We compare the battery-powered options from Google and Amazon.
A recent influx of outdoor smart security cameras means you have more options than ever before when it comes to surveilling your yard.
Google's Nest and Amazon's Ring both offer battery-powered cameras dedicated to the outdoors and outfitted with smart home integration. Which one is your best bet? Let's take a side-by-side look at the two outdoor offerings from these smart home giants.
Google's $180 battery-powered Nest Cam is the first in a launch of second-gen doorbells and cameras from the device maker. It's a model designed for indoor or outdoor use and comes with free person, animal and vehicle detection, thanks to a new onboard machine learning chip. Video footage is viewable on your smart displays or in the Home app on your mobile device.
The Nest Cam with Battery lines up almost exactly with the Ring Stick Up Cam's specs (see chart below), offering 1080p HD video, night vision, two-way talk and a 130-degree field of view.
You'll get three hours of event video storage for free on this Nest Cam. Subscribe to Nest Aware for $6 per month and you'll get more video storage, Familiar Face detection and intelligent alerts for packages and alarm sounds (smoke detectors, CO2 and glass breaking). A $12 subscription adds more video storage and 10 days of 24/7 video recording if your Nest Cam is hard-wired.
The Nest Cam performed well during our review testing. We averaged about 3% of battery use per 24 hours, falling squarely in the middle of Google's estimated 1.5- to 7-month battery range. Google does sell a $59 third-party solar panel accessory for continuous battery charging.
Read our Nest Cam with battery review.
Ring's latest Stick Up Cam debuted in 2019 and is priced at $100, significantly cheaper than the Nest model above. While you'll save a chunk of change, you won't get quite the smarts or free features the new Nest Cam offers.
You'll also need a Ring Protect plan to get any cloud video storage. Plans start at $3 per month for 60 days of event history. Pricier plans include features like person-only detection. Go plan-free and alerts are limited to motion, without differentiating between animals, vehicles and packages.
The Stick Up Cam Battery doesn't work with Google Assistant or Siri, either. Like the Nest Cam, though, there is a wired configuration available. A solar panel accessory for battery charging is sold separately for $49 (or in a $149 bundle that doesn't save you any money).
Privacy zones act similarly to Nest's activity zones, letting you choose where you want motion to be monitored. Ring automation and integration includes things like, "If my Stick Up Cam Battery detects motion and starts recording, then turn on the light on my Spotlight Cam."
This camera's live feed was crisp, and alerts arrived quickly after a motion event in our testing. The privacy zones and motion detection zones were easy to set up and effectively controlled the areas where motion was detected. Read our Ring Stick Up Cam review.
|Nest Cam Battery||Ring Stick Up Cam Battery|
|Size||3.27 x 3.27 in. (LD)||2.36 x 2.36 x 3.82 in. (WDH)|
|Colors||Snow (white)||White, Black|
|Video||1080p HD||1080p HD|
|Field of view||130 degrees diagonal||130 degrees diagonal|
|Free smart detection||Person, Animal, Vehicle, Motion||Motion only without subscription|
|Operating temps||-4 to 104 degrees F||-5 to 122 degrees F|
|Assistant||Google Assistant||Amazon Alexa|
|Event history||3 hours||None without subscription|
When it comes to privacy, Google and Amazon take slightly different approaches. Data on the Nest Cam with Battery is encrypted while in transit and while at rest on Nest servers, the points Google say are most vulnerable. Ring's model also offers encryption in transit and at rest. While many Ring devices include end-to-end encryption, the Stick Up Cam Battery does not.
Google points out that if your camera is stolen (since it's not tethered to your home with wires), you can get a replacement for free if you file a police report, contact the Nest team within 30 days, and meet certain other conditions. Ring's policy is similar, but you must provide the police report and file the theft with Ring within 15 days of the incident.
The Nest Cam outscores the Ring Stick Up Cam in our opinion, based on free features and onboard processing. Neither beat our top recommendation for outdoor smart security camera, the Arlo Pro 3. An Arlo Pro 4 is on sale now, which we plan to review in the near future.
Ultimately which camera you choose may depend on your preferred smart home assistant -- and whether you find either device on sale. Both cameras offer competitive specs and come with the smart home integrations we've come to expect from these two major platforms -- so small factors may very well make that final decision for you. Either way, you should be happy with the product you get.