Google Nest Hello Video Doorbell Review
After dominating the video doorbell market for years, Ring has a formidable challenger: the Google Nest Hello. This wired video doorbell came out in 2018, boasting new innovative features. A joint venture between smart thermostat company Nest and Google, the Nest Hello is the answer for many homeowners who seek improved security and package monitoring.
Overview of the Google Nest Hello
What sets the Google Nest video doorbell apart from the competition is its ability to seamlessly integrate with other Nest products and Google’s artificial intelligence technology Google Assistant.
With a monthly subscription called Nest Aware, the Nest Hello doorbell also provides 24/7 streaming video playback, the ability to share video clips, activity zones, and—perhaps the most unique feature—a technology that recognizes specific faces. With 1600 X 1200px resolution, the Nest camera provides a crisp, head-to-toe, 160-degree view.
Finally, the styling of the doorbell is aesthetic and complements any front door. The downside of this video doorbell is the price, which is slightly more than Ring. Likewise, some of the smart features (like event history, facial recognition, and video playback) are only available with a Nest Aware Google cloud subscription.
How Does Nest Stack Up to Ring?
Overall, these doorbells offer similar features, and both units do a good job alerting homeowners to potential security issues. That said, there are three main differences:
- Video Format: The Nest Hello utilizes a 4:3 aspect ratio, which allows the camera to capture subjects from head to toe, while the Ring doorbell records in a 16:9 format, which is slightly wider and can sometimes crop out faces and objects closer to the ground.
- Power: Both units can be powered with existing doorbell wiring, but only Ring has the option to power the camera with a rechargeable battery.
- Price: The Nest Hello doorbell camera is slightly more expensive on average than the Ring.
- Smart Features: Both units are about equal when it comes to intelligence, but the Nest Hello is the only camera with facial recognition.
- Cloud Storage: To access the full range of options, both Nest and Ring require a monthly subscription. The base plan for both cameras is relatively low: $6 for Nest and $3 for Ring.
Taking a Closer Look at the Google Nest Video Doorbell
Nest Aware Takes Your Doorbell Camera to the Next Level
Nest Aware is Google’s cloud subscription service, and it provides some amazing features like package tracking, activity zones, facial recognition, and smart doorbell alerts.
Unfortunately, with the growth of online sales has come a spike in porch theft. Nest’s package tracking feature monitors items left by the door and sends an alert if anyone attempts to remove them. With 24/7 video recording, homeowners can quickly review video footage and provide it to law enforcement if necessary.
Activity Zones is another fantastic feature that comes with a Nest Aware subscription. This technology allows users to designate certain areas as trigger zones, eliminating unwanted notifications when people pass by on the sidewalk.
Knowing who approaches your home is important. With facial recognition, homeowners can quickly identify whether an alert needs attention or if it’s just the neighbor dropping off misdirected mail. This unique feature also avoids unnecessary alerts when family members routinely enter and exit the house.
It’s very distracting when technology over alerts. When a mobile device is constantly chiming, it can become a nuisance, and when it comes to video doorbells, this can be a major problem as animals and vehicles often pass through the field of view.
That’s why Nest has engineered intelligent alert technology that recognizes people—and with a subscription to Nest Aware, you can program the camera to recognize specific people.
In the middle of a busy day, it can be difficult to address every doorbell alert. Nest has a great feature that allows homeowners the option to respond automatically with a pre-recorded message. This can be an efficient way to instruct delivery drivers while presenting a warning to thieves you’re at home and watching.
Impressive HD Video Quality and Wide-Angle View
A camera is only as good as the image it produces. In this case, the Nest doesn’t disappoint. Experts agree that the Nest Hello video doorbell has superior image quality due to its high dynamic range, even when zoomed up many times.
The format (4:3) allows viewers to see much more of the vertical space, avoiding the crop that occurs with 16:9 formats. The 160-degree view is expansive, allowing the camera to capture maximum detail without distorting the image.
Smart Video Capturing
One frustrating aspect of some video doorbells is response time and the failure to capture facial images. Often a fast-moving person has already turned around when the camera starts recording. Nest Hello solves this problem by recording continuously. The system rewinds a few seconds and provides the homeowner with a more comprehensive view.
Nest Hello Captures Video at Night
The Nest Hello video doorbell comes with an 850nm infrared LED light that allows the camera to capture images in complete darkness. The night vision capability of this video doorbell is powerful enough to see fine detail at considerable distances. With criminal activity more likely to happen at night, it’s important to be protected in the dark.
Nest Keeps Homeowners Informed
The most important feature of any doorbell camera is its ability to alert homeowners. Families want to know if a package is delivered when kids are arriving home from school or the presence of any suspicious activity nearby.
The Nest Hello provides both email and phone notifications and includes a photo of the event. With a Nest Aware subscription, homeowners can also quickly and easily replay video 24/7.
24/7 Live Stream
One of the best features of any video doorbell is the ability to stream video. The Nest Hello can stream to mobile devices, and when linked to Google Assistant, homeowners can easily display the camera feed on a Nest Hub Max or on a TV with Chromecast.
Video Cloud Storage
To experience the full range of features in the Nest Hello camera, users must purchase one of two subscription plans: Nest Aware Plan ($6 a month for 30 days of cloud recording) or Nest Aware Plus Plan ($12 a month for 60 days of cloud recording). Both subscriptions cover all the devices in your Google home system.
The Power of a Voice
Being able to speak to people through the doorbell is one of the best ways to deter theft and improve your home’s overall security. Thieves are known to knock on doors in search of unoccupied homes. When they hear a voice, criminals will usually back away in search of an easier target.
Given the fact that the Nest Hello is an expensive piece of technology, it’s logical to think that thieves may try to steal it. Thankfully, Google thought this and came up with some effective deterrents:
- After the camera is snapped into the metal mounting bracket, all fasteners are covered, and a special tool (included) is needed for removal.
- Nest cameras can’t be paired to any other systems without first accessing your account and transferring the registration information, rendering stolen Nest cameras worthless to thieves.
- Of course, any theft or attempted theft would be captured on video and easily shared with law enforcement.
- If your Google Nest is stolen, you’re eligible for a free replacement.
The Nest App Is a Great Control Panel
What would great technology be without a great interface? In this case, the Nest App has consistently impressed users on Apple App and Google Play. Not surprising, the app is very user friendly and provides quite a few unique and customizable features.
Nest Is Part of a Bigger System
What makes the Nest camera especially powerful is its ability to integrate with Google Assistant, artificial intelligence that controls an increasing number of household systems.
For example, when Nest is coupled with Chromecast or Nest Hub Max, homeowners can simply say, “Hey Google, start a livestream of the doorbell”—and just like that, your front yard is visible on a Nest Hub Max or your flatscreen television.
Google Nest Doorbell Installation
Because the Nest Hello is a wired camera, the installation is a bit more challenging than wireless systems. But the app provides very clear instructions and describes step by step how to connect the camera to the most common wiring configurations to replace your existing doorbell. If installing a wired video doorbell is outside your comfort level, Nest partner company OnTech will install the camera for around $100.
A Smart, High-End Video Doorbell
If you’re willing to pay a little more, the Google Nest Hello doorbell camera is a great way to future-proof your video technology. With so many intelligent features and a seamless link to Google Assistant, this sleek, premium doorbell is sure to maintain its place at the top of the list.