Nest Doorbell (Wired, 2nd Generation) Review

Google’s latest $179 Nest Doorbell (Wired) takes what we liked about last year’s battery-powered Nest Doorbell and gets rid of almost everything we didn’t like. For starters, it’s very small, and it features continuous recording with the Nest Aware subscription.

I’ve been using the new Nest Doorbell for a few weeks, and it’s clear to me that this is the Nest Doorbell for people who live inside Google’s ecosystem of products.

google doorbell to get

The wired Nest doorbell is perfect for those in the Google smart home ecosystem, offering free smart alerts, 24/7 recording, and a sleeker design than its wireless counterpart.

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Jason Cipriani/CNN

The design of the Nest Doorbell (Wired) remains almost identical to its battery-powered predecessor, with one big change – it’s much, much smaller. The Nest Doorbell (Battery) is still one of the loudest video doorbells I’ve tested. It measures 6.3 inches x 1.8 inches x 0.95 inches, while the new wired model is a more manageable 5.2 inches x 1.7 inches x 1.1 inches.

The size reduction likely comes from Google removing the battery and all the hardware that goes with it. This is a welcome change, as the battery-powered version is ridiculously large and takes up a lot of space on your home’s exterior. For someone who doesn’t have much space to install a video doorbell, the battery model’s overall footprint may mean that this isn’t even an option.

Even with the smaller size, the hardwired version of the doorbell has a similar design. At the top of the housing is a black circle that houses the camera and a small LED that lights up when the camera is recording or watching a livestream. Near the bottom of the housing is a large button surrounded by a light ring that turns on when motion is detected, letting a visitor know exactly where to press to ring your doorbell. Once the button is pressed, the light ring rotates to indicate that the doorbell is waiting for a response.

For those looking to add a little personal flair to the outside of their home, you can get the Nest Doorbell (Wired) in four different color options: Snow, Linen, Ash, or Ivy.

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Jason Cipriani/CNN

The main promise of a video doorbell is peace of mind. With what amounts to a security camera next to your front door, you can keep tabs on what or who is on your property. Even if it means you have to go back and watch footage after something happens, it’s still the peace of mind of knowing what happened and who did it.

But with last year’s Nest Doorbell (battery), continuous recording wasn’t possible, even if you used it in a wired configuration. However, the 2022 wired version adds continuous recording. The amount of history your account provides depends on which Nest Aware subscription plan you sign up for. If you don’t sign up for a subscription, you’ll get three hours of event video history. The standard $6 Nest Aware plan gets you 30 days of event video history, while the $12 per month plan gets you 60 days of event history And 10 days’ worth of 24/7 continuous recording.

Event history means you only have access to clips that were captured when motion or an object was detected by the camera. For example, if a dog walks in front of the camera, it will be saved as an event in your camera’s video history. However, continuous recording means it literally records and saves 24/7, allowing you to have clear footage for an event, even if it doesn’t trigger the camera’s motion sensor.

It’s unfortunate that Google is holding the feature behind the Nest Aware subscription, but it’s understandable, as storing all that footage is bound to be an additional expense on Google’s part.

The good news is that the Nest Aware plan includes all Google or Nest cameras on your account, so you’ll only pay $6 or $12 a month, even if you have five cameras around your house.

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Jason Cipriani/CNN

Speaking of features hidden behind subscriptions, Google used to do this with its Smart Alerts feature that let you know when a Nest Doorbell-like camera detected a person, package, animal, or vehicle. But last year, Google took those alerts out of subscriptions, giving them to all Nest doorbell and camera users for free.

Setting up event alerts is easy in the Google Home app. You can also customize which of these categories you receive notifications for, and those that are recorded but you don’t receive any alerts.

And if you’ve enabled animal events, you’ll notice that the alerts you receive also include if the camera thinks it has seen a dog or cat. In my testing, with two dogs constantly walking in the area of ​​the doorbell, the alerts were accurate. I don’t have a cat, so I can’t attest to the accuracy of Feline Alerts.

However, there were a few occasions when I got an alert that a package has been delivered. The only problem is, I was testing the doorbell on my back patio, where packages never get delivered. What do I think would detect motion, perhaps by a wild rabbit (I have!) running across my yard, or leaves falling, and the camera accidentally pointing at one of the objects on my patio table? Will assume something that was just left. However, those false alerts were few and far between.

There’s another alert type that requires a Nest Aware subscription to Google, and that’s Familiar Faces. The Nest Doorbell can alert you when it sees someone you’ve labeled within the app, letting you know not only that someone is at your door but Who? is at your doorstep.

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Jason Cipriani/CNN

The Nest Doorbell (Wired) has the same camera setup as its battery-powered sibling. This means you get a 145-degree field of view with a 3:4 aspect ratio (tall than wide), a resolution of 960 x 1280, and a maximum frame rate of 30 frames per second.

And for the most part, the quality of livestreams and recorded clips is just fine. In some respects, I’d argue that it’s better than what I get on the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2. However, there are times when the low frame rate is apparent and the video becomes a bit choppy. I’m really nitpicky here.

For night vision recording of Nest Doorbell (wired), it looks like normal night vision recording. You can see motion, whether it’s an animal or a person, but it’s not quite the same level of clarity as I see on the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2.

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Jason Cipriani/CNN

The Home app, which you use to manage all your Google Home connected smart devices and view video clips or livestreams of your Nest Doorbell, is a total mess. It’s been around for a while. The good news, however, is that Google knows it’s messed up and is actively testing a redesign that looks like it’ll be a vast improvement.

I signed up to participate in the preview as soon as possible, but so far I haven’t been signed in.

In addition to the pending redesign, Google has launched a way to view your camera’s livestream through your browser. You won’t get alerts of someone ringing your doorbell or motion alerts via browser integration, but you can at least pull up a video feed and see what’s going on.

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nest bell product card
Ring Video Doorbell 4 Product Card
Power

wired

wired or battery

wired

video quality

960 x 1280

960 x 1280

1080p

field of view

145 degree diagonal

145 degree diagonal

160° 84°

Smart Alert Type

Motion includes people, packages, animals, and vehicles; Nest Aware subscription required for familiar faces

Motion includes people, packages, animals, and vehicles; Nest Aware subscription required for familiar faces

Motion, PayPal, Package

smart home support

Alexa or Google Assistant

Alexa or Google Assistant

Alexa or Google Assistant

membership cost

$6 or $12 per month

$6 or $12 per month

$3, $10 or $20 per month

Dimensions

5.2 x 1.7 x 1.1 inch

6.3 x 1.8 x 0.95 Inch

5.1 x 2.4 x 1.1 inch

worth

$180

$120

$220

The Nest Doorbell (Wired) is well designed, and at $180 it’s not too expensive. Smart alerts are something you don’t normally get with video doorbells for free, and while the video quality could be better, it should be perfectly fine for most users.

The Nest Doorbell (Battery) is currently our top pick for best wireless video doorbell camera, and the wired version uses much of the same DNA. But the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2’s advanced motion detection and video quality, along with the Arlo Wired Video Doorbell’s lower price and multitude of controls, is enough to keep the Nest Doorbell (Wired) out of the top picks. But barely.

If you already have plenty of Google Assistant-compatible devices and maybe a Nest Camera or two, the Nest Doorbell (Wired) is easy to recommend — as long as you have the necessary wiring. And even if you don’t have one, you can always buy a power adapter and pair it with a Nest speaker to act as a doorbell.

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