Where Ring has a range of more than half a dozen smart doorbells, Nest has kept things simple with just one. And that’s been the case since 2018 when it launched the Hello. It’s a great doorbell, but now the Google-owned brand has a new model: the Nest Doorbell.
Again, it’s keeping things simple: one model, one price.
Instead of offering battery-only or wired-only devices, the Doorbell can run from battery power or be connected up to a power supply, so it’s easy to install.
It can store three hours of video, which could translate to several weeks’ worth of events (as video is only recorded when important motion is detected or someone rings the doorbell). That’s handy if your internet connection goes down.
A more powerful processor means it can detect people, packages, animals and vehicles without sending video over your internet connection to be processed by Google’s servers. This means you get notifications faster
Plus, you can set up activity zones to monitor only the areas you’re interested in, and ignore what happens in others.
Best of all, it can do all this without a Nest Aware subscription.
Nest Doorbell release date
The Nest Doorbell is available to buy from 24 August in both the US and UK, but you can pre-order one immediately from Google’s online store.
Nest Doorbell price & availability
In the UK, the Doorbell costs £179.99 and you can buy it from Google directly as well as from John Lewis, Currys, Argos and other retailers.
For those in the US, it’s $179.99 from Google, and will also be available from other retailers.
Nest Doorbell features & specs
It has a new, taller design and comes in one colour: Snow. That’s in the UK, anyway. In the US, you get to choose between Ash, Linen, Sage and Snow.
The button isn’t immediately obvious on the Snow version, but an LED ring lights up around it when it detects someone approaching.
Like the original, it records video in HDR but now in a 3:4 format instead of 4:3. That means you’ll see more of a person when they’re standing in front of the camera and, theoretically, any packages they leave on your doorstep.
Google says parcels left just 8 inches (20cm) from your door will be visible.
Better motion detection
The Nest Doorbell’s processor is more powerful than the original Hello’s and this allows it to more accurately detect motion that you’ll want to know about and ignore the stuff you don’t.
This was an issue with the Hello, which would often alert you, but the video clip you’d see wouldn’t contain anything useful.
Even without a Nest Aware subscription, the Nest Doorbell can notify you when people, parcels, animals and / or vehicles are seen, and you can choose which of those you want alerts for. You’ll still need to pay for Aware if you want face detection and cloud storage for 10 or 30 days, though.
Google says it ‘trained’ the Doorbell to detect what’s what using over 40 million images, 25 million of which were computer generated in a 3D game engine. This means it can tell a cat from a dog but, more importantly, understand when a van pulls up, the driver gets out and leaves a package for you.
There’s enough on-board storage to record three hours of video. This could well be enough for a few days’ worth of clips, meaning there’s a real possibility you can avoid paying for Google’s Nest Aware cloud storage.
The built-in battery works as a backup when you run the Doorbell from mains power. If there’s a power cut (which also takes your Wi-Fi out) the battery allows it to continue working and record up to one hour of clips.
Google Home app
Like the new Nest Cam models (shown below), the Nest Doorbell is designed to work with the Google Home app, not the Nest app.
It offers similar features. Sightline 2.0 is an improved version of the timeline that offers various ways to see what happened, including the ability to filter events by type and by date.
You can use the app to talk to someone at the door and it’s possible to use pre-recorded responses (just like Quick Replies which Ring just announced) to give visitors a quick heads-up when you can’t answer the door.
When you’re using the Doorbell on battery power, the app can give you an estimate of how long it will be until you need to recharge it, but you can also ask the Google Assistant (on your phone or a compatible device) to give you this information.
We’ll review it soon, but if you want to buy right now, here are the best smart doorbells.