When it comes to smart home technology, Nest and Ring are the two biggest players in the game. Nest, owned by Google, and Ring, owned by Amazon, each have a plethora of smart home products, from security systems to cameras to video doorbells. In this review, I’m focusing on the latter, namely the Nest Hello, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. None of them are cheap, but this is your home’s security your’e talking about, so you want to make sure you’re spending your money wisely. Okay, we have a ton of stuff to go over, so let’s get started!
Key Similarities of Ring Video Doorbell 2 vs. Ring Video Doorbell Pro vs. Nest Hello
- Infrared night vision: All video doorbells will be able to show you a clear picture even in the darkness of night.
- Two-way audio: You’ll be able to greet your visitor remotely through the doorbell’s app.
- Integrations with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant: All Ring and Nest doorbells work with both the Google and Amazon smart home ecosystems.
Key Differences of Ring Video Doorbell 2 vs. Ring Video Doorbell Pro vs. Nest Hello
- Person detection: Only the Nest Hello has person detection and facial recognition so you can get smarter, more specific notifications.
- Storage: The Nest Hello video doorbell lacks local storage and it’s cloud storage options are pricey, unlike the Ring doorbell cams.
- Video quality: While the Ring video doorbells have 1080p HD video, the industry standard, the Nest Hello takes it a step further with 1600 HD.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 vs. Ring Video Doorbell Pro vs. Nest Hello Design
They say to never judge a book by it’s cover, but I disagree, especially when it comes to your doorbell camera. This camera is going to be one of the first things people see when they enter your house, so you want to make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing and works for your home in terms of temperature range, power source, and more.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 Design
With a temperature range from negative five to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is ideal for extreme weather conditions. You can either hardwire it into your house or have it powered by battery, which should last about six months. The camera itself will record either when it senses motion or when somebody pushes the doorbell— it’s your call! As far as connectivity goes, you’ll need Wi-Fi unless you invest in a Ring Protect plan for cellular backup— but I’ll get to that in just a little bit.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro Design
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro has nearly the exact same design as the Ring Video Doorbell 2 in terms of temperature range, when it records, and connectivity. The only major difference is that the Pro must be hardwired, whereas the 2 can be hardwired or can depend on battery. While hardwired means you never have to worry about the battery running out, installation will be a bit more complicated, plus, if you don’t have cellular backup, your video doorbell won’t work in a power outage.
Nest Hello Design
The Nest Hello works in temperatures from 5 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, not quite as impressive as the Ring video doorbells but still probably large enough for most people’s climates. With an IPX4 rating, it’s protected from splashing water, although you shouldn’t spray it with water jets or immerse it at all. You’ll hardwire the Nest Hello into your home. You can have it record either when it senses motion, a person, when the doorbell is pushed, or, if you have Nest Aware, 24/7. It connects through the Nest app via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Cellular backup is an option, but again, all in due time!
Top Video Doorbell for Design
Design-wise, I’m most impressed by the Ring Video Doorbell 2, mostly because of it’s impressive temperature range and power options. However, these are all well-designed video doorbells in general.
Now let’s get into the meat of the review, namely Security Baron’s Necessary Features. Even though video doorbells aren’t purely cameras, the cameras are a key component, so I review them like I would any other security camera. Let’s start with the most obvious category: video.
All of the doorbells in this comparison have wide fields of view of 160 degrees. But while the Ring options offer the standard 1080p HD, Nest Hello impresses with 1600 HD. Plus, it can zoom optically eight times, while the Ring cameras can only zoom digitally. When it comes to video, Nest takes the cake over Ring.
All of the video doorbells have two-way audio, an essential feature that lets you speak to your visitors wherever you are. This is super helpful for making it seem like you’re home when you’re not, preventing burglaries from happening in the first place. I mean, can you imagine how Home Alone would have gone if the McAllisters had a video doorbell?
All video doorbells in this comparison have infrared night vision, which I prefer over the conspicuous color night vision from a bright white light.
Storage is where things get a little wonky. With Ring, you need to invest in a paid monthly or yearly plan to get cloud and local storage, but the prices are low and affordable for both. Nest, on the other hand, doesn’t offer any local storage and it’s cloud storage plans are pretty expensive, although you get more with Nest Aware. But overall, I’d go with Ring for better storage.
Smart Platform Integration
After a recent update from Ring, both of the Ring Video Doorbells along with Nest Hello work with Amazon Alexa as well as Google Assistant, the two most popular voice assistants.
Unfortunately, only Nest Hello has person detection, meaning it can differentiate between people and other moving objects to give you only notifications that matter. If you buy Nest Aware, you’ll also get familiar face alerts, otherwise known as facial recognition. That means you’ll be notified with exactly who is at your door, given the Nest Hello has seen them before and learned their features. Talk about smart! Clearly, the Nest Hello knocks it out of the park when it comes to artificial intelligence, while I’m underwhelmed by Ring’s doorbells for this category.
Top Video Doorbell for Features
Despite it’s lack of local storage and expensive cloud storage, I’m most impressed with the Nest Hello’s features, especially in terms of video and artificial intelligence. Now let’s talk installation.
Installing Ring Video Doorbell 2 vs. Ring Video Doorbell Pro vs. Nest Hello
The majority of the smart home security products I review have DIY, or Do It Yourself installation. Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to have a degree in I.T to put things together; rather, they are designed to be installed as simply as possible. Just in case, I decided to test it out for you.
Installing the Ring Video Doorbell 2
The great thing about installing the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is that it doesn’t require any pre-requisites whatsoever. In Texas, I hardwired the Ring Video Doorbell 2 to my door using video tutorials for Ring as well as the house’s existing chime and doorbell setup. Things went smoothly, aside from having to add a Ring Wi-Fi range extender, as my door was too far from my router.
In Brooklyn, I don’t have an existing doorbell setup, so I used the video doorbell’s battery as power. As far as the chime goes, I used the Chime Pro, which functions as both a chime as well as a range extender. Both installation processes were very straightforward and took more than half an hour each.
Installing the Ring Video Doorbell Pro
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro, in contrast, requires a 16-24 VAC transformer or a power adapter if you lack an existing doorbell setup. Like it’s sister, I installed the Ring Video Doorbell Pro in both Texas and Brooklyn. In Texas, I removed my existing doorbell setup and chime, replacing it with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. Again, I had to use that range extender. In Brooklyn, I threaded my power adapter to the Ring Video Doorbell Pro and plugged in the Chime Pro the exact same way I did for the Ring Video Doorbell 2. Easy peasy lemon squeezee!
Installing the Nest Hello
Nest Hello has to be hardwired into your home, ideally replacing an existing doorbells. However, if you don’t already have one, just get a power adapter and plug it in to an indoor outlet. But for those with an existing wired doorbell and chime, you’ll need to use a 16-24 VAC, 10VA transformer. I recommend getting this doorbell installed professionally, as the process was pretty difficult.
Top Video Doorbell for Installation
It’s a time between the Ring video doorbells, especially if you’re doing a wireless setup. Ring for the win!
Let’s talk more about the Ring Protect Plans. Not only will they get you 60 days of cloud storage plus the ability to download footage, but you’ll also get 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup plus a discount on the Ring website with the Protect Plus plan.
What exactly is professional monitoring? Say you’re on a business trip and someone rings your Ring Video Doorbell Pro’s button. Of course, you’ll receive a notification immediately, but what if you’re in an important meeting and can’t check in, livestreaming footage and speaking through two-way audio? That’s when the professional monitoring team would kick in, along with anytime any of your Ring sensors go off. If they verify that an emergency is happening, they can call the police for you, or whichever services you require.
Cellular backup, on the other hand, uses the data from your phone to keep your video doorbell up and running, even in the event of a power outage. Both are really helpful features that I highly recommend, and with Ring, they’re super affordable at only $10 a month or $100 a year. Did I mention the extended warranty?
Now, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro has one feature that the Ring Video Doorbell 2 lacks, that’s activity zones.
Activity zones allow you to tell the Ring Video Doorbell Pro what areas to avoid and what areas to pay attention to. This is especially for a video doorbell that will most likely be facing your front yard and the street behind it. Of course, you don’t need to be notified every time someone walks on your sidewalk, but once they’re on your property, you can be notified. These capabilities lead to fewer but more important notifications from your video doorbell.
Now, Nest Aware isn’t just cloud storage. You also get a number of other features, such as:
- Familiar face alerts
- Dog barking alerts
- Person speaking alerts
- 24/7 continuous recording
- Prerecorded messages for Nest Hello
- Activity zones.
Nest also offers professional monitoring and cellular backup through Brinks Home Security. You can either sign up for three years at $19 a month or sign a monthly contract for $29 a month.
Top Video Doorbell for Extras
Although Nest Hello’s paid plans are much higher than Ring’s, I still think it has more impressive options overall, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence.
Ring vs. Nest Apps
Finally, let’s talk mobile applications. Your app is where you’ll control your video doorbell, livestreaming footage, viewing cloud storage, speaking through two-way audio, and setting up smart platform integrations.
The Ring— Always Home App
The Ring app has a better iPhone app than Nest, but Nest has the superior Android app. From the Ring app, you can also receive crime and safety alerts from your home and neighborhood, in addition to the capabilities listed above.
The Nest App
The Nest app is where you’ll arm and disarm your system, send email invitations to guests, along with all of the other capabilities mentioned beforehand.
Top Video Doorbell for Apps
Overall, Ring has a better app, but I’d go with Nest if you’re on an Android user and Ring if you’re an iPhone user.
Recap of Ring Video Doorbell 2 vs. Ring Video Doorbell Pro vs. Nest Hello
If I had to choose one of the three, I’d go with the Nest Hello due to it’s superior video and artificial intelligence capabilities. However, we are all looking for different things in a video doorbell so here’s a more comprehensive breakdown.
I’d go with the Ring Video Doorbell 2 if you want…
- Battery or hardwired: This camera is super flexible in terms of power source.
- Affordable professional monitoring and cellular backup: At only $10 a month, Ring provides some of the most affordable monitoring and backup options around.
- Large temperature range: Both video doorbells work in temperatures from -5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is impressive.
Honestly, with a price difference of $80, I’m not sure why you would buy the Pro over the 2, as it is exactly the same otherwise with less power options. So unless you think activity zones are worth the extra $80, I’d go with the Ring Video Doorbell 2 for only $169.
To learn more, read our full written review of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro and our review of the Ring Video Doorbell 2 Or, you can read our comparison of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro vs. the Ring Video Doorbell 2 if you’re still on the fence.
I’d go with the Nest Hello if you want…
- Person detection and facial recognition: Only Nest offers A.I capabilities leading to more important notifications.
- 1600 HD video: For the best video, go with Nest over Ring.
- Activity zones: Again, if you’re really gung-ho about activity zones, Nest Hello offers them for $229, still $20 less than the Ring Video Doorbell Pro.
Want to explore other options? Check out the best video doorbells of 2019.