App: check your home from your phone

If you’ve ever used a Nest Product you’ll know that just as important as the hardware itself is the app it syncs with. It’s no different here.

When Nest Secure senses something it deems to be suspicious it sends you a notification. If the alarm is activated and you have a Nest Cam IQ you’ll see a live video stream at the top of the screen. If you need to call the police you can do it straight from the app. Pretty standard.

In the app you’re given a detailed log of info about who came and went, as well as the sensors that detected them. In the demo I saw, much of that screen was dominated by alerts about people tagging in and out at various times. At times it feels like an excessive amount of information, but with home security I guess you can’t be too observant. The app lets you arm and disarm the Nest Guard remotely, and if you forget it will send you a reminder. Should your Wi-Fi goes down the devices can still communicate through Nest’s clever Weave functionality. You’ll received an offline notification in the meantime.

How reliable the system is on a day-to-day basis is impossible to judge right now. I’d have to live with it. What I did see, however, was the various ways you can alter the system in app. Home and guarding mode, for example, is for when you’re in the house. This setting ignores motion, and by pressing a button on the Nest Detect you’re telling it that the sudden opening and closing of doors or windows isn’t reason for it to let off its wall-shaking screech. Away and guarding, on the other hand, is for when nobody is expected to be in. That’s when the motion detection kicks in. You can also set timeframes during which the system is deactivated. Useful for families with cleaners or dog walkers.

Nest Secure Initial Verdict

There’s no doubt that Nest Secure is a sizeable upgrade on the ancient alarm systems most houses have now. But there’s no getting away from it: it’s also an expensive one, especially if you factor in a camera.

That said, it’s really easy to imagine these devices making a real difference to people’s lives. We’re all swamped with notifications on a minute-to-minute basis, but I can’t see anyone being annoyed at their phone telling them someone is trying to climb through the window. Another Nest employee told me he just likes to know that his kids have arrived home safe from school. Their tags alert him to that.

I wasn’t able to test a lot of its features, but the tagging system is great, and I like how you can seamlessly customise the level of security. It helps that the products are so well designed, too. We’ll bring you a full review of Nest Secure when it arrives in November, but if smart surveillance is something you’re seriously considering, it’s looking like a safe bet.

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Where to buy Nest Secure: