New Nest Cam IQ Offers 4K, HDR, Facial Recognition, Audio Analytics

Nest Cam IQ 4k video camera with HDR support, adds facial recognition and audio analytics to determine who is in the area and what is happening based on background sounds.

Jordan O'Brien

The Nest Cam has quickly become one of the Google-owned smart home manufacturers most popular, and most profitable products. Having revealed a rebranded Dropcam Pro back in 2015, and an outdoor model in 2016, Nest is updating its security camera range yet again – adding the latest model, dubbed the Nest Cam IQ.

Nest Cam IQ isn’t just an aesthetic upgrade, although it’s hard not to notice the new white polycarbonate body and patented swivel mount. In fact, the major upgrade for the Nest Cam IQ comes from what it’s hiding under the hood, and the software that’s powering it.

Many manufacturers in the home security market have been pivoting towards utilising a 4K resolution on their cameras, due to the quality boost and the flexibility to zoom. The problem with moving to 4K is that the price inevitably jumps, and while that is the case for the Nest Cam IQ – the company’s usage of 4K is still more affordable than most other solutions currently on the market.

Despite coming equipped with a 4K camera, users are unlikely to notice any difference on their streams. Sure the image may appear a little sharper, but what users are going to experience when playing back footage is a 1080p image. That’s not because of any worries about data usage, it’s simply because the 4K capabilities are being put to use elsewhere, most noticeably in this camera’s ability to zoom.

Experts will still attest to the fact that optical zooming is the ultimate way to zoom, although on a device this small, it’s not always possible. That’s why the 4K resolution is being utilised to offer up to 12x digital zoom, while still maintaining a viewable image. The Nest Cam IQ also supports HDR imagery, which will ensure that it’s easy to pick out natural facial features even in extreme lighting conditions.

The Nest Cam IQ’s ability to zoom is just one of the many benefits of 4K, the other is the addition of facial recognition. A 4K camera is able to pick up subtle differences in people’s faces, so can confidently assign a person’s face to a particular category – friend, family or unknown. With this feature, users are simply able to receive notifications from the Nest Cam IQ when it recognises an unknown person in the house, rather than if it spots the house sitter.

Facial recognition is all part of a new feature-set dubbed ‘Nest Intelligence’. Unlike Nest Aware, which is available solely through having a subscription service, this new feature-set is available to all users. It includes:

  • Person Alerts. When Nest Cam IQ identifies that there’s a person within the camera’s field of vision – rather than a pet or a shadow on the wall – it can send a special alert with a curated zoomed-in photo. Person alerts is only available on previous Nest Cam models with a Nest Aware subscription.
  • Supersight. When customers check the app to see what’s happening, they’ll see a high-definition picture-in-picture experience, including a full 130-degree view of the room, and a close-up tracking view of the person in the home. That means you can see the details of a face, as well as the overall context of the room.

Of course, Nest Aware is still present on the Nest Cam IQ. These features you’ll need to subscribe to the £80-a-year service for, which has proven popular among those wishing to keep tabs on their home. With the Nest Cam IQ, users will get a bunch of features with Nest Aware, including:

  • Familiar Face Alerts: Powerful face recognition learning technology is used to identify, categorise and teach Nest Cam IQ to differentiate between family members and strangers. This means you’ll know when your child gets back from school, or when an unrecognized person enters your home. Alerts can refer to people by name if you identify familiar faces within the Nest app.
  • Intelligent audio alerts notify you about things that the camera can’t see, including a person talking or dog barking. These new alerts will also be made available to existing Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor customers with a Nest Aware subscription. So Fido could help alert you to a stranger lurking outside, or simply alert you to the fact that he’s driving the neighbours crazy by barking all day.
  • Customers will also benefit from existing features, including 10-or 30-day video history that you can browse in seconds using Sightline, clip and timelapse creation and sharing, and Activity Zones with automatic door detection for even more precise notifications.

On top of all the new software features, and the resolution bump, Nest has also included upgraded night vision functionality, with the inclusion of two 940nm infrared LEDs. There’s also upgraded speakers on the Nest Cam IQ, the company says they’re 7x more powerful than those on its predecessor, while a three-microphone array delivers noise suppression and echo cancellation for clearer audio.

“When designing Nest Cam IQ, we focused on what we’ve learned from our customers, which is that people don’t want more information, they want insights,” says Matt Rogers, Nest co-founder and chief product officer. “So we combined intelligence with excellent image and sound quality to deliver the insights customers need, at the right time. These insights can range from telling you the kids are home from school to sending an alert if an unfamiliar person is in the living room.”

With all these new features, Nest has inevitably increased the price of entry for the Nest Cam IQ. The new model will cost £299 in the UK, while it’ll be $299 in the US. There’ll also be a money-saving two-pack option for $498 in the US. Pre-orders are available now in the US, UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium and Republic of Ireland. The Nest Cam IQ will ship at the end of June.