If you need a device for your smart home, chances are, Google has one. The company under the Google Nest banner now makes everything from cameras, to speakers, digital assistants and doorbells. I recently had a chance to review several Google devices including the Google Nest Learning Thermostat and Google’s new Pixel Buds 2 and you can find those here on the channel. Now I’ve got the new Google Nest Hello Video Doorbell. In this review, I’ll look at the installation process, how it is to use and how it integrates into your smart home overall so you can see whether it’s a worthy investment for your home.
Nest Hello Video Doorbell review
Quite simply this device is a doorbell with built in camera. It’s very small and slim, and probably just about the most subtle video doorbell I’ve reviewed to date. It lets you see and speak with anyone who may be near your entry, using wither your smartphone or a Google Home device with screen.
Important to note: if you don’t pay extra for the Nest Aware monitoring feature (where plans run from $8 to $16CAD/month), you will have only limited features with the doorbell. For example, you’ll only be able to see a still photos of events, not the video. You can, however take a live look outside your door at any time.
During my review I did not have access to the additional Nest Aware features so I won’t be detailing much about them in this review. I hope to get access for a future video update.
How does Google Nest Hello Video Doorbell work?
Unlike some other video doorbells, Hello does not include a chime or speaker. Instead, Hello is designed to work with your existing chime (the physical doorbell).
Getting it set up was surprisingly easy; You attach a special dongle to your old chime, and whit it has a few steps, it’s easy enough with simple instructions. Next you’ll remove your old doorbell, and simply connect the wires to the new Hello. Finish the set up in the app and you’re ready.
I will also add, however that the connectors you’ll use have giant leads on them and that makes it nearly impossible to stuff the wires back into the wall. I had to enlarge the hole substantially to make it fit.
You’ll be replacing your old doorbell button when you install Hello, but you’ll leave your existing chime where it is; it’s probably up on the wall in your hallway or in a front hall closet. In case you’re wondering, you won’t be able to use Hello if you don’t have an existing hardwired doorbell or connection for one.
Nest Hello needs wired connection
That’s because Nest Hello gets its power from your household wiring, so it can stay on all the time and stream live video to your phone whenever you want. You don’t need to wait for someone to ring your doorbell. You can check in on things any time, even if you’re away from home, and you don’t need to worry about your camera chewing through battery life whenever you want to take a look.
Like many of Nest’s other cameras, Nest Hello has night vision so you can still see what’s up in the dark. Nest Hello’s night vision uses HDR imaging, and that’s so a visitor’s face can be seen clearly even when they’re backlit.
In the app, you have the option for night vision to turn on automatically when it gets dark. However, if you have a porch light or other bright light that provides plenty of light for the camera, your camera won’t need to turn on night vision to see visitors clearly.
160° wide-angle view, clear video with Nest Hello
Nest Hello can see a lot with its 160°wide-angle view and its image is optimized for close range so you can see visitors head-to-toe as well as packages on the ground, assuming you’ve placed it properly.
Should I pay for Nest Aware?
A lot of you are probably wondering: Should I pay for Nest Aware? The biggest downside for me of this video doorbell is that you can’t view much of anything after it happens unless you pay the subscription fees.
While the Hello timeline will show you a person in a small thumbnail, the Nest app was extremely intermittent when it came to viewing the thumbnail any larger; sometimes it would load, most times it just wouldn’t. I also couldn’t even really tell who was in the thumbnail still from the tiny square anyway.
You can’t see the video at all and without the subscription, you can also not see anything beyond the current day; no photos, no video.
Overall, for me, I found the free service limited, lacking and a huge disappointment. If you’re thinking of getting any not paying the monthly fees, don’t bother.
Overall review Google Nest Hello Doorbell
In some cases, the free versions of video doorbells will do you just fine for most home uses; I’m talking here about Ring and Toucan Smart Home. But overall I’m going to say that unless you’re going to pay the monthly monitoring for this one, the Nest Hello Doorbell is not worth getting.
The pros are that it’s small, compact, discrete, and it has good live video quality. Plus it’s actually kind of nice to have it hardwired so there’s no batteries to worry about and I love that you can link it up to your Google Home Hub so you can view the door at a glance automatically. Even so, in my opinion, the cons outweigh the pros.
You must have doorbell wiring for this to work, there’s no battery option so that may limit your use.
The biggest con is that There is almost no reviewing ability unless you pay. The free thumbnails are not helpful at all. And you can’t even view same day events.
While the paid version gets you a bunch more bells and whistles, you will need to factor that cost into your decision.
Let’s also talk cost. The Nest Hello Video Doorbell sells for about $300 bucks. Monitoring is $8 or $16CAD/month.
Ring’s gen 3 video doorbell sells for $250 and can be used wired or with the battery and while it doesn’t give you short term access to video either, Ring’s basic monthly is $3US/month to Google’s $8CAD.
Toucan Smart Home costs a wallet-friendly $119 CAD, and also only gives you access to current-day events, and its monthly service costs $4US/month.
With all of these things taken into account I think this makes the Nest Hello my least favourite choice of all the video doorbells.