Easy setup • Intuitive app • Plenty of security features
False alarms from the right environmental conditions • Limited area it can secure
The Nest Security Pack is aptly named. It’s a great entry point to starting your home security system.
The Nest Security Pack is an appealing gateway to home security. Practically everything you need is in one box and the Nest app takes care of the rest. It’s almost the ideal solution for your first foray into home security with only a few caveats.
Whoever you are, you should have a plan to protect your stuff. There’s traditional renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, and property insurance is a more flexible option. All these plans are relatively cheap — especially compared to the cost of the gadgets, hobbies, and other belongings found in your home.
It also makes sense to consider home security options, even if you’re like me and live in an apartment. If you’re not sure how to get started, the Nest Security Pack is an excellent firs stop.
A Nest in my nest
Unboxing the Nest Security Pack was easy enough. Inside you’ll find the Nest Guard keypad/base station, two Nest Tag sensors, two Nest Detect sensors, and a Nest Cam. There’s also mounting gear if you want to attach one or more of the Nest devices to the wall.
I tested the Nest Security Pack and the Nest Secure plan from T-Mobile. The Nest Security Pack retails for $500, but there’s a $100 savings offer, and T-Mobile offers a $20 down, $20 per month payment plan. For $15 a month, you’ll get cellular backup in case the WiFi goes down and the Nest Aware Basic plan that includes a 10-day history, 24/7 continuous recording, clips, and timelapses for the Nest Cam.
Once the Nest Guard was out of the box, I had to find a home for it. I chose a table where the mail usually accumulates, figuring it was the prefect place since it’s conveniently located near the door. I plugged it in and the Guard lit up and told me to download the Nest app. I guess I’ll do just that — thank you, home security robot.
The app was downloaded, I signed up, and in minutes I was a registered Nest user. I quickly named my home “Chateau Charles.” OK, time to start adding more Nest security devices!
First up was the Nest Guard. The Nest Guard serves as the hub for all of your devices. It’s what the other Nest devices communicate with and what you’ll tap with the Nest Tag as you leave to turn the system on.
The setup process was painless. With Nest, you grab the device you want to add to your home security package, scan the QR code, and follow the steps from the app. The Nest Detect is a sensor and a small magnetic sensor. The app will tell you to connect and separate them to show what happens when, say, your front door opens.
Moving on, the app asks where your Nest Detect will be located. I selected my front door and chose the style that fit — in this case a hinged door. You can also choose from several door configurations, such as a sliding door, in the app. I placed the Nest Detect near eye level and waited for it to communicate with the Nest Guard.
Once that was successful, I started the process all over again for the second Nest Detect that’s included in the Nest Security Pack.
The lay of the land
To back up for a second, I want to provide a short walkthrough of my one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. After entering the front door, you walk a few steps before making a left. Walk a few steps again and the kitchen is slightly to your right. Make a right and you’ll soon find yourself looking into the living room and some extra space where a small couch, bureau, bar cart, and record/vinyl station live. If you make a left, that’ll take you past that and the bedroom will be on the right and the bathroom to your left.
Still with me? Good. If you followed, you can visualize a few blind spots and how the majority of stuff that has value, both monetary and sentimental, are concentrated in the large-ish (for New York City), living area. I figured the wall facing the living room would be the place for the second Nest Detect.
There are still a few blind spots and motion wouldn’t be detected if it came from the kitchen, but I was less concerned about that area and more concerned with keeping my living room and bedroom secure. This could be rectified down the line if I chose to purchase an additional Nest Detect.
Again, the app walked me through the installation steps and I selected the wall location, was told I didn’t need the smaller magnetized sensor, and installed it around eye level. It was finally time to add the Nest Cam.
With the layout of my apartment, I chose a shelf that provided a good vantage point of the kitchen serving window, living area, and bedroom. The 130-degree wide angle view of the camera covered everything I needed. I figured that, in such a scenario, the camera would pick up any activity in this main area. Once again, I followed the steps and set up the Nest Cam in what I called my living room.
Just like that, I had a home security system in my apartment. It took less than 25 minutes, but there was one caveat. I experienced a few connection errors and was unable to complete the setup. However, I was setting up the Nest Security Pack during a summer thunderstorm, and I haven’t experienced another connectivity error since then.
Since it’s a starter pack, you’re getting the basics you need to quickly set up a home security system. If you have children, or live with two roommates, you’ll want a third or fourth Nest Tag. You could set it up so a password disarms the Nest Guard if you don’t want to buy additional Nest Tags.
The same holds true for the two Nest Detects. It’s a fine way to cover main areas, but you’ll likely want more to secure windows and other areas of the house.
That aside, setting up the Nest Security Pack was a breeze. The app guided me through every step and even the most tech-adverse user will likely experience only minor frustrations. That experience will continue with the Nest app and Nest Cam
Peace of mind
The Nest app acts as your personal command hub. Everything you need to control all of your connected Nest devices can be found in this app. You can set the Nest to Home or Away, toggle the camera, and see the status of the Nest Detects and Nest Guard.
I quickly turned on the Home/Away Assist, which sends a notification to turn the system on or off based on your phone’s location. This is a great option for whenever you’re running late and forgot to tap the Nest Tag to set the alarm.
You can explore each Nest Security Product and adjust various security options. There are also how-to videos that’ll help you understand how the Nest is guarding your home.
Chances are your app experience will consist of turning the alarm on or off and checking out the Nest Cam. It feels voyeuristic at first, but you’ll soon find great joy in seeing that there’s nothing happening in your home.
The Nest Cam provides a 130-degree, 1080p HD view of your home. These are standard features for most home security cameras, although there are a few options, like the Logitech Circle 2, that claim to offer a 180-degree field of view for a slightly cheaper price.
The Nest Cam includes a microphone and speaker so you can talk and listen to whatever’s happening in your home. You could check in on your pup or listen to a detected sound. In most cases, the sound I heard from my home was the rumbling of the subway.
Unfortunately, the Nest Cam can’t pan and tilt, so make sure you set up your camera at an optimal vantage point. There’s a digital zoom, so you can get a closer look at your pet or the detected activity.
The Nest Cam switches over to night vision seamlessly and provides a sharp image with plenty of contrast. Nothing was oversaturated and I could see plenty of detail in my living room in clear black-and-white.
You can watch a stream of the Nest Cam from the app’s home screen. Tapping on that takes you to the camera’s control screen. Heading to the setting wheel, you can adjust your Nest Cam security features, set activity zones, adjust notifications, as well as set your quality and bandwidth.
There’s also a handy timeline, so you can scroll through all the activity your camera captures. It’s an easy way to get an overview of what’s happening or to find a specific moment.
There’s one Nest Cam in the Nest Security Pack, but chances are you’ll want a second one if you have a larger home or more areas to secure, such as a backyard or outside your front door.
With the Nest Cam, you get great clarity, a lot of features, and easy control. No pan and tilt is annoying, but it didn’t detract much from the overall experience. What did get annoying were the notifications.
Oh, another notification
After setting up the Nest Security Pack, I was about to head off to Newport, Rhode Island.
It was the perfect opportunity to test what Nest had to offer. Just before leaving for a quick summer getaway, I got comfortable with the Nest and the app at work. I tapped the Nest Tag, was given a minute to leave before the alarm would turn on, and locked the door.
The alarm was activated and I saw a live feed of my empty, boring living room from my desk. Everything was fine! That was until the a notification alerted me to a person inside the apartment. I went to my app and discovered… nothing.
That was a relief. Which is exactly the point.