Initial Review of the Nest Doorbell: Google’s battery-operated solution doesn’t quite ring true

A smart doorbell is a piece of technology that perhaps most people should have installed, even though most smart home equipment isn’t for everyone. For many years, Google’s Nest Hello was one of the better options for a smart doorbell, but it was expensive and, as the competition advanced, lagged behind in terms of many capabilities. A built-in battery, an upgraded design, and numerous other new features are all included in the new Nest Doorbell.

A sensible camera change is THE GOOD Starting with the positive, the new Nest Doorbell changes the camera sensor in a clever way. Google chose an aspect ratio that is more akin to a vertical rectangle for the video feed as opposed to adopting a landscape arrangement. Users are able to see more of the person approaching their door thanks to this aspect ratio. The new Nest Doorbell will display a person’s whole face, as opposed to the Nest Hello’s upper half and occasionally missing portions. Since more of the floor can be seen, this may also have the advantage of making it easier to view parcels in front of the entrance.

Although this new aspect ratio makes a lot of sense, it does produce some odd streams. On a Nest Hub, doorbell notifications don’t look fantastic, and the Google Home app’s notifications are unpleasant to look at. With this new aspect ratio, the benefits clearly exceed the drawbacks.

I should add that the battery-powered doorbell feels about on par in performance with the wired Nest Hello. When I press the button outside, my phone and smart displays immediately ring. This also holds true for notifications that appear when someone is detected nearby. I’ve experienced delays on a few instances, but I was actually shocked by how well Google’s performance matched my own.

ADDITIONS FOR LOCAL STORAGE AND BATTERY LIFE ARE WELCOME The Nest Doorbell’s integrated battery, though, is the greater story. If you have the ability to wire the doorbell to your home, you can use this battery as a backup or to run the doorbell independently for up to a few weeks. When it comes to charging, USB-C works rapidly and the removal process is easy.

I chose a battery-only arrangement, and I’m quite impressed with how long-lasting this doorbell is. The Nest Doorbell’s (battery) estimation of its operating time is 4 months based on my usage. Despite the fact that my home doesn’t get many guests due to the epidemic and other factors, I do receive deliveries frequently—on average, at least once each day. My battery has barely depleted by 12% in more than two weeks of use, despite the device sensing an approaching person or actually sending an alert to smart displays and speakers. I’m amazed.

The Nest Doorbell’s integrated local storage is another noteworthy improvement (in terms of battery life). This enables the doorbell to continue recording video even if there is a power loss, an internet outage, or a server issue with Nest. Since installing the doorbell, I have fortunately not had to deal with any of those problems, but I am thrilled to see this feature and wish it were available on my Nest Hello.

The other discussion point surrounding the updated Nest Doorbell is that more work is done on the device in addition to the battery and local storage. Since persons and objects are detected by the device’s camera rather than by waiting for assistance from Google over the internet, as was previously described, Google delivers notifications from this device relatively quickly. Even strangers’ faces may be recognized, and their names can be spoken aloud over your speakers or smart displays! To fully take advantage of this function, you’ll need Nest Aware, a subscription that costs at least $6 a month. You’ll also be limited to 3 hours of free recording without Nest Aware. You may get a detailed list of the features that need Nest Aware here .

THE UGLY THIS IS NOT an improvement. The new Nest Doorbell has many positive aspects, the most important of which are its built-in battery and local storage. The design, responsiveness of the rings, and performance of the stream are all amazing. There are some noticeable downgrades, though.

The primary deal-breaker for me is the absence of continuous recording. You will only be able to record events with this new model whether it is connected or on battery power. Google informed us that this was because of heat difficulties because the doorbell’s anticipated placement in direct sunlight and its internal battery could result in durability problems. It’s a shame that it prevents me from utilizing the product over the long term even though it’s a plausible enough explanation.

The camera represents the other upgrade. This isn’t because of the aspect ratio, which is actually rather nice; rather, it’s because of how the camera deals with illumination. I’ve discovered repeatedly that the camera struggles to capture the details of a delivery person or anyone else on my covered front porch when the background is blown out on a sunny day. This stands in sharp contrast to the outcomes I would have observed on Nest Hello under the same circumstances. I must assume that this is caused by the sensor’s reduction from a 3MP sensor to a meager 1.3MP sensor, but Google can probably figure out some software magic to enhance this over time. Notably, the performance of my night vision has generally left me satisfied.

Face has been blurred for privacy

There are some good and awful decisions when it comes to the actual hardware as well. On the plus side, the grey model I tried here won’t have the plastic peeling difficulties with the original Nest Hello design, but I believe it looks cheap. Furthermore, especially when comparing the two types side by side, the doorbells’ size is just enormous. Most people probably won’t care, but it’s an ugly on my doorstep and might be challenging if you don’t have much room to mount a doorbell.

THE Google Home app continues to be a mess. These physical imperfections aren’t the only issue. Since the original Nest app has all but been forgotten about, using the Doorbell requires the Google Home app, which is a whole new can of worms. I went into considerably more detail in our initial evaluation of the Nest Cam, and many of the same problems still apply.

However, the issues with the Google Home app don’t seem as noticeable on the Nest Doorbell (battery). Still, it takes somewhat longer to launch a stream than the Nest app, the settings menu is still confusing, and most importantly, there is still no web gateway (though it will come ). On a device that can only handle event-based recording, Google’s lack of a logical mechanism to jump from one event to the next in the history page also makes it difficult to view what the doorbell has collected.

VALUE IT? Although two weeks with the Nest Doorbell (battery) isn’t quite enough time to reach a conclusion, I have already made my own personal choice. This camera is a complete no-go for me due to the lack of 24/7 recording and HDR issues with the camera sensor on my front porch.

Having said that, I can definitely see a market for this device. The Nest Doorbell (battery) is essentially a no-brainer if your property doesn’t have doorbell wiring or if you rent and don’t have that choice at all. It performs better than other battery-operated doorbells and has fantastic battery life. However, if you have the option, I’d advise choosing the Nest Hello or holding out till the forthcoming refresh.

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