8 things you need to know about Nest Secure

The thermostat maker brings some smart ideas to home security

Nest has gradually grown from the connected thermostat company into one that's trying to smarten up your entire home. And now it's getting tough.

Unveiled yesterday, Nest Secure is the company's new line of home security devices, letting you build your own connected system with ease. As you might expect from its other offerings, Nest Secure isn't cheap, but it's stylish and it comes with some really helpful-looking perks.

Nest Secure isn't quite available yet (keep reading), but if you're looking to secure your flat with a modern solution, then this might be the smart system of your dreams. Here's everything you should know about Nest's new security suite.

1) It has a brain called the Nest Guard

The Nest Guard is the heart and hub of the Nest Secure system. This Wi-Fi enabled device sits near your front door, perhaps wherever you toss your keys and mail, and it acts much like the main gatekeeper for your residents.

It's the actual alarm at the core of Nest Secure, plus it has a keypad and motion sensor all bundled in. Everything's all controlled via your smartphone if you please, but the keypad is also there if you just want to pop in a code instead of fumbling for your handset when you get home.

When triggered, it blares out an 85dB siren that'll startle anyone in earshot, hopefully sending any intruders off to the races, and the motion sensor works for up to 10 feet in a 90° radius from the face of the device. The Guard also has a 12-hour battery backup in case the power is out.

2) Nest Tags are like magical keys

When you open the door and need to disarm the system, you can enter a code or use the app to disable the system – or you can just wave a Nest Tag near the Nest Guard.

These small dongles, with a diameter of just less than 1.5in, can hang out on your keychain for easy personal access. But more usefully, they can be given to other people who don't have or need full system access.

Give one to your kid to use when he/she comes home, a dog walker, or a house guest. You can set and revoke privileges at any time, which is especially great if you happen to lose one of them, plus you can set time limits for each.

3) Nest Detect sensors can go everywhere

How does the Nest Secure system actually monitor your home? Mainly, it uses Nest Detect sensors that you can attach to any external door or vulnerable window in your space.

Each battery-powered Detect sensor has two parts that are magnetically paired, and one goes on the door with the other on the frame – or the window frame and sill, or top and bottom window. However you position it, they should be right next to each other when the door or window is closed.

If the system is armed and the door or window is opened, the Nest Guard will ring out as expected. You'll get two sensors with the starter set, but Nest Secure is modular, so you can add as many more as you need based on the size of your flat.

Got a large home? You can also grab a Nest Connect booster, which ensures that the mesh network that links them all extends to every protected corner of your flat.

4) The Detect sensors do even more

Nest Detect sensors are a little more capable than your average door and window sensors provided by security services. They also act as motion sensors (up to 15 feet with 54° FOV), so you can use the very same Detect sensors on a wall in the middle of your home, rather than buying a separate kind of device for that. And/or you can just benefit from having door and window sensors that double as motion sensors.

Interestingly, they also have a Quiet Open button that lets you press it to only open that door when the system is armed. This is ideal for when you're letting the dog out at night or going for a morning run, so the house stays protected but you're not disarming and arming the whole thing just to pop out for a bit.

Lastly, the Detect sensors also have Pathlights, which are small, downward-pointing lights that trigger when you walk near. They're night lights, essentially, but that's a handy little perk.

5) It makes smart use of the app

The Nest Guard might be the brains of the system, but the control panel you'll use the most is probably found right within your pocket. That's because the Nest app is your best option for arming and disarming the system, as well as fiddling with the settings.

Rather than the Nest Secure system blaring out a loud beeping countdown in your house when arming, you can just use the Android and iOS app and avoid the aural discomfort. Plus, if you leave the house without arming the system, it'll detect your location and give you a heads-up to amend that oversight. This is especially useful if, say, you're at work and your child leaves without arming the system.

And if an intrusion is detected, then you'll get updates sent directly to your phone all the while, letting you make an informed decision on what to do, wherever you are.

6) It also works with Nest Cams

Got a Nest Cam inside your home? If so, great! And if not, you might strongly consider one, because Nest Secure is fully compatible with them. If the Secure motion sensors recognize someone inside your home, you'll get a card on your phone with a live look into your flat, giving you an opportunity to either confirm or hopefully deny an intrusion.

And you've got outdoor options in the Nest universe, too, with yesterday's announcement of the outdoor Nest Cam IQ camera. It can identify human figures apart from, say, trees or dogs, the 4K sensor can zoom in for close-ups, and the connected camera even lets you tell someone to get the hell out of your yard. That's fun.

The Nest Cam IQ is not part of the actual Secure system, nor is the new Nest Hello doorbell; they're outside your home, remember. But they could help augment your overall smart security approach and provide some extra peace of mind.

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7) You can pay for added services

Nest Secure is something of a do-it-yourself system, and that extends to acting on any alarms. Out of the box, if your alarm sounds and you think it's a burglar, you'll have to call the police yourself. But that's not the only option.

If you want something more akin to a traditional security service that'll automatically ring the police during a suspected intrusion, then you can pay extra for that. Security service Moni has been announced as Nest's partner, but that might only be in the States.

You can also pay for cellular backup in case your Wi-Fi goes down or is disconnected, with T-Mobile announced as the U.S. provider for that feature.

8) It hits the UK in 2018

Homeowners in the United States can get started with Nest Secure in November. The starter kit, which comes with the Guard hub, two Detect sensors, and two Tags, will sell for US$499. Extra Detect sensors sell for US$59 apiece, with additional Tags at US$25 a pop.

As for the UK, well… all we got was a promise of availability early next year. At first glance, Nest Secure seems a bit pricier than alternative options. Samsung has a SmartThings Home Monitoring kit at half the price in the States, while Panasonic has one with a home camera for £230 – but they're not as stylish, and they lack some of Nest's myriad perks.

Nest Secure's added benefits, not to mention its comfortable addition to any existing Nest user's connected home, will probably help it enter a fair number of homes despite the high starting price.

On the other hand, if you just want a DIY home security system to cover the basics, then style and perks won't necessitate spending a couple hundred quid extra. We'll keep tabs on Nest Secure and bring you our review once we can get our hands on the system.