Tech Junkie Review – Google Nest Doorbell (Battery)

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Ring may have created the doorbell camera concept but dozens of companies are now competing in this crowded market. Google is one of them with their newest option, the Google Nest Doorbell (battery). I took it for a test on my home.

Hardware

The Nest Doorbell (battery) has a very “Googly” look to it, especially in white. This isn’t a bad thing! It has a large button and a matching camera circle on the top. The built-in battery is a nice addition especially for those who don’t have doorbell wiring on the front of their home but it also adds to the size of the doorbell compared to the non-battery option. It’s 6.3″ top to bottom compared to 5.2″ for the battery-less model. Nonetheless, I like the look. It’s clean and simple.

Install took me less than 10 minutes. I simply attached the two doorbell wires, screwed in the mounting plate to my door trim and attached the Nest doorbell. If you don’t have doorbell wiring, the install is even easier. An included “key” makes removing the doorbell to re-charge super simple.

Video quality is fantastic on the Nest Doorbell. The 1.3 Megapixel camera gives you a clear image of your front porch. Google also chose to use the camera in a vertical orientation (like a selfie on your phone) so you get a top to bottom view of the person in front of your home. This makes total sense. The camera is wide enough to see most of your front porch and the vertical format makes it much easier to see if someone leaves a package at your home. Other cameras can sometimes cut-off deliveries that are right up against your threshold.

Google integration

The nice thing about Google products is that they integrate nicely and the Nest Doorbell is not exception. A push of the doorbell will pop up a notification on your phone but also sound an alert on your Google Home devices. If you have a Google Home hub, with a screen, the video stream will pop up almost immediately. You can press a button on the screen and talk to the person at the door.

AI Smarts

The Nest Doorbell has impressive artificial intelligence built-in. When it detects motion at your front door the notification will tell you if it’s a person, animal or package. It will even notify you if that package disappears. I was impressed how well this worked!

Subscription frustration

As expected, the best features are only available if you pay for Google’s $6/month subscription. They call it Nest Aware. The camera only saves videos for 3 hours if you don’t have a subscription. This means if something happens at 3am the video will be gone by the time you wake up at 7am. That’s frustrating. While I understand that cloud storage is expensive it would be nice to get 12 hours of saved videos when you just forked over $100+ for this doorbell.

The $6/month plan will get you 30 days of video storage as well as smarter artificial intelligence. It can detect familiar faces, which is super cool. This means it can tell you WHO is spotted on the doorbell camera. With the subscription it can also detect the sound of a smoke alarm and glass breaking. The other nice thing about the Nest Aware subscription is that it covers EVER nest cam in your home. A killer deal if you have multiple cameras, a bit expensive if you only have the doorbell. Sure, the subscription is worth it, I just wish we could get a more realistic amount of save time on the free plan.

Things I’d change

This one is easy, because I really like the Google Nest Doorbell, there are two simple things I would change. First, be a little more generous with the free plan. It shouldn’t feel like a device I just spent $100+ on is handicapped because I don’t want to pay $6 per month.

My second change is something I hope Google is already working on, make it possible for me to share the doorbell camera with another Google account. In my house, my wife needs to be able to access the doorbell camera on her phone too. If there’s a way to do it, I couldn’t find it.

Conclusion

With those gripes out of the way, it’s safe to say, this is one of the best doorbell cameras you can buy right now. The video looks great and the vertical orientation makes perfect sense. The AI was impressive and the Google integration with my phone and other Google devices was nearly perfect. Best of all, it’s under $200 and as of this writing is on sale for $120 for the 2022 holiday season.

The Google Nest Doorbell (battery) gets 4 out of 5 geeks from me!



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