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Review Google Nest Doorbell

An almost worthy successor to the excellent Nest Hello, the new Nest Doorbell wired is faster, smarter, and sleeker and has better video quality.

Jan 09, 2024 · 17 min read

Olivia Langstaff
By Olivia Langstaff

Staff Writer

Google Nest Doorbell


The Nest Doorbell wired (second-gen) is the successor to the excellent Nest Hello. Like its predecessor, the $179.99 Nest Doorbell wired is one of the smartest buzzers you can buy. With Nest’s Familiar Faces feature, it can tell you not only when someone is at your door but also who. It can also detect when a package arrives and when it’s removed. Plus, with 24/7 recording as an option, it doubles as a reliable security camera and wildlife watcher.

Google Nest Doorbell

Google Nest Doorbell


Good image quality

24/7 recording

Familiar Faces feature

Impressive AI-powered smart alerts

Compact, attractive design

Works with Google Home and Amazon Alexa


Connectivity issues on 2.4GHz

Night vision is unimpressive

Google Home app still needs work

Design and Performance

Wiring also reduces response time. This holds true for the wired Nest, which pulls up a live feed in under four seconds—about half the time of its battery counterpart. Additionally, it records more footage at the beginning of each event, approximately three to four seconds.

Unfortunately, the wired Nest frequently becomes disconnected from the app. This problem is also present with other Google Nest cams. During testing, the issues appeared to be related to bouncing between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi channels.

Three Versions Of Google Nest Doorbell

From left to right: The Nest Hello (aka Nest Doorbell wired), Nest Doorbell wired (second-gen), and Nest Doorbell battery.

The wired Nest Doorbell is the best-looking doorbell. With its compact design and four color options — white, beige, dark blue, and dark gray — it will match most exterior home colors. This is a refreshing change from the limited silver and black or black and white options available for other doorbells. (Ring offers faceplates to help its doorbell blend better, but they are still dominated by a tech-like black face.) The Nest battery has a similar look but is almost twice as tall and slightly wider, making it stand out more than the wired version, which is small and discreet.

Google did not upgrade the camera hardware in the wired Nest. It retains the same 960 x 1280 pixels resolution and 6x digital zoom as the battery version, which is lower than the Hello's 1600 x 1200 resolution and 12x zoom. However, the video quality is noticeably better than both the battery and Hello versions, thanks to some digital enhancements. Additionally, despite having a narrower field of view (145 degrees compared to 160), the 3:4 vertical aspect ratio allows you to see more of your porch area, where packages are likely to be placed, even though you have slightly less side-to-side visibility than with the Hello.

Front view Of Google Nest Doorbell

The Google branding is subtle, and the doorbell button is nice and large.

Back View Of Google Nest Doorbell

The doorbell is hardwired only, and you install it by attaching your existing wires to the two screws pictured.

However, the night vision has not been improved; it only offers standard black and white vision, which appears somewhat soft. It is recommended to either turn on porch lights or set up motion sensors to activate when people approach. This has been tested, and the camera adeptly handles the transition between night vision and color vision.

Smart Alerts and Connectivity

The on-device processing ensures that I receive multiple alerts on both my phone and Apple Watch within a second of the UPS guy dropping off a package on my porch. It even notifies me when the package is taken (because I picked it up), a feature that's quite unique to a picture doorbell. The rich alerts are also interactive, allowing you to press and hold to watch the clip and trigger one of three quick responses if the doorbell is pressed (please note that these alerts are preset and cannot be customized).

Other intelligent alerts encompass people, animals, and vehicles. They perform exceptionally well and are nearly always accurate, unlike many other doorbells I've tested. I've never encountered a false-positive alert from Nest — its on-device AI is impressive. These intelligent alerts significantly help to reduce notification noise. Previously, Nest cameras would send me notifications throughout the night when a spider was weaving its web on the lens, but Google has addressed this in its latest camera models.

Image From The Nest Doorbell Battery

Image from the Nest Doorbell battery.

Image From The Nest Doorbell Wired

Image from the Nest Doorbell wired.

The doorbell also comes with three hours of free event-based recording because it's all handled on-device and doesn't use cloud storage. While three hours may seem sufficient, it doesn't help if something occurs on your doorstep in the middle of the night; by the time you wake up, the recording could be corrupted.

Subscription Plans and Data Privacy

In fact, a $6 per month ($60/year) Nest Aware subscription is required to maximize the doorbell's potential. This subscription includes a 30-day event-triggered video history, along with Nest's impressive Familiar Faces feature (more on that shortly). For $12 per month ($120/year), you gain access to up to 60 days of history and 10 days of continuous 24/7 video recording. Both plans also offer support for unlimited Nest cameras.

As mentioned earlier, daytime video quality is very good and greatly improved over the darker images from the Nest battery. HDR images ensure that even in bright sunlight, you can still recognize the faces of visitors standing in front of the camera. When compared side-by-side with its closest competitor—the $250 Ring Pro 2—it performs well, although the Ring offers more artificial brightness, enhancing facial visibility.

Sound quality is also impressive. The voice comes out clearer and richer than the Ring Pro 2, which exhibits a slight echo. The doorbell also features full duplex audio, allowing me to converse with visitors as if I were on the phone rather than using a walkie-talkie style.

Notifications arrive very quickly, but there's still no option to schedule notifications; you can only pause them when the Nest "senses" you're at home (this can be managed through your phone and other Nest devices you own). Most of the time, the live feed opens within four seconds, and there's a handy "rewind" button to press for quickly jumping to the beginning of the event that triggered the alert. This is a valuable feature. Unlike other types of doorbells that force you to choose between live view or recorded video, here I can easily access both.

Comparison Of Visual Display Performance Between The Nest Wired And The Ring Pro 2

Comparison of visual display performance between the Nest Wired and the Ring Pro 2.

The event opens in a timeline view, through which I could scroll back to review past footage — with events highlighted in blue. However, scrolling through this timeline was laggy and cumbersome. Tapping on "Full History" provides an easier way to review recent activities at your door, as it displays GIFs of each interaction, which can be tapped for viewing the full video. Additionally, here you can filter events by type.

Nonetheless, there was an occasional significant delay in loading the live feed within the app. Sometimes it took up to 10 seconds, and at other times, it timed out completely. I also encountered instances where I couldn't access a recorded event, with the app displaying the message, "This video isn't available yet. Check back later." On a positive note, checking back later often resulted in the video becoming accessible. While this might be useful for tracking down a package thief, it's not ideal if your intention was to communicate with the person while they were at your door.

The problems only occurred when the doorbell was on 2.4GHz Wi-Fi

I narrowed down this issue to connectivity. The problems only occurred when the doorbell was on the 2.4GHz frequency; when it was on 5GHz, everything was smooth and flawless. I am using an Eero Pro 6E mesh Wi-Fi network with the main router located just 10 feet from the front door. By rebooting the doorbell, I could get it to connect to the 5GHz channel, but after a day or two, it would revert back to 2.4GHz. The long-term solution here — aside from splitting the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands into separate SSIDs, a feature my Eero system lacks — would involve installing an additional Eero node (or perhaps an Echo Dot) closer to the front door. However, it's frustrating that the doorbell cannot reliably function on the 2.4GHz frequency.

You Can Send A Quick Response Right From The Notification

When the doorbell is pressed, you can send a quick response right from the notification.

The Nest wired doorbell has two standout features that no other doorbell can compete with: Familiar Faces and 24/7 continuous video recording.

Familiar Faces detection learns to recognize people who come to your door. While some manual training is required in the app, after using it for a few weeks, the system quickly begins learning and becomes impressively accurate. Now, when someone approaches my door, I don’t even need to check my phone, as my Nest speaker announces my daughter's name or alerts me with "UPS is at the front door." However, it's important to periodically go into the app and tag the faces it has recognized.

Apple Home offers a similar familiar faces feature on compatible doorbells through its HomeKit Secure Video service (currently available for Logitech and Wemo doorbells). In my testing, however, Google's version was significantly more accurate.

The other significant feature here is 24/7 recording. Whether you need it is a personal choice, but I've noticed that whenever I switch from a doorbell that can't record continuously, I find myself missing that capability (I test a lot of video doorbells). However, given that many doorbells have improved their pre-roll features — which adds a few seconds of video from before the motion was detected to the recording — continuous recording is becoming less essential. The Nest wired doorbell provides approximately four to five seconds of pre-roll footage without requiring payment for continuous recording.

Smart home data privacy: Nest Doorbell wired

Bringing connected devices into your home also brings with it concerns about how the data they collect is protected. The Verge looks at how each company whose smart home products we review handles your data.

Google outlines the types of data it collects from its connected home devices on its Privacy FAQ, and its standard Privacy Policy covers these, too.

The main data a video doorbell collects include video footage and audio recording from its camera and microphone. If you opt to use Google’s Nest Aware cloud storage plan, video and audio from the device is stored securely on Google’s Cloud. Otherwise, it's stored locally on the device. If you choose to enable the Familiar Faces feature, facial recognition information is encrypted and stored locally on the device.

Google’s Terms of Service outline that it can share user footage with the police in event of a serious emergency, but the company says it has never done this.

Of course, the doorbell works excellently within the Google Nest ecosystem. Integration with Nest Hubs is very good: it automatically displays a live view and enables communication with the visitor. The doorbell's live view also functions with an Echo Show, although I had to ask Alexa to show me the camera after hearing the doorbell.

All Nest speakers can be set to act as a chime for the doorbell (it also works with your existing doorbell chime). The drawback here is that it's an all-or-none setup. You can't choose specific speakers to make the announcement (they announce, "Someone is at the front door doorbell"), and the announcements don't occur simultaneously on all speakers. This might lead to a brief burst of noise if you have multiple Nest speakers in your home, unless you set some to Do Not Disturb mode.

Despite its name, the Nest doorbell doesn't function within the Nest app; it's only compatible with the Google Home app. I've encountered numerous issues with the Google Home app in terms of how it handles video (you can read about this in my review of the Nest Cam indoor), but recent updates have improved the viewing experience for both live and recorded footage.

Installing The Nest Doorbell Wired

Installing the Nest Doorbell wired is straightforward, and it comes with wire connectors and an angled mount. You also have to wire a puck into your existing doorbell chime.

I'm looking forward to having the option to add a doorbell press as a trigger for automations in Google Home (for instance, having your hallway light turn on when someone presses it). Currently, there's no option to use the camera's motion sensing as a trigger, but the capability to schedule the camera to turn on and off will be available soon.

The app also offers useful settings for creating and naming activity zones, along with setting different alerts for each one. I configured it to notify me when people, packages, and animals appear right in front of my door, while excluding notifications for those spotted farther away. This is crucial if your door faces the sidewalk, unless you want to receive notifications every time someone passes by. The doorbell will still record these events, but won't alert me about them.

If you're considering an upgrade from a Hello, which could be nearly five years old by now, this is a suitable replacement. Additionally, it has the exact same mounting holes, so you won't need to alter your front doorframe. While I still regard the Hello as a good doorbell, it lacks vehicle or animal detection, although it can alert you to sounds (a feature absent in the new Nest). Subscribing to Nest Aware is necessary for smart alerts. Moreover, the Nest app is becoming outdated (Google has stated that it's in maintenance mode). While Google has mentioned that older cameras will transition to the Home app, there's no timeline yet. If you can find the Hello for under $150, I wouldn't discourage you from considering it.

The Nest Doorbell Can Send Alerts For Multiple Events Simultaneously

The Nest Doorbell can send alerts for multiple events simultaneously

I still believe that the Ring Pro 2 offers better video quality. However, Nest's intelligence features are superior and more dependable: it can identify who is at the door and is more accurate at recognizing people than Ring, which often mistakes my neighbor’s cat for a person.

Beyond Amazon and Google, the Arlo wired doorbell is a solid option at a similar price point of $150. It offers the same smart alerts for people, packages, animals, and vehicles, although it lacks facial recognition and continuous video recording. It integrates well with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa and supports Apple Home, albeit without HomeKit Secure Video, requiring an Arlo Hub. Additionally, it boasts a higher video resolution (1536p HD, the same as Ring Pro 2), a wider 180-degree field of view, and an improved digital zoom of up to 12x. If you're without an existing Arlo Secure subscription, you'll need to pay at least $3 a month for smart alerts and recorded video.

For fee-free and entirely local recording, the Eufy Wired is an affordable choice. While it offers limited smart alerts and doesn't function with existing chimes, it comes with its own plug-in chime. It records in up to 2K resolution and stores all footage locally, eliminating mandatory fees for accessing recorded video. To obtain smart alerts, Eufy has mentioned that the Eufy Wired will be compatible with its AI-powered HomeBase 3 (only sold alongside two Eufy 3 cameras). This will introduce facial recognition, pet, and vehicle alerts to the camera, although it currently only detects people or other motion. It also has a horizontal aspect ratio, which means it won't capture packages on your porch.

With Nest, you receive three hours of complimentary event recording, allowing you to avoid the monthly subscription fee and still review who visited your door. Moreover, the smart notifications for pets, people, packages, and vehicles are also free, unlike Ring or Arlo. However, as mentioned, you'll likely find yourself desiring more than three hours of event history, making the savings negligible. Both Arlo and Ring provide web views for their cameras, unlike Google; though, Google has announced that a web portal is in the works.

While Google doesn't possess an impeccable track record of maintaining its hardware products, I believe it is committed to enhancing its Nest smart home products and that its cameras will continue to improve. The Nest Doorbell wired is an excellent product and almost a worthy successor to my preferred Nest buzzer, the Hello. Nevertheless, until the connectivity issues are resolved and the Google Home app receives its promised upgrades, I would recommend purchasing this only if you have a strong 5GHz Wi-Fi signal by your front door.

Agree to Continue: Google Nest Doorbell Wired

Every smart device now requires you to agree to a series of terms and conditions before you can use it — contracts that no one actually reads. It’s impossible for us to read and analyze every single one of these agreements. But we started counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate.

To use the Nest Cam or Nest Doorbell, you must agree to:

The following agreements are optional:

  • Help improve Nest Doorbell by sharing device stats and crash reports with Google
  • Agree to allow phone location for Home & Away Routines

Final tally: three mandatory agreements and two optional agreements.

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