Google Nest doorbell (battery)
RRP $ 180.00
“The Google Nest Doorbell (battery) is intelligent and elegantly designed and offers the complete package.”
Beautiful minimalist design
Doesn’t require a subscription to video history
Useful quick answers
Fine video details are on the soft side
Inconsistent capture rates
It’s been a long time since I last checked a video doorbell – six years to be precise. Since that 2015 review of the Ring Video Doorbell, we’ve seen tons of video doorbells spanning the full spectrum with premium features like radar technology and intelligent detection. While I’ve never seen Nest Hello, it’s one of the most popular video doorbells around – which rivals Ring in this space.
Three years after its publication, we finally have a real successor with the Google Nest Doorbell, which is mainly characterized by the fact that it is battery-operated – in contrast to its predecessor. There’s a lot more to like about this one, but with Google in charge this time around, it will be interesting to see how its experience differs from its predecessor and if it improves on the competition.
Setup and installation
It’s obvious that simplicity is at the heart of the Google Nest Doorbell. While you have the option of plugging it into your existing doorbell port, which takes a few steps and may require a professional if you’re not sure how to do it yourself, setting it up as a wireless, battery-powered doorbell is a breeze. All you have to do is screw the mounting plate to a surface, then slide the doorbell into position – it’s that simple.
John Velasco / Digital Trends
I attached the mounting plate to a wooden panel on the outside of my front door, which is a bit easier than installing it on a brick surface, for example. If you are concerned about it being stolen, know that it will take quite a bit of force to get it out of position. I tried to pull it out with my own hands and it didn’t move. To remove it when it needs to be charged, you will need to use the unlocking tool that came with it. The only problem here is that I can totally imagine losing the release tool, so you should keep it in a safe place.
Note that you won’t be using the original Nest app to complete setup. Instead, everything is done through the Google Home app. After scanning a QR code and going through a few menus, the Google Nest Doorbell was up and running in less than 10 minutes.
If you liked the original Nest Hello design, you’ll be amazed what Google did with the new design. The Nest Doorbell is made from 46% recycled plastic and has a minimalist design that looks absolutely beautiful. Don’t be fooled by the plastic, because the matte surface ensures that it stays clean and smudge-proof.
John Velasco / Digital Trends
Best of all, it doesn’t have the purposeful design of other doorbells. The Nest Doorbell is simply one of Google’s best designs of all time – and that says a lot!
Google has proven that specifications shouldn’t have that much weight in the overall system. For example, just look at the Pixel 4a and 5a, two smartphones that do a lot but are not overloaded. Yes, there’s no denying that the Nest Doorbell’s specs don’t come close to the original Nest Hello, but it doesn’t have to be because it’s smarter.
The Nest Doorbell is one of Google’s best designs of all time.
Let’s get the specs out of the way. There is a 1.3 megapixel – inch sensor with a diagonal field of view of 145 degrees that records video with a resolution of 960 x 1280 pixels. It’s an odd aspect ratio for sure, but the Nest Doorbell’s camera can see the floor below it about a few feet away. This is important because it can recognize when parcels are being dropped off right on the doorstep.
In terms of performance, the Nest Doorbell delivers decent-looking clips that use HDR video to compensate for the exposure of the scene. Highlights are dimmed while shadows are increased to bring out details that would otherwise be lost. There are some artifact elements that showed up the first time you accessed a livestream, but they quickly disappeared after 10 seconds.
Fine details are softer, but I can still see most of the things in the landscape. Oddly enough, the recording rate varies widely from a choppy 9.11 frames per second (fps) all the way up to 31.77 fps. In one case it recorded at 9 fps when it was sunny and clear outside – so who knows why this is happening. Fortunately, night vision is sharp and clear.
Doorbells have two main purposes: They keep an eye on who / what is on the doorstep and keep track of what is happening. In my experience so far, the Nest Doorbell excels in both. It was almost perfect at recognizing people, packages and movement and sending notifications on my smartphone. Small details like the LED ring around the doorbell, which lights up when someone approaches, shows how intelligently they perceive their surroundings.
If you’re a die-hard Google Assistant user, you’ll love how deeply embedded they’re into the Google ecosystem. For example, when someone rings the doorbell, not only do I get a notification on my phone, but I also see a live stream on my Google Nest Hub Max smart display showing me who is there.
There are also the Quick Responses to choose from, which come in handy when I’m in a meeting or otherwise busy and can’t open the door. While there are only three to choose from at the moment, I appreciate the usefulness of this feature. And when you end up answering the doorbell, the internal microphone ensures that voices can be heard, while the internal speaker provides enough volume and clarity for people to hear my voice.
John Velasco / Digital Trends
Another major selling point about the Nest Doorbell is that it comes with three hours of free event video. This is noteworthy as you would normally have to subscribe to a service in order to receive any type of video storage – so there is great immediate value to this offering. Subscribing to Nest Aware extends your video history to 30 days and offers additional security features such as access to emergency services.
Initially, I had the Google Nest Doorbell set to detect any movement, which can obviously drain the battery faster. However, I disabled it and just set it to monitor people and packages. After almost a week of use, the battery life remains constant at 70%. When you do the bill, it needs to be topped up sometime long before the month is up. Changing the detection settings will hopefully produce better results in the coming weeks.
With a sticker price of $ 180, the Google Nest Doorbell (battery) competes in a crowded room. No, it’s not the most feature-rich or spec-rich video doorbell, but it works just fine as a smart doorbell. Google designed a beautiful doorbell with the intelligence to keep me updated on what’s happening at the front door.
Is there a better alternative?
Alexa users will want to look elsewhere as the Google Nest Doorbell is only compatible with the Google Assistant ecosystem. The Ring Video Doorbell (2nd generation) is an excellent solution for Alexa users and undercuts the Nest Doorbell in the price department.
For those looking for a more advanced video doorbell, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 with radar technology with 3D motion detection technology can show you where someone is on your property.
How long it will take?
The Google Nest Doorbell (battery) has a sturdy construction that feels like it can withstand the elements. Its IP54 rating ensures it can withstand extreme temperatures from -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 F. There’s a one-year limited warranty that’s included to cover any defects.
Should you buy it?
Yes sir. It combines beauty and practicality in one package, giving you the peace of mind that it will work whether you are there or not.