The $399 Nest Secure smart security system works with Google Assistant to monitor your entire home - here's what it's like to use

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NestThe Nest Secure (currently $399 on Best Buy) works in homes of any size, and with Google Assistant for easy smart home integration.

  • The Nest Secure (currently $399 on Best Buy) is a smart home security system that works with Google Assistant and other Nest products.
  • The system is easy and intuitive to set up and use, and while you can pay for an additional monitoring subscription, you don't necessarily need one for complete peace of mind.
  • Nest Secure could use more smart integration and automation, but for most users, it's still a great security system.

Nest has come a long way since it first launched the Nest Learning Thermostat back in 2011. Now, its product lineup includes more than thermostats, like cameras, sensors, and a complete smart security system called Nest Secure.

Nest Secure (currently $399 on Best Buy) offers smart security feature at a relatively reasonable price - but it still isn't cheap by any means. My wife and I have been using the system in our home for a while now to find out if it's truly worth the money.

Design

Nest designs beautiful products and the Nest Secure is no exception to that rule. The main unit, called the Nest Guard, is all white with 12 buttons on its face, speakers around the bottom, and a micro USB port for powering the device. It's meant to be placed in an entryway or near the front door, though theoretically you can put it anywhere in the home.

The device also has a ring of lights around the top that change color depending on the status of home security. For example, pulsing red means something is wrong and you should check your doors and windows (or wherever else you have the system); the full list of what each light means can be found here. There are also buttons around the number pad (which also lights up when in use) to set the Guard in different modes.

Apart from the Guard itself, you'll also get two window or door Nest Detect sensors and two Nest Tags (essentially key fobs). Like the Guard, they're all white and would look great in any home. The sensors can be placed at the top of a door or window, where they should go largely unnoticed, to actually detect motion.

In general, the Secure system looks pretty good and should be unobtrusive no matter your decor. You might need more key fobs and sensors depending how many people are in your household and how many locations you want to place the sensors, but at the very least, you do get all the basics in the box, which is handy and justifies the $399 price tag.

Read more: The best home security systems you can buy

NestThe starter kit includes two key fobs and sensors, but people with large homes or more members in their families might need extras.

Specs

  • Starter kit includes Nest Guard, two key fobs, two door or window sensors, and mounting hardware
  • Guard is 3.7 inches by 2.1 inches (9.5 centimeters by 5.3 centimeters)
  • 12-hour backup battery
  • Built-in Google Assistant

Set-up process

Setting up the Secure system is an absolute breeze, especially if you already have other Nest products in your home. If not, however, the set-up process is pretty easy.

All you have to do is download the free Nest app and create an account, then hit the Settings button in the top right-hand corner, and press the "Add product" button. The built-in Google Assistant can also be enabled in the app, which makes integration into your smart home ecosystem very easy and handy.

You can then scan the QR code on your Guard and follow the on-screen instructions to add each sensor and key fob. You'll have to add each separately, but adding them is very easy and they'll automatically integrate with your Nest Guard.

How easy it was to use

Once everything is set up, using the Secure security system is intuitive and the device will help you along the way with voice prompts, which is handy.

The Guard has three modes - Off, Home and Guarding, and Away and Guarding - and you'll probably use all of them at different times.

In Off mode, the system won't monitor whether or not doors and windows are being opened and closed, won't give notifications for movement, and so on. It's basically what you'll use when you're at home.

In Home and Guarding mode, the device will monitor doors and windows, and sound the alarm when they're opened or closed. This is handy for use at night.

Last but not least is the Away and Guarding mode, which also monitors motion and sounds an alarm with something is detected, but will send you an additional notification as well. As you can imagine, this mode should be used when no one is home.

Changing between the modes is pretty easy - just scan the key fob on the Guard and switch modes. You can also switch modes on the Guard itself or in the Nest app. The LED light will change colors depending on what you're doing too - it'll turn green when it's being armed, yellow when a sensor is triggered, and so on. If you use Google Assistant, you can also arm Nest Secure using your voice, which is handy.

Read more: The best security cameras you can buy for your home

NestThe app is easy to navigate and can control all your Nest items, in addition to the Secure system.

Speaking of the app, it's very well-designed and easy to use. If you have other Nest devices, you'll see them all on the home screen where you can quickly tap on the devices you want to control.

In my testing, the Nest Secure system was responsive and quick. It reacted immediately when things like doors and windows were and closed, which is important considering the fact that this is a security system and needs to be quick.

You can also subscribe to professional monitoring, if you want. With that, you'll get extra-quick response to alarms, which might be helpful for businesses or larger homes. Professional monitoring is handled by Brinks Home in the U.S., and comes at $19 a month if you sign a three-year contract, or $29 if you prefer month-to-month.

Cons to consider

The Nest Secure is a great way to implement smart security into your home, but there are some downsides worth considering, particularly the price. The system is a little pricey, though it has been discounted to $399 since launch.

Nest Secure also works great with Google Assistant, but we wish it worked with other smart home ecosystems too. That's unlikely given the fact that Google owns Nest, but it still would have been nice to see Alexa and even IFTTT support.

The bottom line

If you're looking for a smart security system that works well with Google and other Nest products, then the Nest Secure is a great way to go.

The system is intuitive and easy to use, plus it looks great. It can be slightly expensive for some people and more smart home support would be nice, but unless you specifically want something that works with Alexa or Siri, the Nest Secure smart security system is a great overall option that gets the job done.

Pros: Well-designed, easy to use and set up, responsive

Cons: A little expensive, limited smart home support

Buy the Nest Secure smart security system from Best Buy for $399

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