Is Nest's new Nest Aware pricing actually a better deal?

Nest Activity Zone
Nest Activity Zone (Image credit: Google)

Best answer: Yes, but it's not without its drawbacks. The new plan covers all Nest devices in your home and includes advanced audio sensing along with all the features of the old Nest Aware. The only trade-off is fewer days of continuous recording, and the potential loss of some third-party integrations if you switch over.

Nest Aware 2.0 is a serious upgrade

Google made some pretty exciting announcements at its October 15, 2019 Pixel launch event in New York City. From a smart home perspective, the unveiling of its new Nest Wifi hardware was the high point. Yet, that announcement came hand-in-hand with a revelation that some users — new and existing alike — might find a bit confusing.

Namely, Google changed the subscription model for Nest Aware, the cloud-based service attached to its Nest devices — and the new subscription service is a definite step up from the old. While the new Nest Aware subscription model does make a few interesting changes, for the most part, it's a total value add. Moreover, it doesn't cost that much more than the old Nest for the lower-tier plan and can save you some serious money for the higher-tier option.

That said, if you're already an existing Nest Aware subscriber, Google will allow you to stay with your current plan, so long as you haven't migrated your account from Nest to Google just yet. This could be a better choice for those of you who don't want to sacrifice your IFTTT integrations, or if you don't have that many Nest devices.

What's changed?

The first, most obvious change involves the platform. Rather than using the Nest App, the new Nest Aware will live entirely within the Google Home app. It's a move that makes sense for Google, though it's also one that may frustrate some users, as the migration has reportedly broken IFTTT.

Bafflingly, Google has also cut how many days its Nest devices can continuously record. The old plan offered continuous recording for 5 days ($5), 10 days ($10), or 30 days ($30). Under the new plan, which starts at $6/month, continuous recording is only available if you shell out for Premium ($12/month).

Still, in exchange for losing that bit of functionality, the new Nest Aware adds a ton of value. First and foremost, there's no limit to the number of Nest devices covered by a single subscription. The pricing of the old tiers are by device, so if you've got a smart home with a ton of different moving parts, the savings could be pretty huge.

Another feature added through the new Nest Aware involves advanced audio sensing. This allows your Nest devices to listen for specific audio triggers in your home, such as alarms or breaking glass, which they can then notify you about via an alert. And speaking of alerts, that's another thing the new subscription adds — a 30 or 60-day video log for specific events (a person moving, or a doorbell ringing, for example).

Otherwise, Nest Aware still offers pretty much the same features, such as facial recognition, clips and time lapses, and the ability to configure motion zones (Google calls them "Activity zones").

When is the new Nest Aware subscription rolling out?

Good news — the new Nest Aware subscription is now available! If you're new to Nest Aware, we think you'll be pleased with the latest services and pricing model. If you're an existing customer, take into consideration if the new features and potential savings are worth it for you to upgrade.

Nick Greene