Ring vs. Nest Smart Home Review

Table of Contents

If you’re thinking that I’m obsessed with my smart home, then you just might be right. I’m such a big smart home geek that I created smart home setups for what is perhaps the biggest tech rivalry of the moment, Ring vs. Nest. Amazon owns smart home brands like Blink and Ring Alarm and produces its own security camera, the Amazon Cloud Cam. Google, on the other hand, has Nest, recently rebranded as Google Nest. From security cameras to security systems, from video doorbells to smart thermostats, I got all the latest tech from Google and Amazon and created my dream smart home.

In this review I’ll take you through my entire home, teaching you everything you need to know about Amazon and Google’s smart home brands so you can make a decision for yourself. Let’s get started!

Here is a bird’s eye view of everything we’ll be reviewing from Ring, Nest, Blink, ecobee and Amazon Cloud Cam. Of course, we will be going into more detail below.

Nest vs. Ring Smart Home Components
Nest vs. Ring Smart Home Components

Ring vs. Nest Smart Home Platforms

The foundation of every smart home is its smart home platform, which is usually in the form of a screen or speaker. For Amazon and Google, it means the Amazon Echo or the Google Home Hub. Let’s review.

Amazon Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show Features

Let’s talk about the Amazon Echo Show. With a 10 inch screen, it allows you to see as well as hear data from Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant. Alexa has over 50,000 skills, letting you listen to music, video chat, stream video, shop, and even cook. Plus, it has Zigbee connectivity built-in, so keep that in mind if you want any Zigbee-enabled connected devices.

The Amazon Echo Show is $189.99, $60 more than the Google Home Hub. That’s pretty surprising as Amazon’s entire business model relies on cutting down competitor prices, but there are more affordable Echos available. To end on a positive note, the Amazon Echo Show is incredibly simple to setup. Just plug it in and sign into your Amazon Prime account and you’re done!

To learn more, read my full review of the Amazon Echo Show.

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Amazon Echo Show
Amazon Echo Show
Amazon Echo Show

The Amazon Echo Show is the world's most popular smart speaker with over 50,000 skills available in categories like music, video, and shopping. 

Google Nest Hub

Google Nest Hub with Box
Google Nest Hub with Box

The Google Nest Hub has a seven inch screen, still pretty large if you ask me. It’s wake word is Google and it has 4,253 actions available, about 10% compared to Alexa, which is the leading smart home platform as of now. But the basic functions are the same, like listening to music, video chatting, shopping, and of course, cooking. Again, this model is $60 cheaper than the Amazon Echo Show, but both platforms have multiple versions that you can choose between.

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Google Nest Hub
Google Nest Hub
Google Nest Hub

Simply say "Ok, Google" to get access to over 4,000 actions in everything ranging from Google Play Music to Netflix to Google Express. 

Ring vs. Nest Indoor Cameras

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Ring vs. Nest Indoor Cameras

Any smart home should include smart security, starting with a high quality indoor camera. When it comes to security cameras, I’m looking for a few Necessary Features:

  • 1080p HD video display
  • Optical zoom 
  • Field of view 120 degrees or wider
  • Two-way audio
  • Infrared night vision
  • Cloud and local storage
  • Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant integrations
  • Person detection 
  • Easy setup 
  • Great value 

Of course, security cameras don’t need to have all of these features to be a fantastic option, but that’s what I’m looking for ideally.

Amazon Cloud Cam

amazon-cloud-cam-review
Amazon Cloud Cam in Hand

The Amazon Cloud Cam definitely hits some of my Necessary Features, with 1080p HD video display, eight times field of zoom, an 120-degree field of view, infrared night vision, two-way audio, and of course, an Alexa integration.

However, the camera does have some serious drawbacks. For example, it doesn’t come with local storage, and cloud storage is only free for the first 24 hours. After that, the cloud storage options are a bit expensive, but somehow cheaper than Nest’s.

google-nest-amazon-cloud-cam-storage
Google Nest vs. Amazon Cloud Cam Storage

Keep in mind that Nest’s storage is the same for all of the Nest cameras, not just the Nest Cam Indoor. Personally, I had issues setting up the cloud storage, but I’ll get more into the installation in a bit.

what-is-person-detection
Person Detection

Amazon’s cloud storage will also get you person detection as well as activity zones. Activity zones tell the camera where to focus most, like a baby’s crib or a window. All of these features will make your notifications super-specific, not just that your camera detected a person but that your Grandma is in your baby’s room.

what-are-activity-zones
Activity Zones

Despite the lack of cloud storage and person detection, at only $120, the Amazon Cloud Cam is much cheaper than the Nest options, which we’ll review in a second.

Let’s talk installation. Setting up the Amazon Cloud Cam is simple and only took a few minutes, even with mounting. However, it is not as flexible as the Nest Cam Indoor in terms of the ways you can position it.

For more information, read our full review on the Amazon Cloud Cam.

Nest Cam Indoor

Nest Cam Indoor
Nest Cam Indoor

The Nest Cam Indoor is Nest’s original indoor camera, and it has the majority of our Necessary Features, save for local storage. In fact, none of the Nest cameras have local storage, and one of their major drawbacks is that their cloud storage options are pretty expensive. Keep in mind that you’ll only get three hours of free cloud storage, so you most likely will want to invest in a Nest Aware plan.

Of course, cloud storage isn’t the only thing you get with Nest Aware. You’ll also get facial recognition, building on the person detection that comes with all Nest cameras, plus dog barking alerts, person speaking alerts, and activity zones.

Another advantage of the Nest cameras is their smart platform integrations. It’s no surprise that they work with Google Assistant, but they also work with Amazon Alexa and Philips Hue light bulbs, expanding the amount of smart platform integrations and home automation possibilities.

The Nest Cam Indoor is easy to set up, even with the plate. My biggest concerns were aesthetic— I’m not loving the look of the white cable with the gunmetal finish.

At about $200, the Nest Cam Indoor is a great deal, especially as Nest tends to be a bit pricey. Of course, there are less expensive cameras available, but with all these Necessary Features, I think the Nest Cam Indoor is worth it.

To learn more, read my full review of the Nest Cam Indoor.

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Amazon Cloud Cam
  • 1080p HD
  • Infrared night vision
  • $119.99

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  • 1080p HD 
  • Infrared night vision
  • $199

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Nest Cam IQ Indoor

nest-cam-iq-indoor-review
Nest Cam IQ Indoor

If you liked the Nest Cam Indoor, then you’ll like the Nest Cam IQ Indoor even better. It has the exact same features, except the ability to zoom in 12 times compared to eight, twice as many LED sensors for stellar infrared lighting, and a speaker seven times more powerful for two-way audio. Of course, the camera costs $100 more than the Nest Cam Indoor at $299, but it’s one of the best security cameras I’ve reviewed, its only flaws being its lack of local storage, expensive cloud storage options and high price of equipment.

Now, setting up my Nest Cam IQ Indoor was much easier than setting up my Nest Cam Indoor, but this was mainly because I placed it on my kitchen table. All I really had to do was scan the QR code in the Nest app. So aside from a cable mixup, it worked out really well. To learn more, read my full review of the Nest Cam IQ Indoor.

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Nest Cam IQ Indoor
Nest Cam IQ Indoor
Nest Cam IQ Indoor

With Alexa and Google Assistant integrations, person detection included, plus a speaker seven times more powerful than the Nest Cam Indoor, you'll love Nest's latest indoor camera. 

Ring vs. Nest Outdoor Cameras

amazon-vs-google-outdoor-camera-review
Ring vs. Nest Outdoor Cameras

Outdoor cameras are arguably as important as indoor cameras. They tend to be more expensive, which is why you should really do your research before you invest. Luckily, you have me to do it for you!

Nest Cam Outdoor

nest-cam-outdoor-review
Nest Cam Outdoor

When you’re talking about outdoor cameras, one of the first questions I have is about the IP rating. What is an IP rating exactly? Well, it measures how vulnerable a device is to solids and liquids. While the first number represents solids, the second number represents liquids.

IP Ratings
IP Ratings

The Nest Cam Outdoor has an IP rating of 65, which means that it’s 100% dust-tight and can handle powerful water jets 6.3 mm and under while still continuing to function normally. In a nutshell? As long as you don’t spray this thing with powerful water jets or immerse it in water, you shouldn’t have an issue. In the same vein, the Nest Cam Outdoor has a temperature range of negative four to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, which covers most climates (in the continental U.S, at least).

Aside from its awesome durability, the Nest Cam Outdoor has a ton of great features, like 1080p HD video, eight times zoom, an 130 degree field of view, infrared night vision, two-way audio, and that’s not all. Like its indoor camera siblings, the Nest Cam Outdoor comes with person detection plus integrations with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Philips Hue lightbulbs. You’ll have the exact same storage and Nest Aware options as the other Nest cameras, along with using the same Nest app.

At $199, the Nest Cam Outdoor is surprisingly affordable, coming from Nest. Of course, keep in mind that you may have to pay through the nose for cloud storage if you want it for more than three hours. Also, I can’t recommend this camera to iPhone users, as its Apple Store app only has a 2.1 rating (true for all Nest cameras as they all use the Nest app).

Setting up the Nest Cam Outdoor was super easy. I already had the Nest app downloaded, so all I had to do was scan the QR code and reconnect to the proper Wi-Fi to get everything synced. All in all, I’d definitely recommend the Nest Cam Outdoor, despite its lack of local storage and expensive cloud storage options. For more information, read my full review of the Nest Cam Outdoor.

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Nest Cam Outdoor
Nest Cam Outdoor
Nest Cam Outdoor

With a durable design, 1080p HD video display and infrared night vision, the Nest Cam Outdoor is another home run for Nest. 

Ring Stickup Cam Wired

Ring Stickup Cam Wired

Another option from the Amazon side is the Ring Stickup Cam Wired. Now, at $180, this thing is more affordable than the Nest Cam Outdoor, which if you haven’t noticed by now is a pattern. That Jeff Bezos, always undercutting competitors’ pricing!

So which is more durable, the Ring Stickup Cam Wired or the Nest Outdoor? Well, the Ring Stickup Cam Wired, but only by a few degrees. Now, Ring doesn’t advertise its protection against solids, so its IP rating is X5, meaning it has the exact same liquid-resistance as the Nest Cam Outdoor. But what really pushes the Ring Stickup Cam Wired over the top is its temperature range, slightly larger than that of the Nest Cam Outdoor at negative five to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. And you can bet your bottom dollar that this was done on purpose.

Now let’s talk about those Necessary Features. Not surprisingly, the Ring Stickup Cam Wired has 1080p HD video display and a wide field of view of 150 degrees, but unfortunately, there’s no zoom ability. It also features two-way audio and an integration with (what else?) Amazon Alexa, but there’s no person detection or free storage. To get cloud and local storage, you’ll need to invest in a Ring Protect Plan.

ring-protect-plans
Ring Protect Plans

As you can see, you can get local storage and 60 days of cloud storage for as little as three dollars a month. Half that time would cost $30 a month with Nest, so you can see how Ring is going to save you money both in the long-term and short-term. Another advantage Ring has over Nest? The Ring— Always Home app has decent ratings for both iPhone and Android users, 3.3 and 3.4 respectively. Of course, its clear disadvantages compared to Nest is its lack of person detection, zoom, and Google Assistant integration.

In my experience, the Ring Stickup Cam Wired was the easiest outdoor camera to set up. I had it up and going in five minutes without having to reset it. Victory is mine!

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Ring Stickup Cam Wired
Ring Stickup Cam Wired
Ring Stickup Cam Wired
  • 1080p HD video display
  • Infrared night vision
  • $180 

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

nest-cam-iq-outdoor-review
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

Nest’s latest and greatest outdoor camera is the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, which comes in at a cool $349. That’s over $150 more than the Nest Cam Outdoor, so is it worth the extra cash?

Let’s back up for a second. First of all, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the most durable camera out of ones mentioned so far, with a huge temperature range of -40 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit and an IP rating of 66. Powerful water jets? Bring it on. If your weather is particularly crazy, then the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is your best bet.

Of course, its durability is not the only way that the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has advanced. Along with its 1080p HD display, it has 4K sensors with HDR and intelligent imaging. HDR works to make outdoor more clear, as the sun can distort images, and intelligent imaging automatically zooms in on a person it detects, a feature Nest calls Supersight. That is pretty intelligent, if you ask me.

Moving on. The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor can zoom in a whopping 12 times, four more than its predecessor. It also has an 130 degree field of view, amazing infrared night vision, and two-way audio. As far as the smart platform integrations, storage, and artificial intelligence capabilities go, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is exactly the same as the Nest Cam Outdoor. Really, what you’re paying for is superior durability and video, so it’s up to you if it’s worth the high cost.

As far as setting up the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor went, I had to use a sewing needle to reset the camera, which was a bit annoying, but after that, the process only took a few minutes. Connecting the camera with the plate wasn’t difficult, nor was drilling outside. My biggest advice? Go one step at a time and the process will be a lot less painful. For more details, check out my full review of the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

With 4K sensors, HDR and Supersight, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor automatically zooms in whenever it detects a person. 

Ring Spotlight Cam Battery

Ring Spotlight Cam Battery on Table
Ring Spotlight Cam Battery on Table

Next we have the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery at only $169, the most affordable outdoor camera so far. Now, although the camera has a temperature range of negative five to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, I’m disappointed that its IP rating is only 55. That means it’s dust protected, not dust tight, and can handle water jets under 6.3 mm. So if you live somewhere with crazy weather, the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery may not be your perfect choice.

Aside from that, the camera has 1080p HD video, an 140 degree field of view, plus two-way audio and an Alexa integration. But, like the Ring Stickup Cam Wired, it lacks zoom, a Google Assistant integration, and person detection. The main difference between the two is that the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery comes with an 110-decibel siren, about as loud as a jackhammer. Of course, the camera also has built-in LED light strips, which isn’t shocking given the name. Another obvious point is that the camera is wireless and has rechargeable batteries. You can even add a second battery for backup or a solar panel for continuous charging. Your electricity bill will thank you!

Installing the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery in my driveway was pretty simple, although I think the mount’s design could be improved upon. I must say that if an intruder wanted to stand very close to a wall, the camera might not capture them. After I changed the camera’s battery, I got it set up in about 20 minutes.

Want to learn more? Read our Ring Spotlight Cam Battery review.

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Ring Spotlight Cam Battery
Ring Spotlight Cam Battery
Ring Spotlight Cam Battery

If you're looking for a durable indoor/ outdoor camera, the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery is a great choice with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, 1080p HD video display, plus Lifetime Theft Protection. 

Blink XT2

blink-xt2-camera-review
Gabe and the Blink XT2

Finally we have the Blink XT2, our least expensive outdoor camera in the house at only $99.99. Now, it has that IP rating of 65, which is what I like to see. It also has a temperature range from negative four to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, which is enough for most homes. The Blink XT2 is wireless and its battery has a two-year life, making this outdoor camera of the “set it and forget it” variety.

Let’s start with the positives. I love that the Blink XT2 has an integration with Amazon Alexa, 1080p HD video, two-way audio, infrared night vision and cloud storage for up to a year. Unfortunately, I’m not obsessed with the fact that its field of view is only 110 degrees, it has no optical zoom, no Google Assistant integration, and no person detection. Fortunately, the Blink Home app has decent ratings, a 3.5 from iPhone users and a 3.7 from Android users. The camera also comes with temperature monitoring and activity zones. Keep in mind that you’ll need the Blink module to work the camera.

I installed the Blink XT2 in my backyard, and I must say, I’m pretty concerned about how easy it would be to steal. It’s not hard to yank off of its mount, which is a bit of a concern.

To learn more, check out our Blink XT2 camera review.

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Blink XT2
Blink XT2
Blink XT2

You'll appreciate the Blink XT2 for its two-way audio, 1080p HD video display, and free cloud and local storage. 

To check out other great security cameras, read about the best home security cameras of 2019. 

Nest Secure vs. Ring Alarm Security System Comparison

Cameras are great, but they’re also part of a larger smart home security system that typically includes sensors, panic buttons, keypads, base stations, you name it. In this section, I’m comparing the relatively minimalist Nest Secure and Ring Alarm security systems in terms of components, installation, smart platform integrations, monitoring options, and customer support.

System Components

nest-vs-ring-security-system-review
System Components- Nest Vs. Ring

Both of these systems are super minimalist, especially compared to older security systems from companies like ADT or Frontpoint.

Nest Secure Security System
Nest Secure Security System

Nest comes with a Nest Guard, also known as a base station, two Nest Detect Sensors, which can sense motion, plus two Nest Tags which you can use to arm or disarm your system. It’s important to know that the Guard itself has motion detection, while the Detect Sensors can sense both motion and body heat up to 15 feet away. Most contact sensors can only tell you when a door or window is opened or closed, so that’s a huge advantage. It’s a motion sensor and an entry sensor in one! Of course, I have a bunch of Nest cameras that I used as well, which you can read about above if you haven’t already.

Ring Alarm Security System
Ring Alarm Security System

Ring Alarm is also very minimalist, although I did add a few cameras, but the system is more self-explanatory than Nest for sure.

Installation

Both of these systems have DIY installation, so it’s important that the processes aren’t too difficult.

Installing the Ring Alarm Motion Detector

I had some major issues setting up Ring Alarm, particularly in getting the sensors to work. Ultimately, I had to reset the base station and start over, which was way more difficult with Ring then it was with Nest. I had to remove the batteries, press some internal buttons— overall, it was a hot mess, and my current Ring Alarm system is dead. Not a great sign.

nest-hello-video-doorbell-review
Installing the Nest Hello

The entire Nest Secure installation process took about five minutes. The system was brand new and I didn’t have to reset anything, which was refreshing after setting up Ring Alarm. Since there’s no mounting necessary, there’s really not much to say, which is a good sign!

Smart Platform Integrations

While the Ring Alarm Security Kit only works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, Nest Secure has a ton of smart platform integrations, including:

to name a few. So not only can you command the system with your voice, but you’ll also be able to sync it with other connected devices. For example, you can have your Philips Hue light bulbs turn off as soon as your Nest Secure system is armed, as that means you’re out of the house. Not only is home automation convenient, but it’s also energy-saving, putting more money back in your pocket where it belongs.

Monitoring Options

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Professional Monitoring- Nest vs. Ring

The good news? Both Nest and Ring let you choose between 24/7 professional monitoring and self-monitoring. You can also sign up for a year to lock in a rate or go flexible and do a monthly contract. All paid plans include cellular backup which will keep your security system on in the event of a power outage, an essential feature in my opinion.

As you can see, Ring’s options are cheaper across the board, with 24/7 professional monitoring available for only $10 a month, one of the lowest prices I’ve seen. Now, Nest outsources its monitoring to Brinks Security, and it’ll cost a minimum of $29 a month, and that doesn’t even include cloud storage! It’s pretty clear that Ring is the winner when it comes to your monitoring options.

Customer Support

nest-vs-ring-security-system-review
Customer Support- Nest Vs. Ring

Although Nest has more ways to reach customer support, customers in general rated Ring’s support higher. This matched my experience, as I found the Nest support reps to be less than supportive.

To learn more, read our full reviews of Nest Secure and the Ring Alarm security system. Or, read about the best home security systems of 2019.

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  • DIY installation
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Ring Alarm
  • DIY installation
  • Professional monitoring optional 
  • $239 for Ring Alarm Security Kit 

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Ring vs. Nest Video Doorbells

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Ring vs. Nest Video Doorbells

Video doorbells are one of my favorite components of my smart home. They allow me to answer my front door from anywhere in the world. I can see and even speak to my visitors, greeting them warmly or telling them to scram. But which video doorbell is for you?

Nest Hello

nest-hello-video-doorbell-review
Nest Hello

The Nest Hello video doorbell is a personal favorite. You know I’m all about durability, which is why I’m happy that the Nest Hello works in temperatures from five to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. With an IP rating of X4, it’s protected from splashing water. Now, this should work for most places, unless there’s a monsoon. You’ll hardwire the Nest Hello into your home, making installation a bit more complicated than if it was battery-operated.

Installing the Nest Hello is a multi-step process, starting on the Nest app. You’ll need a wired doorbell and chime to install it in the first place. Installation involves checking the chime box in your home, removing the casing and replacing the chime box with the Nest chimes, removing your old doorbell and replacing it with the Nest Hello. Now, when installing the doorbell itself, make sure the wires are on the bottom part of the middle hole. In our case, the holes lined up exactly, so all we had to do was recess the wires deep into the hole and connect them to the Nest Hello. One thing that made the process easier was that it didn’t matter which wires were connected to the Nest Hello.

Aside from installation, the Nest Hello has some pretty great specs. It goes above and beyond 1080p HD with 1600 HD, plus a 160 degree field of view and eight times zoom. Not to mention it’s two-way audio, infrared night vision, and person detection. Of course, being Nest, the video doorbell doesn’t have local storage, and cloud prices are going to cost you a pretty penny. But unlike the Nest cameras, the Nest Hello only works with Google Assistant, not Amazon Alexa. At $229, it’s a bit over the average cost of a video doorbell, which tends to be around $200.

To learn more, read my full review of the Nest Hello.

Ring Video Doorbell 2

Ring Video Doorbell 2
Ring Video Doorbell 2

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is probably the Nest Hello’s biggest competitor. It works in temperatures from negative five to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and is weather-resistant. It also can be operated by battery or hardwired into your home, which makes installation super flexible. If you choose to go the battery route, it should last about six months before you have to change it, which could be a bit of a hassle.

As far as the camera itself goes, the video quality is 1080p HD with an 160 field of view. While the camera can’t zoom, it benefits from infrared night vision, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration, and of course, the same cloud and local storage options as all of the other Ring products. In the same vein, it has no person detection, so you might receive some unnecessary notifications. But at $169, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is one of the less expensive video doorbells out there, and it definitely has some of the features that I’m looking for.

As far as setting up the Ring Video Doorbell 2 went, things were pretty simple and only took about 15 minutes. Keep in mind that you may need a range extender to properly set up the Ring Video Doorbell and connect it to Wi-Fi.

Want to learn more? Read my full review of the Ring Video Doorbell 2.

For more great options, check out the best video doorbells of 2019.

Ring Video Doorbell Pro

Ring Video Doorbell Pro
Ring Video Doorbell Pro

The Ring Video Doorbell Pro is Ring’s latest and greatest video doorbell, and to be honest, it’s not a far cry from the Ring Video Doorbell 2. Its only differences are that unliked the Ring Video Doorbell 2, it must be hardwired, and it has activity zones. Of course, there’s a also a large price difference, as the Ring Video Doorbell Pro is $249 compared to the $169 price tag of the Ring Video Doorbell 2. It’s also just as easy as the Ring Video Doorbell 2 to set up. Granted, I cheated a little bit as I already had the chime installed from the Ring Video Doorbell 2, but even if I hadn’t, the process wouldn’t have taken more than half an hour.

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  • 1600p HD 
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  • Hardwired
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  • 1080p HD
  • No artificial intelligence features

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Ring vs. Nest Thermostats

The next thing I want to talk about is my smart thermostats, which let you change your home’s temperature remotely and using your voice alone. Aside from being convenient, smart thermostats can also help you to save on energy, be it gas or electric. In fact, most of them will pay for themselves within a couple years!

Note: Amazon doesn’t currently manufacture its own smart thermostat, so I decided to review the Ecobee4 instead.

Nest Thermostat E

Nest Thermostat E
Nest Thermostat E

Just how much can I save with a smart thermostat? Well, if you buy one from Nest, it’ll save you an average of ten to 12% on heating and as much as 15% on cooling, according to an independent study. A smart home device that actually saves me money? Sign me up!

The Nest Thermostat E will work with 85% of 24V systems and most likely will not require a C-wire. To change the temperature, you can either turn the rim and press down, use the Nest app, or command it with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. As Nest tends to do, the Nest Thermostat E also works with LIFX, Fitbit, MyQ, Wemo, Logitech, and more, so you can sync your connected devices with each other. I love to have my temperature go down as soon as my Logitech camera is armed, because it means that I’m not in the house. See, I’m saving money without doing anything at all!

Now, this Nest Thermostat E doesn’t just sense temperature. It can also sense humidity, ambient light, proximity to see if you’re home or not, and occupancy from motion.  That means that if it senses you’re in the room, it’ll turn to a comfortable temperature, and cool it down when you leave to save energy. You can also hook the Nest Thermostat E up to your phone’s GPS so it’ll automatically change on your location, a process called geofencing, or if you prefer, you can set your Nest Thermostat E on a schedule. You can also create scenes, groups of Nest thermostats all customized to your liking. For example, if you know your elderly Grandmother is coming over, you can have your thermostats set high to make her comfortable, without having to set each one individually.

Of course, you’ll use the same Nest app for your Nest Thermostat E, so it’s not the best choice for iPhone users. But at $169, the Nest Thermostat E is actually one of the more affordable smart thermostats I’ve reviewed, which usually clock in at about $200. I think it’s a great choice for Android users, whether you’re in the Google or Amazon ecosystems.

Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat
Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat is very similar to the Nest Thermostat E in terms of smart platform integrations and features. Of course, at $199 compared to $169, I’m hoping there’s a different to justify the price hike.

The big draw of the Nest Learning Thermostat is its, you guessed it, learning capabilities. After a few days of adjusting the Nest Learning Thermostat manually, it will learn your schedule so you never have to worry about it again. It can also tell you the temperature, weather, or time in digital or analog for a more classic look. And if something is wrong with your temperature, like your basement is so cold that your pipes could burst, you’ll be alerted via a mobile notification.

Now, unlike the Nest Thermostat E, the Nest Learning Thermostat requires a low voltage system. So if you have wired remote sensors, a high impedance system, or proprietary systems, this is not the smart thermostat for you.

Let’s talk installation. First of all, before installing any smart thermostat, turn off your power. Then, set up the wiring plate to cover the holes from the Honeywell control pad. Replace the wires with those of the Nest Learning Thermostat, and then go step-by-step in the Nest app for the rest of the installation process. Or if you’re more traditional, you can dial it in on the thermostat itself.

Ecobee4

ecobee4 on Wall
ecobee4 on Wall

While the Ecobee4 isn’t technically from Amazon, it will work with Amazon Alexa, along with Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, and more. Like the Nest thermostats, it can also sense humidity, proximity, occupancy, and ambient light. However, it does have a higher-rated app for iPhone, with a rating of 4.3. Don’t scoff at its Android app, either— it has a 3.6, still very decent. You can set your Ecobee4 on schedules, scenes, or geofencing on Android devices. At $195, it’s at an average price for smart thermostats, almost the exact same price as the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Setting up the Ecobee4 wasn’t too difficult, as long as the wires are properly placed. Otherwise, the process was super straight-forward and not difficult.

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  • Polished steel, brass, mirror black, stainless steel, white, black, copper
  • Integrated with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, etc. 
  • $249 

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Want to explore other options? Read about the best smart thermostats of 2019.

Smart Smoke and C.O Sensors

Finally, I installed a smoke and C.O monitor from Nest. By now, it should be pretty clear what the advantages of smart environmental monitoring are. Sure, it’s useful to have local alarms go off if your smoke/ C.O levels get too high, but what if you’re not home? Smoke alarms can also get pretty annoying, beeping loudly when their batteries are low and sometimes going off at a mere burnt toast. Well, Nest is changing that and here’s how.

Nest Protect

Nest Protect
Nest Protect

At about five inches across, the Nest Protect is available both battery-powered and hardwired, whichever you prefer. It has an 85-decibel siren built in, which is about as loud as a passing diesel truck or snow blower, and it’ll connect with the Nest app via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Aside from detecting smoke and carbon monoxide, Nest Protect can also detect slow-burning files, fast-burning fires, which are more common for homes, temperature, humidity, occupancy, and even ambient light. The detector will also test itself over 400 times a day to make sure its batteries and sensors are working, and once a month, it’ll test out your speakers. Of course, you’ll also be alerted when the batteries are low through the Nest app.

But that’s not the only way that the Nest Protect communicates with you. It also turns different colors to say different things. Green means that it’s all good, yellow means there’s been a bit of smoke detected but nothing serious, and red signifies an emergency. And if you’re walking around at night, Nest Protect will light up white, a feature called Pathlight. How chivalrous of it!

But I’m not done. Nest Protect will also speak, telling you what you need to know, but don’t worry— if you want to silence it, you can do so from the Nest app. Of course, it being a Nest product, it works with tons of connected devices from companies like LIFX, Philips Hue, SkyBell— the list continues.

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Nest Protect
Nest Protect
Nest Protect

The Nest Protect smoke and C.O detector will tell you when there's an emergency with spoken messages through Google Assistant. 

Apps

Behind every smart device is a mobile application. The two go hand in hand, like peanut butter and jelly. If you’re in the Google ecosystem, you’ll use one app, namely the Nest app. But if you use Amazon’s smart home products, you might have to use a few different apps for Ring, Blink, and the Amazon Cloud Cam. That’s clearly an advantage Google has over Amazon, but let’s check out the individual apps themselves.

The Nest App

nest-cam-iq-indoor-review
The Nest App

You’ll control all your Nest products from the Nest app. It’s here where you’ll livestream footage, adjust the temperature, view cloud storage for your video recordings, get alerted regarding your home’s security and environmental safety, arm and disarm your security system, and control any and all connected devices. While the app has a decent 3.8 rating from the Google Play store, iPhone users were not as thrilled, giving it a mere 2.1 out of five stars.

“One of the biggest shortcomings with this app is the inability to customize notifications. 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,”

wrote one iPhone user in a two-star review.

The Ring— Always Home App

The Ring— Always Home App
The Ring— Always Home App

The Ring— Always Home app is where you can see and speak to your visitors through your video doorbell and security cameras, arm and disarm your security system, get crime and safety alerts from your neighborhood, and receive notifications about your Ring products. The app has pretty good ratings, a 3.3 from both the Google Play store and Apple store.

The Blink Home Monitor App

blink-home-app-review
The Blink Home App

For your Blink products there’s the Blink Home Monitor app. Here, you’ll livestream footage, arm or disarm your cameras, create schedules, and of course, receive notifications. The app has nice ratings, a 3.7 from Android users and a 3.5 from iPhone users.

The Amazon Cloud Cam App

amazon-cloud-camera-app
Amazon Cloud Camera App

Finally, the Amazon Cloud Cam app is where you’ll livestream footage, receive notifications, speak through two-way audio, download or view old footage, and set your camera to home or away mode. Like I said before, this app has bad ratings from both the Apple and Google Play stores, a 2.7 and a 2.9, respectively. So that’s a pretty big drawback, if you’re into a good user experience.

Recap of Ring vs. Nest

That’s it for my comparison of Ring vs. Nest! I know this was a ton of information, so I want to recap the pros and cons of each device real quick.

Smart Home Platforms

Go with Google Home if you’d like…

  • Music from Google Play Music, Youtube Music, or iHeartRadio
  • Video services from Youtube, Netflix, HBO Now, and Amazon Prime, among others
  • Shopping with Google Express

Go Amazon Echo with if you’d like…

  • More skills available
  • Music from Amazon Music, Apple Music, along with Audible audiobooks
  • Video services from Prime Video, Vevo, etc.
  • Shopping on Amazon, of course!

Indoor Cameras

Go with the Amazon Cloud Cam if you’d like…

  • 24 hours of free cloud storage and more affordable options for seven, 14 or 30 days
  • Lower price for equipment at only $119.99

Go with the Nest Cam Indoor if you’d like…

  • Most affordable Nest indoor camera option at $199
  • integrations with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Philips Hue lightbulbs
  • Person detection free, facial recognition with Nest Aware

Go with the Nest Cam IQ Indoor if you’d like to add…

  • 12 times field of zoom
  • Best infrared light with 16 LED sensors

and don’t care about the expensive $299 price tag.

Outdoor Cameras

Go with the Nest Cam Outdoor if you’d like…

  • Less expensive Nest outdoor camera option at $199
  • integrations with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Philips Hue lightbulbs
  • Person detection free, facial recognition with Nest Aware

Go with the Ring Stickup Cam Wired if you’d like…

  • Widest field of view of 150 degrees
  • Affordable cloud and local storage

Go with the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor if you’d like…

  • Highest IP rating of 66
  • Largest temperature range of -40 to 133 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Video with 4K sensors, HDR, and intelligent imaging
  • Most zoom with 12 times
  • integrations with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Philips Hue lightbulbs
  • Person detection free, facial recognition with Nest Aware

However, it is the most expensive camera at $349.

Go with the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery if you’d like…

  • Spotlight
  • Wide field of view of 140 degrees
  • Affordable cloud and local storage

Go with the Blink XT2 if you’d like…

  • Most affordable option at $99.99
  • Amazon Alexa integration
  • High IP rating of 65

Security Systems

Go with Nest Secure if you’d like…

  • Better functionality and more features, especially for cameras and video doorbells
  • Integrations with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Yale, LIFX, Phillips Hue, etc.
  • Higher-rated app for Android

Go with Ring Alarm if you’d like…

  • More affordable equipment and professional monitoring costs
  • Integrations with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Higher-rated app for iPhones

Video Doorbells

Go with the Nest Hello if you’d like…

  • Best video quality of 1600 HD
  • Eight times field of zoom
  • Integrations with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Philips Hue lightbulbs
  • Person detection free, facial recognition with Nest Aware

Go with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro if you’d like…

  • Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integrations
  • Affordable local and cloud storage
  • Hardwired installation

Go with the Ring Video Doorbell 2 if you’d like…

  • Choice of battery or hardwired
  • Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integrations
  • Most affordable price at $169

Smart Thermostats

Go with the Nest Thermostat E if you’d like…

  • Rechargeable
  • Integrations with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, etc.
  • Superior Android app
  • Most affordable smart thermostat

Go with the Nest Learning Thermostat if you’d like…

  • Multiple color options
  • Rechargeable
  • Integrations with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, etc.
  • Farsight feature
  • Superior Android app

Go the Ecobee4 with if you’d like…

  • Touchscreen
  • Battery-operated
  • Integrations with Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, etc.
  • Highly-rated iPhone app

Smoke and CO Alarm

Go with the Nest Protect if you’d like…

  • 85-decibel siren
  • Options to power by battery or hardwire
  • Slow and fast-burning fire detection

I also urge you to check out Security Baron’s best of pages, or leave a comment or question below if you have one. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

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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