as timelapse videos, which condense a particularly long video segment into a very short one. However, there are some limitations when you access your Nest Aware account on a mobile device versus using a desktop or laptop computer to create these clips or timelapses.
When you use a mobile device, you can only create short clips of up to 150 seconds. You cannot create a timelapse video on a mobile device. On the other hand, using a computer allows you to create hour-long clips and timelapses.
Furthermore, you can only download and watch clips created with your mobile device. Working on a computer, however, you can access all clips and timelapses, no matter where they were created.
The differences side by side:
|Phone or tablet||Computer|
|Create clips||Up to 150 seconds per clip||Up to 1 hour per clip|
|Download clips||Only clips created on the device||All clips and timelapses|
|Watch clips||Only clips downloaded to your device||All clips and timelapses|
2. Different cameras have different Nest Aware features.
In general, Nest Aware gives you video recording and storage, as well as access to Nest’s cloud-based algorithm. There are times when you might not need to get Nest Aware, or when live view is just enough. One of these instances is if you want sound detection, which comes with every Nest camera, with or without Nest Aware. If you own a Nest Cam IQ or Nest Hello, and all you want is the person seen alerts and the Supersight feature, you can do without a Nest Aware subscription because these features are available out of the box.
|Nest Cam Indoor
Nest Cam Outdoor
Dropcam Pro and HD
|Nest Cam IQ Indoor
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
|Mode||No Nest Aware||Nest Aware||No Nest Aware||Nest Aware|
|Basic motion detection||Yes||–||Yes||–|
|Intelligent motion detection||–||Yes||–||Yes|
|Intelligent sound detection||–||Yes||–||Yes|
|Dog barking alerts||–||Yes||–||Yes|
|Person seen alerts||–||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Person speaking alerts||–||Yes||–||Yes|
|Familiar face alerts||–||–||–||Yes|
|Motion in activity zone||–||Yes||–||Yes|
|Continuous video history||–||Yes||–||Yes|
The Final Say
Some people are turned off by the fact that Nest does not offer free video recording storage. But Nest has priced their Aware subscriptions very reasonably, with the most basic subscription costing you only $50 a year. This allows you to do more with your Nest devices, as well as make them smarter. Instead of being a nuisance, you can take advantage of the company’s patented algorithms to ensure that only the alerts that matter pass through.
However, the rates for Nest Aware are pretty expensive. For instance, Ring charges only $30 per year for its basic plan. That is less than the cheapest plan for Nest, which is priced at $50 a year. With its cheaper rate, Ring offers 60 days of storage, compared to only 5 days for Nest Aware.
Ring’s video recording service shines brighter if you have several cameras. If you need to hook up many cameras, you would only need to pay $100 for 60 days of storage, plus some perks such as discounts on your next Ring purchases and lifetime warranty. With Nest, you would need to pay per camera. For instance, if you have 5 cameras, the cost to have them all is anywhere from $250 to $1,500 a year, compared to only $100 for Ring.
Furthermore, there are other security cameras that offer free recording and storage for their devices. For instance, NetGear’s Arlo service plans for its camera offers a free option, which gives you 7 days of cloud recordings and is good for five cameras. Blink security cameras also do not charge anything for storage.
Should you buy Nest Aware? If you have Nest’s cameras, then you should think about getting Nest Aware because more than just allowing to record 24/7, it also unlocks all the features of these cameras.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!