Nest Doorbell Review 2023

The follow-up to the Nest Hello Doorbell gets almost everything right. Almost everything.

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SecureScore™: 8.9 / 10 This rating is derived from our editorial team's research, hands-on product testing, and customer surveys.
Derek Prall https://www.safehome.org/author/derek-prall/
8.9 SecureScore™
Customer Service
8.4
Value
8.0
Equipment
9.5
Features & Technology
9.3
Ease Of Use
9.4
SecureScore™
8.9

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Google Nest Doorbell

The Google Nest Doorbell

No discussion of home security or home automation is really complete without talking about Google Nest. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do today.

Before we get going though, I should point out that Google has recently streamlined, reworked, and rebranded its offerings in the past couple of years. The Google Nest Cam IQ is no more, giving way to an indoor/outdoor Google Cam, and the Nest Hello doorbell dropped the “Hello” and now comes in a hardwired or battery-operated version of the more elegantly designed Nest Doorbell.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking to comparison shop, be sure to check out our review of the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell as well. It’s a little cheaper than the Nest Doorbell and offers many of the same features.

Now the Nest Hello was a fine product. I really appreciated its advanced features, great two-way audio, facial recognition, and package detection. It was small, easy to install, and really well designed. The new Nest Doorbell has some pretty big shoes to fill.

How exactly does the Nest Doorbell compare to its predecessor? We’ll unpack all of that here, but first, let’s take a look at some pros and cons.

Now that we know a little of the good and a little of the not-so-good, let’s jump in.

PROS
  • Plenty of features
  • Simple set up and installation
  • Great UI in app
  • Exceptional design
  • Long battery life

CONS
  • Somewhat pricey
  • No color night vision
  • Resolution just average

Nest Doorbell: First Impressions

I always get excited when I’m reviewing Nest products. They’re thoughtfully designed and incredibly easy to work with, so I know I’m not getting into a headache-inducing bout with a piece of unresponsive, uncooperative equipment. And the Nest Doorbell was no exception to this rule.

Everything from the Nest Doorbell box

Everything from the Nest Doorbell box

Everything is packaged in a way that makes sense, and even if you’ve never worked with a video doorbell before, you can probably guess how the installation process is going to go just from what’s included in the box. More on that in a minute.

I really appreciated the design of the unit itself. It’s sleek and rounded and, in my honest opinion, a lot nicer looking than some of the boxier options that we saw in our review of Ring’s Video Doorbell. I also really appreciated that it comes in a variety of colors, including:

  • Snow
  • Ash
  • Linin
  • Ivy

I went with Ash since I thought it would match my trim the best, but all of the available colors are matte-finish plastic with minimal branding. Excellent job there, Google.

Pro Tip: Also included in the box is a sticker to let folks know you’re recording. In some states it’s illegal to record audio without the consent of the other party, so make sure you understand your state’s laws before you set your doorbell up.

I also really appreciated that each of these units is constructed using 43 percent recycled materials. E-waste is a huge problem, and it’s nice to see a company that’s trying to take some responsibility in that regard.

Let me step down off my soapbox to get this Nest Doorbell installed and running.

Nest Doorbell: Installation

First things first, you’re going to need to plug the unit into the wall or into a computer or tablet since Google doesn’t provide you with an adapter. Since the version of the Nest Hello I tested was battery-operated, it needed to charge for about five hours to reach capacity, but I always recommend letting your battery-powered security equipment charge overnight just to be sure.

Once it was all charged up, it was time to set things up through the app. I’ve tested plenty of Google products before, so I already had Google Home on my phone. If you don’t, it’s simple enough to download. Just make sure you have a Google account before you start down this road.

The Nest Doorbell is easy to set up in the Google Home app.

The Nest Doorbell is easy to set up in the Google Home app.

After that, I scanned the QR code on the back of the device, clicked a few “I agrees,” and before I knew it, the firmware was downloading and the camera was initializing. Really, it couldn’t be easier to set up Google products. It’s almost refreshing.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have one, you’re going to want to invest in a decent drill. Using a manual screwdriver to install a Nest Doorbell isn’t impossible, but it won’t be easy.

After maybe five minutes or so, everything was ready to go. The app let me watch a video that described how to install the doorbell and how to best optimize the camera’s positioning. It’s designed to work best about four feet off the ground and includes a 20-degree wedge you can use to make sure its camera is pointing in the right direction. That and the mounting bracket are easy enough to install. Just use the brackets as templates, mark where the screws need to go, drill your pilot holes, and screw the bracket and wedge (if you need it) into your door frame. The doorbell then snaps into the bracket. All said and done, it shouldn’t take you more than half an hour from unboxing to ding-dong.

Nest Doorbell: Day-to-Day Use

Overall, I was really happy with the performance of the Nest Doorbell. It was reliable, all of its functions worked as they should, and I never felt like I was missing important activity. Let’s talk specifics, though.

Image Quality

The Google Nest Doorbell’s resolution is 960 x 1280 pixels, and it records up to 30 frames per second. If that doesn’t mean much to you, the long and short of it is this: The image quality is good, verging on great. It’s not the best I’ve ever seen, but it certainly gets the job done and then some.

The Nest Doorbell's image quality is fairly solid.

The Nest Doorbell’s image quality is fairly solid.

Another thing to point out about the image quality: The Nest Doorbell has a 145-degree diagonal view. What does this mean, exactly? It means it sees “tall” rather than “wide.” While that might not sound important, it really is when you consider how video doorbells, especially those with package detection, are used. You want to be able to see as much of the ground beneath the camera as you can, as that’s where packages are placed.

Two-Way Audio

One of the great things about video doorbells — good ones, anyway — is that you can use them to talk to whoever turns up at your door without having to physically be there. They’re great for safety, and great for introverts like me. No, I don’t want to hear about your special offer, thank you.

The Nest Doorbell installed

The Nest Doorbell installed

Two-way audio functionality really works only if two things are working in tandem: low latency and high-quality speakers. The Nest Doorbell, I found, has both. While it wasn’t exactly like speaking with someone face-to-face, it was close enough to be really functional.

Pro Tip: You don’t want to be standing too close to the doorbell if you’re going to use the talk function. If you are, it’ll echo and you’ll get feedback, which is unpleasant for you and the person you’re trying to talk to.

There is one drawback. The Nest Doorbell also has “quick responses” that you can use if you don’t want to talk directly to the person standing at your door. These include options like “We’ll be right there” and “No one can come to the door.” I found, though, that these quick responses were anything but. It took five or six seconds from the time the response was selected for it to play through the speaker. Again, not a deal-breaker, but something to point out.

Alerts

Another great thing about the Nest Doorbell is the ability to tailor how sensitive it is to your needs. You can switch alerts on and off for passing cars, animals, and all motion. One of the most annoying things about setting up a new piece of smart security equipment is going through the mountain of alerts it starts giving you and trying to lower sensitivity levels. With the Nest Doorbell, it comes pretty much calibrated right out of the box.

Reliability

Finally, I did want to mention the Nest Doorbell’s reliability. At no point during the testing period did I feel like I was missing anything. Everything worked exactly as expected, and there were no major service interruptions. Fully charged, the doorbell will run for about two-and-a-half months, and if your Wi-Fi goes out, it will record to onboard storage for up to an hour. Rock-solid performance.

But that’s just the day-to-day functionality. Now let’s get into the more fun stuff.

Nest Doorbell: Advanced Features

Google packs its products with some pretty high-tech features. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones for the Nest Doorbell now.

Familiar Faces

One of my favorite features in the Nest suite of products is the Familiar Faces function. As the name implies, when this feature is active, your Nest Doorbell will recognize certain people and alert you if they’re seen. The first time the doorbell notices a new person, it will ask if you know them. If you do, you can enter their name. Google then remembers them and will tell you when they’re around. It works very well, and it’s extremely reliable. At night, it can be a little finicky, but for the most part, it never misses.

Package Detection

Who doesn’t love getting something in the mail? I certainly do. What I don’t love is when I don’t know that my package has shown up and it gets rained on or grows legs and walks off. With the Nest Doorbell’s package detection system, that won’t happen. Its AI tools recognize boxes and will alert you immediately when they show up on your porch. And with the long field of vision, there aren’t a whole lot of blind spots like I saw with this doorbell’s predecessor, the Nest Hello.

The Nest Doorbell’s package detection

The Nest Doorbell’s package detection

Activity Zones

Like I said above, the Nest Doorbell’s sensitivity is pretty well dialed in right off the bat, but if you’re still running into problems with unwanted alerts — maybe you live on a busy street or in a ground-floor apartment — you can set up activity zones to exclude certain motion.

The Nest Doorbell's activity zone

The Nest Doorbell’s activity zone

Just drag the points to where you want the doorbell to pay attention. That should cut down on the noise. If not, you might consider adjusting your settings or maybe repositioning the doorbell itself.

So that’s about it for daytime operations. Let’s talk briefly about how the Nest Doorbell performs at night.

Nest Doorbell: After Dark

Similar to what I saw when I reviewed the Google Nest Cam, the Nest Doorbell uses traditional IR night vision, meaning that once the sun goes down, things switch over to black and white (which isn’t really my favorite). For the price, I’d expect color night vision. It’s not a total deal breaker, but you might miss important details once your color drops out.

Nest Doorbell’s night vision

Nest Doorbell’s night vision

As far as the reliability and visibility, things were great. The picture was still very crisp, and for the most part, all of the AI tools like package detection and facial recognition still reliably worked. I just wish it was in color!

And speaking of enhancements to the Nest Doorbell, let’s talk about Google’s subscription service — specifically, whether or not it’s worth it.

Nest Aware: Do You Need It?

There are two main reasons to get a Nest Aware subscription: if you want to record and store more video, or if you want to take advantage of the advanced features mentioned above. Without a subscription, your Nest Doorbell is going to store up to three hours of recordings on its own, and Familiar Faces won’t work. To help you determine if you need Nest Aware, here’s a quick breakdown.

Nest Aware Price Structure

Feature Nest Aware Nest Aware Plus
Event video history 30 days 60 days
24/7 video history No Up to 10 days
Intelligent alerts Yes Yes
e911 Yes Yes
Number of devices All in home All in home
Price $6 per month, $60 per year $12 per month, $120 per year

For the price, we think the features are worth it. You’ll be getting the most out of your camera, but it is important to consider the monthly or annual cost when you’re considering which security system to go with. And speaking of price …

Nest Pricing Structure: How Much Is the Equipment?

When you’re thinking about purchasing a home security system, you have to think about things comprehensively. Security is iterative, and one piece of equipment builds off of the next until you have a complete security posture. More simply — in Yoda-speak, a video doorbell alone does not a complete home security system make.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a quick look at Google Nest’s prices.

Nest Product Snapshot

Product Equipment Type Price
Nest Doorbell Video doorbell $179.99
Nest Cam (Battery) Indoor/outdoor battery-operated camera $179.99
Nest Cam (Wired) Indoor camera $79.99
Nest Cam with Floodlight Outdoor camera with motion-activated floodlight $279.99
Nest Protect Smoke and CO alarm $119.99
Nest Thermostat Thermostat $129.99

We have more information on this in our guide to Nest’s pricing and costs, but as you can see, these pieces of equipment aren’t exactly cheap. So considering that, let’s answer the most pressing question.

Nest Doorbell: Is It Your Best Option?

There are plenty of video doorbells on the market today: some great, some good, and some you shouldn’t even bother with. Where does the Nest Doorbell fit on this spectrum? I’d argue somewhere between good and great.

The Nest Video Doorbell's profile

The Nest Video Doorbell’s profile

The Nest Doorbell is well designed, reliable, and easy to use. It’s got advanced functionality that feels more meaningful than gimmicky, and I could easily see myself using this product long term. It does have a few drawbacks — namely, its lack of color night vision and a few latency issues — but overall this is a really strong offering by Google in this space.

Is it worth almost $180, though? I can’t decide that for you, but I will say I wouldn’t feel ripped off at that price point. Do I wish it was a little cheaper? Sure, but I could say that about a lot of things. Should you check out your options before pulling the trigger? Absolutely. So head over to our list of the best video doorbells. There, you can compare some of the top names in the industry to find what’s right for you, your family, and your budget.

Nest Doorbell FAQs

How much is the Nest Doorbell?

A Nest Doorbell typically costs $179.99, but Google often runs sales and deals on these products.

Is the Nest Doorbell good?

While it is a little pricey, the Nest Doorbell is among some of the best in the industry. Its robust design and full suite of AI features make it one of the most functional pieces of equipment available.

Do you need a subscription with the Nest Doorbell?

While it’s not required for the Nest Doorbell to function, a Nest Aware subscription will allow you to record longer and take advantage of some of the doorbell’s more advanced features.

How big is the Nest Doorbell?

The Nest Doorbell is 6.3 inches tall and 1.8 inches wide. Generally speaking, it’s an average-sized video doorbell.

Do I have to hardwire a Nest Doorbell?

There is a hardwired Nest Doorbell option, but Google offers a battery-operated version as well. This review was on the Nest Doorbell (battery).

Author  Image
Written By
Derek Prall
VPN & Identity Theft Expert

With a decade of experience as a journalist, Derek Prall has been covering cybersecurity for seven years. He has spent more than 1,000 hours researching digital privacy and has covered almost 100 topics related to VPN and identity theft protection. Previously, Derek has covered tech issues at American City & County magazine, where he won numerous national awards for his cybersecurity coverage. His areas of expertise included network security, big data analytics, and AI applications in public safety. Derek graduated with dual bachelor’s degrees in English and Communications from Furman University and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and two cats.

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