Top critical review
3.0 out of 5 starsNest Cam vs Piper
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 4 January 2016
The title is Nest vs Piper mainly to grab attention but this is certainly a review of how ‘Nest & Piper’ can work together with their pros and cons.
I trust that I am suitably qualified as a current owner of 6 Nest Cams and 3 Piper NVs (minus one which was stolen in a burglary – which we will get onto later). I wish I could give it 3.5 stars.
In summary one is not ‘better’ than the other you need to think about what you need and is best suited to your application/situation.
The summary of the Nest cam is straight forwards. It is a small webcam which records up to 1080p with 120 degrees field of view and IR Night Vision 24 hrs a day – and is nothing much more than this.
If you are planning to go full quality you need a strong WiFi signal and a good upload speed. Nest Cams appear to be very good at optimising the bandwidth they require and for me running 4 cams @ 1080p in low moment environments averages out to require approx 1.5Mbit/s based on 250GB being uploaded in 18 days. With the size of these uploads it is understandable that the service is chargeable and the rates can be found from the Nest Aware website in 10 and 30 day retention packages.
Motion sensing which can send push messages to your mobile device is triggered via change in image pixels which makes it pretty much useless to be any serious alarm device. Any slight change which could be anything from a light coming on or headlights to a bush blowing in the wind will trigger the activation. It is also not easy to turn this feature on or off (ie. activating the camera if you are going out) as it is buried deep within the app options. You can indeed set ‘critical areas’ which will give you a coloured notification if there is movement but for example I have a camera pointing out from the front of my house with a ring-fenced area being my driveway. However the motion sensor will still trigger from a stray headlight, a vehicle with flashing lights go past, a cat or even if I turn the downstairs lights on/off as light projects across some of the driveway. It is a good feature in generally filtering down the potential hundreds of alerts you can get a day when you review them but you couldn’t use this as a real security alert feature.
Probably most disappointing of all is the app. As just mentioned it does not allow for easy ‘arming or disarming’ of the camera, you have a less than 1 in 20 chance of connecting to live video if you are not on WiFi (I have a 4G mobile device) as it broadcasts in 1080p whereas I would be happy to see the live stream in much lower quality just to see what was going on and the recording to be full quality, and you can’t create clips/download straight from the app – only on a computer. This would have been a significant issue for me if we had Nest cams when my parents got burgled as I would have not been able to forward clips to the police until I got myself to a computer.
Night vision is suitable for a small/mid-sized room use only.
BUT – As stated in the summary the Nest cam does a job for me hence why I have 2 and my parents have 4. They record good quality video 24 hrs a day to the cloud and that is all that we want them for and that’s all they can realistically do. We had a single Piper camera which was stolen during a burglary but, as I will explain below, it only records 30 seconds clips once every 5 minutes so the footage was very short and was unable to tell the full story of the event.
Piper, for me, is a realistic and serious security system with many useful features. The only negative is that after an event trigger it will only record a 30 second via clip and not ‘rearm’ for another 5mins currently (I understand they are looking to get this down to 1minute though within the 1st quarter of 2016).
The most significant difference between the Piper and the Nest Cam is that the Piper uses a PIR sensor for movement activations which equates to no false alarms. During my now 10 month Piper ownership I have not received a single false alarm. The extra features does make it a larger using and more inconspicuous to mount/position. It also has an AA built in battery back-up with 105db siren.
Video Quality & Hosting – Image quality is very impressive as I was expecting it to be worse than the Nest Cam. It is 1080p with a 180 degree field of very which is incredibly useful and in addition to this you can lower the ‘live stream’ quality to guarantee a mobile connection pretty much every single time I want to access the camera. Clips can be saved and shared straight out of the app and also downloaded at full quality to dropbox. The disadvantage as that it only records a 30 second clip once every 5mins during activation (they are working on this) but on the upper hand they offer a FREE cloud based service of up to 1000 clips (newest clips overwrite old unsaved clips).
The Piper app is brilliant as you can directly ‘arm’ or ‘disarm’ your system and create up to 3 different ‘partitions / setups/rules’. ie. If I select ‘Home’ this will make the Piper react in a different way to an event if I am in rather than at work. The difference in how it does reacts is its best feature for me as, free of charge, in the event of a trigger Piper can call, email, text and push message you and any number of additional nominated mobile devices. This is a significantly critical feature as even if I have poor signal, or aboard, a phone call should usually always get through to me.
I have also just started experimenting with additional sensors which you add to the ‘events/trigger’ list. ie. I have a weatherproof PIR in the garden whereby if triggered in ‘Away Mode’ Piper will record a video, call me and my partner and also turn the bedroom lamp on.
For those who as still reading I mentioned that I had a Piper stolen during a burglary and I was not alerted. This is true as my parents were out and they do not use the Piper as a security device. It is set up for them passively to record video but not to send alerts as this is the application suitable for their needs.
In summary I use the Piper as the security monitoring system for my home and the Nest Cams as a 24/7 recording device so they work hand in hand together. The Piper is certainly a more realistic complete system but the Nest cam provides additional video coverage and fills in the gaps.