Google Clips review

A smart camera that's not for everyone

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Wanting to put Google Clips through its share of paces, we tested it with a mix of handheld recording and leaving it to catch interesting scenes by itself – the emphasis being on the latter to better train the machine learning algorithm.

It’s hard to put judgment on a product that always claims to be getting better at its core function over time, and that’s why we’re continuing to test it out - even after we issue the final score. But after several weeks of using it, the results are middling at best. 

Interestingly and perhaps somewhat obvious to some, the quality of footage is going to depend loosely on what’s going on in your life. Living a relatively sedated lifestyle with not a whole lot going on? What Clips records isn’t going to be that great. 

But even if the opposite is true, and you live in a household with cats, dogs and babies, it's hard to say if Clips is an option you should put your trust in. During our testing, Clips failed to notice moments that I considered to be worthy of capture.

I found myself clinging to pressing the capture button to ensure that the moment was recorded, because even after a few weeks, I still felt that I knew better what I wanted than Google's camera did.

But no matter your lifestyle, Clips does occasionally show off its knack for having a sense of what’s happening in-frame. A few examples below show off some fun action from my cats that I would have otherwise not been able to capture with my smartphone, but the top one was captured by clicking the shutter button.


After nearly a month spent with the Clips camera, it has provided far too few results worth savoring. It's worth noting that others may have a different experience entirely, like those who have an exciting home life or go out on adventures frequently.

The companion app provided works wonderfully and in terms of connectivity, we didn't experience any issues there.

Google says that this camera is made with parents and pet owners in mind, probably because any one else would find it to be pretty bare of an offering. Again, $249 is a hearty chunk of cash for any camera, especially one that you’ll need to trust enough to work by itself.

This camera lives or dies by its ability to know when to start recording, and unfortunately, it spent more time failing to record footage that we deem worthy. That's a tricky thing though, as Google says that the machine learning algorithm will continue to improve over time. 

But even so, Google Clips' debut performance leaves much to be desired. While the team have nailed the hardware and the companion app, the rest of the offering will provide wildly varying results depending on your lifestyle.

Cameron Faulkner

Cameron is a writer at The Verge, focused on reviews, deals coverage, and news. He wrote for magazines and websites such as The Verge, TechRadar, Practical Photoshop, Polygon, Eater and Al Bawaba.