Nest Cam Indoor (2021) vs. Nest Cam (2021): Which should you buy?

Nest Cam 2021 Battery Magnetic
Nest Cam 2021 Battery Magnetic (Image credit: Google)

Nest Cam Indoor (2021)

Nest Cam Indoor 2021 Wired

The Nest Cam Indoor (2021) is the perfect solution for monitoring inside the home. It's ideal for those who have pets, children, or who travel often and want to keep an eye on things while they are away.

Nest Cam Indoor (2021)

Simple security for the home

Simple setup
Maintains constant connection
Multiple finish options
Most affordable Nest cam to date
Not battery operated
Can't use it outdoors

Nest Cam (2021)

Google Nest Cam

While it's more expensive, the Nest Cam (2021) is ideal for those who want to keep an eye on the home from the outside, with a built-in battery and weatherproofing. It also comes with customizable alerts and the ability to distinguish between people, animals, and vehicles.

Nest Cam (2021)

Total home security

Can be set up inside or out
Lots of optional accessories
Can send customized alerts
Grab in multi-packs
Battery power without wires
Requires Nest Aware subscription to get the most out of it

Google's newest Nest Cams offer some useful upgrades from the previous generation models, both in form and function. And while they are both great options for inside the home, if you are looking for a security camera to use outside, the Nest Cam (2021) is the only option to consider among the two. In addition to its weatherproof design, it also works on a built-in battery so you don't have to worry about setting it up near a power outlet. But if you just want a camera to use inside and keep an eye on your pet while you're away or the baby, when considering the Nest Cam Indoor (2021) vs. Nest Cam (2021), the Nest Cam Indoor (2021) will suffice.

Let's take a deeper look at how they compare via specs that are available at the time of this writing.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Nest Cam Indoor (2021)Nest Cam (2021)
Camera Resolution1,080p HDR video1,080p HDR video with night vision
ConnectivityAC PowerBattery-operated
Field-of-View135 Degrees130 Degrees
Digital Zoom6x6x
Outdoor UseNoYes
ColorsWhite, Pink, Beige, Green, optional Sand with Maple BaseWhite
DetectionPetsPeople, Animals, Vehicles
Nest Aware OptionYesYes
Google Home AppYesYes

In terms of the way they work and the quality of video they can capture, both cameras have pretty great specs. But the main difference is in how they are powered (wired versus wireless) and the design that is conducive to outdoor use for the Nest Cam (2021) and made only for indoors with the Nest Cam Indoor (2021).

Nest Cam Indoor (2021) vs. Nest Cam (2021): What are the main differences?

Nest Cam 2021 In Hand

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

As noted, the core differences between these two cameras are in terms of how and where they can be used. The Nest Cam (2021) is designed for either indoor or outdoor use. This is thanks to both the weather-resistant design as well as the battery power that lets it run for anywhere for up to seven months per charge, depending on how many events it captures on average. The battery is not only convenient, but it'll also keep running in the event of a power outage. If Wi-Fi is down, the camera also automatically stores up to an hour of recorded events in local memory.

The Nest Cam (2021) can stick magnetically to a metallic surface or mount outside of the house (or inside on the wall) using two screws. If preferred, there's also an optional stand should you decide to use it inside.

By contrast, the Nest Cam Indoor (2021), as the name implies, is only meant for use indoors, making it a good option for those who have pets, want to keep an eye on a baby in their crib, or to place by the front door (inside) to monitor the home while they're away on vacation. It's much smaller in design and sits atop its base on a shelf or tabletop.

Nest Cam Indoor 2021 Colors

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

Both come in a white finish with a black face but the Nest Cam Indoor (2021) comes in additional color options, including pink, beige, and green, as well an elegant sand color option with a maple wood base that will cost a bit extra. It makes sense since this device will be in the home, so you want it to fit with the décor. With the Nest Cam (2021) likely being positioned outside, the basic white and black is all you need, particularly to avoid drawing attention to it. If you do want to use it indoors, you'll need to purchase an optional stand for it. It does, however, come with a 3.3-foot cable for wiring it if preferred.

Bottom line: if you're looking for a security camera to use indoors, you'll save a lot of dough by opting for the Nest Cam Indoor (2021) and finding a good spot near a power outlet where you can mount it.

Nest Cam Indoor (2021) vs. Nest Cam (2021): What can both do?

Nest Cam 2021 With Stand

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

When it comes to actual performance, the cameras share similar specs and can record high-definition video 24/7, but the motion alerts differ slightly. The Nest Cam Indoor (2021) can reportedly detect pets and distinguish their motion from others, which is handy to help you avoid getting an alert every time Fluffy struts into the room. Since it's meant for outdoor use, the Nest Cam (2021) can detect the difference between a person, animal, and vehicle so you can customize alerts accordingly. It can be annoying when a security camera pushes alerts every time a car drives by, so you can set it to avoid that. But if someone walks onto your property, you want to know. Both work seamlessly with the Google Home app to deliver alerts as needed.

Both support HDR video, but the Nest Cam (2021) adds night vision, which makes it possible to see clearly in low light situations. The Nest Cam Indoor (2021) sports a 135-degree field-of-view while the Nest Cam (2021) offers 130-degree field-of-view, and both have 6x digital zoom.

With both, you get up to three hours of free event video history, but can opt for a Nest Aware subscription that will provide up to 60 days worth, plus the ability to recognize familiar faces, like your neighbor or the regular delivery person. But keep in mind that this is an additional recurring cost to add to the mix.

Nest Aware would make the most sense to consider alongside the Nest Cam (2021) positioned outside since you get advantages like being able to pinpoint specific activity zones, share clips with friends, family, or even law enforcement, sound detection, and even contact emergency services directly in the event of a break-in or other event.

The Nest Cam (2021) offers two-way talk capability as well through its built-in speaker and mic, so you can use the app to tell the delivery person they can leave the package at the door. You can also, by the way, set up Home and Away routines in the app so the camera automatically turns off when you're home then perks up once you leave.

Nest Cam Indoor (2021) vs. Nest Cam (2021): Which should you choose?

Nest Cam On Wall

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

The obvious choice if you plan to set up a camera outdoors is to opt for the Nest Cam (2021), which has a weather-resistant design and operates on a battery. But you might prefer this option for inside use as well considering that you won't have to keep it plugged in. This allows for a nicer, cleaner look, not to mention it isn't yet another device drawing power from the home. But keep in mind that it means ensuring the battery is always charged up.There is an optional weather-proof cable you can get for the Nest Cam (2021) along with an optional stand if you want to set it up inside. The fact that it can magnetically mount to a surface is a plus.

Not only is the Nest Cam Indoor (2021) significantly cheaper than the Nest Cam (2021) but it's also the most affordable Nest camera to date.

Another great thing worth mentioning about the Nest Cam (2021) is that Google will replace the camera if it is removed by a thief. This provides peace-of-mind for this expensive purchase. And indeed, it is much more expensive than the Nest Cam Indoor (2021).

That brings us to price, which could be the deciding factor here. Not only is the Nest Cam Indoor (2021) significantly cheaper than the Nest Cam (2021) but it's also the most affordable Nest camera to date. It offers a great HD camera and other similar specs to the Nest Cam (2021) but it has to remain plugged in at all times. If you're looking for a camera to mount in the baby's nursery or position in your living room to keep an eye on pets, this might be a better solution as you might not mind keeping it plugged in 24/7. Plus, the multiple finish options and elegant dock make it a stylish addition to the home.

Also note that the Nest Cam (2021) is available in multi-packs of two and four, which might be incentive to use it as a whole-home security set-up, with cameras both inside and outside of the home.

When looking at the Nest Cam Indoor (2021) vs. Nest Cam (2021), it really comes down to preference. Are you going to use it outside? If so, go with the Nest Cam (2021). If you're going to use it indoors, the Nest Cam Indoor (2021) is more than sufficient to meet your needs, and its price can't be beat.

But keep in mind that the Nest Cam Indoor (2021) is "coming soon," not available just yet. So, if you're anxious for a solution and not willing to wait, pre-ordering the Nest Cam (2021) might be your preference. You can also consider some affordable Nest camera alternatives if you need something, stat.

Christine Persaud

Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.