Today, we’re checking out the new Nest Hello Video Doorbell. We’ve seen video doorbells for a few years now, but this is one of the first that records video 24/7, not just when you press the button or if somebody walks by the sensor. So my house is fully outfitted with Nest’s entire suite of products, and this is one piece of the home security puzzle that we have been pretty eager to get. This means that all of my home security cameras and devices are now unified under one app, and everything works seamlessly together.
And to complete the high tech upgrade of my front door, we also have the Nest Smart Lock by Yale. This is also designed to work within the Nest app, so we can remotely lock or unlock the front door from my phone, assign the temporary passcode to a guest, or disable my Nest secure alarm system every time we enter the passcode to unlock the front door. It’s a slick system that we think looks perfect next to the Nest Hello.
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So getting to the unboxing, the Nest Hello is packaged like many other Nest products. We are given most of the tools and components we need to install it ourselves, but you can also contact Nest for a professional installation. So this is powered by the low voltage wires that power most existing doorbells. You just need to make sure that your wired system is compatible with the Nest Hello. In my case, my 30-year-old home had the necessary 16-volt transformer, so the installation was very straightforward. Nest has an excellent video explaining the step-by-step installation.
Now, the Nest Hello hardware itself is remarkably narrow and compact and should easily fit in most existing doorbell locations. We were able to use the screw holes from my original doorbell without making new ones. The paperwork is very simple, with a three-step guide along with a parts inventory. We also get a window sticker to announce the presence of the camera, which should act as a deterrent. The bottom of the box is reserved for the accessories for installation, the largest of which is the chime connector which is installed in your existing door chime hardware.
Now, for us, this was very easy to install, and it’s there to ensure that the Nest Hello receives continuous power which could be momentarily interrupted when the doorbell rings. So the parts box includes all of the parts you need for installation. That includes a Nest branded drill bit for masonry and wall anchors along with a set of screws for the mounting bracket. We also get a set of cable extenders if the existing wires at your doorbell location are too short for installation.
Also included is a release tool which looks like a sim tool which allows you to remove the Nest Hello from the mounting bracket. The mounting bracket is also very slickly designed and requires only two screws for installation. The doorbell snaps in place topside first and locks in at the bottom with a latch. We are also using the included angle bracket for my installation since my doorbell is in a fairly tight corner. This can be reversed for the left or right side, and smartly they’ve included some adhesive strips to keep the brackets together for easier installation.
The design here is pretty familiar for Nest products with a white bezel surrounding a durable black glass faceplate which is rounded off at the edges for a very smooth and clean look. At the top is a wide-angle HD camera and at the bottom is a concave doorbell button surrounded by a glowing LED ring. Just above the camera is a small LED indicator which you can disable if you want but the light indicates when the camera is recording video and blinks when somebody is actively watching the live video feed.
Now, right in the middle of the doorbell is a row of infrared LEDs which light up automatically when the camera needs to activate the night vision. The loudspeaker for two-way communication is discreetly hidden along the bottom edge so the speaker is loud and clear enough for two-way communication so you’ll be able to talk to anybody standing at the door.
Since Nest Hello is replacing my old first-generation ring video doorbell, the first thing we noticed right away is how clear the video quality is in comparison. One of the things that the Nest camera does especially well is HDR processing which ensures that sunlight or any backlighting doesn’t blow out the view of the camera so you can see everything even when the sun or spotlights are shining directly at the camera.
Now, unlike most 16 by 9 security cameras, the wide-angle 4 by 3 camera can cover the vertical view as well as the horizontal view. This is especially important on the porch because you need to see what’s laying on the porch in addition to the people that are standing at the door. And because this is a smart doorbell, you can use your smartphone for notifications and just bypass the doorbell entirely. You can even configure any Google home speaker to act as a doorbell, and if you want to take advantage of the Nest ecosystem, the Nest cam IQ is also a Google assistant speaker who can also serve doorbell duty.
Another clever feature of the Nest Hello is quick responses. So we imagine these will change over time but let’s take a quick listen to some of them:
“Hi, there! You can just leave it.”
“Thanks. Just a sec. We’ll be right there.”
“Hi, there! No one can answer the door right now. We’ll be notified you stopped by.”
Another awesome feature of the Nest Hello is a quiet time. This allows you to mute the doorbell in your house, something we have always wanted to do. This is especially important for new parents. So if you have a sleeping child, you don’t want to wake them with the doorbell. Or if you’re a YouTuber and don’t want to interrupt your audio recording. Or if you’re in the middle of a meeting, you don’t want your dogs to go nuts when the doorbell rings.
We think the most important aspect of a smart security camera like the Nest Hello is that it delivers notifications that are much more informative. So it becomes pretty easy to ignore a security camera that constantly gives you these nondescript notifications. That’s not the case with the Nest Hello. So with the Nest Hello, it can determine whether a person is standing at the door, whether a dog is barking at the door. It can even recognize faces, whether they’re familiar or unfamiliar. And if it’s a familiar face, you can name that person, and you’ll get notifications telling you when that person has arrived at the door. “Mike is at the front door.”
Notifications from the Nest Hello can also include short animated gifs or images. So this is a quick way for me to identify if the person standing at the door is the delivery man dropping off a package or if somebody’s ringing the doorbell and waiting for me to answer.
So as soon as we bring up the front door camera, you can see a live video feed. So obviously not a whole lot is going on out there right now. It’s also nighttime. You can see how clear the image is. Right now a car is driving by. So if we want to take a look at previous events, all we have to do is scroll up and down like so, and you can see the time lapse effect which is always really impressive.
Or as you can see, we have these little thumbnails right next to the timeline. So this allows me to directly tap on that event to check out the event to see what happened. So for example, we see a person coming up to the front door, so we are going to go ahead and tap on that and playback that event. So as you can see, it’s just me bringing my dogs back in from the outdoors.
Now, if there’s a specific video clip we want to retain, all we have to do is click new clip here, and this allows me to add that clip to my library. So now we can save it to camera roll or share the file. Now, along the side, you can see these multicolored indicators, so the orange and green indicators are the two zones we’ve specified to monitor for activity. So we have a zone for the porch and a zone for the street which is something you can customize under the nest.com website. So this allows me to monitor activity depending on whether it’s from the street or on the front porch.
Now, if you just want to sort through the events, you can go to a different view. This allows me to see whether we have a sound event or if we have a motion on my porch or in the streets or if it recognizes a familiar face or an unfamiliar face, and all of that will be broken down here. It also tells me the duration of the event and the time of day it happened. So, for example, this event tells me that a person was on the street or porch. This one tells me that there was a motion in the street so you can see a car or a person walking by.
Of course, you can zoom in and out to take a closer look at the event, and with so much resolution to work with, you get some good detail. You can also do this with previously recorded footage, so again, we can pinch in and out to zoom in so we can take a look at my dogs walking in here, tap the thumbnail to zoom back out, works pretty seamlessly. We also have this blue dot next to the people icon indicating that the camera has spotted some new faces it doesn’t recognize.
Getting back to the Yale lock. This just replaced the deadbolt on my existing door installation. So it was straightforward to install and setup. We even found a color that matched my current hardware. Now, some of my favorite aspects of this are the fact that it’s entirely keyless, so when we exit the house, all we have to do is tap one of the buttons on the front to lock the door. We can also configure this to lock so automatically we don’t have to worry about accidentally leaving the door unlocked. We can also receive notifications every time my door is locked or unlocked. It can tell me who unlocked it, how they unlocked it, and of course, we can use the video doorbell to verify who that was at the door.
Now, the footage recorded by the cameras are streamed and stored online through the Nest servers, and to access that footage, you’ll have to subscribe to the Nest aware service. But because the footage is stored online, you have access to that footage from a variety of platforms, from Android to iOS, or even a web browser, which is kind of handy. That means you can go to any internet-connected device and have access to your security cameras and the footage that it generates.
So even if the Nest Hello isn’t the first to come out with a video doorbell, we have to say it’s probably the best out there. It combines the benefits of a full 24-hour security camera and the Nest ecosystem. And we also get some of the best video quality you’re going to find on the video doorbell with high dynamic range and HD quality. And as always, Nest makes it simple to install and use.