Nest Hello Video Doorbell Camera Review
Nest is Google’s brand of smart home appliances that offers consumers tools like the Nest doorbell camera, Nest Cam, Nest x Lock and other home automation products. Nest wasn’t always under the Google umbrella. Founded in 2010, the company made a name for itself with its versatile smart thermostat and grew from there. Google purchased Nest in 2014 for over $3 billion.
Nest Hello, the company’s video doorbell, was launched in 2018. It is currently a top contender for the best video doorbell on the market, with crystal-clear video, smart detection capabilities and solid home automation options.
The Nest doorbell is perfect for someone who wants to know exactly what’s happening at their front door and wants some other bells and whistles too. Users can create customized activity zones and the camera even learns who is at the door by name, if you program it correctly. If you’re looking for a video doorbell packed with great features, Nest Hello is a solid option.
The Nest doorbell camera doesn’t just give you a clear view of who’s at your door. It can also detect motion, sound and people. Users can even set up customized motion detection so that you’ll only be notified of motion in predefined areas of your yard.
One of the advantages of being owned by Google is that the Nest doorbell works seamlessly with Google Assistant and a number of other smart home products owned by Google. That means that customers can perform some impressive home automation tricks, like asking Google Assistant to pull up the doorbell feed on their television or programming your Assistant to announce who’s at the door by name.
Being able to quickly download and share video of something that’s happened at your front door can be invaluable. Whether you’re providing video to police, or simply sharing someone to look out for with your neighborhood, Nest makes it a simple process.
Nest doorbell installation isn’t quite as simple as some other smart doorbell products. While users have the choice to install it themselves, it’s a bit complicated for some customers because it is hardwired. If you don’t want to deal with it yourself, Nest will connect you with an approved vendor to install the doorbell for you for $100.
While Nest Hello has a ton of versatility, you’ll have to pay for some of the more powerful features. If you like the idea of facial recognition and customizable activity zones, you’ll need to purchase the Nest Aware plan.
Nest Doorbell Camera Features
Here are some of the features Nest offers that stood out to our SecurityNerd.
- HD video: The Nest Hello provides HD quality video day or night. You can also adjust the quality of video you want based on how much video you want uploaded daily. You can stick with high quality video or even leave it running in medium or low quality to save space for continuous recording.
- Two-way communication: While most doorbell cameras have two-way communication, the Nest doorbell also has noise and echo cancellation. That means if you live on a busy street, you should still be able to hear the person at your door.
- Mobile app: Nest’s app is useful to control the doorbell as well as all the smart home options connected with your system. However, since it migrated to Google, some users have been reporting some issues connecting. Customer service seems to be addressing the problem.
- Night vision: Whether it’s a friend you’re expecting, or a possible thief, you don’t have to worry about grainy video at night with Nest Hello.
- Facial recognition: This feature really helps the Nest video doorbell stand out from competitors. While other video doorbells can tell the difference between a person and an object, the Nest doorbell can actually learn who it’s seeing and send you alerts. That means it can let you know exactly who is arriving at your door. And with Google Assistant, you can even have a custom greeting for each person.
- Motion and sound detection: This video doorbell can detect both motion and sound and send you alerts based on your preferences. Some users say the sound detection is a little too sensitive; you may get notified of birds chirping. If that’s not your thing, then you can opt to turn it off.
- Video sharing: You’ll be able to share video quickly with the Nest doorbell. That can be handy in case of a crime, or if there’s someone you just want neighbors to be on the lookout for. The app makes it easy to share on social media channels as well.
- Time lapse: Since the doorbell records continuously, you can also get timelapse video to give you a quick snapshot of what happened at your home while you were away.
- 24/7 streaming: Many video doorbells only record when motion is detected. The Nest Hello records continuously so you won’t miss a thing. If you’d prefer it to only record at certain times, there is a scheduling feature where you can turn your camera on or off based on if you’re home or not.
- Smart home integration: One of the best things about Nest is the company offers multiple home automation options. From a smart thermostat to smart lights and locks, you’ll be able to control your whole home from one app, while each product works together seamlessly.
- Pre-recorded responses: The Nest video doorbell has pre-recorded responses you can give a guest at your door when you can’t answer yourself, or perhaps you just don’t feel like it. There are a few different responses you can use so you don’t have to utilize the two-way chat feature at all times.
Nest Doorbell Installation
There are multiple video doorbell products that are wireless and simple to install. This isn’t one of them. Because it’s a hardwired system that is designed to record continuously, installation is a bit more tricky. While most wired doorbells can be replaced by the Nest doorbell, you have to check to see if your setup is compatible.
Some customers may need to purchase an indoor power adaptor if the current setup is not compatible with the doorbell. While a savvy DIYer could certainly install this system, professional installation is recommended in many cases. Nest will set you up with a professional in your area for around $100.
Nest Doorbell Pricing
Nest offers one version of its doorbell, and it is currently priced at $229. However, to unlock all of the advanced features, customers may choose the subscription plan called Nest Aware. Users can receive a 30-day trial for free before purchase. Below are the three options to choose from.
- Nest Aware 5-day: This plan will keep a 5-day video history and add features like intelligent alerts, customizable activity zones, clips and time lapses for $5 per month or $50 per year.
- Nest Aware 10-day: This plan will keep a 10-day video history and add features like intelligent alerts, customizable activity zones, clips and time lapses for $10 a month or $100 per year.
- Nest Aware 30-day: This plan will keep a 30-day video history and add features like intelligent alerts, customizable activity zones, clips and time lapses for $30 a month or $300 per year.
Home Automation Options
This is where Nest really shines compared to other video doorbell systems. While it’s an impressive product, it is just one part of your smart home ecosystem when you decide to go with Nest. It works with Google Assistant, while providing users with multiple home automation products to choose from that can all be controlled via the Nest app.
In addition to the video doorbell, Nest sells a smart lock, smart lights, smart thermostat, smart environmental monitoring, as well as cameras and a security alarm. This means that no matter what you want to control in your home, you can do it from your phone.
The downside is, if you have any other existing smart home systems in your home, they may not work with Nest, or may have limited functionality like Alexa. Google has scaled back on its Works with Nest program, which means many devices that used to work with Nest may not anymore.
Security Plans & System
If the Nest video doorbell interests you from a home security standpoint, you can beef up your protection by purchasing Nest Secure. It’s an alarm system with door and window sensors along with a key fob to arm and disarm the system. Nest Secure works right alongside the doorbell and other smart home products by Nest.
Customers can self-monitor their homes, or pay for professional monitoring. Professional monitoring costs $29 per month without a contract, and $19 per month with a three-year contract. While the security options are totally customizable based on your home’s needs, here are the basic pricing tiers for Nest Secure’s packaged bundles.
- Basic alarm package for $399 with Nest Guard, 2 sensors and 2 key fobs
- Basic alarm package plus one outdoor camera for $598
- Basic alarm package with smart lock for $633
Nest Hello: The Bottom Line
The Nest Hello is powerful enough to be a standalone piece of security equipment that you can use to keep your home more secure or it can be the building block to an entire security plan and smart home ecosystem. Nest provides customizable options for any budget, so users can either start small or build a multi-functional smart home from scratch.
The Nest Hello is best for homeowners because it is a hardwired system that requires you to replace the current doorbell. Whether you’re looking for professional or self-monitoring, the doorbell provides facial recognition, motion and sound detection and 24/7 recording with the purchase of an affordable subscription plan that also allows users to store extra video.
While there are a slew of other video doorbells on the market, the Nest doorbell camera provides the most features and comes in a small, modern package. This doorbell can actually recognize people and greet them by name; Now that’s smart!
About the Author
Erin is a freelance video producer and writer based out of Florida. She works with major retail companies and digital startups as a brand storyteller. When Erin's not writing, you can catch her scuba diving and spending time with her dog (not at the same time).