nest cam feature

Nest Cam vs. HomeMonitor: The Best Smart Home Security Camera

Best Smart Wi-Fi Cameras

The Eye in the Cloud

Maybe you’ve got pets, or maybe you’ve got a nanny home with your kids, or maybe you’re just the sort who likes to know what’s going on in your house when you’re not there. Whatever your situation, wifi smart security cameras make it easy to keep an eye on your home, no matter where you are.

Two of the biggest smart security cameras on the market today are the Nest Cam and the Y-Cam HomeMonitor HD. How do these two stack up against each other?

Let’s take a look.

1. The Companies Behind the Cameras

Nest is practically a household name these days, thanks to the success of its popular Learning Thermostat and Google’s acquisition of the company in January 2014. In June 2014, Nest bought the well-regarded Dropcam and turned it into the Nest Cam, making small improvements along the way.

As for the HomeMonitor HD, it’s made by the lesser-known Y-Cam, a UK-based company that has been making home security cameras (and only home security cameras) since 2007. Their products have been favourably reviewed by many industry publications, and their singular focus on the home security sector has allowed them to fine tune their cameras over several iterations.

Google’s Nest bought the well-regarded Dropcam and turned it into the Nest Cam

2. Out of the Box Setup

Setting up both the Nest Cam and the HomeMonitor HD is fairly simple. For the Nest Cam, it’s a matter of downloading the app, creating an account (or logging into an existing one), scanning the QR code on the bottom of your device, and entering your wifi password. The whole process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, even if you’ve got other Nest devices with which you’d like to sync it. Adding additional cameras (in a different part of your home) takes about a minute or two each.

Y-Cam, on the other hand, insists that you can set up its HomeMonitor HD in under 60 seconds. That might be a little bit of wishful thinking, but all you need is your wifi network password to get going. It’s maybe slightly faster to set up than the Nest Cam, though they’re both quick and easy.Nest cam

3. Defining Features

Both of these security cameras do more or less what you’d expect them to do: record video when you’re not home and send you smartphone alerts when motion is detected. Plus, both the Nest and the HomeMonitor systems can work with multiple cameras on a single account.

However, there are a few differences worth nothing.

The Nest Cam

The Nest Cam also alerts you when its microphone detects sound, which is also helpful from a safety standpoint. Also, it offers a talkback feature.

If you use the Nest Cam to keep an eye on your dog, for example, and you see on the camera that he’s misbehaving, you can talk to him through the app and your voice will play from the camera.

Many users and reviewers prefer the Nest Cam to other security cameras for this feature alone. | Buy on Amazon

HomeMonitor HD

Y-Cam’s HomeMonitor HD has no talkback — a big drawback in the eyes of some. However, it does have a smart buffer, which can record video before anything happens, so you never miss any important footage. Additionally, the HomeMonitor HD uses surprisingly little bandwidth.

That’s because it streams video only if motion is detected or when the camera is being watched live. Otherwise, it’s not cutting into your speed whatsoever. | Buy on Amazon

HomeMonitor HD, Nest Cam vs. HomeMonitor

4. Video Quality

You’ll get HD quality video as well as outstanding nightvision on both the Nest Cam and the HomeMonitor HD. However, the Nest Cam is 1080p, while the HomeMonitor HD is only 720p. Also, the former offers a 130-degree view, while the latter is only 109 degrees.

Are these differences a big deal? Unless you’re a motion picture professional who’s looking to use the footage you capture in your next film, probably not. You won’t really be able to see the difference in quality on a smartphone, and you probably won’t be able to see it on a website either.

The wide angle variation is somewhat noticeable, but not to the point where the HomeMonitor HD should be ruled out as an option.

5. Smarthome Compatibility

This is where the Nest Cam has a huge advantage, as it can sync up easily with the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector. The overall integration is really useful, too. For example, if you’re out of the house and the Protect’s smoke alarm goes off, you’re notified so you can see what’s going on in your home via the Nest Cam.

The HomeMonitor HD can be played on a Roku or through Airplay on an AppleTV, so you can see your footage on a standard TV screen. This is something the Nest Cam can’t do. However, it currently does not sync up with other smart devices.

nest cam smartphone, Nest Cam vs. HomeMonitor

6. Costs, Plural

At first glance, these two security cameras may seem comparably priced. The Nest Cam retails for £159, and the HomeMonitor HD can be found for around £140 (it retails for $199 USD). Not too different, right? Well, just hold on a second.

If you want to review your camera’s footage, you’ll need some cloud storage. With the Nest Cam, you can purchase a Nest Aware subscription at a cost of £8 per month for ten days of playback or £24 per month for 30 days.

With the HomeMonitor HD, however, there are no ongoing charges — at all! You get unlimited cloud storage for the previous seven days’ worth of playback, and you can download any clips you want to save.

For the budget conscious, the free cloud storage from HomeMonitor HD can add up to huge savings, and could easily be the deciding point between the two cameras.

the free cloud storage from HomeMonitor HD could be the deciding point between the two cameras.

7. What Others Are Saying

Both the Nest Cam and the HomeMonitor HD have been making waves among tech reviewers and writers. Check out what some of them have to say about these two products.

7.1 Nest Cam Reviews

1. CNET’s Nest Cam Review

via CNET

via CNET

A typically thorough CNET review, highlighting the positives (like awesome video quality) and the negatives (like notification lag) of the camera. The main point that reviewer Megan Wollerton makes here is that the Nest Cam is a web cam at heart and not a replacement for a true security camera.

Still, it’s a handy device for just seeing what’s going on in your home, she maintains. For current Drop Cam owners, though, she doesn’t recommend upgrading right now.

There’s a helpful video with a lot of the same information that’s in the review, in case you’d rather watch than read.

Link to the CNET Review.

2. Gizmodo’s Nest Cam Write Up

via Gizmodo

via Gizmodo

More of an empirical rundown of Nest Cam’s features rather than a true review, Gizmodo’s Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan offers an easy to read explanation of its features and how the corresponding app works.

The big draw of this piece, though, is how Nest Cam fits in with what she terms “Nest’s grand plan” of the consumer-friendly smarthome.

Link to the Gizmodo Review.

3. Yahoo Tech’s Nest Cam Review

yahoo nest cam review

via Yahoo

This mostly positive review discusses the better points of the Nest Cam, especially as it compares to the Dropcam it replaced.

Reviewer David Pogue highlights the great video quality, how easy it is to set up, and how nice the device itself looks.

He does point out the quirks of the overall Nest UI, as well as the concerns that users have about using a Google device (remember, Google owns Nest) to literally look inside their homes.

Still, he gives it a solid thumbs up as a smarthome security camera.

Link to the Yahoo Review.

4. VentureBeat’s Nest Cam Review

venture beat nest cam review

via Venture Beat

An impressively in-depth positive review of the device, including app screen shots and some brief but helpful instructions on how to use the device.

Reviewer Mark Sullivan is enthusiastic about the Nest Cam, though he does warn about how much of a battery hog the corresponding app can be, as well as how expensive the Nest Aware subscription is.

Link to the VentureBeat Review.

7.2 HomeMonitor HD Reviews

1. PC Mag’s HomeMonitor Review

pcmag HomeMonitor Review


While this review is for the non-HD HomeMonitor, there are still some good takeaways.

It’s extremely complimentary about HomeMonitor’s easy set up and performance, though reviewer Eric Griffith starts out with his biggest praise: HomeMonitor’s seven free days of video storage.

Thanks to this, he seems to imply, the lack of HD and the lack of two way audio seems forgivable.

Link to the PC Mag Review.

2. ExpertReviews HomeMonitor HD Review

Expert Reviews HomeMonitor Review

via Expert Reviews

Although reviewer Richard Easton does make note of several of the HomeMonitor HD’s drawbacks, like its lack of an audio trigger and the slightly less than pristine video quality, this write-up is overwhelmingly positive.

The device is given a perfect five out of five stars, and there’s a good, comprehensive rundown of its key features. The HomeMonitor HD’s specifications are also reprinted from the company’s website, which are helpful to have for reference.

Link to the ExpertReviews Review.

3. Hexus HomeMonitor HD Review

Hexus HomeMonitor Review

via Hexus

Hexus gives the HomeMonitor HD its official stamp of approval. Reviewer Ryan Martin applauds its simplicity, its ease of use, and its fast set up.

Short recordings are shared to give the reader a general idea of what the quality looks like (hint: it’s good!), and most of the specs are included in the article.

Martin does bemoan the lesser quality audio and lack of local storage options, but overall, this review is very favourable.

Link to the Hexus Review.

4. TopTenReviews HomeMonitor HD Review

Top Ten Reviews HomeMonitor Review

via Top Ten Reviews

This one gives the HomeMonitor HD a very precise 8.6 out of 10, noting its impressive nightvision capabilities and smart motion detection as some of its best features.

Like other reviews, however, TopTenReviews sees the camera’s lack of two-way audio as a big drawback.

However, this review does point out that HomeMonitor HD’s compatibility with Roku is unique — no other smart security camera works with a set-top box.

Link to the TopTenReviews Review.

Nest Cam vs. HomeMonitor – Which One is the Best Smart Security Camera?

While both of these cameras do have their merits, the Nest Cam seems to be just a little bit better in almost every way. It has higher quality video, a talkback feature, and is part of one of the fastest growing presences in home automation.

Still, the HomeMonitor HD does give you more for the money, especially when you factor in the free cloud storage. If cost is a big sticking point with you, you really can’t go wrong with this model.

Ultimately, they’re both high quality devices. The one you choose for your home will depend on your personal security needs and requirements.

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The Breakdown

Nest Cam
HomeMonitor HD

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  1. JR77

    FUNNY STORY (and true)

    Tech Supports last offer: “HANG A BLANKET” to create an “no activity zone”

    Actually really liked the Dropcam and especially the ability to make “”zones” for the camera to watch for activity. I bought two of them.

    Jump forward a year or so >> I just got off one hour tech support call with Google (the new owners). They now require a subscription to make the zones available. I asked to return the cameras, they said no and offered ONE FREE MONTH! of subscription. I said thank you but no, I will take the Dropcams to Apple where I bought them and i’m pretty sure they will let me return them and I don’t want or need a $$/mo subscription.

    I said it was about TRUST and if they sold me a GOOGLE CAR and one day the windshield wipers don’t work without my paying for them, I do not trust them anymore. They even disabled the original Dropcam app so you can’t go back to the original setup.

    My whole use for the camera was to know if my garage door opened. I used the zone tool to tell the camera to ignore activity in the garage door windows which it did very well, and to e-mail me a pic if there is activity in the other areas (my garage door opening, for example).

    The Google tech guy offers the best he can: “HANG A BLANKET” over the windows. Best laugh I have had in a while. You were very funny Mr. Sr. Tech Support man. (Withholding name out of courtesy, but thank you “R” for the good laugh)

    Ahh, life in Silly Valley…

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