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Nest Hello review: Intelligent video doorbell helps you feel safe, announces visitors through Google Home

matt-miller-headshot.jpg
Written by Matthew Miller on
Pros
  • Easy installation with detailed directions in the app
  • Crisp, clear video quality
  • Announces names of regular visitors through a Google Home
  • Ability to turn off the doorbell chime
  • Light ring highlights doorbell for evening visitors
Cons
  • None
  • Editors' Review
  • Specs

Video: Nest adds temperature sensor to expanding smart home lineup

When I bought my house five years ago I decided to setup my own home monitoring system and installed a couple Dropcam cameras. I added a Nest outdoor camera last year and have been satisfied with the quality, performance, and ease of use.

Read also: Google's hardware team absorbs Nest to co-develop products

While I had my front porch covered with a Dropcam in an outdoor enclosure, I almost bought a Ring doorbell instead. Then I heard that Nest was going to release a competitor, so I placed a pre-order a couple of months ago that also included another Google Home Mini as a bonus.

Last week, I setup my new Nest Hello and am very pleased with the high-quality recording and integration with Google Home devices that announce the name of people at my door.

Specifications

  • Camera: 1/3 inch, 3-megapixel color sensor with 8x digital zoom
  • Field of view: 160 degrees diagonal
  • Video resolution: 1600x1200 at up to 30 frames per second with HDR
  • Night vision: 850 nm infrared LEDs
  • Water resistance: IPx4
  • Connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
  • Operating temperature: 14° to 104°F (-10° to 40°C)
  • Dimensions: 117 x 43 x 26mm and 121.6g

The retail package includes Nest Hello video doorbell the chime connector, 15-degree wedge, release tool, masonry drill bit, window decal, wall plate, extension wires, wall anchors, screws, and a Quick Start Guide.

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Hardware and installation

The Nest Hello is a white-and-black device that looks like a larger standard doorbell you might find already mounted outside your door. This is important as it doesn't cause confusion for people when they walk up to your house to ring it.

The lower part where a person pushes has a nice lighted ring to help direct people to the button. The upper portion is where you find the camera that records their arrival.

The retail package comes with all of the parts and pieces you need. I've done a lot of work on my houses in the past so had no hesitation in following the step-by-step instructions found in the iOS and Android app. It took me about 15 minutes to get the Nest Hello installed, and the only tool I needed was a Philips screwdriver.

Read also: Nest co-founder Matt Rogers is leaving Google

The directions were very specific and helped me install the chime connector, mounting plate, and doorbell. I also used my camera to capture the photos recommended in the app in order to make sure the wiring was correct.

The doorbell that came with my house was a complete piece of junk that the builder probably bought for 50 cents. It was mounted horizontally on a piece of siding near my door under a covered porch.

The Nest Hello mounts vertically, but thankfully, the wiring came through the siding in the middle of a piece ,so there was room to mount the Nest Hello on this piece of siding material. I also did not need to use the wedge to angle the Nest Hello away from my door.

Nest Hello review: in pictures

Smartphone software

The same Nest app that I use for monitoring and controlling my Nest Thermostat and other Nest cameras is used for the Nest Hello doorbell. Having one central app to control my home monitoring system was a major reason I selected the Nest Hello over other devices.

Within the smartphone app, you can customize all of the camera settings. These include notification type (push or email), when to send notifications, what activity you want to be notified for, sound toggle, manage familiar faces, manage Nest Aware subscriptions, schedule the camera, enable quiet time, setup visitor announcements, and much more.

I connected my Nest Hello to my Google WiFi mesh network and it has performed perfectly over the last 10 days. Since I have a data cap with Xfinity cable internet, I will have to keep an eye on the impact of the Nest Hello. Nest states that at 1600 x 1200, each Nest Hello could use 150GB to 600GB of upload bandwidth per month, depending on the video-quality setting.

To help my Nest Hello optimize notifications, I have enabled the familiar faces features. After the camera spots faces, then the app will prompt you to respond if you know this person. You can then go into the settings and name the people identified by the camera. As I build up this database, I notice a few instances where I have multiple face categories for the same person. Sometimes the person has glasses or a hat on. I hope that Nest learns these faces and can then let me combine all of those identified into a single designation. If not, it will still name the person in the notification.

You can also designate zones, much like other Nest cameras, so you can have notifications enabled only when someone enters those zones. This is important for houses that face a busy street or sidewalk and only want notifications when someone approaches the door. My Nest Hello is setup on a wall that faces the length of the house front so no zones are currently needed to limit notifications.

Speaking of notifications, I have a house full of Google Home devices and have enabled Nest Hello integration. When a familiar face rings my Nest Hello, all the Google Home devices in my house announce that this person is at my door. This is a major advantage of the Nest Hello and makes for a safer experience when answering your door. Everyone in the family loves it so far, especially if they are in a room far away and someone comes to the door.

You can also view your Nest Hello via a web browser so you can get access to your cameras from virtually any computer wherever you may be.

Pricing and competition

The Nest Hello is priced at $229, while its direct competitor, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, is priced at $249. Specifications are about the same, but the Nest Hello has a 4:3 format, better format to show people from head to toe, with slightly higher resolution and deeper integration with Google Home.

In order to receive familiar face alerts, continuous video history, activity zones, clips, and timelapses, you need to have a Nest Aware subscription. I subscribe with a couple of my other Nest cameras and Nest provides a free trial for the Nest Hello as well. The subscription is $5 per month or $50 per year. If you own multiple Nest cameras, there are subscription price reductions available, too. My current Nest Aware trial for the Nest Hello is free until next year.

Daily usage experiences and conclusion

Nest cameras are installed in my house for safety and security for the entire family. There may be other products with more customization and higher levels of performance, but Nest makes it easy for everyone in the family to quickly check their phone for the cameras in the house.

The Nest Hello has so far exceeded my expectations, especially with the Google Home personal announcements, and it allowed me to move one of my existing Nest cameras to another location of my house so that I have even more complete coverage of things with the Nest cameras.

Read also: The Echo effect: Google integrating Nest in IoT-minded reorganization

My wife's aunt is currently battling cancer so has moved in with us for support. The ability to silence the doorbell chime while still being able to see who is at the door allows her to rest during the day. Our small dogs go crazy when the door bell rings, so this noise is removed thanks to the Nest Hello solution.

If you are looking for a way to monitor who is at your door, it's tough to beat a Nest Hello doorbell. The video quality is excellent, you can talk to the person through the Nest Hello without opening the door, and you feel safer knowing exactly who is on the other side all day and all night.

Previous and related coverage

Nest launches $39 temperature sensor, starts shipping Hello video doorbell

Nest is out with new hardware: a temperature sensor, smart doorbell system, and Yale smartlock.

Using the Nest E with Alexa: A cool tool for staying warm

Do you want to live in the future? If you do, then you're going to want to give your favorite AI assistant the ability to control your thermostat. This is better than the Jetsons!

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