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Informinc’s Review of the Nest Hello

Gone are the days when kids could play a prank on you, as doorbells can do so much more these days. If you thought a doorbell is just a doorbell, Google is going to prove you wrong with the new Nest Hello.

The quick look at the Nest Hello

The smart device is able to record videos 24/7 with facial recognition, but you can also use it as a regular doorbell.

Nest Hello is a video doorbell that stands out from the crowd with its ability to constant record and to recognize faces and objects.

It needs constant power and works with an existing chime, successfully replacing the wired doorbell. It’s definitely a high-end option for the smart doorbells.

At glance, one could say that its constant need for power limits your options about placement, but the new device balances the downsides with its incredible features.

Is it a doorbell or not?

Nest Hello is a rather simple-looking doorbell that comes with one large button and a glowing blue ring around it. It’s bigger than a regular doorbell (twice the size) and you need to screw it straight into the wall.

The light ring is going to pulse around the button as you’re approaching the door so it only makes sense that you…push it. This is where Nest Hello is going to show off. It’s firing off the connected chime when pushed, but it’s also going to send a notification to your phone. If you have any other Google Home Smart devices in your home, Nest Hello can make any of those speakers sound an alert as well.

If you want, you may talk through the doorbell to the caller using your phone. If not, you can also ignore your guest, choosing from the app an automated message. You got several options to choose from: “No one can come to the door”, “You can leave it” or “We’ll be right there”).

Is it difficult to install?

If you already have a wired doorbell, the installation of Nest Hello shouldn’t be that challenging. When the wired doorbell has the right voltage transformer, it’s quite easy to install the new doorbell. You simply remove the current one, disconnect the two wires, screw the back plate in place and reconnect the wires to the back of the new doorbell. Clip it in place and enjoy it. It shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes, give or take. You also need to get on the Nest app on your iPhone or Android for the setup routine.

Nest Hello is going to need a transformer with voltage output ranging between 16 and 24V AC, which isn’t common for some countries. In this case, it’s wiser to hire an electrician for the installation.

If you don’t have a wired doorbell at all, the installation is going to be even more complicated as it requires you to install a transformer, the wiring and the chime too.

Is it easy to use?

The installation may be the only thing difficult related to Nest Hello. The new doorbell is very easy to use and everything starts with someone hitting the button. This is going to fire off the chime, sending an alert to your phone, but also to any Google Assistant smart speakers that you have around the house (as previously mentioned).

When there’s someone at the door that you don’t recognize, you can always have a talk through the Nest app on your phone. You can get a live feed from the door with a button and talk to him/her. If you’re not in the mood, you can always play one of the pre-recorded messages.

You only need internet connection for the device to work in and outside of your home.

What about the facial recognition function?

The camera comes with a green light above it, which is going to glow while recording. The facial recognition is the most important feature and it does require a Nest Aware subscription.

The principle is rather easy: as people come to your door, the system is going to spot their faces and you may tag them with names later on. Next time your friend comes to your door, as he/she presses the button, you’re going to know exactly from your phone who’s paying you a visit. Google’s smart speakers are also able to announce the name as well.

Constant recording and facial recognition may raise some privacy issues, but you’re the only one accessing the Nest account. Nevertheless, it’s rather polite to let your friends/neighbors know about this feature.

What’s to say about Cloud options?

You can only use the Nest app’s alerts and functions through a Nest Aware subscription. However, you can use it as a video doorbell to which you may answer from wherever you’ll be.

When you’re not using the monthly cloud storage, you may still enable some basic alerts. This isn’t going to be enough for many, though.

When you’re using the Nest Aware subscription, you can get the best out of it. The device is going to stream videos up to the cloud without stopping, recording 24/7. You can actually see snapshots of events and everything in between, which turns the doorbell into a reliable security camera.

The video quality doesn’t disappoint (even at night) and the video records in 4:3 ration with a pretty wide angle. The chances for identifying the name badge on a caller are rather slim when they’re far from the door, but it’s not difficult to identify logos or faces.

The notifications that you’re going to get contain gifs so you’re going to see a small animated snapshot of the object/person.

The processing of the streaming video happens in real-time by Google’s AI in the cloud, along with smarter tools. You may get a similar set of notifications, but they’re going to be improved, eliminating the false positives. This helps you narrow down notifications to some specific zones within the camera’s viewing field.

What are the pros and cons?

Listing things is always helpful so let’s start with our pros:

  • The good quality of HDR video and night vision as well
  • Smart add-on features
  • It works as a basic doorbell, without needing a subscription
  • It can become an effective home-security camera
  • It identifies your guest through the facial recognition function
  • It looks great

The cons are important as they complete the picture:

  • You do need power and wiring for using it
  • You only get the best out of it by adding a subscription
  • It does pose some privacy concerns when it comes to the facial recognition feature

Any other observations to highlight?

Even if the Nest Hello is loaded with good features, there are some downsides that we need to mention, without undermining its overall quality in any way:

  • Even if the device is weather-proof, the back plate isn’t able to fit really tight to the wall, allowing water to get in behind it
  • You may silence the chime for half an hour (up to 3 hours), but you cannot schedule it to stay silent throughout the entire night.
  • You do need a powerful Wi-Fi signal for the doorbell
  • The Nest app gets you through the entire installation instructions and you cannot skip any of those steps. This is going to take you some time, for sure.
  • The shadows of people may be also recognized as people, sending alerts
  • The facial recognition function may give errors. For instance, less frequent guests may not be recognized, even though you did tag them.

Long story short…is it a go or not?

The Nest Hello is one dependable smart doorbell and you don’t necessarily need the add-in subscription for using it.

However, if you’re determined to use the smart features, the Nest Aware subscription is mandatory and it doesn’t break the bank either. You’re going to see that it’s a wise investment of your money as the Nest Hello turns into a reliable security camera for the front of your home.

High-end, dependable, effective and new, the Nest Hello is one of the smartest video doorbells that you could install on your front door.

Here’s a hands-on review by Danny Winget:

RESOURCES

We took notice and got our useful info from here:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/sep/20/nest-hello-review-google-smart-facial-recognition-video-doorbell

 

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