Nest, now part of Google, is one of the best and most innovative home automation and smart camera brands available, which make our daily life significantly easier and much more secure. They also offer a Nest Aware subscription that has added features and benefits, but what features exactly does the Nest products already offer without the Nest Aware subscription?
What Do You Get Without Nest Aware? Without the Nest Aware subscription, you have access to the live video stream and receiving snapshots when the camera detects a face or movement. The Nest doorbell will send you notifications when someone presses the doorbell and alerts you when the camera picks up motion.
Even without the Nest Aware subscription, all the basic functions of your Nest products are already available to you. Google Nest is one of many smart brands ushering in a new age of full home automation. The Nest camera and other products are well designed and are convenient to operate. Below you’ll find more info about what Nest and Nest Aware can do for your smart home.
What Is Nest Aware Subscription?
I’d like to cover what Nest Aware is before I dive into the details of what it can and cannot do.
What Is Nest Aware Subscription? Nest Aware is a monthly subscription that enables cloud storage for videos and also unlocks certain smart features on your Nest cameras, speakers, displays and doorbells that will notify you when certain evets occur.
I’ll talk about what these events are after I first answer the questions of what you get when you don’t pay for the subscription service.
What You Can Do Without the Nest Aware Subscription
Nest Cam, Nest Hello, and other Nest devices without Nest Aware serve as very basic monitoring and alert devices. Without a Nest Aware subscription, here are the main things that are available to you:
- Watching the live stream of your Nest devices remotely whenever you want
- Receiving important notifications and alerts when someone’s at the door
- Image snapshots being taken when your Nest Cam or doorbell detects a person or movement (You can view up to the past three hours of snapshots taken by the Nest device.)
- Sound that happens near your camera.
The Nest Cam and Nest Hello video doorbell stay connected to the internet at all times, and they allow you to view, listen, and receive alerts when their sensors pick up sound or movement. If they get disconnected from the internet, you can set up so the app will notify you. While you can view the live stream of your Nest Cam, you won’t be able to record or keep the images without the subscription. Snapshots will be deleted after three hours, and the Nest device cannot store any recordings locally.
Videos and Snapshots can only be viewed in the Nest App, and not on your computer.
The free tier for Nest products works well for some general uses, and for some people, these features are enough. If you are placing the camera or speaker in a place with not a lot of motion or noises, and you all you want to be notified when one of those events occur or when someone rings your doorbell, then you may be okay without a Nest Aware subscription.
However, some argue that, for them, the Nest Cam and Nest Doorbell without the Nest Aware subscription are pretty much useless. If you feel the extra features and various other benefits would definitely be useful for you, then it may be best to get the Nest Aware subscription for your home. Let’s take a look at those features now.
What Do You Get with a Nest Aware Subscription?
We so far have found out that you don’t get a whole lot without a Nest Aware subscription. You basically only get notification when something moves on the camera or a noise it heard. Now it’s time to take a look at what you get when you pay for the subscription.
What Do You Get with a Nest Aware Subscription? A Nest Aware Subscription enables cloud storage of video and Intelligent motion & sound detection on your Nest devices, including Zones for motion detection, detection of people, packages. Intelligent sound can detect dogs barking, smoke alarms, windows breaking. Computer viewing of video footage is also enabled.
There are two tiers to the Nest Aware, with the more expensive tier being called Nest Aware Plus.
What Do You Get with a Nest Aware Plus Subscription? A Nest Aware Plus Subscription adds 10 days of 24/7 video recording, plus 60 days of event history, smoke alarm and glass break sound detection, and emergency calling.
Now, I know the question you are probably wondering. How much does it cost? Here are the prices as of January 2021.
How much is a nest aware subscription? In the US, a Nest Aware subscription is $6 per month or $60 a year, and a Nest Aware Plus subscription is $12 per month, or $120 per year. In Canada, a Nest Aware subscription is $8 per month or $80 a year, and a Nest Aware Plus subscription is $16 per month, or $160 per year. One subscription includes all your Nest devices. Pricing as of January 2021.
Note, for Canada, that prices are in Canadian Dollars (CAD).
Looking at the pricing, you can see they give you two months free if you pay for an annual subscription.
Nest Aware Features
Okay, let’s take a look at those Nest Aware features I mentioned.
For most of the features listed, Nest sends your audio and video to the cloud, where the more powerful processors can run their advanced algorithms on your video and audio.
Intelligent Motion Alerts
A lot of the features you get with a Nest Aware subscription have to do with motion detection. Let’s take a look.
Nest Aware will take the basic motion detection and make it “smart.” Your cameras will be able to detect and notify you when that motion is a person or not, and if that person is someone you know. Nest refers to these features as “person seen”, and “familiar face.”
If you have a Nest Hello, that camera will be able to detect if you had a package delivered, and when someone picks up that package. Pretty cool, right? That is a nice feature if you are worried about porch pirates taking your deliveries.
Another motion detection feature that is unlocked with Nest Aware are Activity Zones. These are specific areas within the cameras view that you want to know when motion is detected. Currently, you can set up to 4 activity zones per camera.
Intelligent Sound Alerts
The Nest Cams can be setup to record video and send you a notification if people are heard talking, a dog is barking, or there is a loud noise.
Require Nest Aware Plus:
The Nest Speakers and Displays, not Nest Cameras, can be setup to record video and send you a notification if detects a smoke alarm going off or the noise a glass breaking, which could indicate a person breaking into the house.
It’s a little confusing, because Nest Cams can detect people and dogs, but not smoke alarms or glass. I suspect Google will get this fixed in the future, but for now this is how it is. Here is a list of devices that work with these smoke alarm and glass breaking features:
- Google Home
- Google Home Max
- Google Nest Mini
- Google Home Mini
- Google Nest Hub
- Google Nest Hub Max
Since these are not cameras picking up on the sounds, only an audio clip will be recorded. However, you can setup IFTTT or similar home automation tools to enable cameras if one of these events occur.
The last thing to note is that these notifications will come from the Google Home app, not the Nest app. You can really tell they are still working to integrate Nest into the Google ecosystem.
If you’re listening to live audio in the Home app, you can call emergency services directly from the app if it is enabled. Which brings us to our next point.
Nest Aware subscribers can call emergency services (same as dialing 911), from the Google Home app. The call will be routed to the local 911 service for your house, not from the location of your phone. That means you can call 911 easily, even if you are not at home. That’s convenient if you are at work, or on vacation.
Emergency calling does take a little setup. If you are interested in this feature, Google has an article that will walk you through the steps that can be found here.
This is another area where there is a difference between subscription tiers
With Nest Aware, your events up to 30 days old will be stored in the cloud. You will not get continuous video recording.
With Nest Aware Plus, your events up to 60 days old will be stored in the cloud. You will get 10 days of continuous video recording.
Event-based recording (EBR) will save snippets to the cloud when your Nest camera detects motion or sound, as enabled in the Nest app. When you go to view your video history, you will only see clips of these motion or sound events. No other video is stored.
continuous video recording (CVR) continuously saves the video feed from your camera and stores it in the cloud. Once the 10-day mark is reached, it deletes the oldest footage and replaced it with the newest footage as it records. You will always have 10-days of video.
Another nice thing about Nest Aware subscriptions is that they allow you to download and save video clips, as well as share video and easily create time lapses. Nest Aware also allows the user to use the computer interface and not just the app interface for viewing events.
Is the New Nest Aware Worth It?
The new Nest Aware is a worthy investment, if you want or need to maximize everything your Nest devices are capable of offering. You do not have to get Nest Aware, but it will add a lot more control and functions when compared to the free tier. Investing in the New Nest Aware subscription allows you to store your recordings in the cloud for up to 30 days.
Nest Aware also gives you access and customizability of other advanced features such as intelligent alerts, face detection, emergency call, and Activity Zones. These smart alerts have a “person seen” and “familiar face” alert. With the activity zones, you can customize and set specific zones for the Nest device to cover and notify you about.
You also get to create clips and time-lapses with the Nest Aware subscription. This feature means you can keep any video recordings or images of any important captured events from your Nest devices. This event-based recording only starts recording after the Nest Cam detects activity and sound. The Nest Aware plan provides you with 30 days of video event history along with the other Nest Cam features. These advanced features are some of the options that separate Nest products from the rest of the market.
Now let’s answer the question.
Is the New Nest Aware Worth It? The New Nest Aware is a big improvement over the 1st gen Nest Aware, as one plan now covers all devices in your home. The Nest Aware Plus plan is only worth it if you need to have 24/7 video footage available.
For most people, having motion-based event recording will be sufficient. This will capture most activity that happens around your house, but if you want to be absolutely sure that you capture everything, then Nest Aware Plus is the way to go. This could be useful, for example, if you have a business.
If you don’t want to pay for a subscription, there are Security Camera systems you can buy that are capable of detecting motion and storing the video locally on a hard drive. These systems will set you back a few hundred, or maybe even in the lower $1,000 range, but it is a one-time expense and the cost includes all the cameras. The downside is that you don’t get Google’s advanced video processing, which is usually some of the most advanced and up-o-date.
What Is the Difference Between Nest Aware and Nest Aware Plus?
If you feel that the Nest Aware subscription would be a great addition to your Nest devices, you might want to have a look at the Nest Aware Plus first. The main difference between Nest Aware and Nest Aware Plus is the number of days you can keep recordings and the amount of cloud storage you get.
With Nest Aware, you get 30 days of event video history, while with the Nest Aware Plus plan, you have 60 days of event video history. With Nest Aware Plus, you also gain access to 10 days of 24/7 video history. The Nest Aware Plus is double the price, but it is definitely worth it if you want those options.
Keep in mind that Nest Aware now covers all the devices in your house. That means Nest Aware Plus will provide 10 days of continuous video recording for all the Nest Cameras you have, covering all the angles of your home.
And just to recap:
What Is the Difference Between Nest Aware and Nest Aware Plus? Nest Aware enables 30 days of event storage in the cloud. Nest Aware Plus enables 60 days of event storage in the cloud, and 10 days of 24/7 continuous recording. All other features between the plans are the same, and each plan covers all the devices in a single location.
Do I Have to Buy Nest Aware for Each Camera?
There has been a lot of changes to the plan structures since Google acquired Nest, but I think this change is one for the better.
Do I Have to Buy Nest Aware for Each Camera? A single Nest Aware subscription covers all Nest devices in a single location. This includes Nest cameras, speakers, displays, and doorbells. A separate Nest Aware subscription is needed for each physical address where the devices are located.
With the arrival of the new Nest Aware plan, you won’t need to buy subscriptions for each individual Nest Cam and other Nest devices you have. A significant benefit of this new Nest Aware plan is that all of your Nest products will be covered upon purchase of the subscription. This plan is unlike the old Nest Aware plan, in which people had to pay per camera for a subscription plan. Now you can have access to all the best features with just one Nest Aware subscription.
However, there is a caveat to this. Each Nest Aware plan only covers one location, so if you have two houses, you will need separate plans.
Do I Have to Buy Nest Aware for Each Home? Nest Aware subscriptions are based on location and address. If you have 2 houses you will be required to purchase 2 Nest Aware subscriptions. One for each location.
Not having a Nest Aware subscription may be enough for those of us who just want to be notified when an event is detected by one of the Nest Cams. However, for Nest devices, it may be best to invest in the Nest Aware subscription if you need to pull up those events at a later time, or even want to save them.
Make sure to do your research first before you pick your Nest product. There is also a free 30-day trial of Nest Aware that comes with the purchase of any Nest cameras and Nest Hello. So, make sure to give those a try first and see if you would prefer having the subscription or not.
And as I mentioned before, if you want all these features without the monthly subscription, you can buy a security camera system. These are pretty good at detecting motion events, but may not be as good at some of the sound processing.