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Nest's new security camera knows who you are

Meet the Nest Cam IQ, an indoor security camera with a 4K image sensor and facial recognition tech.

Megan Wollerton Former Senior Writer/Editor
3 min read

When Nest Director of Product Marketing Maxime Veron first revealed the $299/£299 Nest Cam IQ indoor security camera to me via Google Hangout, I wasn't particularly impressed. At a glance, the IQ looks a lot like the Nest Cam Outdoor, but it's indoor-only and costs a hundred bucks more. Why would someone pay more for this thing?

Well, because of the better tech inside. The IQ has a 4K image sensor (that's 8 megapixels, folks). Both the Nest Cam Indoor and Outdoor have sensors of just 3 megapixels each -- and they already have great optics. Among other things, the higher-quality sensor raises the digital zoom range to 12x, up from 8x on the Nest Cam. The IQ also adds high dynamic range (HDR) video capture to the mix. Veron walked me through comparative shots of the same person's face with a "competitor's" camera, plus a Nest Cam Indoor and the new Nest Cam IQ. As you'd expect, the IQ's image looked significantly better than the other two.

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Nest's next camera costs $299, but adds 4K tech and other advanced features.

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Note: The IQ streams in 1080p, not 4K. Nest instead relies on the upgraded sensor for advanced features, like facial recognition (more on that below).

Since you're spending a lot more money on the IQ camera, Nest gives you two advanced features for free: Person Alerts and Supersight. Person Alerts is part of Nest's Nest Aware cloud storage service for Nest Cam Indoor and Outdoor subscribers. But IQ customers will receive free Person Alerts when the camera detects a person (this feature won't tell you who it sees, just that it sees someone).

Nest Aware costs $10 per month for 10 days of continuous recording or $30 per month for 30 days of continuous recording.

Supersight is an entirely new feature that's exclusive to IQ cameras. It gives you a dual display of your live feed -- the main 1080p view and a smaller zoomed-in viewing window that's supposed to automatically recognize a person's face and zoom in on it to monitor potential intruders.

If IQ customers subscribe to Nest Aware, they also get access to a new feature: Familiar Face Alerts. With Face Alerts, the IQ should be able to differentiate between you and your roommate -- and someone who's trespassing. Nest is also working on a smart audio alerts feature to notify Nest Aware subscribers (all in this case, not just IQ customers) whenever the dog barks.

Nest's 4K security camera promises to see more

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The IQ also promises improved audio with speakers that are "seven times more powerful than the original Nest Cam," according to the official press release. The new camera is also equipped with three microphones. Two-way talk is often hit-and-miss with DIY cameras, so I'm definitely looking forward to testing this feature out.

Concerning smart home integrations, the Nest Cam IQ will be part of Works with Nest, Nest's own smart home platform, as well as IFTTT. The IQ doesn't currently work with Amazon's Alexa speakers or the Google Home , but Veron described a possible use case where Google Home customers would be able to pull up the IQ camera's live feed via Chromecast.

Since you can snag a solid facial recognition camera for just $60, the IQ's $299 seems quite steep. But it might just be worth it if you want the high-end specs. We'll know more when we get our hands on a review unit. The Nest Cam IQ indoor security camera is currently available for preorder on Nest's online store. Units are expected to start shipping in late June.

Watch this: Step outside: Nest's latest camera combats the elements