In this review we look at the Nest Hello Smart doorbell that can recognize people and has various smart features.
A smart home starts at the front door. A smart doorbell cannot be missing in today’s smart home. Earlier we looked extensively at the Netatmo Video doorbell and in this review we take a closer look at the direct competitor, the Nest Hello.
What is Nest Hello Smart doorbell?
The Nest Hello is simply a smart doorbell and can therefore stream images in high definition to your smartphone and is able to send and receive audio. The Hello can look around 160 degrees from your front door and thus also visualize packages lying on the floor or very tall visitors standing in front of the door. The Hello camera can handle high dynamic range , just like the Nest Cam IQ models, so that it can adapt to changes in the light. The viewing angle can be adjusted to the unique situation of your front door. The Hello uses Google’s face recognition technology, which we also see on Nest’s cameras.
In addition to the fact that the Hello gives you a notification (and records) when someone rings the doorbell, it is also a motion sensor. The camera sends you (if desired) notifications of people and / or movements, in addition to the fact that recording is continuous (24/7). This without anyone having to ring the bell.
The Hello doorbell from Nest is for sale in the Netherlands for a price of 279 euros. Please note; nowadays privacy is weighed heavily and therefore it is in principle not allowed to continuously film the street in which you live. Keep this in mind when you hang a smart doorbell next to your door. In fact; if you have the doorbell installed by a professional installer, he can refrain from installation if the doorbell has to be aimed at the street.
If we look purely at the design, the Nest Hello is the sleek and premium designed doorbell we’ve seen so far. Nest knows how to approach the design of smart home equipment because the camera is nice and compact, very sleek and just a modern camera with a large push button that you hang next to your door. Obviously, it is also a doorbell, and a doorbell that fits perfectly next to any door.
Compared to the Ring Video Doorbell 2, the Hello is a lot smaller, with a size of 117mm x 43mm x 26mm, but it must be said that the Ring has a battery, while the Nest only works on power, more about this later. . The smaller size does ensure that the Hello fits exactly on the frame for some doors, for which the Ring is a bit too big.
Where the Nest Hello wins in terms of design over the Ring Video Doorbell 2, it is the Ring that scores the most points in terms of installation. And of course that has its logical reasons. Thanks to the built-in battery, you can in principle simply screw the Ring onto your wall / frame and you can get started. No power supply or chime is needed in the house. However, if you want to hear the bell, you have to purchase a Chime, which entails additional costs. Nest Hello needs a 24 volt power supply, which can run via the standard cables that go to your doorbell. However, in the meter cupboard – where the cables come out – a 24v transformer had to be placed for this and we needed a new (mechanical) gong to also hear the bell inside. Now we are not electricians ourselves, so we called in an installer from Nest to do this job. And that is actually also the advice for those who prefer not to bother with a transformer, a gong and all kinds of 230v and 24v cables. It costs you a little extra (around 100-150 euros), but then you have the Nest Hello professionally installed within half an hour.
In terms of installation, it is a somewhat more difficult process than with the Ring, but once installed you no longer have to worry about it because the Hello receives continuous power, which is necessary for continuous recordings. By the way, make sure that there is sufficient WiFi range at the front door, and test this before you hang up (or buy) the Nest Hello. If the range is not sufficient, a WiFi repeater in the hallway is a possible solution.
Placing the doorbell on the wall or frame is also a piece of cake; two screws and you’re done. The most important installation material (screws, plugs, adapters for the cables and a drill) is included so that you can get started right away. If you want to place the doorbell in a corner, you can use the supplied wedge. This will turn the doorbell 15 degrees to the left or to the right. To remove the Hello from the wall, a kind of clip is included, a clip that resembles the clip you use to remove the SIM card from your iPhone. That should protect against theft, but let’s be honest; messing around with a paperclip and the Hello is gone too. Anyway, every smart doorbell has this problem; if someone wants to steal it, it’s possible.
If the doorbell is hanging, it’s a matter of opening the Nest app (or downloading and creating an account), scanning the QR code in the packaging, letting the app do its work and giving the animal a name. By the way, you can also go through all the steps for installation via the app, if you get started yourself. You are really taken by the hand which is a plus. The Hello then appears in the app, after which you immediately have an image and can get started with the settings.
Before we discuss the use of Nest Hello, it is good to know that you need a subscription to get the most out of the doorbell. With a purchase you get 30 days free access to the basic subscription of 5 euros per month. Without a subscription, you can use the doorbell as a ‘normal’ smart doorbell with camera. This means that you can watch what is happening in front of the camera via the app. You will also receive notifications when someone rings the doorbell, you can speak to that person and you can also see that person. What is not possible is to review recordings when someone has rung the bell or when motion is detected. Yes, you will get screenshots of the movements of the last three hours or when someone has called in the last three hours,
When you take out a subscription for at least 5 euros a month, you can watch recordings from the cloud for up to 5 days, the camera records continuously (24/7), you receive notifications when movements or when calls are made (and even loud noise is heard). an option), you can activate intelligent notifications based on face recognition, you can create activity zones and generate clips and time-lapses.
Still, in our view, a subscription is only ideal if you have your own access to the front door; in the form of a driveway or path. First – and most important; it is in principle illegal to have the Hello recorded 24/7 if it is aimed at the street. So it is not even allowed. It is allowed if someone rings the bell or you open the app, but unfortunately the Hello does not have the option to only answer when someone rings the bell. Secondly, if you live on the street, you get so many reports (and therefore videos) of movements and people, then it becomes very difficult to make something out of it. Does it still make sense, is the question. In short, a subscription is only really useful if you have your own driveway / path where normally little happens.
Nest Hello Smart doorbell – Use
The use of course starts with the Nest app, an app that we have discussed many times in previous Nest reviews. We can be brief about that; the app is very well put together, looks sleek, works smoothly and offers a structured representation of the options and possibilities.
As soon as Hello is mounted and installed, you will immediately see a live image of what is happening in front of your door on the home screen of the Nest app. If you click on this image, you will enter the timeline of the camera and you will also hear the sound. Below the live image you see the latest activities, which you can watch if you take out a subscription. You can display these in the form of a list or a timeline. The camera records continuously with a subscription so it becomes a full timeline, but thanks to clear thumbnails scrolling is simple and fast. In the same window you can talk directly through the camera or mute (silence) the doorbell for a short period. Unfortunately, the app lacks an option to mute / mute the doorbell for a long period, for example at night. That option is desirable for many.
At the top right of the screen you will see a button for the settings. Here you can switch the camera on or off, switch the indoor bell on or off (i.e. the connected chime), create a schedule for times when the camera should be off, create zones, set the quality of the image (resolution), turn the microphone on or off and set which notifications you want to receive.
We take two options. Starting with the activity zones. This is useful when part of your image is still facing the street or if you have a (often) moving object such as a tree in the part of the image. You can exclude certain parts of the image from notifications by creating zones. If you create a specific zone for your door, you will only receive notifications if movement is detected within those zones. You can then indicate in the ‘Notifications’ option whether you want to receive a push notification and / or an e-mail with a notification and whether you want to receive these notifications about people, other movements and / or loud noises. This way you personalize the notifications. Incidentally, recordings are made 24/7; continuously and not only with movements or callers at the door. The notifications only appear for specific activities. And the higher the quality of the video, the more bandwidth it takes to upload. Pay attention to this because this can cost you hundreds of MBs per day (up to 600 GB per month) in bandwidth. If you have little bandwidth at your disposal, the Hello can disrupt your network and it is therefore wise to lower the quality.
As soon as the doorbell rings, a push notification will appear on your phone within 2-5 seconds, including a small screenshot of the image of the front door. This way you can immediately see what to expect. If you open the notification, you will go directly to the live view and you can immediately talk to the person or ignore the notification. You see the image in portrait mode, which is a bit more comfortable than the Ring’s landscape mode. You can swipe left and right to see more of the image. If you are busy you can also select a standard message, for example; ‘put it down’ or ‘we’re coming’. The Nest Hello will then pronounce these sentences itself in a female voice. A nice feature, but it would be nice if we could record something ourselves. That sounds a bit more familiar.
We have nothing to say about the image quality of the Nest; that is perfectly fine and it is the best image quality we have seen from a doorbell so far. High resolution images (1600 x 1200 pixels) are clear, full of contrast and with perfect color reproduction. Thanks to the 4: 3 aspect ratio and 160-degree viewing angle, you can even see what’s on the sidewalk and you can zoom and rotate in full screen from left to right. The quality of the night vision is also very good; with sufficient details and clear contrasts. The audio quality is slightly less, mainly because the microphone seems a bit more sensitive to wind. The wind sometimes blows hard in our street, and that causes some noise through the camera. However, calls are easy to conduct via the Hello, so it is certainly not a big downside.
This also applies to person identification; even someone who quickly passes by is recognized as a person and you will receive a notification immediately. With a subscription you can even go as far as to indicate whether you recognize a person. Nest asks you if the person seen is known or unknown. After you have done that a few times, Nest Hello learns who is at the door. Maybe your wife, your mother-in-law or the courier. You can also put specific names on faces and Nest will let you know when this specific person is at the door. Getting to know a person (linking the name) to a face takes a while as the incidence of light or facial expression often differs. Unfortunately, you cannot adjust the notifications based on known or unknown persons; for example ‘no notification when Esther is at the door’. Nest is at the forefront of these smart features, that must be said. And actually we can say that the Hello is both a smart doorbell and a smart security camera.
Still, I would like to highlight two more things that we miss; the first option is to answer only when someone actually rings the bell. This is already possible with the competition and it is certainly a solution for people who do not have a large driveway or path and still want to have recordings. This really needs to be added with another update. In addition, other smart doorbells, including the Ring, offer the possibility to hang a Chime – a gong – in several places in the house that communicates wirelessly with the doorbell. This way you can hear it all over the house when the bell rings. You only hear the Nest Hello where the gong is hanging. For some, an extra accessory to sound the bell above is a handy option.
One point that we attach great importance to is the smart home integration. Nowadays it is a must that smart products can also work together with other smart products so that we can really speak of a smart home. For the time being, the use of Hello with other smart home equipment is quite limited. You can use the Google Assistant, and therefore actually speakers with the Google Assistant. You can have these speakers notify you when someone is at the door. IFTTT we got half working because the Hello is recognized as a camera but not as a doorbell. For example, with IFTTT you can have other smart home equipment respond to a motion notification in front of the door (for example the lighting), but not when the doorbell is actually pressed. The same goes for Works With Nest, where, for example, we want the Hue lamps to respond to the doorbell. This is not yet possible, but it is possible to respond to the detection of a movement or person. So we would like to see some improvements in the field of smart home integration.
Nest Hello Smart doorbell – Conclusion
If we take everything together, we have to conclude that the Nest Hello is an excellent smart doorbell. The video quality is very good, smart features work great and the Hello does what it has to do almost perfectly. The doorbell is particularly suitable for a specific target group because if you live on the street, a subscription with continuous video recordings is not ideal, even illegal, and that is precisely how you get the most out of Hello. Unfortunately, there is no option to only answer when there is a call. Add to that the somewhat difficult installation, the high price and the lack of the option to connect a wireless chime and then I would still recommend the cheaper Ring Video Doorbell 2 for this target group. However, if you have your own driveway / path and you really use the Nest Hello as a security camera – with a subscription – then the Hello is well worth the 279 euros. There are definitely points for improvement. For example, in addition to the option for recording when the bell rings and the option to link a wireless dong, we would also like to see more smart home integrations back, we would like to mute the bell at night, we would like to see the recording of our own standard responses and the microphone could be better shielded from the wind.
- Excellent picture quality
- Activity zones
- Doorbell and security camera
- Standard responses
- User-friendly app
- Not for when you live on the street
- Tricky installation
- Smarthome integration is disappointing
- No recordings when calling only
- No possibility for extra gong