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Smart Home

Here's how to keep up with Nest's growing smart home

Trying to make sense of Nest's new product announcements? Start here.

This is the new Nest Hello smart doorbell.

Josh Miller/CNET

Nest debuted a bunch of new devices at last week's press event -- the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor security camera, the Nest Hello smart doorbell and the Nest Secure alarm system. The Google company also reintroduced the long-anticipated Linus Lock, now called the Nest Yale Lock. 

What was once a limited lineup of six standalone products is now a fairly comprehensive home security and safety suite. This all happened really fast by Nest standards. It took the smart-home manufacturer roughly six years to churn out its first six products; everything else was announced (or redebuted, in the case of the Nest Yale Lock) at a single press event.

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Suddenly, Nest isn't only offering a potential solution for your janky, old thermostat. Now it's a whole Google-backed home security and automation system. Here's everything you need to know to make sense of the new Nest smart home.

The new Nest

Here's a brief overview of each new device:

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor - Cost, $349. Available for preorder now, shipping in November.

Like the Nest Cam IQ Indoor, the IQ Outdoor has a 4K image sensor, 1080p HD live streaming, a motion sensor, two-way audio, free Person Alerts and optional Familiar Face Alerts with a Nest Aware cloud subscription. 

Nest Hello - Cost, TBD. Available in early 2018.

The Hello is Nest's first video doorbell. Complete with HD live streaming, motion detection, free Person Alerts and optional Familiar Face Alerts, Nest's inaugural buzzer has a lot of the same smarts as its IQ product line. 

Nest Secure - Cost, $499. Available for preorder now, shipping in November.

Nest's Secure alarm system is another new venture for the smart-home brand. Rather than sticking to standalone products, they're now offering this bundled security kit. Secure includes a Guard hub (with 85-decibel siren), two Detect door/window sensors and two Tags for quickly arming and disarming the Guard hub.

Nest Yale Lock - Cost, TBD. Available in early 2018.

We first wrote about the Nest Yale Lock in 2015, when it was called the Yale Linus Lock. Nest hasn't had much to say about the Linus in recent years, except that it was still in development. Now, it seems, Nest is *nearly* ready to bring this device to market in partnership with lock maker Yale. 

The old Nest

Before the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, Secure and Hello products were announced, Nest had a small, six-device roster:

While you always had the option of buying multiple Nest thermostats, security cameras and smoke detectors to suit the size of your home, various heating and cooling zones and more, there was no central hub to manage everything. 

Instead, the app served as the main point of entry where you'd configure your Nest devices and make any necessary adjustments to settings. The app isn't going anywhere, but the Secure system gives Nest a hardware hub. That doesn't mean you have to buy it, though. 

What size Nest suits you best?

As always, you can buy any of Nest's standalone products and manage them via Nest's web and mobile apps. That means one thermostat, one lock, one doorbell -- whatever product you need for your home. But, if you're in the market for a more complete security system, Nest can now handle that too. 

In a word, Nest has made everything scalable, so you can pick and choose exactly what you want and ignore the rest. Here are your main options as I see it:

Standalone devices: Snag a single product for a single use case in your home. That's anything from the $99 Nest Protect on up to the $349 Nest Cam IQ Outdoor (shipping in November). Configure it in the Nest app, and happily forget about the rest of Nest's product lineup.

Entry-level security system: We're reserving final judgments until we actually get to test Nest Secure, but, Nest's new $499 alarm system might be right for you if you want a basic DIY home security system. Arm and disarm the siren-equipped hub based on your home and away schedule -- and use the Detect open/close sensors and the Tag arm/disarm sensors for additional monitoring. Sign up for Nest's optional professional monitoring service through Moni if you want someone else keeping an eye on your home as well. 

Security and standalone devices: Here's where you get to experience most (or all) of the Nest lineup -- a Nest Secure system, coupled with other Nest accessories. Have your Nest cams record video footage to complement your Nest Secure system. Let your Nest Hello doorbell communicate with your Nest Yale Lock to control the door. Pricing will vary based on the specific product combination you choose, but it would start around $600 for a $499 Nest Secure system and a $99 Nest Protect smoke detector. 

Note: You can also add additional Detect open/close sensors ($59) and Tag arm/disarm sensors ($25) to your Secure system as needed. Get more Nest product pricing info here.

The bigger question

While Nest is doing interesting things with home security (particularly by sticking facial recognition tech in outdoor cameras and doorbells), I'm not yet convinced Nest Secure adds much to what's already out there. DIY systems like Abode, Scout and Simplisafe have been around for awhile and offer a lot of the same features as Nest's Secure (and, in some cases, for less money). Again, we'll have to test out all of Nest's Secure to be sure, but $499 sure seems like a lot to spend on a hub and handful of sensors.