Perhaps one of the greatest rivalries of all time is Google vs. Amazon. Two of the biggest tech giants around, they dominate many spaces, and home security is one of them. Previously, I reviewed their security systems, Nest Secure and Ring Alarm, along with their security cameras, so today I’m excited to see how their video doorbells compare.
Video doorbells let you answer your door, see and speak to your guest no matter where you are. Not only are they incredibly convenient, but they’re also really useful for your home’s security. How? By making you seem like you’re home when you’re not, you can scare off intruders. In this review, I’m comparing Nest Hello and the Ring Video Doorbell 2 in terms of their similarities, differences, design, features, installation processes, and app. Let’s get started and see which doorbell comes out on top!
Key Similarities of Nest Hello vs. Ring Video Doorbell 2
When searching for common ground between the Nest Hello and Ring Video Doorbell, there wasn’t much except:
- 160 degree fields of view: Both cameras have wide fields of view, essential for a video doorbell that will most likely be used outside.
- Infrared night vision: Both cameras have my preferred method of night vision, infrared.
- Two-way audio: You’ll be able to speak to your visitors remotely through either video doorbell.
Now let’s see how the two are different.
Key Differences of Nest Hello vs. Ring Video Doorbell 2
The differences between the Nest Hello and the Ring Video Doorbell 2 are ultimately what’s going to most influence your buying decision. They include:
- Person detection: While the Nest Hello comes with person detection and offers familiar face alerts with Nest Aware, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 doesn’t have any A.I capabilities.
- Storage: Nest offers cloud storage and professional monitoring separately, while Ring combines them into one small fee.
- Smart platform integrations: Not shockingly, as Google owns Nest and Amazon owns Ring, Nest Hello works with Google Assistant and the Ring Video Doorbell 2 works with Amazon Alexa.
Great! Now that we know their key similarities and differences, let’s move on to their designs.
Nest Hello vs. Ring Video Doorbell 2 Design
When it comes to design, I’m looking for durability, when the cameras actually record, how they’ll connect to your app, and whether they are hardwired or battery. Let’s go into detail for each.
Nest Hello Design
The Nest Hello works in temperatures from five to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and with an IP rating of X4, it’s protected from splashing water. It’ll be hardwired into your house, which makes installation a bit more difficult but means you won’t have to worry about those pesky batteries. If you want, you can have the camera record continuously through Nest Aware, which we’ll discuss a bit later, or have it record whenever the camera detects a person. Finally, the doorbell will connect to the Nest app using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 Design
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 has a huge temperature range of negative five to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, larger than that of the Nest Hello. You can choose between having it powered by a battery or hardwiring it into your home, which I like. If you choose the battery option, it will last about six months. The camera will record either when it detects motion or whenever the doorbell is pushed, connecting to the Ring— Always Home app via Wi-Fi.
Top Video Doorbell for Design
For its larger temperature range and options of hardwiring or battery, I’m going to give the crown to the Ring Video Doorbell 2 for its design. Now let’s see what these two video doorbells can actually do.
Nest Hello vs. Ring Video Doorbell 2 Features
Anyone who’s read this website before knows that I’m obsessed with security cameras, and that extends to the cameras inside video doorbells. There’s no reason they shouldn’t also be held up to Security Baron’s Necessary Features Test, as they’re your home’s first security attempt. Let’s see how the cameras behind the Nest Hello and Ring Video Doorbell 2 stack up.
1080p HD is the current industry standard for video display, producing a beautiful, clear picture. While the Ring Video Doorbell 2 has 1080p HD, the Nest Hello takes it a step further with 1600p HD. While both cameras offer wide fields of view of 160 degrees, only the Nest Hello can zoom in— eight times, to be exactly. Clearly, the Nest Hello has superior video over the Ring Video Doorbell 2.
Of course, both cameras offer two-way audio, allowing you to greet your visitors remotely.
Another similarity between the two video doorbells is their infrared night vision. Now, I prefer infrared over color night vision. Why? Because color night vision requires a bright white light, which not only will blind your guests, but will also make your doorbell camera very, very obvious. And when it comes to my home’s security, I like to utilize a bit more stealth.
When it comes to storing the footage from your video doorbells, you should always back everything up in two ways, both on a cloud and locally on a hard drive or device. Unfortunately, neither company gives you both of these options for free, but at least Ring has some affordable options, 60 days of cloud storage starting at just three dollars a month plus local storage. Of course, Ring Protect gives you more than cloud storage, which I’ll discuss below.
Nest, on the other hand, has no local storage options and gives you only three free hours of cloud storage. Unfortunately, their paid cloud storage options through Nest Aware are the most expensive I’ve seen. Clearly, Ring wins for best storage.
Keep in mind that Ring combines professional monitoring and storage while Nest has them as separate costs.
Smart Platform Integration
If you are already part of a larger smart home ecosystem, then you probably want a video doorbell that you can command with your voice using your preferred voice assistant. So if you’re in the Google ecosystem, Nest Hello might make more sense, while the Ring Video Doorbell 2 has an Alexa integration. Unfortunately, there’s no crossover between the two, so Nest Hello won’t work with Alexa and vice versa.
You want to know when someone is at your door, but what you don’t want to know is when a squirrel runs in front of your camera, when a car drives by or when the wind blows your trees around. That’s why I’m happy that Nest Hello comes with person detection, only alerting you when it matters.
Taking it a step further, if you invest in Nest Aware, you’ll also get familiar face alerts. That’s right, your Nest Hello will, over time, will learn the faces of your family and friends, so you can get incredibly specific notifications. Nest Aware will also give you dog barking alerts, person speaking alerts, and unfamiliar face alerts (but we’ll talk about all of its offers in a bit).
Unfortunately, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 doesn’t have any artificial intelligence capabilities, so you’ll probably receive a bunch of unnecessary notifications.
Both Nest and Ring offer paid subscription options that give you additional features, Nest Aware and Ring Protect, respectively. Let’s start with Nest Aware.
Nest Aware is Nest’s paid subscription program, and the amount you’ll pay per month will depend on how much cloud storage you want. As a reminder, the prices are on the chart above.
But Nest Aware isn’t all cloud storage. It has a few other great offerings, like:
- Advanced motion detection: From familiar face alerts to person speaking alerts, Nest Aware makes your notifications more specific than ever before.
- Activity zones: Tell your camera what areas to focus on and what areas to ignore, like your yard vs. the street. Again, this will make your notifications matter more.
- 24/7 continuous recording: This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but instead of recording whenever it detects a person, your Nest Hello will record all the time.
- Prerecorded messages: Basically a voice mail for your home, Nest Aware lets you answer your door with prerecorded messages if you’re not around to answer the doorbell.
I think if you’re going to buy the Nest Hello, Nest Aware is a good idea for the cloud storage and familiar face alerts alone.
Buying cloud and local storage with Ring gets you a few other great features, like:
- Discount on the Ring website: With the top-tier plan, you’ll get a 10% discount on Ring products purchased on their site.
- Extended warranty: The top-tier plan also extends your warranty past a year.
- Coverage for all your Ring devices: While the Protect Basic plan will only cover one Ring Video Doorbell, the Protect Plus plan covers all the Ring devices in your home.
If you have the Ring Alarm security system, it makes sense to invest in the Protect Plus plan so you’ll get 24/7 professional monitoring. But if you only have the Ring Video Doorbell 2, the Protect Basic plan makes more sense. Either way, you’ll get 60 days of cloud storage, which is incredibly generous.
Top Video Doorbell for Features
Despite its expensive cloud storage and lack of local storage, I prefer the features of the Nest Hello to the features of the Ring Video Doorbell 2. It has better video and person detection, which are two of the most important features of a camera. So far we’re at Nest Hello one, Ring Video Doorbell 2 one, but we still have installation and apps to go, so don’t get your knickers in a twist just yet.
Installing Nest Hello vs. Ring Video Doorbell 2
Depending on their power source, video doorbells are one of the more complicated IoT products to install. But obviously, we want to keep that process to a minimum, so here are my experiences installing the Nest Hello and the Ring Video Doorbell 2.
Installing Nest Hello
To use Nest Hello in the first place, you’ll need a wired doorbell, chime, and a 16-24 VAC 10VA transformer. Nest recommends that you get it professionally installed.
Installing Ring Video Doorbell 2
Unlike with Nest Hello, installing the Ring Video Doorbell 2 doesn’t require an existing doorbell setup. Rather, you can use its battery, which will make installation a heck of a lot easier.
Top Video Doorbell for Installation
Nest Hello vs. Ring Video Doorbell 2 Apps
Your app is what makes your smart video doorbell smart, so it’s important that its user-friendly and free of bugs. Let’s see how the Nest app and the Ring— Always Home app compare.
The Nest App
Through the Nest app, you’ll be able to see and speak to your guests, receive notifications, set up activity zones and your integration with Google Assistant, if you have it, make those prerecorded messages we talked about, or set up 24/7 continuous recording, given that you buy Nest Aware.
While the app has a nice 3.8 rating from the Google Play store, its iPhone app only has a 2.1, which makes me think that iPhone users might want to steer clear of the Nest Hello.
“I switched from the Ring doorbell to the Nest, and while I like the video quality better, you need to be able to distinguish the difference between a text message on your phone and someone ringing your doorbell. There is also a significant delay with doorbell alerts that seems to be a common theme if you look in the Nest community,”
wrote an iPhone user in a recent two-star review.
The Ring— Always Home App
The Ring— Always Home app offers the same features as the Nest app, along with crime and safety alerts from your neighborhood. It has ratings of 3.3 from both the Apple and Google Play stores.
Top Video Doorbell for Apps
The numbers don’t lie— Ring has a better app than Nest.
Recap of Nest Hello vs. Ring Video Doorbell 2
I’d go with Nest Hello if you want…
- Google Assistant integration
- Highly-rated Android app
- Superior video
- Person detection
To learn more, read our full written review of Nest Hello.
However, if you want, choose Ring Video Doorbell 2…
- Amazon Alexa integration
- Highly-rated iPhone app
- More affordable price of equipment
- More affordable cloud storage options plus local storage
- Option to power by battery
For more information, read our full written review of the Ring Video Doorbell 2.
Want to explore other options? Check out the best video doorbells of 2020.