Nest Hello Review

A popular doorbell camera that offers advanced features like facial recognition

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Travis Goodreau https://www.safehome.org/security-advisors/travis-goodreau/
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It’s not by accident that Nest Hello is ranked our second favorite doorbell camera of the dozens we’ve tested. We enjoyed trying out this addition to the Google Nest lineup, and we think you will, too. This video doorbell comes with all the fixins, like smartphone controls, smart home integrations, and the option to upgrade to Nest Aware — a subscription that offers a futuristic facial recognition feature called Familiar Faces. In other words, Nest Hello is smart… like uber-smart.

But there are a few things you’ll want to consider before jumping on the Nest bandwagon. First, it’s a hardwired doorbell camera, so it does require that you have a doorbell already in place (it replaces your existing doorbell). Also, it’s not the cheapest video doorbell camera we’ve tested. But we’ve found that you typically get what you pay for when it comes to home security equipment. And we do think Nest Hello is worth every penny.

Don’t worry — we’re going to share the important things we learned about the Nest doorbell during our latest round of research and testing. So without further ado, let’s have a closer look to see if this popular doorbell cam is a good fit for your budget and lifestyle.

Pros and Cons

PROS
  • Sleek and modern design
  • Mobile app controls
  • Live video streaming
  • Color night vision
  • Crisp and clear 1080p HD resolution
  • Works with Google/Nest products
  • Optional facial recognition feature available
  • Geofencing available

CONS
  • Hardwired design, can be tricky to install
  • No free cloud storage, subscription required
  • Somewhat annoying chime connector
  • Best features require a Nest Aware subscription

Nest in a Nutshell

Nest Logo

Nest Logo

We’re constantly digging into Google Nest’s latest smart products and their home security equipment. But the company wasn’t always owned by Google. Back in 2010, Nest Labs was launched by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. The Nest Learning Thermostat, released in 2011, pretty much put the company on the map (and kept it there!). Over the years they added new smart home devices to the lineup. And in 2014, Google acquired Nest for $3.2 billion.1

It’s no secret that Google is a legitimate company with very (very) deep pockets for research and development. That’s one of our favorite things about this brand. We always expect innovative products with advanced features that make us feel like George Jetson.2 And we’re expecting nothing less from Google Nest in the years to come. So now that you know about the company, let’s have a closer look at the Nest video doorbell.

Did You Know: In a single year, Google spends upwards of $26 billion in R&D.3 That’s an unfathomable budget, and it’s nice to know that Nest gets a piece of the pie.

Nest Hello Costs & Fees

Nest Hello isn’t the cheapest doorbell out there. It costs $229 from the Google Store, with free shipping. The installation is DIY easy, but if you want a professional to do it, the price jumps to $329. Thankfully, there aren’t any hidden fees to worry about. The base price is slightly higher than our top-rated Ring Doorbell 2 ($199), and another favorite of ours called the SkyBell Trim Plus (also $199).

That said, we think Nest Hello really comes to life with a Nest Aware subscription. This optional plan costs anywhere from $5 to $30 per month, but gives you video storage and video history, along with cutting-edge features like the facial recognition we mentioned. In our experience, Nest Aware gives the Hello doorbell cam superpowers that puts even Ring to shame. Here’s a breakdown of Nest Aware pricing and features.

Nest Aware Subscription Comparison

5-Day10-Day30-Day
Video History5-Days10-Days30-Days
24/7 Continuous Recording
Smart Alerts
Video Clips & Timelapses
Activity Zones
Price$5 per month or
$50 per year
$10 per month or
$100 per year
$30 per month or
$300 per year

You’ll notice that the features are the same across all three plans. The only real difference is the video history. We’d recommend going with the 5- or 10-day plan, which is plenty of video history in our opinion. And you can save $10-$60 if you pay annually, which is nice.

Pro Tip: A Nest Aware subscription is totally optional. In fact, Nest Hello comes with free 3-hour history, which still gives you live-streaming and lets you look back at the last three hours of video history. So we recommend only upgrading to a paid plan if you feel you need it.

Finally, another cost consideration is upgrades and add-ons. If you didn’t know, Google Nest offers loads of devices that work with Nest Hello doorbell. You can get everything from the Google Hub, to the Nest x Yale Lock, Nest Cam IQ, and more. But these upgrades can rack up quite the tab, so go easy at first. Don’t worry, we’ll discuss your upgrade options in full detail in just a bit.

Our Nest Hello Experience

Nest Hello Video Doorbell

Nest Hello Video Doorbell

Starting Out

Nest Hello is easy to order directly in the Google Store.4 Since they only sell one doorbell, you should have no problem finding what you’re looking for and checking out. If you opt for the Nest Aware plan, we recommend taking advantage of the free 30-day trial (what’s better than free?). Just remember to cancel at the end of the month if you decide you don’t want it.

And again, the professional installation costs $99, which you can select during checkout. And that’s it! Your Nest Hello video doorbell will be heading your way.

Installing Nest Hello

Note that the Nest doorbell requires hardwired installation, just like the Ring Video Doorbell Pro and SkyBell video doorbells. It might sound intimidating, having to expose wires and all — but it’s not like you’re diffusing a bomb here. In our experience, installation only took about 10 minutes from start to finish, and all you need is a screwdriver.

Nest Hello App Setup

Nest Hello App Setup

Just remember that you do need an existing doorbell for Nest Hello to work. Unlike wireless, battery-powered doorbell cameras, hardwired doorbell cams need wiring to connect to. Of course, if you don’t have an existing doorbell, you theoretically could wire up your entryway to accommodate Nest Hello, but that’s a whole lot of work.

FYI: If your entryway is not wired for a doorbell, we recommend checking out this guide to find a top-ranked wireless option.

Another thing to consider is Nest’s (pretty unusual) chime connector. For some reason, this little doo-hicky is required, as it supposedly helps with electrical shorting and power management. Thankfully it comes in the box, and it only takes a minute to connect it to your existing chime inside your home. We’ve seen this type of thing before — for instance, there’s the Ring Diode. But in our experience, this is normally an optional hookup and not required.

Everyday Use

We have to say that Nest Hello is one of the smartest home security devices we’ve had our hands-on. We found the Nest app to be very intuitive and easy to use. Much like other video doorbell cameras, we could access and control our entryway video using our smartphone (which never gets old).

Within the Nest app, you can get instant alerts, view live footage, and set custom chimes using Nest’s built-in Google Assistant. For instance, we set up our Nest Cam IQ indoor camera as an additional chime — which gave us helpful voice notifications whenever someone came to the front door. If you have the budget for Nest’s gizmos and gadgets, we think you’ll really like this.

Of course, there’s no sense in having a video doorbell camera if you can’t see who’s at your door. Is it the FedEx driver or your next-door neighbor… or is it a porch pirate! You’d be surprised at the crisp, clear detail today’s top doorbell cameras offer. And Nest is no different. We enjoyed 1080p HD resolution, which is the gold standard these days, as well as night vision, 160° field of view, and a pretty sleek facial recognition feature.

Now about that facial recognition feature, Familiar Faces. Your Nest Hello can tap into this futuristic AI feature, but only if you get a Nest Aware subscription. Although the technology isn’t 100% accurate, we were quite impressed with its ability to identify family and friends as they approached our door: “Andy… is at the front door.” We think it’s worth it for a few bucks each month. Again, the least expensive lower-tier plan ($5 per month) will serve you well.

FYI: At first, you’ll have to manually match names to faces within the face-scanning database. But the built-in artificial intelligence will soon pick up on who’s who.

Finally, Nest works well with Google Home smart automation to give you a connected home. You can integrate all sorts of intelligent devices into your system — but trust us, this can add up quickly. So we recommend that you take it slow and build out a smart home ecosystem over time. Slow and steady wins the race.

Customer Service Experience

Google Nest’s customer service is good, but it’s not great. They currently hold an A- rating with the BBB,5 which is nothing to sneeze at. But in our research, we came across a few negative user reviews that complained of connectivity issues and trouble with installation. Fortunately, we didn’t have any problems getting in touch with Nest’s support team and receiving the help we needed.

Note that Nest also has a good amount of troubleshooting guides on their website. And they have some nifty order-tracking technology, too. So while Nest Hello doesn’t quite measure up to, say, Frontpoint’s award-winning customer service, we don’t foresee tech support or customer service ever becoming a sore spot for you.

Nest Hello Features & Technology

In our experience, the Nest video doorbell camera offers some great features and functionality out-of-the-box. From the inside out, it gave us complete entryway protection, solid connectivity, and a pretty darn handsome device. In fact, we’d say that Nest Hello is giving Ring Doorbell a run for its money (well, at least it’s not choking on Ring’s dust).

Nest App

Nest App

Here are a few key features that we think you’ll like about the Nest Hello cam:

HD Video Quality

Get crisp and clear video quality with 1080p HD resolution, night vision, 160-degree field of view, and 4:3 video that lets you see a person from head to toe.

Smartphone Controls

Using the Nest mobile app, you can receive instant activity alerts when a package hits your doorstep, view live footage of your entryway, and generally keep a finger on the pulse of your home.

Nest App Settings

Nest App Settings

Pre-recorded Responses

Nest Hello offers prerecorded quick responses, allowing you to leave a message for friends, family, and service providers. Now you can communicate with delivery drivers who are dropping off the goods.

Facial Recognition

Available with Nest Aware, the AI feature called ‘Familiar Faces’ can detect and alert you to familiar faces approaching your door. When connected to the Google Hub, you’ll get helpful voice and video notifications.

Nest Aware

With a paid Nest Aware subscription (starting at $5 per month), you can get continuous recording, video history, and the Familiar Faces feature, too. We think it’s worth it and even necessary to get the most out of Nest Hello.

Smart Home Integrations

Nest doorbell plays extremely well with Nest Secure, Nest Home devices, and everything in the Google Home lineup. If you’re into home automation, we think you’ll like Nest Hello.

Upgrades and Add-Ons

We think Nest excels when it comes to add-ons and upgrades. But keep in mind that Nest doesn’t exactly play well with others. We see Google trending toward exclusivity, and not allowing third-party product integrations. When you’re a company as big as Google, you can get away with that sort of thing. At any rate, since there are so many great options in the Google Store, here’s a handful that you might like.

Breakdown of Nest Hello Add-Ons

CategoryPrice
Google HomeSmart Home$99
Google Home MiniSmart Home$29
Nest HubSmart Home$89
Nest Protect Smoke & CO AlarmSafety & Security$119
Nest Secure Alarm SystemSafety & Security$399
Nest x Yale LockSafety & Security$279
Nest Cam IQ IndoorCamera$299
Nest Cam IQ OutdoorCamera$399
Nest Learning ThermostatThermostat$249
Nest Thermostat EThermostat$169
Nest Hub + Nest Hello

Nest Hub + Nest Hello

Our Recommendations

After testing Nest Hello, we can say it’s definitely capable of securing your front door and adding a touch of convenience to your life. The ease of use and overall durability of the Nest Hello doorbell cam makes it a good deal in our book. It’s designed to be smart and intuitive, with advanced features we typically don’t see (like facial recognition) in other video doorbells. The video quality is clear, and you can remotely monitor your front door using your smartphone and the Nest app.

But we did have a few (albeit minor) gripes about Nest Hello. First, it’s a hardwired system, so the DIY installation is a bit more involved than wireless doorbells. Also, we think there’s some room for improvement in the customer service department. Finally, to really get the most out of it (video history, continuous recording, and advanced features), you’ll have to get a Nest Aware subscription, which will add another line item to your monthly budget.

Did You Know: We’ve recently heard that the Nest Aware subscription is about to get cheaper. You’ll be able to cover unlimited cameras (including Nest Hello) and get 30 days of video history for only $6 per month.6

Overall, we do think Nest Hello is a great buy, but it’s not the best buy. Ring doorbell still occupies the throne for our top-rated video doorbell. But Nest Hello is nipping at the heels of Ring, and could very well overtake them soon. When the dust settles, we think Nest Hello is up there with the best doorbell cameras we’ve seen and tested.

Nest Hello FAQs

Does Nest Hello require a contract?

No, there are no required contracts with the Nest Hello doorbell camera.

Is the video doorbell wireless or hardwired?

Nest Hello is hardwired, and it replaces your current doorbell.

How is the video quality?

We thought the video quality was top-notch at 1080p HD resolution, night vision, and 160-degree field of view.

Does Nest Hello require a Nest Aware subscription?

No, you can use the Nest doorbell without a subscription, but you won’t have access to (much) video history, continuous recording, or facial recognition.

Is there free video history?

Yes, every Nest doorbell comes with 3 hour video history, allowing you to see what happened at your doorstep.

Citations
SafeHome only uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Google Nest. (2020, MArch 16). Wikipedia. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Nest

  2. Smithsonian Magazine. Novak, M. (2012, September 19). 50 Years of the Jetsons: Why The Show Still Matters.
    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/50-years-of-the-jetsons-why-the-show-still-matters-43459669/

  3. Statista: Google R&D Budget. Clement, J. (2020, Feb. 5). Annual research and development expenditure of Alphabet from 2013 to 2019.
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/507858/alphabet-google-rd-costs/

  4. Store.Google.com. (2020). Google Store for Google Made Devices and Accessories.
    https://store.google.com/us/

  5. Google Nest: Better Business Bureau® Profile. (2020, May 15). BBB.
    https://www.bbb.org/us/ca/mountain-view/profile/internet-service/google-llc-1216-214105

  6. TheVerge.com. Porter, J. (2020, May 12). Google’s Nest Aware revamp is here to simplify your subscription.
    https://www.theverge.com/2020/5/12/21255962/google-nest-aware-subscription-model-change-single-fee-all-devices-event-recording

Reviewed By
Travis Goodreau
Safety and Security Advisor
Travis is a retired Burglary Detective, having tallied 5,000+ burglary and theft cases throughout his career. He also served as an Arson Investigator, where he cracked the case of a serial arsonist, and made the arrest and prosecuted the would-be bomber of ABC-7 Studio in LA. We couldn’t be happier to have him as a Safety and Security Advisor. Learn more about Travis here
Written By
Andrew Garcia
Lead Security Editor
As Lead Security Editor, Andrew strategically guides SafeHome and the resources we publish. He holds a BA in business, and has 10+ years of experience in content development. Today, Andrew edits and publishes articles, guides, and other resources to meet our rigorous standards. Learn more about Andrew here