Nest Hello Doorbell Camera
Nest's video doorbell impresses with 1600 HD and person detection.
- Oversized viewing screen for full picture
- Integrates with Google and Nest products
- Optional facial recognition technology
The Nest Hello, Nest’s first and only video doorbell thus far, boasts an impressive set of smart features that includes person detection, facial recognition, and package tracking. These features, alongside the Nest Hello’s advanced hardware, make for an effective front door sentry for any smart home. But the question is, are those features enough to justify the Nest Hello’s price? And how much does it really cost to use those cutting-edge features? We’ll discuss all that and more as we examine the Nest Hello’s equipment costs, the Nest Aware subscription, and other factors that you may want to consider before buying a Nest Hello. Let’s get started!
What We Love About The Nest Hello
Like any normal video doorbell, the Nest Hello was designed to alert its users when someone presses the doorbell button or when it detects movement. But it’s so much more than that. When we tested the Nest Hello, we discovered a number of other useful features. You can read our full hands-on review, but if you’re in a hurry, here’s a summary of the features we found most useful.
Impressive Video Quality
In its very essence, a video doorbell is a doorbell outfitted with a camera so the users can see who’s at the door, wherever they may be. That’s why we loved the fact that our Nest Hello captured clear videos. With a 1600 by 1200 aspect ratio, a 160-degree viewing angle, infrared night vision, and HDR, which took away shadows and glare, there’s simply no escaping the Nest Hello’s sight day or night. Whether it was a kid selling cookies or a full-grown man dropping off a package, the Nest Hello gave us a clear look at who was outside our front door.
We’ve found that one of the biggest challenges when it comes to setting up video doorbells is getting the notifications just right, but the Nest Hello made it so easy with person detection. Instead of bothering us every time something moved on our front lawn and stoop, the Nest Hello only alerted us when the movement involved a person. We really appreciated getting fewer but more relevant alerts.
Smart Features With Nest Aware
Our subscription to Nest Aware gave us even smarter features. The Nest Hello alerted us when it detected specific people we had named in the app (familiar face alerts) or when someone left or took a package from our stoop (package tracking). It also limited its motion detection to only the zones we deemed important (activity zones). On top of that, our Nest Aware subscription unlocked event recording and continuous video history. We’ll talk about Nest Aware’s pricing in a bit, but first, let’s talk about equipment.
How Much Is The Nest Hello?
With a $229 price tag, the Nest Hello is not cheap, but it’s also not that expensive compared to competitors on the market. It’s actually more affordable than one of its biggest competitors, the $249 Ring Video Doorbell Pro. It’s also more reasonably priced compared to the other Nest cameras like the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, which is normally priced at $399.
|Nest Cam Indoor||$129.99|
|Nest Cam Outdoor||$199.00|
|Nest Cam IQ Indoor||$299.00|
|Nest Cam IQ Outdoor||$399.00|
Still, $229 is not a small amount to spend on a single device, so let’s put things into perspective. Most people buy video doorbells for security reasons, particularly to prevent package theft. According to our own research, nearly four out of 10 people have had packages stolen from their porch, stoop, lawn, or doorstep. Another study1 showed that 44% of porch pirate victims have had packages stolen more than once. So with each parcel potentially containing over $100 worth of goods, we consider spending just over $200 on the Nest Hello a good investment.
On top of that, the same study showed that people spend $191 on average to prevent package thefts, and the cost of the Nest Hello is only slightly higher than that. With all the added features that can be used in ways other than to discourage porch pirates, like two-way audio and remote live streaming, the Nest Hello is actually quite a steal, no pun intended.
Shop Wisely: It’s always a good idea to check for promotions before buying a Nest Hello video doorbell as Google occasionally drops the price of its products or gives freebies to qualifying purchases.
Like all the other Nest products, the Nest Hello does not require professional installation. We set it up on our own in less than 30 minutes, all thanks to its clear in-app instructions which guided us step-by-step. However, the process involved some wiring and drilling, so for those who are not comfortable doing those activities, Nest offers professional installation services through OnTech for $99.99, a pretty standard price across the industry.
Google doesn’t sell accessories specifically for the Nest Hello, but for a better experience, we recommend buying a Nest-branded smart speaker, like the $49 Google Nest Mini. Smart speakers can act as a chime for the Nest Hello. They can even announce the name of the guest if the familiar face alerts feature is on, which requires Nest Aware.
On the other hand, smart displays like the $89.99 Nest Hub can live stream the Nest Hello and show its latest recordings, again, requiring Nest Aware. Speaking from experience, Google’s interconnected smart home approach makes its products way more useful if utilized alongside each other, so we recommend checking out not only the Nest video doorbell but also the Nest cameras.
Long-Term Costs: Adding Nest Aware Into The Mix
Quite frankly, we were only able to enjoy the full potential of the Nest Hello after we signed up for Nest Aware. The Nest Aware program is a subscription service for Nest cameras and Google devices that unlocks a ton of additional smart features as well as cloud video storage.
We found Nest Aware necessary because the Nest Hello didn’t offer any local storage options like a slot for a micro-SD card or a hard drive. Without Nest Aware, we only saw pictures or “snapshots” of our livestream in the Nest app, available for a brief three hours. But given the fact that video evidence would be much more useful in a criminal investigation than screenshots, we think upgrading to Nest Aware is essential.
With the $6 per month Nest Aware plan, our video doorbell stored event videos consisting of motion and doorbell ring events for 30 days. And once we upgraded to the $12 per month Nest Aware Plus plan, we received 60 days of event history plus 10 days of 24/7 video history. That meant that our Nest Hello recorded continuously for days on end. Better still, our subscription covered all our Nest cameras and Google devices, so we didn’t need to get a separate subscription for the Nest Cam IQ Indoor that we had set up, good news for our wallets.
|Free Plan||Nest Aware Plan||Nest Aware Plus Plan|
|24/7 continuous recording in days||No||0||10|
|Amount of cloud storage in days||0||30||60|
|Create and share clips||No||Yes||Yes|
|Free Nest Mini||No||With Annual Plan||With Annual Plan|
Besides giving us cloud video storage, our subscription to a Nest Aware plan unlocked three additional smart features for our Nest Hello:
- Familiar Face Alerts: Whenever it saw a face that it recognized, our Nest Hello notified us who the person was after we named them in the app. It also told us whenever it saw an unfamiliar face, which made it easier for us to decide whether to check in or not with the Nest app or not.
- Activity Zones: To reduce false alerts, the Nest Hello let us draw markers around the areas we deemed important and only notified us when movements occurred in those areas so we could avoid the busy street and sidewalk in front of our brownstone. More specific notifications, here we come!
- Package Tracking: Our video doorbell alerted us when packages were either left or picked up from our stoop, which gave us enough time to talk to the delivery personnel or ward off a package thief.
These smart features made the subscription service all the more worth it, especially considering how much facial recognition technologies have improved over the last few years.2
Money Saving Tip: If you don’t mind committing to a one-year contract, spring for an annual plan to save $12 or $24 for the Nest Aware and Nest Aware Plus, respectively. You’ll even get a free Nest Mini smart speaker!
How the Nest Hello Integrated Into Our Smart Home
In our very own smart home, we integrated the Nest Hello with our Nest Mini to use as a wireless chime as well as smart displays to watch live feeds hands-free. Meanwhile, the Chromecast plugged into our TV also blew up the Nest Hello’s feed on a larger screen. Those are just examples of how the Nest Hello fit into our Google Assistant-centric smart home. There’s a great number of possible integrations with the Nest Hello for avid Google product users.
How about Amazon Alexa-users? Well, don’t feel left out just yet. The Nest Hello also worked with our Alexa-enabled smart displays like the Echo Show 8, Fire TVs, and Fire Tablets, albeit limitedly. However, the voice commands only allowed for live streaming and watching our latest recorded videos on our Amazon Fire devices.
Clearly, the Nest Hello was designed to work with the Google Nest platform more so than Amazon’s smart home ecosystem, so if you’re an Alexa user, you may want to consider getting a video doorbell from Ring instead.
How The Nest Hello Stacks Up Against The Competition
Speaking of Ring, the Amazon-owned video doorbell company recently launched the Ring Video Doorbell 3 and 3 Plus with $200 and $230 price tags respectively. With those price points, they make for a good Nest Hello rival. Let’s see how they all stack up against each other.
When it comes to compatibility, Ring’s new video doorbells beat the Nest Hello as both of them are compatible with hardwired and wireless setups thanks to their batteries. The Nest Hello, on the other hand, requires an existing wired doorbell setup. If you’re renting or if you don’t have an existing doorbell wiring, Nest Hello might not be the ideal video doorbell for you.
In terms of features, though, the Nest Hello still has the upper hand. Although the Ring Video Doorbell 3 and 3 Plus also have a person detection feature similar to the Nest Hello, they don’t offer the Nest Hello’s facial recognition and package tracking, even if you subscribe to their top-tier Ring Protect Plus plan. They also can’t record continuously, unlike the Nest Hello under a Nest Aware Plus plan. The four-second “pre-roll” videos of the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus may be able to provide some context to the seconds before recorded events, but it’s still not quite the same as continuous recording. Overall, we’d recommend the Nest Hello over the 3 and 3 Plus due to its advanced AI features and continuous recording, unless of course, you lack an existing doorbell setup in which case go with Ring.
So What’s Our Take On The Nest Hello?
The Nest Hello entered the market in 2018, but it’s still one of the best video doorbells out there. It is smart, functional, and sleek, plus it works great with the Google Assistant platform. And with Google Nest’s continuous efforts to improve its features, we don’t see the Nest Hello becoming an outdated piece of technology anytime soon.
With all that being said, we didn’t like it so much that the Nest Hello needs a Nest Aware subscription to meet our minimum standards for a video doorbell, namely some free cloud storage for more than three hours. The good news is that the revamped Nest Aware is now more affordable than ever before, so if you can get behind the monthly or yearly fee, the Nest Hello is definitely worth considering.
C+R Research. (2020). 2019 Package Theft Statistics Report. crresearch.com/blog/2019-package-theft-statistics-report
CSIS. (2020). How Accurate are Facial Recognition Systems – and Why Does It Matter? csis.org/blogs/technology-policy-blog/how-accurate-are-facial-recognition-systems-%E2%80%93-and-why-does-it-matter