Free intelligent alerts
Multiple installation options
Reliable and accurate
No support for Siri or Alexa
Doesn’t work with Nest app
In addition to the new video doorbell, Google’s smart home arm is rolling out a slew of new devices to add to the family this year, including the Nest Cam (battery), which is one of the best home security cameras you can use inside or out. Joining the lineup later this year will be the second-gen Nest Cam wired and the Nest Cam Floodlight.
About the Nest Doorbell (battery)
- Price: $179.99
- Colors: Snow, Ivy, Linen, Ash
- Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and Bluetooth Low Energy
- Power source: Built-in lithium-ion battery or hardwire
- Resolution: 1080p
- Field of view: 145 degrees
- Digital Zoom: 6X
- Aspect Ratio: 3:4
- Smart assistant support: Google Assistant
- Weight: 7.3 ounces
- Dimensions: 6.3-inchH x 1.8-inch L x 0.6-inch W
The Nest Doorbell (battery) and I got off to a bumpy start, as I experienced some issues adding it to the Google Home app. However, resetting the doorbell (via the reset button on the back) remedied my issue and the doorbell was up and running in minutes. In the box you'll find a base plate, a 20-degree angled wedge, a release tool, two wall anchors, two wall screws, two spaces, and two wedge screws.
Wire connectors are also included if you prefer to install the doorbell using your existing wiring (supporting 8 VAC to 24 VAC, 10 VA to 40VA, 50/60 Hz doorbell transformer). Additionally, a three-foot charging cable is also in the box.
What we like
Multiple installation options
The best feature of the new Nest Doorbell is that you can install it however you like. That said, if you don’t plan to wire in, you’ll need a Nest speaker or smart display to get the all-important “chime.”
Everything else you need for both setups is included in the box. Google’s first video doorbell, the Nest Hello, did not offer a battery option, so this is a nice upgrade to an already killer device.
As you'd expect in a battery-powered device, the lifespan varies based on usage. At best, the doorbell will get six months of battery life, which equates to two to five recorded events per day. A busy doorbell (25 to 30 events per day) can expect about 30 days of battery life.
On average, though, Google expects most homes can expect to get about 2.5 months out of the battery life with around 13 to 16 events each day. During two days of 10-15 motion events per day, the doorbell’s battery decreased by five percent for me, which tracks with Google’s estimates.
The doorbell is easy to charge using the included power cable, but you do need to remove the entire device when it's time to recharge, which isn’t my favorite design. A removable battery would’ve been nice to give the appearance that the doorbell is always on instead of having to remove it for several hours to charge. One other thing to note is that the doorbell goes into "idle" mode when it's not active and isn't "always on" like it is when it's plugged in. But, being able to choose between either installation option is a huge perk.
Intelligent alerts no longer require a paid subscription
Google’s doorbells and cameras are some of the smartest out there, and with this new doorbell, you no longer need a paid Nest Aware subscription to get intelligent smart alerts. These alerts are crucial at differentiating between motion events at your front door, as it’s unlikely you're going to be looking into every notification that crosses your phone.
With free smart alerts, your doorbell can tell you when a package, person, animal, or vehicle crosses its path. This makes it easy for you to quickly tell if your doorbell needs your attention or not without paying extra for a subscription plan, as is required by many doorbells. In the event of a Wi-Fi or power outage, the doorbell can even record events for up to one hour and store them locally—something few other video doorbells can do.
In the Google Home app, you can create custom activity zones. The app is also where you can turn on "away-only" alerts so that your camera only records when you're not home. The app also lets you control which notifications you want to receive, which objects your camera detects, the camera’s motion sensitivity, and the duration of each recorded event.
Also included at no cost for the first time is a three-hour event video history. For more video storage, Nest Aware offers two paid plans that start at $6/month and include up to 60 days of video history. Nest Aware also tacks on additional intelligent alerts like Familiar Faces, an optional feature that uses AI to learn the faces of frequent visitors and can send you more informative notifications when someone you know arrives.
The view looks good and the sound is great
The new Nest Doorbell records in a 3:4 ratio that shows people from head-to-toe and can show packages as close as 8 inches away from your door. The doorbell’s HDR camera records in 960 x 1280 resolution that captures up to 30 frames per second and has a 6X digital zoom.
On paper, these specs aren’t as impressive as the Nest Hello, which records in 1080p and has an 8X digital zoom. Regardless, the differences aren’t terribly noticeable. The Nest Doorbell (battery) offers crisp and clear video, and the zoom, while not as powerful as the Nest Hello, still helps you make out every detail. Additionally, there's no color night vision, but the monochromatic view is easy to see in darkness.
Google’s new video doorbell also has a high-quality speaker and microphone on the underside of the camera. The two-way audio with noise cancellation is exceptionally clear and free from delays. You can control the camera’s volume, including turning the mic off and disabling audio recording, in the Google Home app.
Works great with Nest smart displays
Google has several smart displays, like the 10-inch Nest Hub Max and the smaller, sleep-tracking Nest Hub (second-gen), all of which work nicely with Nest’s new doorbell. When someone rings the doorbell, the chime rings on the smart display and the live video feed appears right away. When Familiar Faces and Visitor Announcements are enabled, the display can announce who is at the front door, which isn’t a new feature of this doorbell, but a very useful one.
From the display, you can carry on a conversation directly with whoever is at your doorbell or you can select from one of three pre-recorded messages like, “We can’t come to the door right now.” It’s a convenient, hands-free alternative to managing your doorbell when you can’t get to your phone.
You can also ask Google Assistant to show you a doorbell camera and the live feed will appear on the screen. We didn’t experience any lag times when using these features and had an all-around smooth experience. As mentioned, you can also use a Google Nest smart speaker to hear chimes, including audible Visitor Announcements.
What we don’t like
It does not support continuous recording
Continuous recording isn’t a must-have feature of a video doorbell, but it is nice to have for the added peace of mind that you can flip back through your footage in the event of an emergency. It doesn’t matter which way you install the doorbell—battery or hardwired—this doorbell can’t record 24/7, only registered events like a package delivery.
The Nest Hello offers continuous recording, so if you’re accustomed to scrolling back through your footage, this may be the better pick. You can view the doorbell’s event history in the Google Home app, which is broken down by day and can be filtered by event type.
It doesn’t work with the Nest app
Like all of Google’s new Nest cameras, the Nest Doorbell (battery) only works with the Google Home app—not the Nest app like previous models. Google seems to be phasing the Nest app out, though nothing’s been made official yet. As of now, the Nest app is currently the only way to manage Nest Protect devices like Google’s smart smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, as these device’s don’t work with the Google Home app.
There’s no support for Amazon Echo or Apple HomeKit
Currently, the Nest Doorbell can’t be integrated with Amazon Echo or Apple HomeKit ecosystems. However, Google confirmed that Nest devices will support Matter a smart home protocol set to roll out in 2022 that is designed to better integrate smart devices from different ecosystems. If it works as promised, you should be able to add the new Nest doorbell camera for HomeKit-control (limited to iOS only) and use it with your Amazon Echo devices sometime in the (near-ish) future, but we’ll believe it when we see it
The new Nest Doorbell runs through the Google Home app, which requires a Google account. By default, your Google account comes with enhanced security features like suspicious activity detection, two-factor authentication, and password checkups.
According to Google, the camera's data, including face detection features, are encrypted and are private for your viewing only. You can toggle the doorbell’s power on and off from the Google Home app. This is also where you can turn off the audio and the microphone. The LED status light on the front of the camera illuminates in white when the microphone is on and recording or processing video. The status light blinks green when you’re watching the live video feed.
Google claims to only share audio recordings with third-party apps and services but only with your permission.
Should you buy it?
Yes, this is an awesome video doorbell.
The Nest Doorbell (battery) is a premium video doorbell that is more affordable and more flexible than any other doorbell we’ve seen from Google before. It has a clean, modern look, integrates well with other Nest devices, excels at detecting motion events, and free smart alerts that tell you instantly when a person, car, animal, or package is detected.
Google continues to sell the older-generation Nest Hello, so if you need continuous recording or prefer the smaller look and darker design, buying the Hello makes a lot of sense as a hardwired option. The Hello technically offers a larger field of view and better resolution, but we prefer the 3:4 head-to-toe view the new Nest doorbell offers. For most use cases, the battery-powered doorbell, with the option to hardwire, is a smarter, more cost-efficient choice.
Ring is one of the only competing video doorbell brands that offers dual-power options on select models, but they aren’t nearly as smart as Google’s latest. If you need a wireless video doorbell that plays nicely with both Google Assistant and Alexa, check out the Arlo Essential Wire-Free Doorbell (a wired version is also available). But you need a paid subscription to access the best Arlo smart features, which is an additional cost you can skirt by opting for the Nest Doorbell (battery) instead (so long as you don’t mind forgoing the Alexa integration).
Despite a few minor flaws, there’s not much the latest Nest Doorbell can’t do. If you want stellar smarts, supreme accuracy, and a crystal clear view of your front door from anywhere—not to mention versatile connection options—the Nest Doorbell (battery) is the one to buy.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Senior Staff Writer@rachel_murphy
Rachel Murphy covers smart home for Reviewed. She lives in an actual smart home home full of smart plugs, smart lights, and smart speakers equipped with voice assistants Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. Murphy holds a journalism degree from the University of Central Florida and has over a decade of experience reporting and writing. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for Business Insider, Mashable, Elite Daily, and other major publications. Prior to her work in online journalism, Murphy worked as an associate editorial producer for ABC News' Good Morning America in New York City.
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