Google Nest Doorbell Review 2nd Gen, Wired (2023)

Google Nest smart Doorbell review 2nd gen wired boxGoogle Nest Doorbell 2nd Gen (2023) Review – Wired Version

This is a brief review of the latest Google Nest smart doorbell, which is a replacement for the Nest Hello, rebranded as the first-generation Nest doorbell a few years ago. This smart doorbell does not come with a chime; instead, you can link it to your existing wired chime or rely on your home’s smart speakers to announce a visitor. On the smarts side of things, you can detect the arrival of parcels, see videos and have conversations with visitors from either an Android or iPhone device.

rrp When reviewed: $137

Verdict: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Does the Job but lacks speed and Matter compatability
  • Price
  • Apparent Accuracy
  • Build Quality & Design
  • Features, Including App
  • Openness & Compatability
3.6

Google Nest Doorbell Review

The 2nd generation Google Nest Doorbell WIRED was a great addition to my smart home. It looks great with a sleek design and I found it easy to install, replacing my first gen model. The video is clear and the night vision feature works surprisingly well. The two-way audio is crucial for me, allowing communication with visitors and delivery drivers from remote parts of my home. The integration with Google Nest devices and the Google Home app is good making it easy to control and view the footage. Overall, it’s a solid choice for Google Home/Android users looking for a smart doorbell.

If you want to use Apple Home, it is possible but you need to do some more research (explained below).

Additionally, the 2nd generation Google Nest Doorbell WIRED has a number of advanced features that make it stand out from other smart doorbells on the market. The doorbell has fairly-reliable facial recognition technology, which can identify familiar faces and send you an alert with a photo of the person at your door but it’s a time-consuming process to get the doorbell to learn the faces of all your regular visitors. Ask yourself, “Do you really need that feature?”

It also allows a pre-recorded, custom message to greet visitors even when you’re not home. Though I think it’s difficult to see how to use that without alerting potential burglars or package thieves to your absence.

The 2nd generation Google Nest Doorbell (WIRED) also has a built-in motion sensor that can detect when someone is at your door, even before they ring the bell. This can be useful for deterring potential intruders or alerting you to unexpected visitors. It’s also useful as a prompt for you to get your phone out of your bag and be ready for when they ring the bell!

Overall, the 2nd generation Google Nest Doorbell WIRED is a high-quality smart doorbell that offers a wide range of advanced features and seamless integration with other Nest devices. It’s a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable and feature-rich smart doorbell.

Its fundamental flaw is that the ‘hub’ is on the internet and that sometimes slows down the responsiveness of the bell, Apple Home is different and has its hub on your WiFi network.

Despite everything, I would still say the Nest Doorbell is value-for-money at its price. It’s generally recognised by other reviewers as having one of the best levels of image quality.

rrp When reviewed: $137

Pros

  • Fine for WiFi access
  • Can chime through smart speakers
  • Looks good
  • Image quality
  • The competitive price includes a 3-hour video history
  • Subscription only for sensibly premium features

Cons

  • Will be tricky to wire for many people
  • Lacks Matter Compatability (Apple Home, Samsung, Amazon)
  • Slow to react when you are on the move

Gen 1 vs Gen 2 – What’s the difference?

When it comes to the differences between the first and second generation, I own both the wired versions, having recently upgraded to the latest one. I highly recommend that you purchase the latest version. The second-generation wired version is currently only available in the USA (as of January 2023), but I managed to get one via eBay. You may want to wait a few months until it becomes more widely available or consider the second-generation battery version, which is identical except for the battery power source.

Google Nest smart Doorbell review 2nd gen wired new vs old
Gen 2 (left), Gen 1 (right)

Here are some of the key differences:

 

Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd gen) Nest Doorbell (wired, 1st gen)
Intelligent Alerts  

Includes People, Package, Animal, & Vehicle Detection

 

Only person detection is included. Package detection requires a Nest Aware subscription

Activity Zones  

Included

 

With Nest Aware

Field of view Taller (3:4) field of view to see people head to toe and packages on the doorstep Slightly wider 4:3 field of view
Resolution HD UXGA 1600 x 1200 with HDR 1200p with HDR
Event History  
  • Three hours of event video clips included
  • Includes 2 seconds of pre-roll footage
  • Three-hour snapshot (images only)
  • No pre-roll
24/7 continuous video history (Subscription Service)
 

10 days with Nest Aware Plus

 

10 days with Nest Aware Plus

Local storage fallback during Wi-Fi outages Yes No
Colors Snow, Linen, Ash, Ivy Black
Works with Google Home app Nest app

Google has clearly put a lot of effort into the new version of its smart doorbell. It is slightly larger, comes in more colour options and, in my opinion, looks better overall. The packaging has been significantly reduced, and more accessories are included to make installation on uneven walls easier and the wiring process simpler. The instructions for installation are more detailed, but in many cases, you may need to call an electrician to install a doorbell transformer or connect it to your existing chime. I was able to install it myself, but I acknowledge that many people may find the wiring process confusing, despite it being marketed as straightforward.

Google Nest smart Doorbell review 2nd gen wired boxes

Compatibility with Apple iPhone and Apple Homekit

 

Android phone owners will be confident that Google’s Doorbell will work for them. It’s less obvious if it works for iPhone users but the iOS Google Home app will be fine (I use it).

If you want to use Apple Home (Homekit) then you’ll need a new piece of kit (a Homekit Bridge). As of January 2023, you could buy a Starling Home Hub for a bit less than $100, this lets Google Home Compatible devices work on Apple Home. I’ve got one and it works, and it should do as it was initially designed so that Apple Home users could use the original Nest doorbells.

Another alternative is to wait. I just can’t believe that a product Google released in late 2022 will not be Matter compatible. Matter is a 2022 standard that allows an accessory to work on any brand’s smart Home setup, which includes Apple as well as Amazon and Samsung. So, I reckon…but don’t know, that all you have to do is wait and sometime this year Google will update the firmware in the doorbell and it will become Matter-compatible overnight.

 

How Well Does it work?

It’s alright. The audio and video quality is more than good enough, the featurettes that you can tweak are more than adequate, and the newly added three hours of recording history meets my meagre needs on that front.

The one area that lets the Google Doorbell down is remote speed. What I mean by that is that when someone rings the doorbell it just takes a second or two to ring on your phone or home speakers. By the time you’ve opened the app the super-busy Amazon delivery person has already gone, and that’s when you’re at home using your super-quick WiFi. When you are out and about there is a longer delay, sometimes quite a long delay as the notification finds its way over the internet and over your cell carriers network. If on the off-chance, the person is still there then you can speak to them and see them perfectly well. I even can do that on my Apple Watch (below, with the Starling Home Hub installed at home)

The new video camera is portrait-orientated and that really helps you to see if the aforesaid Amazon delivery person has left the package somewhere sensible, or at least it does in my case.

Special Stuff

One of the great things about the Nest Doorbell is that it can recognise people (after you’ve tagged them a few times) and can also detect motion, animals, packages and cars. Great. Except if your camera faces a road it will be triggered by everything that passes your house as well as everyone that approaches the house.

Fear not! You simply draw a zone on your smartphone image of the doorbell’s view and detection is only then triggered in those areas! You can have multiple zones of that one view and different triggers for each zone.

Even though ‘only’ 3 hours of elapsed video are recorded, the recording happens only when the camera is triggered. Handily a part of the video before the trigger is also kept.

Cool!

Apple: Although I said elsewhere that you can use Apple Home if you have the Starling Hub, there are more limited but still good features available in Apple Homekit.

Nest App: I’ve not tested the Nest app. After installing it on Google Home and Apple Home I realised that I would have to start all over again if I wanted to pair to the Nest app. The only reason I can think of pairing to the Nest app rather than Google Home is that you would then be able to view the video using Nest online on a PC. I had that working on my Gen 1 doorbell but not the new one, it probably works.

 

Google Nest Doorbell Wired Installation

 

The physical installation of screwing a doorbell to a doorframe or outside wall is easy and drilling a hole for the wire should also be easy enough for all drill owners out there. The doorbell comes with an optional wedge that angles the camera toward where visitors are likely to stand, I used that and it works well.

The doorbell also comes with pads that let you install it on an uneven wall (I didn’t use that) and includes a small retaining screw which I promptly lost.

 

Things get trickier when it comes to the wiring. You must include the chime connector in any circuit and you must have an 8VA transformer (12 V AC – 24 V AC). I initially set my transformer incorrectly and there was insufficient power for the doorbell to record video so you do have to get this right. The image above shows an example of what a transformer might look like, mine is made for DoorBell circuits and could quite easily fit into your main fuse box but I’ve put it near the front door and with an isolating switch next to it.

Bell Transformer Wiring (simplified): In my case, the live wires in/out go on the top right hole and the bottom right hole. The neutral wires are top left and bottom left. The wires from the bottom could be spurred from a lighting circuit and the wires from the top go to your bell circuit. The second of the following two images show how the chime connector is added to the circuit (this is not a chime…it’s a silent chime connector) but this wiring can vary greatly depending on the chime you have. The Google Home has very extensive instructions on how to do the chime wiring but they are hard to follow. The following diagram is about the easiest-to-follow that I could find.

Google Nest Doorbell (wired) 2nd Generation Specifications

  • Dimensions
    • Height: 4.6 inches (11.7 cm)
    • Width: 1.7 inches (4.3 cm)
    • Depth: 1.0 inches (2.6 cm)
    • Weight 4.28 oz (122 g)
  • Power requirements – 12 V AC – 24V AC; requires an 8VA transformer and wired doorbell
  • Camera – 1/3-inch, 3-megapixel (2K) colour sensor, 8x digital zoom
  • Video – HD UXGA 1600 x 1200, up to 30 frames/sec, H.264 encoding, HDR
  • Colour – Black & White
  • Field of view – 160° diagonal
  • Audio – High-quality speaker and microphone
  • Lights – RGB light ring and status light
  • Sensors – Ambient light
  • Night Vision – 850 nm infrared LEDs
  • Operating temperature – -20°C to 40°C
  • Weather resistance – IPx4 rating
  • Security – 128-bit AES with TLS/SSLWireless
    • 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz) Wi-Fi; WEP, WPA, WPA2 encryption supported
    • 802.15.4 (2.4 GHz)
    • Bluetooth low energy
  • Warranty – Comes with a 2-year limited warranty (details in the box).

What’s in the box

  • Nest Doorbell (wired)
  • Chime connector (you must use this)
  • 15° wedge (probably sensible for most people to use)
  • Release tool (standard hex key)
  • Masonry drill bit
  • Window decal (you need to tell people you are recording them)
  • Wallplate
  • Extension wires (need a fairly big hole)
  • Wall anchors (rawl plugs)
  • Screws
  • Quick Start Guide

Requirements

  • Requires a wired doorbell and chime.
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, 2.4 GHz (WEP, WPA, WPA2 encryption supported). Working broadband Internet connection with at least 2 Mbps upload speed. At 1600 x 1200, Nest Doorbell (wired) requires 800 to 2,000 Kbps of upload bandwidth while streaming video.
  • Requires a compatible phone or tablet with the free Nest app and Bluetooth 4.0. For more info visit nest.com/requirements

Google Nest Doorbell Review – Final Thoughts

It’s a Marmite product – you’ll either love it or loathe it but in my opinion, it is fundamentally a good product.

It’s clear that this doorbell has limitations, such as a potentially difficult installation, poor responsiveness when away from home, and a lack of compatibility with Apple Home. However, it’s important to note that companies in this market want to tempt you into an ongoing subscription, and Google’s inclusion of 3-hours of free video recording is a positive move.

The relatively peripheral features like package detection and detection zone creation won’t be used by everyone but will appeal to many of you.

I now just have to figure out a way to make the Nest Doorbell more responsive over my high-speed Google Mesh WiFi.

rrp When reviewed: $137

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Google Nest Doorbell Review 2nd Gen, Wired (2023)

  1. Important to note that the battery version of the doorbell can be wired by this wiring only serves to charge the battery and not power the doorbell directly. It is -3°C today and the doorbell is not charging even though it is wired because it is too cold. During the winter this will cause the battery to fully drain and the doorbell will turn off until the weather warms up. You could charge indoors by removing it from the wall but when it is wired in you then have to remove the wiring too. For this reason if you can wire yours in I would recommend the original wired version.

  2. You pretty well need a subscription of cloud to keep the history of what happened thru the day. Without this the camera will record events the first event of the day and will keep running until you have used 3 hours of time. Then you will have nothing It neededs its own SD card.

  3. Thanks for this.

    I have a wired gen 1. I’ve had issues with 2 of them with WiFi dropping a lot (even with a access point 30 cms from it) and also the frustrating lag (when it’s connected) to open the app and talk to who is there.

    In your view, do you think either have improved on the 2nd gen?

    One other frustration on the 1st gen was te plastic coating that covers the front. It started to peel of after a few months in the sun and looked terrible. Google had to replace one and the replacement did the same. Really poor on a black device when it looks like skin peeling.

    I’ve a lot of other nest protects (thermostats, hubs, protects) but also a lot of Amazon. Weighing up if its worth trying the 2nd gen on ebay or going to another brand.

    1. yep
      if you look at the photos above you will see the covering peeled off of my gen 1…mine was over two years old but google replaced it for free (I sold the replacement and bought the gen 2)
      yes i think gen 2 is better.
      wifi dropping – check you have it wired correctly. (I didn’t with gen 1 even tho it still mostly worked). with gen 2 it looks like if it’s not wired properly it just doesn’t work (mine didn’t at first)….forcing you to sort the wiring/power supply out. Gen 2 seems more reliable but there are still some delays that are just intrinsic to how Google works (Apple and Matter work differently but with different downsides)
      Nest – yes i have other nest products and i think they are good (Thermostat, Protect and various Home speakers and I have Google WiFi Mesh). i have no experience with amazon. as per the article everything is going toward the MAtter standard and the Nest devices can be made to work with Apple Homekit using Starling’s Hub (in the even that google doesn’t upgrade your items to Matter)

      If my MEsh WiFi isn’t upgraded to Matter I will be seriously hacked off (it might not be)

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