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Nest Hello NC5100US Review

In many ways, Nest helped define the modern smart home by transforming utilitarian devices such as thermostats, smoke detectors and security cameras into attractive, innovative products. The Nest Hello smart doorbell is one of the latest examples of this.

Our Verdict

Nest Hello is the most advanced smart doorbell we tested, but some of its best features require an expensive video storage subscription before you can use them.

For

  • Nest Hello helps you quickly address visitors with pre-recorded responses.

Against

  • Nest's cloud video storage subscriptions are the most expensive among smart doorbells.
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In many ways, Nest helped define the modern smart home by transforming utilitarian devices such as thermostats, smoke detectors and security cameras into attractive, innovative products. The Nest Hello smart doorbell is one of the latest examples of this.

The Nest Hello's pre-recorded responses and detection features are the most advanced among the doorbell cameras we reviewed. Its video quality on the Nest is some of the best we've seen, and it has an excellent warranty. However, we found it more difficult to install this unit than much of the competition and its smart home compatibility is surprisingly limited.

Price, particularly with regards to cloud video storage, ultimately keeps the Nest Hello from ranking higher in our comparison. The most basic Nest Aware video storage plan starts at $5 a month for five days of storage, making it the most expensive cloud storage we've seen. In contrast, you can get 60 days of storage from Ring for $3 a month or 30 days with August for $4.99. Beyond that, it costs around $230 to buy the unit itself, which is also higher than average among video doorbells.

The Nest Hello earned the second-highest score overall in our video quality testing. The daytime video quality of the smart doorbell captures clear details, though it lagged slightly behind RemoBell and Ring Video Doorbell Pro. In nighttime tests, the Nest Hello was our top performer, tying with the Ring Video Doorbell 2. As with other doorbell cameras we tested, the Nest Hello's audio quality is adequate for speaking with visitors at the door.

Aside from a few minor quirks, we found it easy to use the Nest Hello during our tests. The Nest smartphone app is easy to navigate and lets you control other Nest products as well. The Nest Hello is the only doorbell we reviewed that comes with pre-recorded responses, which you use to tell visitors to leave packages, wait at the door or that no-one's available. It's a thoughtful feature that streamlines how you interact with visitors, especially ones you don't want to speak with.

The Nest Hello also has the most advanced detection features we've seen, it can detection motion, sound and people. Although Ring Video Doorbell Pro also features people detection, we like that Nest goes a step further by recognizing familiar faces and letting you know who's visiting.

With the motion detection, you can create specific zones to ignore activity on busy streets while focusing on your steps or porch, though you can't set these up in the smartphone app, you must use the web portal on a computer. You can also schedule when your doorbell sends motion alerts, though Nest doesn't let you adjust the overall sensitivity of its motion detector like other video doorbells. Except for the scheduling feature, Nest requires a Nest Aware subscription to adjust motion detection settings, which makes the doorbell less useful to non-subscribers.

The Nest Hello is compatible with other Nest smart home devices such as the Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest x Yale smart lock and Nest Guard security system. While you can link the doorbell to the smart lock, they don't function together as seamlessly as the August Doorbell Cam Pro and August Smart Lock. For example, you can't use the Nest Hello as a Wi-Fi adapter for Nest x Yale the way August's products work together. To unlock the lock, you navigate to a different page in the Nest app instead of the one-touch option from August.

Outside the Nest compatibilities, Nest Hello only works with IFTTT and Google Assistant. It supports fewer smart home platforms than most video doorbells, which is disappointing considering many of the company's other products have exceptional smart home compatibility. We expect this to improve with time.

Installing the Nest Hello is a straightforward process that takes around 20 minutes, though it doesn't include many of the tools that come with other smart doorbells such as screwdrivers, drill bits and levels. However, it does come with an angled bracket to redirect the camera if your previous doorbell was mounted in a corner. It also comes with extension wires and clips to help you connect it to your existing doorbell wiring.

The Nest Hello does not run off a battery and must be wired to a mechanical or digital chime and transformer inside your home. Along with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, the Nest Hello also includes a small adapter box that goes inside your existing chime to help the doorbell get enough power to run. This small adapter is the main reason it takes longer to install Nest Hello than other smart doorbells.

The Nest Hello has a slim profile, like that of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, which fits better on door frames than most smart doorbells. Nest provides a two-year warranty on the Nest Hello, which is the longest warranty in our comparison without paying for some sort of extended warranty plan.