Nest Security Review: 2019

a photo of google nest secure, posted in 2019

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Nest Secure will cost you £309

The Nest Cam IQ range boasts cutting-edge facial recognition

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Nest Secure is a cutting-edge smart home security system that connects seamlessly to your Google Assistant – but it’s at least £30 more expensive than its competitors for no apparent reason.

Google’s premium security package isn’t available in the UK yet, but it’s sure to be making its way across the Atlantic soon – so it’s high time that we worked out whether it’s the right choice for you.

After all, you want what everyone else wants: for your home to be safe and protected. You want to be able to leave your home and embark on exciting adventures – whether you’re going to a restaurant, the cinema, or another country – without having to worry about your property or possessions.

To experience this level of comfort, you’ll need the right security system – one which protects your home effectively, without breaking the bank.

If you can’t wait until Nest Secure wings its way over to the UK, fill in this form to receive free home security quotes from trusted specialists.

a photo of google nest secure, posted in 2019

What is Nest Secure?

Nest Secure is Google’s home security offering, which the international tech giant acquired after buying out Nest for $3.2 billion (£2.5 billion) in 2014.

The company’s $399 (£309) home security package is made up of the following Nest products:

  • Nest Guard, a hub which senses motion, sounds the 85dB alarm, and links the different parts of your security package.
  • Nest Tag, a wireless, weather-resistant fob which allows you to turn off your Guard in person, without a passcode. The starter pack comes with two.
  • Nest Detect, which senses motion and can identify when a door or window is targeted. You get two with the starter pack, and your network can handle up to 30 – but unless you’re the Queen, your home probably won’t need that many.
  • Nest App, which enables you to arm and disarm your system from anywhere in the world. It also reminds you to set the alarm, and tells you if there’s activity in your home while the alarm is on.

None of these items can be purchased in the UK for now, but they’re more than worth taking a look at.

You want to know whether these Nest security products are worth their weight in plastic, so you can be the first on the bandwagon – or the first to cast them aside. Let’s find out what Nest is all about…

How does Nest Secure work?

Google has made several videos explaining how to use Nest Secure, but all told, it’s pretty simple.

Nest Secure is a smart security system, meaning that every device is connected to the main hub, and can be controlled either via the hub or an app on your phone.

You can control the network from anywhere, and you’ll be the first to know if anything’s amiss. Nest Secure sends you mobile notifications for everything from a door or window opening to an uninvited guest walking around in your home.

Do you need a subscription with Nest Secure?

You don’t need to buy a subscription.

However, there is a relatively cheap professional monitoring option, which gives you the comfort of knowing a team is always watching over your home. In the US, this job belongs to Brinks Home Security. It’s not clear which company would take on this role in the UK.

Brinks seems reliable, with a 4.2 out of 5 rating from ConsumersAdvocate and 3.3 out of 5 on Trustpilot, which is a good sign that their UK equivalent would also be trustworthy.

A three-year contract will cost you a very reasonable $19 (£15) per month, or you can choose to pay $29 (£22) per month if you want to have the more flexible option of leaving at any time.

But again, it’s fully up to you. You can save some cash if you take full responsibility for your home’s security 24/7 – but that’s a lot of pressure.

Nest monthly costs and installation fees

Nest Secure doesn’t come with any monthly cost – unless you decide to go with a monitored option, in which case it’s $19 (£15) or $29 (£22) per month.

Installation is also free. You can pay a Google-supplied professional installer if you want to, but setting up Nest yourself is simple enough, and will only take an hour or so of your time.

Monitored vs unmonitored

Nest Secure is unmonitored by default, meaning the first responder to your home will be you – at all times, every day, for the foreseeable future.

However, we all know that with great power, comes great responsibility – especially when a burglary happens every 106 seconds in the UK.

Nest does provide a monitoring option – so how much is your peace of mind worth?

Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • £15 per month is cheap for monitoring...
  • Less pressure on you to protect your home
  • Your home will be monitored while you’re asleep
  • You might freeze if the worst happens – a team of professionals won’t

X Cons:

  • ...but bear in mind this amounts to £540 over a three-year contract

Does Nest Secure call the police?

Nest Secure doesn’t call the police – but if you pay for Nest’s monitoring option, Brinks Home Security will contact the authorities for you. 

Otherwise, it’s up to you to instantly spot when you’ve got an alert, and take the appropriate action immediately – otherwise, you risk letting the burglar get away with breaking into your home, a crime which typically costs an average of £3,030.

Starting price vs advanced packages

The Nest Secure starter pack costs $399 (£309), and contains:

  • 1 hub (Nest Guard)
  • 2 fobs (Nest Tags)
  • 2 motion sensors (Nest Detects)
  • The Nest app

There is no formal advanced package for Nest Secure, just the option to add more Detects ($49/£38 each), Tags ($25/£19 each), and/or a Nest Hello video doorbell (£229).

How many Detects you need depends on how many rooms your place has, while you should consider getting one Tag per adult in your home.

Does Nest Secure integrate with smart home systems?

Naturally, Nest Secure is compatible with Google Assistants, but it doesn’t integrate with IFTTT or Amazon Alexa.

Alexa is compatible with Nest’s cameras, video doorbells, and thermostats, but not its security package.

his is to be expected – after all, Amazon’s Ring products aren’t compatible with Google Assistant either – but it makes Nest Secure completely impractical if you have an Alexa.

Did You Know?

The Nest Cam IQ Indoor has a speaker which is seven times more powerful than the Nest Cam Indoor.

Nest vs Hive vs Ring vs SimpliSafe

The only way to see whether one security package is significantly better than its competitors is to throw it into a top-tier head-to-head. 

So, let’s put Nest to the test against the best of the rest:

MetricNest SecureHive Indoor Camera PackRing Alarm Security KitSimpliSafe Starter
Price£309£259£249£279
Motion sensors3 (including
the hub)
322
Extras– 2 key fobs– Smart bulb– Range extender for large homesX
CameraXHive ViewXSimpliCam
Value for money★★★½★★★★½★★★★★★★★½

Nest has a high quality package – but there are cheaper options out there that are just as smart, just as advanced, and noticeably cheaper than Google’s offering.

For instance, you can save £50 by choosing Hive’s starter pack, which includes just as many motion sensors, plus an indoor camera and smart bulb for good measure.

Hive is also the only system without a keypad, but all four have an app you can use to control them – so if you’d rather just check your phone than a keypad, you’ll be fine.

Amazon-owned Ring is even cheaper, and if you want to add another motion sensor or contact detector, it’ll still cost £20 to £30 less than Nest Secure.

SimpliSafe is more expensive than Hive and Ring, but will still save you £30 compared to Nest’s package, while providing you with a SimpliCam.

The SimpliCam isn’t as good as the Hive View (its 720p resolution is a bit behind the times) but it does have a 105dB siren and Amazon, Google, and Apple integration – so you don’t have to give into Nest or Ring’s peer pressure and pick a side.

If you want to consider all sides, you can fill in this form to get free home security quotes tailored to your needs.

Who is Nest Secure best suited for?

If you have a large home, then you’ll be looking for a cutting-edge home security package to protect everything precious in your life – and the Nest Secure certainly fits that bill.

And if you either don’t have a smart home or do own a Google Assistant, then the Nest Secure makes sense – though it is at least £30 more expensive than its competitors for no discernible reason.

For more than £300 – and another sizeable chunk of cash if you want to add monitoring – you’d expect something more special from a technology colossus like Google.

Of course, Google’s security products don’t start or end with Nest Secure – and all of its remaining devices are currently available in the UK. This includes Nest’s smoke alarm, all of its cameras, and the Nest Hello video doorbell.

Let’s start with the best Nest cameras money can buy.

Nest cameras

Nest Secure doesn’t come with an out-and-out camera; instead, it relies on motion sensors. Fortunately, there’s always the option of adding a Nest camera, either from the more basic Indoor and Outdoor options or from the IQ range.

And whether you’re thinking of getting the Secure package or a different one, you should always consider buying a security camera to keep watch over your home.

First, let’s answer a couple of common questions that are key to deciding which model you want.

Do Nest cameras have sound?

Yes. All of Nest’s cameras pick up sound from the area you put them in, unless you turn their microphone off.

And if you have more than one, you can operate them separately. Want to hear if your baby cries, but don’t need sound from the room you’re in? No problem.

You can also use these machines to speak to someone on the other side of the camera. However, while Nest Cam IQ Indoor and Outdoor have two-way audio, the older Indoor and Outdoor models don’t.

This means you’ll have to take turns talking, which is a drag.

Do Nest cameras record video?

Yes – as long as you have a Nest Aware subscription.

Without this service, all you can view is live video, which isn’t particularly helpful if you’re asleep when the worst happens. And this scenario is pretty likely, considering 61% of burglaries take place between 6pm and 6am.

With Nest Aware, your live feed will be uploaded and stored on the cloud for as long as you pay for it.

You can get five days’ worth of footage for £4 per month, 10 days for £8, or 30 days for £24.

If you buy any of these plans for a year, you’ll receive a 20% discount – but that’s still more expensive than many of Nest’s competitors.

Swann, Reolink, Kasa, Hive, and SimpliSafe all offer free cloud storage options, while Ring lets you access 30 days of footage for £2.50 per month.

Even with Nest’s discount, opting for any of the other companies’ cloud options still means you’d save more than £200.

Nest Cam Indoor (£159)

The Nest Cam Indoor is a decent model, but it lacks some of the more advanced features available – and some of the basic ones, too.

As mentioned above, there’s no two-way audio, while the expensive cloud storage options are out of step with the rest of the market. And – of course – it’s only compatible with Google Assistants.

This Nest model also can’t operate wirelessly, has no siren, and provides you with an industry standard 1080p resolution and 6 metres of night vision.

It’s not the best indoor camera on the market in terms of value for money (that’s the £19.99 Neos SmartCam, closely followed by the £49.99 EZVIZ Mini O), and it doesn’t offer enough special features to justify shelling out the extra cash.

Nest Cam Outdoor (£179)

As with its Indoor sibling, the Nest Cam Outdoor has no two-way audio – an attribute which every other modern, high-quality camera has.

Sure, it possesses a 1080p resolution, a weather-resistant rating of IP65, 6 metres of night vision, and a 130° field of vision – but if you’re in the market for a top-of-the-range camera, you should take these facets for granted.

The camera can be installed anywhere, which is a saving grace, but not one which makes the Nest Cam Outdoor attractive enough for us to recommend.

Nest Cam IQ Indoor (£299)

The IQ models are a different breed to their older, less advanced relatives. 

They have two-way audio, come with Google Assistant built in, and even have face detection – meaning they can tell whether someone is a friend or foe.

As well as allowing you to have a proper conversation with guests, strangers, and Google’s answer to Alexa and Siri, this IQ model also has a speaker which is seven times more powerful than the Nest Cam Indoor.

So its sound is good – but what about its vision? Well, 6 metres of night vision is pretty run-of-the-mill, as is a 1080p resolution. It’s also a wired model, which reduces its portability. 

On the other hand, it is very easy to set up, and has a 4K colour sensor to give you every chance of getting a good look at any intruders. You can also program it to switch off when you’re home, or to just ignore certain areas of your home.

This is an admirable machine, but £299 is too steep a price – particularly as all of its most impressive features necessitate a subscription to Nest Aware.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor (£329)

The runner-up in our Best Night Vision Camera award category can see 15 metres in the dark, has all the smart integration you could ever need, and boasts a superb weather resistance certification of IP66 – an upgrade on the average machine’s IP65 rating.

It’s also a great all-rounder, with 12x digital zoom, a 130° field of vision, and the standard 1080p resolution, though its lack of a siren lets it down somewhat.

We included the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor on our list of Best Outdoor Cameras, and all of the above attributes show why it’s there – but its price is prohibitive, especially compared to other models.

It doesn’t have a siren, a spotlight, or any other big bonus attribute that makes the £329 price tag worthwhile.

Nest alarm: Nest Protect (£109)

The Nest Protect is Google’s only alarm, but it’s an excellent one, winning our Best Smart Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm award by a landslide.

This battery-operated machine is born ready – primed to let you know about both visible and invisible dangers through its speakers and your phone. 

What’s more, the Nest Protect doesn’t deafen you at the slightest hint of burnt toast. Unless it’s a bona fide emergency, all you’ll hear is a friendly voice informing you that there might be an issue – and which room to check.

If nothing’s wrong, you can silence the alarm by simply tapping your phone.

It won’t freak out at the sight of steam, it can light your way at night, and – best of all, in our opinion – it’s capable of testing itself. That way, you don’t have to feel guilty about forgetting to check it’s still working every month, because you won’t have to check it at all.

The Nest Protect will even tell you when your phone’s running out of battery, and should last for a decade. This means you won’t have to think of getting a new one any time soon, and makes its steep price seem pretty reasonable.

Nest Hello (£229 + £100 installation)

Google has priced itself out of the market again with this video doorbell. After all, if you slap a big price sticker on your model, the product itself has to be able to justify it. 

The Nest Hello certainly has the wow factor, with cutting-edge facial recognition software that puts it a step ahead of its rivals.

But it lets itself down with its 1600 x 1200 resolution – less than competitors like Ring and SkyBell, whose products are generally 1920 x 1080 resolution (otherwise known as 1080p).

Google’s model also comes with expensive cloud storage options, and night vision which can only see two metres in black and white. That’s half as good as the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and SkyBell.

Because it’s wired, it also needs to be professionally installed, adding another £100 to an already hefty bill.

Does Nest Hello require a subscription?

If you want to view anything other than live video, then yes, you’ll need to stump up the cash for one of Google’s Nest Aware subscription plans.

You can choose between keeping five days of footage for £40 per year, 10 days for £80, or 30 days for £240.

Customer ratings of Nest products

You’ve heard our opinion on Nest devices; now, let’s take a look at how the general public has reacted to Google’s venture into home security.

Nest’s Trustpilot score is 1.6 out of 5, which is pretty damning – and it doesn’t get any better when you look at how users of Google Store rate it, with an average rating of 1.4.

However, Amazon customers consistently give Nest items at least 4 out of 5, which is somewhat confusing.

Summary

Google has created some premium products for its Nest range, but until the company lowers its prices, you shouldn’t be forced to lower your expectations and settle for a product which boasts inferior value for money.

There are a couple of good reasons to still purchase a Nest device or two – if you’ve already got a Google Assistant, it makes some sense – but most of you will want to look elsewhere.

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered there. If you fill in this form, you’ll gain access to free home security quotes from experts in the trade.

Josh Jackman Editor

Josh is The Eco Experts’ main man for home security, smart devices, and boilers. If it can make your life better and help the environment, he’s on it.