Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) – friend or foe (security review)

The Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) adds valuable peace of mind in knowing who is ringing your doorbell - whether you are at home or not. You may have noticed the word 'Nest'.

All Google speakers and security devices are now Nest, as smartphones and tablets are Pixels. But there is one extra feature you may not have thought about. It is equally useful to know who is coming and who is going.

Yes, it works both ways. There are quite a few smart doorbells now, so we will try to differentiate.

Google Nest Doorbell (Battery)

AU website here
Price £263 RRP
Warranty One year
Country of manufacture Thailand
Company Google is an American multinational technology company specialising in Internet-related services and products, including online advertising, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered one of the Big Five US tech companies with Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.
Other CyberShack Google Nest news and reviews

We use Fail (below expectations), Pass (meets expectations) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below.

We occasionally give a Pass(able) rating that is not as good as it should be and a Pass '+' rating to show it is good but does not quite make it to Exceed. You can click on most images for an enlargement.

First impression - very Google-like design cues - Pass+

Elegant, understated, white, and will fit with most door colours. At the top is the camera eye, and at the bottom, a glowing white circular doorbell press button.

It runs on an inbuilt rechargeable 3.65V/6A/22W battery. Remove the doorbell to recharge via a USB-C 15W or larger charger (not supplied). But we start with a warning: Video Doorbells must not be an impulse buy.

Setup - Google Home easy - Pass+

It is a Wi-Fi device, so your only limitation is the maximum distance from your router.

It uses Wi-Fi N 2.4GHz and, in theory, can be 30-40m away from a router, but that depends on the number of walls and doors (and their construction) the signal passes through. If the distance is an issue, Wi-Fi extenders may work with your current router, or you may need to look at a new mesh system that can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Or just follow  Fix Wi-Fi blackspots fast and often at no cost (guide).

Mounting is simple. It comes with a flat metal base plate (left or right mount) and a 20? wedge (left or right mount) to angle the device towards approaching traffic. All screws and templates are inbox.

There is a video guide.

Google Nest Doorbell (Battery)

Field of view - tight but Pass

Ideally, mount it 120cm off the ground, give or take 30cm. The field of view is 145? diagonal and about 90? horizontal (that is 9:16). That is not as wide as some that have fisheye 180?, but the image is not as distorted.

Google Nest Doorbell (Battery)To get the height it sacrifices width

Battery life - pretty good - Pass+

It depends on the number of events - doorbell presses or motion-activated video.

Light users might get six months (2-4 recorded events per day), medium users three months (9-12 events) and busy users one month (2-25 events). The latter is more of an issue if the doorbell faces the road, and you should restrict its sensitivity and field of view. Better still is to hardwire it if you have an existing electric ding-dong Friedland doorbell.

Catch #1 - wrong voltage

Google Nest Doorbell requires 8-24VAC/10VA/50Hz power.

That is AC power, and your existing doorbell is likely to be 8V/1A DC power. You can generally use the same transformer to doorbell wiring, but you need to change the transformer. RJ Turk has a 240V to 16V AC transformer plug pack (not a wired-in) used for security alarms for about £50.

You may also find suitable transformers at Jaycar. Then it is up into the ceiling to find the old transformer and replace it. My advice - get an electrician to do it because it is illegal to DIY as it involves AC.

Strong Warning: The Electrical Safety Act requires a qualified electrician if connecting anything to a domestic supply other than a 240V AC plug-in pack.

Catch #2 - a chime because your Friedland ding-dong won't work - wrong voltage.

The standard setup sends a notification to your phone and any Google Assistant speakers 'There's someone at the door!' That may be enough.

Or you can buy an AC chime and run it off the new transformer using the same wiring. Google can also take a message.

In use - Pass

The Doorbell is only as good as your Wi-Fi signal. So make sure you test it first using the free Network Cell Info Light App on Google Play, testing signal strength exactly where you want to place the doorbell.

You need a signal strength of -50dBM or lower to work correctly. Wi-Fi also induces lag, and the app can test millisecond (Ms) lag and data throughput (Mbps). Ensure you turn mobile data off before you test.

Go to the Speed tab, and if your Ms lag is over 100Ms and data throughput (remember that upload is vital here) is below 10Mbps (to the router), that will induce about a 2-4 second video/voice delay making real-time way communication difficult. Google says 2Mbps minimum - don't try it. You can respond verbally via a smartphone notification or use pre-set responses.

Picture quality - Pass (night) and Pass+ (day)

The camera records in 960 x 1280 (1.3MP) and up to 30 frames per second (fps).

Again, depending on Wi-Fi signal strength, you may find that drops to as low as 15fps when it starts to get jerky and image tear. At our test location, we were getting 5Mbps upload, 150ms lag, and the images were adequate. Voice was impossible.

Night vision is mono, and Google says it has HDR, but it is just 850nm IR LEDs good out to about two-top-three metres.

Voice quality - Pass(able)

Voice quality depends on Wi-Fi signal strength, and as you will normally use a smartphone, its mobile data signal strength. Or you can use Google Assistant when you are home and voice quality improves. It has one microphone and some AI noise cancellation, but on the whole, it is adequate at best.

If there is wind, you cannot understand the caller.

Google Nest Doorbell (Battery)

Weather resistant IP54 - put it under cover - Pass

'5' means Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the safe operation of the equipment. '4' means light water splashes (rain) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect. Still, you must mount it under the eaves or an awning as it is not weather-proof.

A Nest Aware subscription gives more - Pass

You can avoid a subscription and get a basic person, package, vehicle ID, and 3-hour event history - that is a very short timeframe if you are out.

. The Nest Aware basic subscription is A£9 per month and unlocks 30 days of event history, familiar faces alert, smoke and fire alerts and more. The Nest Aware Plus is £18  per month and adds 24/7 video history (which the doorbell cannot do anyway).

Details of each are here. It is worth it if you have multiple Nest devices.

CyberShack's view - Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) is a worthy addition to a Google Home

There are many of these device types - Arlo, Google Nest, Ring, Eufy and many hardware store brands. Your choice should not be based on budget but on what features you want.

At £263, the Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) is a decent value and fairly fully featured. We remind you of several caveats:

  • Wi-Fi signal strength is paramount. Test first
  • Wire it in if you can, and that will likely cost £150 or more for an electrician, £50 for the transformer, and you will need a new ding-dong bell.
  • If possible, have a porch light on at night because IR simply does not record the details you may need.

A Bunning's expert stated there is an extremely high rate of video doorbell returns [all brands] for two main reasons.

Low-to-no Wi-Fi signal at the front door and the frustration at having to charge batteries too frequently - as much as weekly instead of 2-3 months - because a doorbell can have thousands of activations a month.

 Like almost all other Wi-Fi doorbells, it gets a limited recommendation if you get the other things right. It's a no-brainer for a Google Assistant-enabled home, but most brands integrate with Google anyway.

[embedded content]

Google Nest Doorbell (Battery)

£329 but £263 to 12/9/22

Google Nest Doorbell (Battery)

Features

7.5/10

Value

7.5/10

Performance (strong WI-Fi)

7.5/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Design

8.0/10

Pros

  • Google is as Google does - it's a worthy addition to a Google Assistant home
  • Reasonable day-light image but remember it has a tighter field of view than some others
  • Well made

Cons

  • If Wi-Fi is weak, you won't be happy and will need to upgrade your home Wi-Fi
  • Google Assistant can be relatively slow to respond
  • Unless you subscribe to Nest Aware - three hours of events is too small
  • Need additional night lighting if you want details in the image
  • Wire it in to avoid recharging

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.