Nest Cam with battery test: the free features we’ve always wanted

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Chris Monroe / CNET

Google’s $ 180 Nest Doorbell isn’t just a wireless version of Nest Hello 2018. It is a completely new device, with different specifications and unique advantages. It is not either replacement the old video doorbell (now called Nest Doorbell (wired), for those who keep track of it). Both devices remain on the market and cater to different customers: the new doorbell is primarily aimed at those who do not yet have doorbell wiring in place.

This approach to video doorbells isn’t new, and neither are many of the features that Nest’s wireless doorbell brings to your door. You get almost everything you expect from a top brand wireless doorbell in 2021: two-way conversation, high-definition resolution, 145-degree field of view with a 3: 4 aspect ratio, smart alerts, facial recognition and a few. other interesting advantages.

Read more: Nest Cam 2021 review

These features add up to a great product, especially when compared to Ring’s Latest Wireless Offering. And while I tested the new Nest Doorbell over the course of a week, I absolutely loved the overall interface and impressive performance. Despite the stunning design of the doorbell, its monthly fee of $ 6 and a few lackluster features left me a little disappointed. If you are a Google devotee or just someone looking for a solid video doorbell without By subscribing to its monthly service, the Nest Doorbell (battery) will meet your needs perfectly. For everyone there can be better options.

As

  • Smart notifications
  • Free features
  • Good performance
  • Value (without subscription)

Do not like

  • Expensive subscription
  • A slightly limited field of vision

The basics

The new Nest Doorbell is a $ 180 wireless video doorbell, which puts it immediately below the price of competitors like the Doorbell 4 and Arlo wireless, both of which cost $ 200. What’s really cool is that many of the best features are out of the box, no monthly Nest Aware subscription required. For example, while you need a subscription for facial recognition, you don’t need it for notifications specific to people, vehicles, packages, and animals. You’ll also get three hours of free event storage, which means you can check out recordings from the start of the day if you’re busy when they happen.

These features worked well when I tested them, effectively distinguishing between passing cars and parcel deliveries, for example. Additionally, I was impressed with the low latency of the live video stream. When I install the Nest Wireless Doorbell side-by-side with the Arlo Wireless Video Doorbell, the wireless version of our favorite video doorbell – then moved in front of them while watching the live stream, Nest showed the movement in near real time, while Arlo was 3 seconds behind.

A few seconds might not make much of a difference in some circumstances, but it can make a big difference on occasion, such as when communicating through a two-way conversation.

The battery-powered Nest Doorbell comes in four colors: Snow (white), Linen (beige), Ivy (dark green), and Ash (gray), and it looks great. I prefer its aesthetic to the more square ring bells and Arlo’s chunky design.

Google doorbell also works as you might expect with Nest smart speakers and displays. These devices can function as doorbell chimes, and you can also call up the video stream with Google Assistant on your Nest Hub, where you can also initiate conversations with visitors. If you opt for Google’s $ 6 per month Nest Aware program, you’ll also get facial recognition and 30 days of video event history.

The good, the bad and … well, there is no ugly here

This video doorbell isn’t going to shake up the industry, but it does come with some cool features. I’m especially excited to see these smart notifications – which have been stuck behind a subscription on most comparable doorbells – included for free.

What interests me less is the field of vision and the aspect ratio. I’ve insisted on this in the past, as it seems a lot of major developers are struggling to get it right (Ring cameras with wide-angle lenses are particularly bad). Fortunately, the new Nest Doorbell offers a better vertical field of view than many others, including the old wired model. This means that when someone is only one foot away from the device, you will always see them, from head to toe.

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The Nest Doorbell (battery) has an attractive, minimalist design – and it looks better than the Boxy Ring and Big Arlo.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The 3: 4 aspect ratio means you don’t get as much horizontal coverage, which depending on your setup may matter a little or a lot. My entrance to the house is quite narrow, so losing a few degrees of horizontal coverage doesn’t change the game there. But to CNET Smart Home, that meant serious blind spots both on the porch and when I tried it out at the side entry.

I like the vertical cover more than the horizontal, if I have to choose one. But I don’t understand why I have Choose. Arlo video doorbells feature a 180-degree field of view and a 1: 1 aspect ratio, which means solid coverage in all directions.

Another good thing, but not great, is the three hours of event storage. Three hours will be enough in many circumstances, but if something happens at 2 a.m., those images will no longer be available by the time you wake up. It’s a bummer, especially for anyone seriously considering purchasing the battery-powered Nest Doorbell and forfeiting the subscription.

Speaking of subscription, Nest Aware starts at $ 6 per month, which is double the cost of comparable services from Ring and Arlo. For subscribers, that means the $ 20 price difference between the battery-powered Nest Doorbell and its direct competitors will evaporate within seven months of the original purchase. That said, the facial recognition you get and 30 days of event storage are respectable features coming with that monthly fee.

What about the Nest Hello?

Google fans might be wondering how the new Nest Doorbell compares to the old Nest Hello, and the good news is that it’s an upgrade in almost every way. The Nest Doorbell wireless doorbell has smarter features across the board, and while the Nest Hello has a better field of view technically, the new device’s aspect ratio provides a better view of the areas most relevant to most. users (think: higher and lower, at the cost of that side view). Finally, that old wired Nest Doorbell costs a lot more, at $ 230.

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The Nest Doorbell (wired) has one more trick the new wireless device can’t match: 24/7 continuous recording.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

The only big advantage of the old doorbell is that it allows 24/7 continuous recording, which the new doorbell, even if you wire it, won’t. It will just be a snap for some people who want that maximum level of security. However, that shouldn’t matter too much against Nest, given that no major wireless video doorbell offers this feature.

Should we buy it?

The Nest Doorbell (battery) is a serious competitor in an increasingly competitive market. Video doorbells are getting smarter and more affordable.

If you’re just looking for the best wireless video doorbell, the Arlo Wireless will suit most.

If you’re looking for a wireless video doorbell with intelligence that doesn’t depend on those monthly fees, then Nest’s new subscription-free doorbell might be a good and affordable alternative for you. Same if you are a Google devotee and want to use it smoothly with all those Google Assistant powered smart speakers and displays. Either way, you won’t be disappointed with what you get.

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