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With Nest thermostats a rapidly maturing market, as proven by the minimal upgrades on the new third-generation model, the company is looking for new areas to explore. The recently launched Nest Cam is its first foray into monitoring and security.
Unlike with the Nest thermostat, there are plenty of other competitors in this space, with a range of products covering most solutions. One such vendor is Foscam that offers indoor, outdoor, wired and wireless IP cameras to help provide coverage, security, and peace of mind.
We examine the new Nest Cam, a product that is basically an updated and rebadged Dropcam and compares it against the Foscam FI8918W across their key features, pros, and cons, and how they work as far as the user is concerned.
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Taking a more modern approach the Nest comes with HD quality video, offering greater resolution and a wider 130-degree field to show more of your home or neighborhood, plus up to eight times digital zoom for a closer look.
As a smart device, you can interact with people via the Nest Cam, using the speaker and microphone using a smartphone app.
A magnetic stand and wall mounting plate make it easy to locate the Nest Cam in useful locations around the home, but it is limited by the need to be wired in. It also features a night vision mode to help keep an eye out in the early hours.
The Foscam FI8918W Wireless IP Camera offers a range of features to cover most use cases. These include 640*480 video with a 67 degree view angle. it has a built in microphone and speaker for communications.
There’s also pan and tilt for tracking, apps for remote internet viewing (or you can view in a PC browser), a motion detector, night-vision mode plus network video recording.
It can be used in various scenarios from a baby monitor, home security, garden monitor or simply to see what goes by.
Pros and Cons
The Nest Cam does require power from a cable, so it can be hard to make it inconspicuous around the home if you are using it for security. On the plus side, it comes with a 10 foot USB lead, so you can locate it in some non-obvious places.
However, if anyone cuts the power, then your Nest Cam is instantly redundant, so won’t help if there’s a major issue at your property.
The Nest Cam also has poor night vision, making it hard to see what is going on any distance from the camera. Users also report delays in audio when trying to communicate over the device.
The Foscam may be older tech, but it is well proven, less costly and very popular with owners. It works well with apps and is less network intensive than the Nest Cam, due to its lower resolution. it also offers better quality night vision, claiming up to 25 feet, than its rival thanks to the use of IR LEDs in the device.
An additional benefit is the pan and tilt controls that make up for the lack of a wide angle lens and no zoom. You can also record wirelessly to the cloud for later checking of footage if it is being used as a security camera.
The main weakness is that it is rather tricky to set up and requires a little knowledge of your own network, which might confuse some buyers. It may also have trouble with some newer routers, as it relies on older networking technology.
Once up and running though, Foscams can happily run for years and have many happy owners around the world.
|Specs||Nest Cam||Foscam FI8918W|
|Dimensions||4.5 x 2.9 x 2.9 inches; 203g|
|4.3 x 3.9 x 4.2 inches; 418g|
|Color options||Black||Black or White|
|Sensor||640 * 480 video|
|720p or 1080p video|
|WiFi||802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4GHz, 5GHz.|
| 802.11b/g Standard|
The Nest Cam product is really an updated Dropcam, and users aren’t happy with Nest taking over the company and removing some features. However, Nest promises to add them once integrated into its ecosystem.
So, while it might be higher resolution, and better specified, the Nest is actually hard to recommend at its current price.
That makes the more humble Foscam very tempting as, once you get over the set up issues, it is more practical, easier to manage, and seems a more robust device and useful for night vision and as a security camera.
How does the Nest Cam compare to other security 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!