I can see why you’re confused because really any of these three options will do everything you want and more. Is it important to you that your security system and camera use the same app? If so, maybe eliminate abode from the list. You can use the outdoor Nest Camera with abode, but it isn’t a great experience. If you want an outdoor camera that can record continuously and not just based on motion, that would be Nest Cam. If you don’t mind if the camera only records events and as you said, want a system without “big monthly charges,” Ring is probably the best choice for you. They recently launched an indoor camera, you could then add a video doorbell (ideal) or one of their outdoor cameras to your porch. You will need five contact sensors in total. Ring Alarm will include a mobile app for you to review footage and you can expand the system down the road if needed. As it just launched and based on Ring’s history of product support, the chances that it will be outdated soon are very slim.
Installing the sensors was similarly easy: I used the included double sided tape to mount the contact sensor to my front door and the motion sensor to the corner of the downstairs living room in my home. Ring also includes the necessary screws and wall fasteners for a more permanent installation, but the double sided tape was sufficient for my needs. For this review, I added two extra contact sensors (available as $20 add ons) and mounted them on a window and second door in my home. Syncing these with the existing system was just a matter of scanning a QR code on the back of the sensor, which triggered the app to search for it. Ring says that it will preset any additional devices you order at the same time as the Alarm starting kit, which would make setting them up as seamless as the in-box sensors.
The Ring Alarm Security Kit should be every buyer’s first purchase when organizing their security system. It comes with a base station, which is like the central command hub for your Ring devices. The base station connects to your internet to keep your alarm system online; it can also activate sensors and receive notifications from your connected devices.
Finally, unlike abode’s base station (iota does not require Ethernet), Ethernet is not required to use Nest Secure. Nest likes to make things easy and they send everything you need, including batteries, to get your device up and running. Nest Guard ships with a 6-foot cable with a power adapter and CR123 batteries for the sensors. My system already had the batteries installed which made setup even easier.
I installed a motion sensor inside a shed in my backyard (shed has a tin metal roof) and I kept getting a false alarm daily usually around 1 or 2pm; Ring informed me that their motion sensors use infrared technology and that excessive heat could cause a false trigger. They told me a contact sensor at the shed’s door should do the job and that’s what I will be doing next.
The caller from the monitoring service will identify themselves as being from Ring, since that’s who your business relationship is with, but they actually work for a third-party company that Ring contracts with: Rapid Response Monitoring Services. This is a common arrangement for home security systems. Nest, for example, contracts with MONI Smart Security (which is now doing business as Brinks Home Security). Alarm.com is another major third-party monitoring service.
Once your trial of ring video recording ends, you can no longer access past events without a paid subscription. That's not such a big deal until you realize what counts as a "recent event". If you don't press the button within about 5 seconds of getting a motion alert, you missed your shot and now it's a past event. Say the UPS guy comes, presses the doorbell and walks off immediately. Your phone properly notifies you that somebody is at your door, but you've got something in your hands, or your phone is in your pocket or any other distraction is going on that takes 5 seconds to finish. By the time you hit the notification banner and go into the app, it will take you to a screen that says you need a paid subscription to see past events. Earlier today I got a notification WHILE holding my phone, clicked it immediately, but the live video loaded slowly and by the time it did load, the "event" was considered done and it took me to the screen saying I needed to pay. I have no problem paying to record everything and be able to pull up events from hours, days or weeks ago, but needing to pay because 5 seconds went by and the app loaded slowly is a rip-off. This is a $200 item which replaces a $5 hardware store doorbell, and the ONE thing it's supposed to do (show you live video of rings or motion events at your door) doesn't work about half the time without paying extra. There needs to be about a 30 second window at minimum where you can see what's going on without having to pay extra.