Nest announces Nest Cam IQ, its new top-of-the-line indoor 4K security camera

Nest has today announced Nest Cam IQ, the latest in its lineup of home security cameras and the new indoor offering to beat from the Alphabet-owned maker of smarthome products. The camera packs new higher-quality video, much more powerful speakers, a crisp and clean new design, and built-in security features. Overall, as the name suggests, it’s just smarter and better…

First, it’s worth noting that this camera doesn’t replace any of Nest’s current offerings. The previously-available $200 Nest Cam Indoor isn’t going anywhere, and while it definitely borrows some design cues from the Nest Cam Outdoor that the company launched last summer, IQ is indeed made for use indoor.

Essentially, Nest Cam IQ is a vastly improved version of the standard indoor Nest Cam, with both new brains and lots of new brawn. It has a lot of the same features as the standard version, but the new model adds a new 8-megapixel 4K sensor (albeit not actually streaming in 4K) with 12x digital zoom, HDR, and two 940 nm infrared LEDs for night vision (that don’t glow, thankfully).

Another big addition to the camera is a powerful new set of speakers, that provide super-clear audio for communicating in real time with the people in the room you’re monitoring. Nest says the speakers are 7 times more powerful than the original, and we can attest to this fact — we heard them in our brief hands on with the camera earlier this month, and they sound great. For audio input, the camera has a trio of microphones with noise and echo cancellation.

The camera packs some features on-board that were previously exclusive to Nest Cam users with Nest Aware subscriptions. Out of the box, the Nest Cam IQ can identify people that show up in frame (and send you an alert letting you know), and offers a picture-in-picture viewing mode that gives you a clear look at identified persons as well as the entire room. Also on board, as mentioned, are some security enhancements — on device encryption, two-step verification, and more.

While the camera supports lots of features that the standard Nest Cam Indoor requires a Nest Aware subscription to take advantage of, there are some features that still require a subscription to access. For example, an Aware subscription with the Nest Cam IQ gets you alerts for faces of specific people, and smart audio alerts like when there’s a person talking or a dog barking nearby.

In our brief hands-on with the device, we also noted some minutiae about the device that highlight the attention to detail that Nest clearly gave this product. The neck of the device is surprisingly strong, and the camera itself definitely has a high-quality weight to it. Nest also told us that the device uses a special plastic that helps disperse heat. And we found the device to be remarkably stable and resistant to being knocked over by a kiddo that might happen to bump into it.

The Nest Cam IQ is available for pre-order in the United States from today, and will run you $300 (or around $500 for two cameras). Those in the UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland can preorder today for €349 EU, and Nest says preorders will start in Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain from June 13th. Overall, it’s a pretty good value considering the features you get that don’t require a $10/month Nest Aware subscription. If you get a chance to touch the hardware yourself, I can almost guarantee you’d understand its premium pricetag.

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Avatar for Stephen Hall Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.