Checking the Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) This article contains affiliate links, we may receive a commission on all sales we generate from it. Learn more
We’ve always been big fans of Google’s Nest home devices – with a reliable Hello Doorbell guarding the front of our house for the past few years. The Nest gadgets provide a great security solution thanks to the high quality video that lurks outside every day and night. Plus, they also offer you a helping hand when you’re not home thanks to the two-way microphone you can use to speak to delivery agents and the endless stream of double-glazed salespeople.
The Nest Doorbell is a great device, but it always had one problem – it needs to be plugged in to work.
Unless you’re a DIY god, it means you’ll need some installation help to get the power cord to the outside of your front door, which can make this device quite expensive. The camera itself costs £ 229 and you can expect at least £ 100 more to have someone fit it into your home.
This is a big reason why many people are choosing other devices like Amazon’s popular ring camera because they use a rechargeable battery that makes it easy to attach.
Clearly aware that it was losing ground to its competitors, Google is now trying to fix that problem with the introduction of its new Nest Doorbell (battery). As the name suggests, this camera doesn’t require a wired connection so you can easily screw it to your front door no matter how poor your DIY skills are. So is it good? Express.co.uk put it to the test and here is our full review.
The new Google Nest Doorbell is very easy to install
If putting up a shelf or hanging a picture is chilling down your spine, don’t worry. Google’s new Nest Doorbell (battery) is incredibly easy to install and can be attached to the front of your house without expensive tools or DIY studies. The first thing you have to do is connect this new camera to your phone with a simple scan of the QR code, which makes this process very easy.
Once your doorbell is connected to your iPhone or Android device over your home Wi-Fi network, you’ll need to screw it to your home, which we found pretty easy. If you’re struggling, Google even provided video tutorials to walk you through each step of the process.
It’s a big difference from the wired doorbell, which requires cables to be pulled through your house and holes drilled directly through the masonry.
A note: before driving in the screws, it is definitely worth paying attention to the correct placement, because the last thing you want is a look at the neighboring tree, not your entrance gate. You can use the app to preview the video feed from the camera before committing to a specific location.
Once your new doorbell is installed, you’ll be notified every time someone – or something – comes by.
The Nest Doorbell offers up to a month of battery life
This is where you’ll need to spend some time browsing the app’s settings, especially if you live on a busy street. Google has plenty of options for setting zones around your home that are designed so that those endless (and pretty annoying) warnings don’t appear on your phone screen.
Not only will this stop a steady stream of pings! since your phone will notify you of every passing car or the neighbour’s quake in the wind, but this also extends your battery life as the doorbell only turns on when it notices something you want to hear.
If the doorbell keeps seeing things all day and all night, the battery runs out pretty quickly, which is not ideal.
After we established our warning zones, we saw significant battery savings. The camera lasted an average of three to four weeks on a single charge.
Once it’s used up, simply use the included tool to detach the camera from its base to refill. It’s all very simple, although it takes about four hours to drain the battery to 100 percent which is a long time without your doorbell and it’s a shame Google didn’t come up with a quick charge solution.
The camera’s footage is good, but don’t expect crisp 4K quality
Of course this is a camera so what is the video quality like? Google promises HD at 960 x 1280 pixels with a resolution of 30 FPS, which is good for keeping an eye on what’s going on but don’t expect crisp 4K footage of your street.
In addition to a day mode, the camera can also record at night with things just good enough to watch the foxes rummaging through your garbage cans and wreaking havoc on your way.
One good thing about the footage is that Google isn’t that Scrooge this year and, unlike previous cameras, owners now get three hours of footage for free. It’s better than nothing, but to get the most out of these devices you need to sign up for Google’s Nest Aware plan, which costs £ 5 a month. Well worth it because this subscription is for all of your cams and offers 7 days of recording.
The Nest Doorbell can be set up to alert only specific zones
Other nice features include face alarms letting you know when your kids have got home safely from school, and a built-in microphone allows you to chat with anyone outside your home.
Finally, we have to talk about the design as it is a bit like Marmite. Some people will love the long, sleek modern look, while others might be completely amazed at what is actually stuck to the front door. It almost feels like Google was a little too concerned with making the Nest look futuristic and not focused on making it a doorbell.
There is a light that glows around the doorbell button but we get a feeling that some people stop knocking on the door.
A night mode catches things when the sun goes down
But our biggest bug with the new Nest Doorbell is the app. In the past, all video was available through the great standalone Nest app. However, for some ridiculous reason, these new cameras don’t work with this top notch application and instead, users are prompted to switch to the Google Home app instead.
While this means everything in your home, including all Google-branded smart speakers and thermostats, Sonos speakers, robotic vacuum cleaners, and smart lightbulbs, can be controlled from a single app, the Home app isn’t as easy to use as the Nest app.
A good example of this is how quickly the live camera footage loads. Turn on the now-defunct Nest app and see what’s going on outside right away. However, with the Home app, you have to tap two or three icons to find the same timeline of video clips. It’s okay, but it’s extra faff that we didn’t need. And if the Nest Doorbell is your only smart home kit, you don’t have to bundle it up in this one-stop-shop app.
Google’s Nest Doorbell has a sleek design, although it may not suit all households
The next problem is when someone actually rings the doorbell. The wired Nest doorbell can be plugged into a standard doorbell so the whole home knows when someone is outside.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with the battery model. This device sends a notification to your phone, which isn’t ideal when you’re on the go but family is waiting for friends to arrive.
You can pair the doorbell with a Nest branded smart speaker or smart display, which will help. However, there is a slight delay between the ringing and the alarm going off. It also means you’ll have to spend more on a Nest Mini or Nest Hub Max if you want to know when someone is waiting outside.
Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) Review: Final Verdict
If you’re looking for a cheaper, hassle-free connected doorbell, this brand new model from Nest is a solid option. It attaches easily to the outside of your home, looks incredibly modern, and has pretty decent battery life that can last up to a month with the right settings.
The video quality is good, and Google offers three hours of free footage to store in the cloud without you having to sign up for a monthly subscription.
Unfortunately, despite our love for these Nest devices, the new battery doorbell isn’t perfect. The Google Home app is annoying, it doesn’t connect to an internal gong, the doorbell takes forever to charge, and its futuristic look may not let some people know it’s a doorbell.
At £ 179.99, it’s great value and will help you keep an eye on your home. Just think about the cons before hitting the buy button and check out some of its rivals. Amazon is about to launch its new Blink doorbell, which costs just £ 50.