Nokia Home Security Camera Review: Not Your Typical Security Camera

With the Nokia Home, you can keep your home safe from intruders and pollution. 

While NETGEAR, Nest and TP-Link are the big names when it comes to security cameras, one can't forget about Nokia's Health division. Since it purchased Withings, it decided to rebrand the Withings Home to the Nokia Home, but it is virtually the same as the original Withings Home. Now this camera is pretty interesting for a few reasons. Aside from looking quite a bit different from a typical security camera, it can also detect the air quality in the room, and alert you to issues with the air quality. That is a pretty neat feature, and one that works pretty well, but how useful is it? Let's find out.

Specs

The Nokia Home is capable of recording HD video, or 720p resolution with its 5-megapixel sensor. It also includes 12x Zoom as well as night vision. So it'll work well in large rooms, even at night. This sensor is a 135-degree sensor, so you're getting a wide-angle view, without any fish eye distortion. The Nokia Home does also have the ability to live stream on your smartphone through the app, over any Internet connection. There is an Ethernet port on the back so the Nokia Home can work off of regular WiFi or a wired connection. There is a VOC sensor included as well, which is what works to determine whether air quality has gotten worse or not. Finally, there is an infrared LED on the bottom of the Nokia Home that can work as a night light.

In the Box

The essentials are in the box here. There's the Nokia Home camera, along with a magnetic base, a power cable and a few wall adapters for different regions. While this does use a micro USB cable for power, it does need the included cable, since the area around the port is fairly small and most micro USB cables won't fit. Otherwise, there's not much else in the box with the Nokia Home

Hardware & Setup

Setup is pretty simple. You'll need to download the Nokia Home app from the Google Play Store (or Apple App Store if you use iOS devices). From there, the app will walk you through plugging in the Nokia Home and then connecting to it. Like most smart home products, it only works with 2.4GHz networks, so unfortunately, you can't connect it to a 5GHz network. This is likely because 2.4GHz networks do offer a wider range than a 5GHz network. And that's basically the entire setup process. There's not much else to it. There are some settings that you can adjust, so that you aren't getting notifications all the time for movement, noise and air quality.

The Nokia Home is actually one of the better looking cameras out there. In its marketing material, it promotes it more as a baby monitor than a regular security camera. Which it would work well as a baby monitor, since it can hide in their room and send you notifications when there is noise (aka when the baby wakes up). It's a short, but fat cylinder, with a wood finish, which is removable. Nokia doesn't yet sell other removable shells for the Home, but that is something it could do in the future.

In the back of the Nokia Home, you'll find three ports. There's a micro USB port for charging, a full-sized USB-A port and then an Ethernet port. The Ethernet port isn't really needed unless you have a bad WiFi signal or slow internet. Since this is only streaming in 720p, it doesn't need a ton of bandwidth, so most connections will work just fine. There is a speaker on the top of the Nokia Home, this allows you to talk to whoever is in sight of the camera, as this does have two-way audio. Then the bottom has that infrared LED light, which shows red if there is an issue with the camera (perhaps it losses WiFi connection or something). It can also work as a night light, again, something that would be great in a nursery.

Nokia Home Software

The Nokia Home app on Android is pretty minimal. It has a nice design and has all of the features of the Nokia Home in reach, so it's not hard to find where to change a setting, or check out previous notifications from when it detected audio or movement in the room. You're able to watch a live stream of what's happening, no matter where you are (read: you don't need to be on the same network as the camera) from the app. It also lists previous clips of movement or noise in the room in the app, so you can see what happened in the past if you wish to do so. Nokia does offer up a cloud service for keeping all of this data in the cloud, for up to 30 days. Nokia does give everyone a free 30-day trial of that service before charging for it. And the price is $20 per month.

It's recommended that you adjust some of the notifications within the app, especially if you have the camera in the living room or somewhere that you or others in your home are usually at. You can adjust it so you get fewer notifications, or get more. As well as making it so that you get more notifications when you aren't home, since you aren't home, that likely isn't you that the camera is seeing. Unfortunately, it does not recognize you like some of the newer cameras to - like the Nest Cam IQ.

There are also a few other modes available, like Do Not Disturb. Which will still record what's happening, but it won't send you any notifications. There's also Baby Monitor Mode and then Camera Offline. With Camera Offline, it's basically turned off, as it won't record anything and it won't send you any notifications either. Everything in the software is pretty simple, and that's important for Nokia, since it is looking to sell this to those that just want peace of mind in their home and some safety.

Camera Quality

It's a 5-megapixel camera inside the Nokia Home, so it's not that great quality, compared to some of the newer cameras that use 1080p or even 4K resolution. But it does its job pretty well. The Camera does have 12X Zoom which is a pretty nice feature to have, allowing you to zoom in on video and see all of the details. It actually zooms in quite nicely. Then there's night vision. There's no way around this, when there's little to no light, a camera is going to produce a bad image, and that's the case here. You can see activity happening in the dark, but don't expect top notch quality. It works fairly decent in the dark though, which is good to see.

Nokia does allow you to share videos from the Home, however it needs to be exported first, and then shared from Google Photos or whatever Photos app is on your smartphone. It doesn't export the full video, but instead a time lapse video. So instead of exporting a 10-minute long video, it'll be much shorter which also means it'll be smaller and easier to upload quickly. It all works really seamlessly, which is good to see.

Air Quality Measurement

The Nokia Home has a feature that virtually no other security camera has, and that is the ability to measure the air quality in the room. It's a feature that most people likely won't care about, but it is pretty interesting. I really only got notifications that there were pollution spikes at night, so tough to say how accurate this is, but with the VOC sensor inside, it should be fairly accurate. The scale ranges from 450ppm to 3500ppm, and you can choose when you get alerts about the air quality. Basically anything under 1000ppm is going to be just fine, a typical alert would be when the air quality hits 1500ppm.

Wrap Up

The Nokia Home isn't your typical home security camera, and it actually outperforms its competition in a few areas. But arguably the biggest let down is the resolution on this camera, just 720p, which for many will be just fine. But having higher resolution video means better zooming, which is the case with the Nest Cam IQ which does 4K streaming. If you're looking for a baby monitor, or a camera to watch the inside of your home, the Nokia Home is definitely a good option.

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