Smart Home

Nest Cam Indoor vs. Nest Cam IQ—which is best?

Is upgrading to the Nest Cam IQ worth it?

Nest Cam lineup Credit: Reviewed / Nest

By clicking one of our links you're supporting our labs and our independence, as we may earn a small share of revenue. Recommendations are separate from any business incentives.

Video cameras offer a serious upgrade to a basic security system. Not only will a blinking light in the window cause would-be burglars to think twice, but visual evidence also helps find the perpetrator should they risk targeting surveilled property.

The Nest Cam Outdoor is our favorite outdoor security camera, and we're pretty fond of the Nest Cam Indoor as well. The Nest lineup is intuitive and packed with helpful features.
With the rapid advancement of smart home tech, it's no surprise that security cameras are getting smarter, too.

A great example of an incredibly smart security camera is the Nest Cam IQ—but is it any better than the previous generation of Nest Cams? Is the IQ technology worth the significantly higher price tag?

Let's take a look at the differences between these two indoor cameras so you can decide which is best for your home (and your bank account).

Differences in audio and video quality

Nest Cam Black
Credit: Reviewed / Amazon

The original Nest Cam is a powerful security solution with the Nest Aware subscription.

The Nest Cam Indoor is a very capable security camera in its own right. With 1080p HD picture, two-way talk capabilities, and the ability to subscribe to Nest Aware (more on that later), the original Nest Cam is more than enough for someone looking for a basic security camera.

The IQ Indoor boasts higher quality audio recording and playback, and it adds several pretty extraordinary enhancements when it comes to software.

Differences in software

Nest Cam IQ has a considerable advantage over the original Nest Cam when it comes to features in the app. Both cameras can take advantage of Nest's Aware subscription service, which allows users to set up alerts for specific zones within the camera's field of vision, store a timeline of activity in the cloud, and access clips and time lapses.

The IQ ups the intelligence factor with:

  • Google Assistant built into the camera itself

You can check the weather, edit your shopping list, set reminders, and access all of Google Assistant's features anywhere you have a Nest Cam IQ. You can even listen to music on it, but the speaker isn't all that great.

  • Close-up tracking view

When there's movement within the camera's field of vision, it switches from wide angle to a zoomed view of the person or animal moving through the room. The camera stays zoomed in until motion stops, so you're able to get a good look at the activity.

  • Familiar face recognition

The Nest Cam IQ's 4k sensor and intelligent imaging are where things really get smart. This camera can learn faces and let you know when it sees someone new on the premises. If you're monitoring a high-traffic area like a living room, this is a great feature since motion alerts for that area would be far too frequent.

Do you need the IQ upgrade?

Nest Cam IQ
Credit: Reviewed / Nest

The Nest Cam IQ's sensors and software are a big step up from the original Nest Cam.

Starting at $50 per year, the Nest Aware subscription is available on both versions of the Nest Cam and offers enough intelligence for most people. But some might benefit from the IQ's added capabilities if they're monitoring busy areas or just want a closer look at what's happening than the standard camera can provide.

Both the indoor and outdoor versions of the Nest Cam have IQ counterparts, so you can have facial recognition and motion tracking on every inch of your property.

Prices are accurate at the time of publication but may change over time.