Nest Hello Video Doorbell Review

Owned by internet giant Google, Nest is one of the more recognizable names in smart home security. Among its products include cameras, security systems, smart locks, thermostats, and now a video doorbell called Nest Hello.

I love having a video doorbell because it brings my doorbell up to the 21st century. Now when someone presses my doorbell, I don’t just hear a chime. I can actually see and speak to whoever’s on my welcome mat, which comes in handy for differentiating between salesman,  food deliverers, or possible intruders. As I’ve loved all of Nest’s products in the past, I’m looking forward to seeing how the Nest Hello Video Doorbell stacks up.

In this review, I’ll discuss the Nest Hello’s design, features, its functionality and convenience, and finally, the Nest app. Strap in, because Security Baron’s review of the Nest Hello Video Doorbell starts now!

Nest Hello Video Doorbell Design

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Nest Hello Video Doorbell. Photo provided by Nest Hello.

It doesn’t surprise me that the Nest Hello Video Doorbell is so sleek. It’s simply a black pill-shaped cylinder with a backlit doorbell button on one end and a camera on the other. Encased in white plastic, I’m loving the doorbell’s chic minimalism, a hallmark of all Nest products. To see what I mean, check out our full review of the Nest Cam Indoor. 

Aside from being pretty, Nest Hello works in temperatures from five to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Living on the East Coast, I worry about what would happen if temperatures dipped below five degrees, which can happen in the colder winter months. However, this may not be an issue for you if you live somewhere more temperate.

The video doorbell will be hard-wired into your home, which means you don’t have to worry about replacing batteries. Of course, this makes installation a bit more complicated, but we’ll get to that later.

Nest Hello connects to your phone through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which ensures that it’ll stay on even if your Wi-Fi is wonky. Any redundancies in security devices are always a positive sign.

Nest Hello Video Doorbell Features

Now let’s talk about what Nest Hello can do. First, we’ll go over the camera’s features. Then, I’ll explain the doorbell’s capabilities.

Video

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Nest Hello Video Display. Photo provided by Nest.

The Nest Hello’s camera has incredible video quality. First of all, it has 1600 HD, which soars above the industry standard of 1080 HD. On top of that, it has a very wide field of view of 160 degrees, and it can zoom in eight times! You can rest assured that this video can capture everyone from Girl Scouts selling cookies to suspicious persons snooping around your mail.

Audio

The camera also comes equipped with two-way audio, which allows you to speak to your visitors. This can come in handy when you want to give a delivery person instructions, scare off an intruder, or simply greet your guests.

Night Vision

The Nest Hello has infrared night vision through 850 nm LEDs.

Storage

If you use any other Nest products, you know that Nest does not provide any local storage, a bummer for anyone who wants to be in total control of their footage. Unfortunately, Nest’s cloud storage through Nest Aware is pretty pricey. Keep in mind that Nest Aware comes with more than just cloud storage, discussed below in the “Extras” section.

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Nest Aware Storage

If you don’t want to invest in Nest Aware, you’ll receive no storage whatsoever, so I would definitely recommend it. If, unfortunately, you do have an intrusion, you’ll want as much footage as possible to help identify the suspect.

Smart Platform Integration

Unsurprisingly, the video doorbell integrates with all of the Nest products along with Google Assistant. That means that Google Assistant can announce when someone’s at your door or show you your visitor via Chromecast.

Artificial Intelligence

If you purchase Nest Aware at any level, you’ll receive person detection and facial recognition. That means that not only will your camera tell you there’s a person at the door, but over time, it can tell you who it is! The flip side of familiar face alerts is unfamiliar face alerts, meaning your camera can tell you if someone you don’t know is at your door.

If you don’t purchase Nest Aware, you’ll get no artificial intelligence features which means less specific notifications. As the camera won’t be able to differentiate between people and other moving objects, you may be notified about pets, cars, or even shadows.

Extras

Now let’s talk about the extra things that don’t fit so neatly into categories.

Nest Aware

Along with person detection, facial recognition, and up to 30 days of cloud storage, Nest Aware will get you motion and sound detection, dog barking alerts, person speaking alerts, familiar face alerts, and 24/7 continuous recording which are all pretty self-explanatory.

Nest Aware ensures that you’re given the most specific information possible- not just that the camera detected movement, but that your mailman Doug is here, for exmple. With Nest Aware, you’ll also receive clips and timelapses of your footage which is a great way to stay organized and find specific events.

The final feature of Nest Aware is activity zones, which allow you to mark important areas for the camera to focus on. Depending on your video doorbell’s placement, you can mark your mailbox, front window, or anything you think is particularly vulnerable to attack.

Doorbell Capabilities

What happens if someone rings your doorbell when you’re not home? With Nest Hello, you can set up pre-recorded messages to greet your guests in your absence. It’s a doorbell and an answering machine rolled into one.

Installing Nest Hello Video Doorbell

To install the Nest Hello Video Doorbell, you’ll need a wired doorbell, a chime, and a 16-24VAC, 10VA transformer. Nest recommends that you get the doorbell professionally installed.

The Nest App

The Nest App

What would a smart doorbell like the Nest Hello be without its trusty mobile app? Here, I’ll talk about what the Nest app can do, and what customers think of it.

Features

From the Nest app, you can view your camera’s livestream, communicate with visitors, and check out event history. You’ll also be able to set activity zones and pre-recorded messages.

Reviews

I was a bit shocked at the Nest app’s customer reviews. While it did get a 3.8 star rating on the Google Play store, which is not half bad, iPhone users only gave it a 2.1 star rating. One Apple customer said that the app wasn’t giving them all of the notifications from their Nest Hello,

“If someone rings the doorbell, the system is perfect. I get an alert. I can talk to them. Golden. But if there is movement or someone just walking up (like someone stealing a package), I get no alert,”

the user wrote in a one-star review. Clearly, the Nest app works better on Androids than it does on iPhones.

Recap of the Nest Hello Video Doorbell

At $229, the Nest Hello Video Doorbell doesn’t come cheap (another less fortunate hallmark of Nest products). So, is it right for you? Let me ask you a few questions.

Do the following features tickle your fancy?

  • Chic minimalist design
  • Works from five to 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Connectivity through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 
  • 1600 HD video
  • Field of view of 160 degrees
  • Ability to zoom in eight times
  • Two-way audio
  • Integrations with other Nest products, Google Assistant
  • Ability to make pre-recorded messages

If so, the Nest Hello Video Doorbell may be your perfect match.

But let me ask you this. Are any of the following deal breakers?

  • No local storage
  • Cloud storage only with expensive Nest Aware subscription
  • Hard-wired into your home making installation more difficult
  • Person detection and facial recognition available only through Nest Aware 
  • Activity zones not included
  • Poor app reviews
  • Expensive price tag

If so, you might want to look elsewhere.

That’s all I have for our review of the Nest Hello Video Doorbell! For any burning questions or comments, leave a note below.

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.

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