How Does a Nest Doorbell Work

What do you get when you combine a security camera with a doorbell? The Google Nest Video doorbell!

Also called Hello, the Google Nest is a wireless smart camera doorbell that allows you to keep track of the activity at your front door as well as talk to visitors, whenever and wherever you are.

Google Nest (wired/battery) adds a very convenient security layer to your home.

How Does It Work?

The Nest Video Doorbell is much the same as other video doorbells. It is easy to install even if you don’t have much experience with wiring.

Can a Nest Secure Doorbell be hacked - DIY Home SecurityThe Nest has a clean design, rather larger than other doorbells. When you approach the doorbell, a ring of light shines to show you where to press.

The Hello (Nest) doorbell takes the place of your existing wired doorbell – it can work both wirelessly and wired which makes it a very versatile product. Once you have installed the device you will need to link it to the Nest app via a WiFi connection.

Battery, Power, and Voltage

The Nest Doorbell (Battery) can operate on battery power alone. The doorbell battery life of the Google Nest Video Doorbell is good and it doesn’t need to be recharged all that often. However, it can be connected to the current doorbell wiring system for continuous charging.

The Nest (Wired) has to be connected to your doorbell system. You might need to upgrade your current system to make it compatible.

If you lose power to the Nest doorbell you will get a notification that Nest Secure is going to shut down, Guard will disarm, and the status will change to offline in the app.

Nest App

The app allows you to view live feeds as well as hear and speak to visitors at your entry door. It also offers you the option of being able to view old recordings and will alert you when goods are delivered to your door. Yes, it is that smart – it can tell the difference between faces and packages. The Nest can also be used as a motion detector and can be set up to send you notifications of motion occurring within the vicinity of the door.


If you choose the wireless option, the doorbell chime will ring on your GA-powered speakers. You will also get the video feed on your GA smart displays. Notifications will also be sent to your smartphone.

Video Storage

Without a subscription, the Nest offers three hours of cloud storage. If you pay for a subscription you can increase this.

The camera and doorbell work in tandem – i.e. when a person presses the bell, the Nest will notify you on all your Google Assistant-powered devices – you will hear the chime and be able to see the video feed. There is a microphone button that allows you to speak directly to the visitor at your door. If you don’t want to personally respond to someone you can use the pre-recorded responses that come with the device. These are limited but still proved some useful responses should you not want to engage whoever is at your door – “You can just leave it”, “we’ll be right there”, and “no one can come to the door” .


The audio is good and you can clearly hear people speak to you. There are a few audio delays every now and again but nothing that impedes conversation.


The doorbell camera works seamlessly with GA and GA-powered smart displays. The video feed appears within a few seconds of someone ringing the bell.

The aspect ratio of the Nest Doorbell’s video is 3:4. It also has a 145-degree diagonal field of view. This allows you to see all the way to the floor which is great for seeing if a package has been delivered. However, the view is not as wide as some other cameras.

The Nest cam recognizes the difference between people, animals, vehicles, and packages and you can set up specific notifications to let you know if, for example, a car passes by but not if a dog does. This is all because of the onboard AI capabilities of the device.

Daytime video quality is great! This is thanks to the HDR (high definition) features of the doorbell. The camera is able to keep both light and color stable in bright and dim conditions.

Even at night, the HDR video quality is good enough and while you might not be able to see a name on a badge you can clearly see company logos and faces. It might be a good idea to install an outdoor camera if you want to monitor your front entrance area at night as they usually have a higher standard of night vision.

IP Rating

The Nest Doorbell comes with an IP54 rating. This rating means that the doorbell is safe against dust from affecting the operation of the device. It is also resilient against rain and heavy weather.


If you lose internet connection, the Nest can record one hour of footage on the onboard storage. Once you regain connection, this footage will be uploaded to the cloud.


Is it worth buying a Nest Aware subscription? That all depends on what functionality you are looking for and the amount of video storage that you want. Without the subscription, you can still enable basic notifications for things such as movement, sound, or when a person is spotted. A snapshot is taken with each notification and this is saved in the app as part of a timeline of events. If you purchase a subscription you get more advanced options. The Nest Doorbell records 24 hours a day and streams the video feed to the cloud. This allows you to not only see snapshots of events but everything that happened in between events. This makes it a great security camera.

Facial Recognition

Facial Recognition - DIY Home SecurityThis is the Hello’s big selling point. You will however need a subscription to use this feature as it is powered by Google’s cloud. The Nest Hello can spot faces and then lets you tag names to them. So, the next time that person arrives at your door and pushes on the doorbell, the notification that is sent to you will show that person’s name, and the smart speakers will also announce the person’s name.

This familiar face feature doesn’t always work perfectly – for example, it might recognize you as a different person if you approach the door wearing sunglasses or a hat. However, you can merge these separate images into one and then delete the incorrect images.

There are some privacy concerns around the facial recognition feature and the constant recording. It might be wise to explain to your neighbors that only you have access to the facial data through your Nest account.

Nest Video Doorbell Compatibility

Google Nest can replace the doorbell you currently have however, there are a few systems that are not compatible or cannot deliver the system enough power. Make sure you check the compatibility before you purchase the Nest.

Google Assistant

The biggest benefit of the Nest doorbell is seen when you link it to other Nest products.

Some great companions to the Nest are:

Next x Yale Smart Lock – this allows you a hands-free method of giving access to family or friends while you are busy with something else.

Nest Hub Smart Display – this display will make an announcement when someone rings your doorbell and allows you to speak to them without using your smartphone.

Homes Without A Doorbell

If you don’t have a doorbell installed at your home here are a few things you can do to install a Nest.

Ask the pro’s – get a professional to come in and install the doorbell for you. A licensed electrician will be able to help you with all the ins and outs of power requirements etc.

Install a battery-powered Nest – No wiring is needed, it is a simple install and will run on its onboard battery.

Install the wired Nest doorbell with the indoor power adapter – with this power adapter you can simply plug your doorbell into the adapter’s power outlet.

Intercom or Other Front Gate Devices

Unfortunately, the Nest doorbell does not work generally work with intercoms, gate controls, or a doorbell that is set up far away from the house. There are a couple of things you can do to aid with this incompatibility:

Install the Nest together with the indoor power adapter.

Install the Nest doorbell (battery)

A Few Random Observations

You have to go through all the instructions for installations on the Nest app even if you’ve had a professional install the Google Nest video doorbell for you – a bit of a pain.

Without the subscription, it seems that far too many false alerts are sent through making some people turn the notifications off entirely.

While the device itself is weather-proof the backplate doesn’t fit snuggly to the wall. Water can get behind the plate if the rain is heavy enough.

Because of the constant recording, you will need uncapped broadband and a really good Wi-Fi signal to operate the doorbell.

You can’t schedule the chime to be silent overnight but you can turn it on or off manually using the app.



Three hours of cloud storage – free

Even with no subscription, the smart detection is top class

Comes with both battery and wired options

Affordable subscription fees

Comes in four colors


A bit on the expensive side

Narrow field of view

You need a subscription for the facial recognition feature to work

Concluding Thoughts

The Nest Video Doorbell is a high-performing doorbell system that will enhance the current security of your home and give you peace of mind in knowing who is at your door before you open it. The many benefits of the doorbell with help you gain that convenient yet safe lifestyle that you are hoping to achieve for your family.

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