Ring 2 VS Nest Hello: Which Video Doorbell is Best for You?
Ring 2 has a lower subscription charge, better live calling, and the ability to be battery-powered.
Nest Hello has a superior build quality and can record 24/7 for $50/month, but it requires doorbell wires.
Setup is easy with Ring 2 and gets the win. Nest Hello isn’t hard to set up, but it’s more challenging than Ring.
Ring 2 doesn’t need wires or an existing doorbell. You charge the battery and watch the walkthrough video, then sync the doorbell with your WiFi. Once synced, you can install the doorbell and it only takes a few minutes. It works in temperatures from -5F to 120F, and it’s waterproof.
If you have existing doorbell wiring at the proper voltage, then you can skip charging the battery and install Ring 2 with the wiring. However, I don’t suggest this with Ring. Ring 2 acts strange when it’s wired. When I tested it, it would only record every five minutes, so you could miss something important.
Ring 2’s battery life is solid. It claims to last six months or 1,000 notifications. In my experience, the battery went down to 75% after two weeks. You can buy a second battery for $29, allowing you to swap out the original battery when it dies without any downtime. The wireless range seems better than Nest as well.
Nest Hello is harder to install. It requires a wired connection and needs the Chime Connector accessory for better power management. There’s a micro USB port that’s supposed to be used for transferring media, but it works for power too.
Nest connects to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless channels. It will automatically pick the best one. The app’s guide is interactive with a “next” button after you’ve finished each step. Nest recommends WiFi of at least 2/mbps, but I found that it needs closer to 8-11/mbps for medium quality settings.
Speaking of WiFi, you’ll need a lot of bandwidth for 24/7 recording. For the best video quality, it’ll use 300GB per month. Medium quality consumes about 120GB and low quality is 30GB. For reference, I’m online about 14 hours a day and I use about 500GB/month.
Nest operates in 14F to 104F and should be fine for most climates.
Reliability is a mixed bag with these two. I’m not a huge fan of either. Nest Hello is somewhat better, but it depends on how you look at them.
Starting with Ring 2, the doorbell missed several of my package deliveries. That’s why most people get video doorbells, so that’s not ideal. Its detection sensitivity is bad if you live by a busy street. Even though I set the sensitivity to five feet and the road is 40 feet away, it continually picked up cars going by. I received an average of 40 false alerts per day.
However, when it does record, it’s usually late. You’ll see the last few seconds of action. With that being said, calls work relatively well.
Nest is the only video doorbell with 24/7 recording, so it’s great if you never want to miss any action. While Nest will notify you if it captures activity, it won’t alert you until the activity is finished.
While Nest Hello has two-way video, there’s a 10-20 second delay before it notifies you that someone is at the door and wants to talk. I can’t recommend it if calling is your priority.
App & Smarts
There’s a wide gap in quality here. The Nest app is superior to Ring’s. If you want a more intelligent and intuitive video doorbell, then Nest Hello wins this race. But Ring offers more smart home compatibility.
Thankfully, Ring added thumbnails of recorded events in the app. Ring 2 gives you access to the “Neighbors Feed” that shows noteworthy events from other neighbors. In theory, it sounds useful, but it doesn’t do much in smaller towns with few Ring users.
You can’t create a schedule of when to stop recording. This would reduce false alerts, but sadly it’s not a feature. There aren’t notifications when Ring loses power or connection. Ring has a desktop app and web interface that are good enough. Ring 2 can connect with Kevo Smart Lock, Lockitron, Kisi, ADT Pulse, LockState, Smartlink, WeMo smart switches, and Wink smart hubs. You can also integrate it with IFTTT, Alexa, and Google Assistant.
The Nest app is better. You can view recordings by tapping a thumbnail or scrubbing through the timeline. This app is used with every Nest product and it integrates well with the Nest x Yale lock. You can also view in horizontal and vertical orientations. Surprisingly, Nest is the only one to offer this feature. Nest has an equally intuitive web interface.
Nest has pre-recorded responses that seem like a smart idea, but it falls short in practice. You can choose from three robot-voiced responses: “You can leave it,” “We’ll be right there,” or “No one can come to the door.” I’d like to see more options. There is facial detection, but it only works with a Nest Aware subscription and still needs some work. It’s not as sophisticated as Apple Face ID. It also registers weird objects like faces, like my shoes, fingers, and a leaf. Also, it won’t recognize you if you change your hair or put on glasses.
You can choose to be notified only if people come, rather than from any motion, but you can’t only turn on notifications for specific people. For example, if I had kids, I’d want to know when they’re home. However, it’s all or nothing. You can block out zones so that they don’t unnecessarily trigger motion detection.
While Nest’s notifications are usually solid, I have noticed several people recorded when scrubbing through the timeline but there wasn’t a notification of it. It also missed a few calls.
When the familiar faces alert works, you can have it announce the person over Google Home products. This is amazing when it works. Nest can also alert you of incoming packages as long as you have the Nest Aware plan and the package is 8″ x 10″ x 1″ or larger.
Unsurprisingly, Nest Hello doesn’t work with Alexa. It only plays well with Google Assistant, and you can’t use IFTTT.
There is a stark difference between these video doorbells and you’ll notice it as soon as you pick them up. Ring 2 feels like a toy while Nest Hello is well crafted.
Ring 2 is bulkier at 5.05″ x 2.5″ x 1.08″ and you can choose from either black or silver faceplates. However, they’re made from thin plastic. You can purchase Ring Chime for $30 to replace a traditional chime (which is perfect if you don’t have an existing doorbell), or a $50 version that also works as a WiFi extender.
Nest Hello feels great and has a glass front with a polycarbonate finish. It’s sleek and classy. Plus, it’s thin at 1.7 in x 4.6 in x 1.0 in. This smart doorbell resembles a traditional doorbell more than others. The button lights up and even non-tech people will find it easy. Plus, it has the best mic and speakers of any video doorbell that I’ve tested.
Nest offers better video quality than Ring 2.
Ring 2’s field of view is 160 degrees horizontally and 90 degrees vertically. You can barely see anything at night, and it switches to IR lights too quickly. Since it switches too soon, the IR recordings are hard to see and in black and white. Motion detection doesn’t work well at night, and the button isn’t lit, so it’s hard to see at night. On top of that, even when motion detection works during the day, it often misses events or records after an event has started.
Nest records in a 4:3 aspect ratio instead of the more common 16:9. This allows you to see a person from top to bottom, so you can see both the person delivering a package and the package itself. The daytime video quality is exceptional, but you’ll likely have to put this in medium quality to save on bandwidth. Night vision is black and white, but it’s clear enough to see what’s going on.
While the doorbell units themselves are evenly priced, Ring is more affordable when you consider the subscription plan.
If you want to save recordings, calls, or live views (for up to 60 days), then you need the Ring Protect plan. It starts at $3/month or $30/year. You’ll need this plan to make the video doorbell useful because without it all you can do is perform video calls.
The Nest Aware plan is similar. Without it, you can only get a photo snapshot of any action, which isn’t useful. Plus, the photos are only stored for three hours. The Nest Aware plan is $5/month or $50/year and gives you five days of cloud storage. They also have a $100/year plan for 10 days of cloud storage, but that seems excessive.
These two are neck and neck overall. Ring 2 is more affordable, doesn’t need existing doorbell wiring (one of its best features), and it’s better at live calling, though that seems more like a gimmick to be than a legitimate feature. Nest Hello has better build and video quality and provides 24/7 recording, but needs a lot of bandwidth and a more expensive subscription.
They’re both almost equal in my book, but I put Ring 2 slightly ahead of Nest Hello.