Nest Indoor Camera 1st Gen vs. 2nd Gen: Which Is the Best?

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When it comes to the world of indoor cameras, one of the famous names on the market is undoubtedly Google Nest. 

Packed with a fantastic collection of features and highly reliable, the Nest Indoor Camera is a brand you can bank on for all your indoor video coverage needs.

But which of the Nest Indoor Cams is best for you: the original Nest 1st Gen indoor camera or the new and improved 2nd Gen? 

Keep reading to find out.

nest indoor camera 1st gen vs 2nd gen


When introduced in June 2015, the Nest Indoor 1st Gen camera quickly became a public favorite. 

Not only was it a product from a trusted name like Google, but it also featured a lot of premium features at the time: a 1080p resolution, night vision, two-way audio, a rotating, magnetic stand, sound and motion alert, etc. 

However, over time, many of these features considered advanced at the time have now become common ground. This shift in the technological landscape sets the stage for the arrival of the Nest Indoor Camera 2nd Gen, promising to redefine what users can expect from a modern indoor security camera.

Key Similarities

The newer, 2nd Gen Nest Indoor Camera, while significantly different from the older model, still holds a lot of similarities with their 1st Gen predecessors. Below are a few of those similarities:

1. Indoor Use Case Only

Both generations of the Nest Indoor Cameras have specific requirements to function. These requirements include the presence of an electric outlet close by. As such, these cameras are only suitable for indoor use

There is also the fact that the cameras themselves aren’t designed to withstand outdoor conditions, unlike outdoor cameras. 

Both generations of Nest indoor cameras are equally susceptible to environmental factors like rain, extreme temperatures, and humidity.

2. Similar Design Language

Both the 1st and 2nd Gen cameras are very similar-looking devices. 

While the second generation sees a few alterations to the original design, both feature the same sleek and minimalist design Nest cameras are known for. 

Both are wired cameras with a magnetic rotating base. Both can be mounted on a horizontal surface like a table or shelf, on a vertical surface like a wall, or even under a cabinet or a table. 

Both cameras feature an inconspicuous design, effortlessly blending into any room’s background.

3. Wide Angle Lens and 360° Video Coverage

Both generations of the Nest Indoor Cam come with wide-angle lenses that allow them to cover a broad field of view. 

The cameras also have a magnetic rotating base, allowing complete 360° rotation and more thorough area coverage. 

4. Two-Way Audio Support

Both generations allow two-way audio. So, you can record audio and videos and communicate through the cameras

5. 1080p Video Recording

Both devices can record high-definition video, with both cameras offering video coverage of up to 1080p.

6. Night Vision

Both generations of the Nest Indoor Camera have infrared LEDs for night vision, allowing them to record high-quality images during the day and at night.

7. Cloud Storage Support

Nest offers cloud storage plans for both generations of the Nest Indoor Cameras, which allows you to store and access recordings over the internet.

8. Mobile App Control and Remote Monitoring

Both generations of Nest Indoor Cameras can be connected to the Google Home App, giving you remote control of your camera and remote monitoring capabilities.

With this feature, you can do everything from accessing live feeds to adjusting settings and reviewing recorded footage from your mobile device.

9. Web Support

Both cameras don’t just support mobile apps. They also support connecting to your cameras via web browsers as well.

10. Sound and Motion Alert

Sound and motion detection technologies equip both camera generations. So, you will receive alerts and notifications on your mobile device in case of any activity.

11. Integration with Smart Home Ecosystems

Both generations support integration with various smart home ecosystems. 

Not only can these cameras be connected to Google Assistant, but they can also connect to Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, Apple HomeKit, and various other smart devices and technologies. 

Key Differences

Despite the many similarities between the Nest Indoor Cameras generations, there are several noticeable differences, most resulting from the improvement made to the 2nd Gen cameras.

Below are the nine of the significant differences:

1. Video Resolution

While both generations offer a 1080p resolution for video recording, the 2nd Gen cameras generally produce better overall video quality due to the improvements in image processing. 

2. App

While both generations of Nest Indoor cameras work with the Google Home App, only 1st Gen cams work with the Nest App. With the 2nd Gen devices, you are limited to just the Google Home App.

While the 1st Gen cameras can work with both Google Home and the Nest app, however, the experience with these two apps is different. 

You get complete app support using the Nest app with 1st Gen cameras. When using the Google Homes app, however, there are a few actions you’d be unable to carry out, including:

  • Setting up your cameras
  • Modifying your camera’s settings
  • Scheduling on/off times

You’d have to carry out all those actions on the Google Home app.

With the 2nd Gen cameras, however, you get the complete Google Home support you’d otherwise get with 1st Gen cameras as well as a few other new features like:

  • A whole home history that lets you see your events across different devices.
  • A video history feature that lets you scroll through your events horizontally rather than vertically, giving you a more granular look at your history.
  • And a priority feed to see the most essential events in a dedicated tab.

3. Web Support

While both cameras offer web support, this feature works differently on the two generations of Nest Indoor cameras.

You can view your Nest Cam Indoor 1st Gen camera on a web browser on your computer by visiting

For your 2nd Gen cameras, you’d have to visit instead. 

4. Design

While both generations of cameras feature similar design language, there are significant differences between the two. 

For starters, 1st Gen cameras come in only one color: black

2nd Gen cameras, on the other hand, have four color options: snow, linen, frog, and sand with maple wood base.

There is also the overall build of both devices. 

1st Gen cameras feature a compact, cylindrical form resembling a small, rounded pillar with a large, flat vase. 2nd Gen cameras, on the other hand, are rounder and shaped like a semi-sphere with an equally round and semi-spherical base.

Design-wise, while both cameras are inconspicuous and would blend in better in any room, 2nd Gen cameras’ more rounded design makes them more easily blend into the surroundings, which makes them more efficient security cameras

Another difference in design between both generations is how these devices move. 

While both devices turn 360° from side to side and can move up and down, you can rotate the 1st Gen camera heads within the camera stand. The 2nd Gen camera, however, can not perform such clocking rotation.

5. Alerts

Alerts on both generations of the Nest Indoor Cameras are triggered by the same signals: motion and sound. That being said, how this functions on both devices is quite different.

Typically, 2nd Gen cameras offer intelligent alerts of three types: people, animals, and vehicles. There is no subscription required to enjoy these features.

On the other hand, 1st Gen cameras offer only one alert without a subscription: motion alerts. With a subscription, you then get access to people and sound signals.

The intelligent alerts on the 2nd Gen cameras make them less prone to triggering false signals due to the advanced motion detection technology these cameras employ.

With these advanced features, these cameras use machine learning to detect motion better and identify what is making said motion.

With this advanced feature, 2nd Gen cameras can differentiate between people, animals, and inanimate objects like vehicles and non-living things capable of moving.

Unlike the 1st Gen’s essential motion detection, which is all you get without a subscription, the 2nd Gen’s advanced motion detection is trained to detect and ignore things like pet motion, the movement of small objects like insects, and other such motions that often lead to false alerts on the 1st Gen Cameras. 

You’d need a Nest Aware subscription to get features similar to this on your 1st Gen Cam. And even then, all you get is people and sound alerts. Your 1st Gen camera can’t detect animals or vehicles. 

6. Camera Detection

Apart from the advanced motion detection of the 2nd Generation Nest Indoor Cameras, the new models have other edges over their predecessors in other areas of camera detection.

One of these improvements is facial recognition, a feature only available on 2nd Gen cameras when you subscribe. It allows 2nd Gen Nest Cameras to detect familiar faces and send personalized alerts when they see recognized individuals.

This facial recognition feature isn’t available on 1st Gen cameras.

Another improvement to camera detection on the 2nd Gen is Activity Zones, a feature that allows you to monitor up to 4 zones on any Nest camera, alerting you when any motion is detected within each zone.

This feature is only available on subscription for 1st Gen users but is accessible for 2nd Gen cameras.

Detection on Nest Indoor Cameras isn’t limited to motion detection, and both generations offer sound detection features on subscription. As usual, the 2nd Gen cameras perform better here as well.

While both generations can detect sound, 2nd Gen cameras offer improved algorithms that allow for more accurate sound detection and alerts. 

These cams can detect sounds and specifically identify the sound of smoke and CO alarms and send notifications if such alarms sound within the camera’s range.

7. Events History

Regarding the history of Nest Indoor Cameras without a subscription, only 2nd Gen cams offer event history. These cams record clips of any event when turned on, keeping records of such clips for the next 3 hours.

1st Gen cameras, on the other hand, only take photo snapshots instead of video clips. The images also remain in the cam’s history for just 3 hours.

On a subscription, however, both generations get: 

  • Up to 30 days of event video history on the Nest Aware Subscription 
  • and 60 days of event video history with 10 days of 24/7 continuous video history on the Nest Aware Plus Subscription.

8. Storage

Only 2nd Gen cams offer any local storage and can store up to one hour of video on your local storage, which is about 1 week’s worth of events for a typical household. 

Events recorded on local storage would then be uploaded back to the cloud when a WiFi connection is available.

1st Gen cameras, on the other hand, do not support local storage and can only store events on the cloud.

9. Security

While all Nest camera footage is encrypted, stored, and shared or viewed between devices, 2nd Gen cameras have an extra layer of protection.

Since 2nd Gen Nest Indoor cams require a Google account, you get added security benefits like two-step verification, suspicious activity detection, and password checkups.


Installing both generations of the Nest Indoor Camera is relatively easy and can be done without any professional help. 

Due to the variations in their designs, there are some peculiarities in installing both devices, but the installation process is pretty straightforward.

Nest Indoor Camera 1st Gen

nest indoor camera 1st gen

These cameras can be mounted both on vertical and horizontal surfaces. With the camera able to turn 360° side to side, move up and down, and the camera head can be rotated on its stand, configuring the device however you please is relatively simple.

Simply select a location that offers proper room coverage and mount your camera. You could either place the camera on a table or shelf or mount it on a wall with the wall mounting plate provided. 

Remember to place the camera close to an electrical outlet.

Once mounted, the detachable power cable to the camera and the other end to the power outlet.

Nest Indoor Camera 2nd Gen

nest indoor camera 2nd gen

2nd Gen cameras can be installed similarly to 1st Gen cameras. However, they can’t rotate in their stand.

Instead, these camera heads can turn up to 180°, which, combined with the camera’s wide range of side-to-side movement, allows you to configure your camera practically however you want.

Our Take: Nest Cam Indoor 1st Gen vs. 2nd Gen

Considering this, the 2nd Gen Nest Indoor Cameras are a much better option for individuals purchasing a new indoor security camera. 

The advanced features, local storage support, advanced motion detection, and reduced false alerts make the 2nd Gen cameras the much more obvious choice. 

Consider that you get all of this for practically the same price as the 1st Gen Cam, and there is almost no reason to choose the older 1st Gen cameras over the newer and improved 2nd Gen cams. 


  1. Set up and use Activity Zones, Google Nest Help

About Author

Hey! I'm Dennis M. Peterson, a tech nerd, a master of code, adept at handling gadgets, and up-to-date with the latest tech trends. I deeply understand of how tech works and what to troubleshoot when issues arise. I hope you've found what you were searching for!
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