Nest Cam vs Nest Cam IQ: What are the upgrades?

Nest Cam vs Nest Cam IQ

Protecting your home with technology requires reliable devices that add an extra layer of defense to your property. Smart security cameras can record footage of intruders, provide deterrence, and used to communicate with anyone within range. Googles Nest division produces some of the best smart home technology and their outdoor camera range is included on that list. This article will compare the Nest Cam vs Nest Cam IQ to explain what the principal differences are and to help you decide which is a better option for your home. For a comparison of all the best security cameras including Nest, check out this article.

Also Read: Nest Cam IQ vs Arlo Ultra

Comparison Chart

ModelNest Cam IQNest Cam Outdoor
Live Stream
Optical Zoom12x8x
Lossless Zoom Quality
Field of View130°130°
Night VisionBlack and
Black and
IP RatingIP66IP65
Intelligent AlertsIncludedPay extra
Smart Recognition
Nest AwareNest Aware
AvailabilityCheck PriceCheck Price

Nest Cam Outdoor

nest cam wired


The original Nest Cam Outdoor was Google’s first smart outdoor camera and was released to challenge the likes of Arlo and Ring. Specializing in advanced software and support as Google does so well, the Nest Cam is a high spec camera and undoubtedly one of the best options on the market. It is a wired device that is the opposite of many of its rivals, which have both benefits and disadvantages. Although it overcomes wireless connection reliability issues, it is arguably less aesthetic and needs to be connected to power. The Nest Cam Outdoor is a simplistic white camera with a robust IP65 design that can withstand rain. A perk of the camera is the easy installation process that follows a conventional set of instructions via the app, also involving scanning QRF codes. 

The video features of the Google Nest Cam are of a high standard, such as the 1080p at 30 FPS  and 130° field of vision. Additionally, the camera is 3 megapixels with 8x digital zoom. As this camera is wired it will continuously record, unlike wireless cameras which tend to only work when motion or audio triggers the camera. The benefit of a wired camera is that the whole footage can be seen rather than snapshots. There is no free storage option with Nest. Users must pay for Nest Aware which stores the footage for up to 30 days, although the user gets triggered with each incident of detection. The Nest app is very effective and you wouldn’t expect anything less from Google.  On the app, you can perform many tasks, including seeing a live stream of the camera, snapshots of the last 3 hours, and talk to users on the other end of the camera.

Related: Arlo Ultra vs Pro 3

Nest Cam IQ

nest cam iq wired


The Nest Cam IQ is a newer version of Google’s outdoor camera that has some very impressive upgrades in both the software and hardware of the device. This newer version is twice as big as the original which reflects the added power and technology. New technologies include the 1080p with 4K sensors and Intelligent imaging, which Google has called Supersight. The Nest Cam IQ is 8 megapixels with 12x digital zoom, allowing for higher resolution at further distances in comparison to the Nest Cam. Another difference is that the speaker on the Nest Cam IQ is 15 times more powerful than on the original. The Nest Cam original may struggle to be effectively heard in some situations as a result of its weak speaker. Just like the original, the Nest Cam IQ is a wired option so it records continuously as a standard. 

The night vision of the Nest Cam IQ is also superior as the sensors are better. In the darkest circumstances, the LEDs are twice as strong as the original. One thing to note with both cameras is that the camera’s night vision is black and white, where other brands models such as the Arlo Ultra and Arlo Pro 3 can record night vision in color. The smartest feature of the Nest IQ is are the intelligent alerts that recognize people’s faces. This is available for free when you purchase the Nest Cam IQ although it is available with the Nest Cam on a paid Nest Aware subscription.

Check out: Ring Spotlight vs Floodlight Camera

Differences of Nest Cam vs Nest Cam IQ

In this section, we will cover the differences between the specs of the Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest Cam IQ.

1. Design, Dimensions & Weight

The Nest Cam IQ is a larger and heavier smart camera, most likely because it has more technology within it.  Here are the following dimensions and weight of each camera:

  • 4.9 x 2.9 x 2.9 inches & 357g
  • 3.5 x 2.8 x 2.8 inches & 313g

2. HDR

A key difference in the camera’s video technology is that the Nest Cam IQ has a 4K sensor that allows for lossless video quality when zooming. The Nest Cam has a 3-megapixel camera with an 8x digital zoom whilst the Cam IQ has an 8-megapixel camera with 12x digital zoom. This has the benefit of maintaining 1080p HD at further distances. 

3. Intelligent Alerts

Both the Nest Cam and Nest Cam IQ can provide intelligent alerts where they recognize faces and include this information in their notification. One difference is that this technology comes included upon purchase of the Nest Cam IQ, whilst you have to pay for a certain level of Nest Aware subscription to use it with the original Nest Cam.

4. IP Rating & Weatherproofing

The Nest Cam IQ is a little more durable due to being more waterproof and able to deal with lower temperatures than the original Nest Cam. With an IP66 waterproof rating, the IQ is more resilient to water than the Nest Cam which is IP65. The operating temperature of the Nest Cam IQ ranges from -40 to 45 celsius whilst the original is from -20 to 40 celsius,

5. Speaker

The speaker on the Nest Cam IQ is more powerful and louder which is useful when trying to communicate with someone who is at a distance.

6. LED Lights

At night LED lights on each camera are used to help illuminate dark areas. The Nest Cam IQ LED lights are twice as bright as the ones on the original, which can help improve night vision.

Similarities of Nest Cam vs Nest Cam IQ

In this section, we will cover the many similarities that these cameras have with each other.

1. Video Quality

The main video recording specifications are the same across both cameras which are 1080p HD at 30 frames per second. As mentioned previously, the quality of the Nest Cam IQ is better when zoomed in due to 4K sensor.

2. Wired

Each camera is only available as a wired version, which is different from many of the other top models from brands like Arlo and Ring. 

3. Continuous Video Recording

A perk of both the cameras being wired is that they will record footage continuously rather than just recording snippets when triggered by motion or audio. This means that the full footage can be reviewed and everything that happens can be seen.

4. Nest Aware Subscription

Each camera requires a Nest Aware subscription to store any data on the cloud. The Nest Cam original can only access the Intelligent face recognition when the user goes for a more expensive subscription. A purchased Nest Cam IQ can use Intelligent face recognition with any level of subscription. 

5. Nest App

The Nest app is available on iOS and Android and is the point of control for the Nest Cam and Nest Cam IQ. From the app, you can view a live stream of the camera, set up notifications, see snapshots of the last 3 hours, schedule the camera, and talk using Two-Way Talk.

6. Two-Way Talk

As each camera has a speaker and microphone on it, using the Nest app the user can talk through their smartphone to someone who is within range of a speaker.

Final Word

The Nest Cam and Nest Cam IQ are pretty similar cameras when it comes down to it. The main benefits of upgrading include Intelligent Alerts as a free with Nest Aware and the improved quality of video when zoomed in. Given that the Nest Cam IQ is more expensive it may not be worth it over the original. Either way, Google is one of the best technology companies in the world and these cameras are top market contenders with some of the best software and hardware. When going with either of these cameras you can be assured you are getting a very high quality and reliable product.

Photo of Rupert Pople

Rupert Pople

Rupert is the founder of this website and a smart home tech enthusiast fascinated by the power of connected devices. Within his Business Management (BSc) degree at the University of Nottingham, he studied the technological impact of the Internet of Things.

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