Nest Cam vs. HomeMonitor: The Best Smart Home Security Camera
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
2. Gizmodo’s Nest Cam Write Up
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.
3. Yahoo Tech’s Nest Cam Review
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.
4. VentureBeat’s Nest Cam Review
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.
7.2 HomeMonitor HD Reviews
1. PC Mag’s 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.
2. ExpertReviews HomeMonitor HD Review
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.
3. Hexus HomeMonitor HD Review
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.
4. TopTenReviews HomeMonitor HD Review
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.
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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