For a long while, when you thought Nest you thought about thermostats. Maybe fire alarms. But now Nest has bigger plans for your smart home. It wants to protect it, too, and officially unveiled a collection of new devices aimed at doing just that at an event back in September.
The centerpiece of all this is Nest Secure, a comprehensive alarm system that's built with a couple of different products. The base of all this is Nest Guard, an alarm hub where you put in your security code - as you'd expect. It'll emit a pleasant chime before your alarm goes off and then turns to an ear-crunching siren when you need to be on alert. That screech is highly effective. When it went off in the demo area after the event everyone knew it. It's also got backup LTE in case the Wi-Fi in your house goes down for $5 a month, and while it's built to be plugged, in there's also a back-up battery in case your power goes out.
Get started: Your guide to a Nest smart home
This is partnered up with Nest Detect, a motion and door sensor you can place around your home. Nest was a little perplexed by how many motion sensors there were on the market, and how many door sensors there were, so it decided to combine them all into one product. Plus, there's a little LED light on it so when you're walking by at night to get a glass of water, it'll light your way.
The final part of Nest Secure is Nest Tag, an NFC chip that you can use as your passcode. So instead of desperately trying to input a number code before your alarm goes off when you go home you just tap it and be done with it. By the way, Nest says anxiety when inputting your alarm code is the leading cause of false alarms. All of this, Nest says, will take 30 minutes or less to install. You can also turn to the app, which will walk you though the entire process.
In the demo area, we were able to test out this new system in a simulated home environment. The Guard itself was easy enough to use. It can sense motion about 10 feet from the front Nest logo. There's a pin pad on top for your code, though it doesn't seem like you'd use it too often. Most of your interaction with the Guard will be one of three ways: the Tag, the app and the four command buttons.
Around the pin pad are four embedded buttons. To the north, east and west are the three guard modes: off, guard while home and guard while away. Guard while home will only look for activity coming into the home, like an open door or window. Guard while away will turn on motion detection inside the home, and gives you 30 seconds to leave your home. In a nice touch, there's a colored ring around the device that slowly gets smaller as your time winds down rather than an annoying beeping to drive that alarm anxiety up.
To the south of the pin pad is the info button. It only pops up when something is up, like an open door or window. All of this information - and all of the commands - can also be accessed via the app. Your sensors and everything are all listed out there, and little animations and text are used to convey the status of your doors and windows. The Tag is used when you're leaving home or coming home, and can easily be given by trusted relatives. You simply tap the Tag to the device, right on top of the pin pad, and it'll either activate or deactivate the system. It takes about a second to work.
That app will also remind you if you've forgot to set the alarm when you left. Or if you forgot to close a window when you left. Or even if you thought you closed the door in a rush to an appointment but you really didn't. You can set the alarm to one of the three modes within the app, of course, and it integrates in with the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and Indoor (more on that in a bit though).
Nest wanted to build flexibility into its security system, so the Nest Detect can operate independently of the entire system. There's a little button you can press to activate and deactivate the individual system. So if the alarm is set at night and you want to take a quick walk outside to check out the stars, you just press the button and go outside - it won't turn off all the other Detects. By the way, Nest says the Detects will last for about two years under heavy use.
Nest will be partnering up with some companies to further enhance its security system. The first is Moni, who will provide 24/7 monitoring. There's no pricing for this yet, but Nest says it'll come in the next couple of months. It's also partnering with Yale on a new smart lock that'll integrate with the Nest system. So if you unlock the Yale lock, your Nest Secure system will deactivate. The Nest + Yale lock will arrive in Q1 2018.
The Nest Secure starter pack will cost $499 and come with two Tags and two Detects. Each individual Detect is $59, while each individual Tag is $25. You'll also be able to buy a special bundle that'll come with a Nest Cam Outdoor for $598. If you have a larger home, Nest is also coming out with an accessory called Nest Connect, a small oval device that should extend the range.
Hello Nest smart doorbell
Nest also wants to give you eyes outside of your home with the Nest Hello doorbell and Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is essentially an outdoor version of the new Nest Cam IQ. It's got a flush power cord built to run alongside your home, an IP67 rating, 4K video with facial recognition and tracking and it's pretty sleek and easy on the eyes. It's got a 130-degree view and can zoom onto someone and follow them across your driveway or backyard. The Nest Hello doorbell is a whole new beast though.
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The Hello has HDR, night vision and a 4:3 aspect ratio and 160-degree field of view so you can see an entire person and whatever packages or pizza they might have on their persons. It's also got facial and person detection, and you can train it to alert you if it's someone you know - or someone you don't. For instance, if grandma is coming it can let you know so you can get ready to met them. You'll also get HD video and calls, and there's a mode called Nap Time - basically Do Not Disturb - that won't ring any sounds.
One of the more interesting additions is Quick Responses. So if you're busy with something, or it's just the delivery man and you don't want to talk to them, you can simply click on a canned response. Your Nest will will speak for you, tossing out something like "You can leave it here, thanks!" or "Just a moment".
Most of the technology in the Hello is directly pulled from the Nest Cams, from facial recognition to being able to easily scrub through past footage. The only different is that this is a tiny, tiny package. It's actually a bit alarming to see how small and svelte it is, especially when compared to some of the more popular smart doorbells out there, like a Ring. It's just a bit bigger than a travel size of toothpaste.
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is $349.99. The Nest Doorbell will be available in Q1 2018 in US and Canada, but we don't yet know pricing. And finally, Google Assistant is coming to Nest Cam IQ this fall via a software update. Phew, that was a lot.