Nest Cam Outdoor vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor: Differences and which should you buy?

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the mac-daddy of outdoor security cameras, and Nest has done a fantastic job of packing different features into this camera. We have a vastly-improved camera system and better weather resistance, but the price tag may be too steep to justify.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

Beast mode

Three microphones
Better camera
Better weather resistance
Included Person Alerts
HD Talk and Listen
Larger footprint
Much more expensive
Can only be used outside

Nest Cam Outdoor

The standard Nest Cam Outdoor has a lot of features already included, but some require you to subscribe to Nest Aware. The smaller footprint, along with the lower price tag may cause some to gravitate towards this version. However, there are some compromises that come in-tow, including camera quality and weather resistance.

Nest Cam Outdoor

Good for most

Smaller than the IQ
Night Vision
1080p video quality
Lower camera quality than IQ
Some features require a subscription
Lower zoom range

For most people, the Nest Cam Outdoor will perform admirably and has been a fan favorite for some time. The Cam IQ Outdoor is for those who want all the bells and whistles, and where money is no object. But regardless of your choice, you'll still get a great outdoor security camera that ties in perfectly to your Nest family of products.

Keeping your home safe

When you see the price tag of the standard Nest Cam Outdoor, you would probably think that this is the top-of-the-line model, and for most people it is. However, the truth is that Nest created the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor which sports a few key features that the standard Cam Outdoor doesn't.

Since the camera is the name of the game, let's get started there. The standard Cam Outdoor includes a 3MP sensor with 8x digital zoom. Meanwhile, the Cam IQ includes an 8MP sensor with 12x digital zoom. Obviously, the Cam IQ takes this round, but it doesn't stop there.

Both cameras include a video resolution of 1080p, along with night vision, but the IQ steps things up again. It uses a 4K sensor, which allows you to easily zoom in on various objects found in the camera's 130-degree field of view.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Nest Cam OutdoorNest Cam IQ Outdoor
LocationIndoor or OutdoorOutdoor
Dimensions2.8" x 2.8" x 3.5"3.7" x 3.7" x 5"
ConnectivityWirelessWired or Wireless
Camera Quality3MP w/ 8x Zoom8MP w/ 12x Zoom
Video Resolution1920 x 10801920 x 1080
Field of View130°130°
Operating Temperature-4°F to 104°F-40°F to 113°F
Water ResistanceIP65IP66
FeaturesWi-Fi, Audio, Outdoor, Motion Sensing, Pan / Tilt, Night VisionWi-Fi, Audio, Outdoor, Motion Sensing, Night Vision
Familiar Face AlertsNoYes w/ Nest Aware
Person AlertsYes w/Nest AwareYes
Warranty2 years2 years

There are a couple of areas where these two cameras trade punches at a one-to-one pace. The Nest Cam Outdoor can be used outside or inside by design; meanwhile, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is only designed to be used outdoors. Additionally, the Cam Outdoor sports wireless connectivity, but you can use the Cam IQ Outdoor wirelessly, or with wires, if that floats your boat.

Taking a look at some of the smarts provided by the two cameras, the Cam IQ includes familiar face detection, provided that you subscribe to Nest Aware. This allows your camera to begin to recognize the people that frequent your house, and a notification on your phone will alert you to who it may be on your property.

Another benefit for the Cam IQ Outdoor is that this camera can integrate with an array of smart home products. These range from the Philips Hue lighting system, to Wemo or TP-Link plugs, and more. Pairing the devices together means that you can set up routines, like having the lights automatically turn on whenever movement is detected outside.

Another benefit for the Cam IQ Outdoor is that this camera can integrate with an array of smart home products.

In addition to having some extra smarts on board, the Cam IQ Outdoor also has some other tricks up its sleeve. Notably, the Cam IQ can identify when a person is getting closer to your home without the need of the Nest Aware subscription. While the standard Cam Outdoor also has this capability, you'll have to shell out for Aware to take advantage.

The Cam IQ takes another point for including Supersight in its camera. This allows you to automatically zoom in on a person once they come into view of the camera. The Cam IQ will then follow that person, making it easier for you to identify who it is. The best part is that you don't need to subscribe to Nest Aware, as it's available without spending an extra penny.

Finally, in the arena of Nest Aware subscription benefits, the Cam IQ sports "familiar face detection," while the standard Cam Outdoor does not. However, if you want to take advantage of this feature, you will need to sign up for Nest Aware, despite owning the more expensive Cam IQ.

At the end of the day, cash is king, and that's where the standard Cam Outdoor wins handily. Priced at just $170, you can take the rest of the money from the Cam IQ Outdoor and invest it into a Nest Aware subscription. You can also spring for the Nest Cam Outdoor 2-pack, which will cost you just $295, and still saves you more than $50 for just one Cam IQ.

But the benefit of the Cam IQ system is to have the best of the best. If you need that and aren't worrying about emptying your wallet, then this is the camera for you. Priced at $350, you may groan a bit, but that money will be well spent on the best that you can get from a Nest camera.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.