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This feature-packed smart doorbell is worth the premium price tag

  • August 10, 2020

Pros

  • Facial recognition

  • Reliable connection

  • High quality video and audio

Cons

  • Subscription plan is an additional cost

About the Nest Hello

The Google Nest Hello records using 1600 x 1200 pixel resolution that captures up to 30 frames per second. It features two-way audio, intelligent alerts, and more useful features.

The doorbell comes with everything needed to hardwire it to your home, including extension wires, a masonry bit, wall anchors, and screws. Additionally, you can buy an indoor power adapter to use with the Nest Hello if you’re home lacks existing doorbell wires.

The Nest Hello is weather resistant and can withstand rain, water spray, and dust. I’ve been using this doorbell in hot and humid Central Florida for over a year now with no issues. However, it’s worth noting that, like most smart doorbells (and most homes), the Nest Hello is not meant to be submerged in water. It also works best in outdoor temperatures ranging from 5°F to 104°F.

This is one area where Ring, the popular Amazon-owned smart home brand, has a leg up on the Nest Hello, as all Ring doorbells work in weather temperatures ranging from -5°F to 120°F.

Here’s a quick look at the Nest Hello’s basic specs:

  • Price: $229
  • Colors: Black and white
  • Connectivity: 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi
  • Smart assistant support: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
  • Wiring: Hardwire, except if using an indoor power adapter
  • Dimensions: 4.6” H x 1.7” W x 1.0” D

What we like

Crystal clear video and audio quality

Nest Hello at night

Even on a cloudy afternoon, the Nest Hello delivers a clear picture.

Recording at a higher resolution than many other doorbells, the Nest Hello offers superb day and night vision and impressive audio quality, all of which are important when deciding which video doorbell to buy. The Nest Hello captures video in 4:3 format, whereas doorbell’s like Ring’s Video Doorbell 3 Plus record in 16:9 (for the wide-screen). The advantage for the Nest is that this view is, as Google notes, “designed to show people head to toe..”

The Nest Hello’s audio is some of the loudest and clearest of any of the doorbells I’ve tested during my time here at Reviewed (and I’ve tested my fair share). I was able to clearly communicate with whoever was at the front door without any audio issues both from home and out and about. I also like that the doorbell comes with several pre-recorded responses, available in 13 different languages, that you can select if you’re unable to get to the door.

Personalized in-app controls

Within the Nest app, you can control the quality and bandwidth of the video stream. This is important because it impacts the resolution quality of the video stream. The Nest Hello automatically adjusts the resolution and compression of the video based on how much bandwidth is available.

Security settings for the Nest Hello can be adjusted in the Nest app. There’s always a privacy risk when you invite a connected device in your home. If you sign up for a Nest Aware plan, your video footage will be automatically stored with Google either 30 or 60 days depending on the subscripition you choose.

However, you can manually delete the recordings from the Nest app at any time. Otherwise, the recordings will be automatically deleted from your video event history after 30 or 60 days. The Nest app also offers two-step authentication, which is always a good idea so that no one signs into the account without your permission.

The Nest Hello also comes with night vision, which can be set to off, auto, or always on in the Nest app. When night vision is on, the video records in black and white. Even so, the video is clear and it’s easy to make out what’s going on outside the front door.

Smart speakers and displays can be used in place of chimes

As expected, the doorbell pairs nicely with the Nest Hub Max, Google’s smart display. When someone rings the doorbell, the Hub Max announces that there is a visitor and instantly displays a view of the front door. (This setting can be turned off in the Nest app.) No screen? No problem. You can still get doorbell announcements through other Google Home and Nest smart speakers.

Features that go above and beyond

Nest app

The Nest Hello doorbell camera is smart enough to differentiate between people and packages.

What else makes this a standout doorbell amongst others we tested? For starters, it uses artificial intelligence to recognize familiar faces, sending alerts when it sees someone it recognizes—or doesn’t recognize.

It’s one of the only smart doorbell cameras that offers facial recognition technology, which worked accurately on my family members—including grandparents who only visit from time to time (but make sure you respect the privacy of others when using this doorbell). You can assign a name to each face, so you can know when a member of your household is at the front door which is pretty handy. I like knowing who is coming and going without having to closely review every notification, and you can disable it at any time. The feature can be especially helpful if you have a spouse or roommate who returns home from work late at night or kids who come and go throughout the day.

Additionally, the Nest Hello can detect package deliveries and send notifications to your phone when a package arrives at your front door. Smart doorbells can be a great way to ward off porch pirates, but the addition of package detection alerts is a game-changer for a home like mine, which receives frequent deliveries.

What we don’t like

Not much variety in terms of looks

Let me preface this by saying the Nest Hello is by no means an ugly doorbell. Its slender and sleek design make it an appealing doorbell for most homes, but I do wish it came with one or two interchangeable faceplates (or the option to purchase them separately, at least).

This doorbell comes with so many customizable features, it’s a wonder there’s no way to add your own personal touch to the looks of the Nest Hello. It’s not a dealbreaker for me, but it may be for you. Ring sells a variety of colorful faceplates to spruce up the new Ring 3 Plus.

Lacking complete integration with Amazon Alexa

While it’s technically true that you can pair the Nest Hello with Alexa, it’s a bit of a mess. I set this up with multiple Echo speakers and an Echo Show 5, but all you can really do is livestream the doorbell cam view on an Amazon smart display. The Echo speakers did not make any chime announcements, rendering it pretty useless in my book.

While I use both Google and Alexa at home, I instead rely on my Nest Hub Max, one of Google’s smart displays, to show me who is at the door when someone rings the bell and it works like a charm.

There’s no denying that Amazon and Google are major competitors, but I’d love to see more collaboration between the two companies to improve the overall user experience.

Paid subscription is an additional cost (but still worth it)

It’s not uncommon for smart doorbells to come with a paid subscription plan, however, it is an additional cost to consider if you’re thinking about buying the Nest Hello. A paid Nest Aware subscription is required to access the features that make this doorbell so great like video history, activity zones, intelligent alerts, 24/7 recording, and creating clips to share. While a Nest Aware subscription does make this doorbell more expensive, it’s worth paying for because it really enhances what the Nest Hello can do. Nest Aware is broken down into two categories:

  • Nest Aware: 30-day event video history; $6 per month ($60 annually)
  • Nest Aware Plus: 60-day event video history and 10 days of 24/7 video history; $12 per month ($120 annually)

As a current Nest Aware subscriber, I can attest to the value this subscription offers. The click-and-drag customizable activity zones are a game-changer at preventing unwanted motion alerts, and I love how easy it is to create and share clips with neighbors, friends, and family.

More budget-friendly doorbells like the Eufy Security WiFi Video Doorbell don’t have as many features but offer free, local storage.

Should you buy it

Absolutely, it’s the best smart doorbell out there

Side view of Nest Hello

The Nest Hello comes with a limited two-year warranty.

The phrase “you get what you pay for” goes a long way with smart home products. While there are more affordable video doorbells on the market, we haven’t tested anything (yet) that compares to the accuracy and precision of the Nest Hello. The Nest Hello retails for $229, but, more recently, I’ve seen it going for around $180 at popular retailers, making it even more of a steal.

The Nest Hello is an obvious choice for anyone who already has a Nest setup installed at home, like our favorite smart outdoor security cameras, Nest Cams, as it integrates easily with the Nest ecosystem. But, you don’t need other Nest products to incorporate this doorbell into your smart home security setup. It’s a quality choice for anyone looking to add a smart doorbell to their home or upgrade their current video doorbell camera.

The Nest Hello offers an easy breezy setup, is simple to use, and sends alerts immediately after detecting motion. It also has clear audio and video, facial recognition alerts for familiar faces, package delivery notifications, and more useful features, making it the best smart video doorbell we’ve ever tested.

However, Eufy’s Security WiFi Video Doorbell offers the most value of any smart doorbell I’ve tested. Like the Nest Hello, it excels at delivering timely alerts and the video quality (2560 x 1920 pixel resolution) is exceptional for the price. It doesn’t have as many features as the Nest Hello, but if all you’re looking for is a reliable smart doorbell that works with both Alexa and Google Assistant, the Eufy Security WiFi doorbell is worth a look.

Get the Nest Hello at Best Buy for $229

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

Related content

Meet the tester

Rachel Murphy

Staff Writer


@rachel_murphy

Rachel Murphy covers smart home for Reviewed. She holds a journalism degree from the University of Central Florida. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for several major outlets and as an associate editorial producer for ABC News’ Good Morning America.

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