Wednesday 31 May 2017

Nest Cam IQ is a $300 indoor camera with a 6-core processor

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Nest is adding a third camera to its lineup, after the

Nest Cam


Nest Cam Outdoor

. The new Nest Cam IQ occupies a premium spot over the other two, and it is an indoor-only $300 "sort-of 4K" camera.

I say "sort-of 4K" because the Nest Cam IQ does have a 4K (8MP) sensor, but to reduce storage and wireless data needs, it only records in 1080p. The 4K sensor is used for a digital zoom feature, and with a fancy cloud-powered "enhance!" mode, Nest is promising a "12x digital zoom." Zooming happens automatically when the Nest Ca IQ detects a person, at which point the camera will start saving two video streams, one at full crop and one zoomed in. Recording two video streams at once means the IQ is doing a significant amount of on-board processing, which is powered by a surprisingly beefy six-core Qualcomm processor.

The camera is Wi-Fi-only—there's no ethernet. Power is supplied by a USB-C cord and a power brick. You can't record anything locally—recording on the Nest Cam IQ requires a monthly subscription to Nest Aware. The subscription service has two tiers: a 10-day video history or a 30-day video history. The 10-day plan is $10 a month (or $100 a year) for the first camera and $5 a month (or $50 a year) for the second camera. The 30-day plan is $30 a month (or $300 a year) for the first camera and $15 a month (or $150 a year) for the second camera. There is absolutely no ability to record video without the monthly fee, though you can view pictures from the last three hours, and the camera will still send you alerts.

Nest Aware also gets you activity zones and cloud-compute-powered person detection. The person detection isn't just "any generic person," but it actually uses facial recognition and can determine "familiar" faces from strangers. A battery of IR LEDs allows the camera to see in the dark, and a speaker and microphone are setup for two-way voice interaction. Nest says the speaker is "7x more powerful than the original Nest Cam." There's also "Intelligent audio alerts," which can automatically detect and alert you of a dog barking or someone talking.

Nest is particularly proud of the design elements of the camera. The cord is in the base, so the power wires somehow survive being housed in a cup-and-ball hinge with a surprising range of motion. The USB-C wire is a custom design that sits flush inside the base of the unit, and the power "brick" is more a lovingly-designed marshmallow. The camera itself looks familiar—it's the Nest Cam Outdoor design on a stick. The base also has a standard tripod thread on the bottom, making it easy to wall mount.

In the US, the Nest Cam IQ​ is up for preorder now at $299 for one camera or $498 for a two-pack. In the UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium, and the Republic of Ireland, the Cam IQ "will be available for preorder" (does that mean today?) for €349/£299. Preorders for Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain start June 13. Shipping is expected everywhere by the "end of June."

As usual, the nearly-mandatory subscription plan means Nest is shipping a camera with one of the highest total-costs-of-ownership on the market, but the cloud platform and app means it's also the smartest and easiest-to-use. Does that make the IQ worth it?

Listing image by Ron Amadeo

Read the full article here by Ars Technica

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