Ring has made quite the name for itself the past couple years thanks to its stable of video doorbells, DIY security cameras — and I’d say some damned good marketing. So good, in fact, that Amazon reportedly scooped up the company for something like $1 billion.
But Nest Hello is here. It’s the first doorbell from the company that brought you the world’s sexiest smart thermostat, with all the back-end power that a Google-owned organization can possibly throw at it.
In terms of pure looks, Nest wins out. Both doorbells are the only ones I haven’t looked at with a sense of disgust — seriously, there are some bad video doorbells out there — but Nest is just a sexier piece of hardware, hands down.
But it’s in the operation where things really stand out.
Most important, it’s the camera. Nest Hello has some HDR processing, and it’s readily apparent. My covered front porch tends to be backlit a lot, and Nest Hello handles that much better than Ring Pro.
Then there are the notifications. Ring is pretty aggressive with them, though it does have an excellent (new) snooze functionality. But Nest Hello wins out with facial recognition. It sees a face, you give it a name, and then you get smart notifications, telling you who’s at the door.
Ring Pro is pretty darn good. Nest Hello is better.
Ring has optional chimes, so you can hear notifications throughout a home. Nest Hello can use any of the three Google Home speakers. That means a $29 Google Home Mini can do that much more. And if someone the doorbell recognizes rings the bell, it’ll announce them by name. Which is ridiculously cool.
Then there’s the connection. I don’t know if it’s the difference between Ring Pro being an 802.11n device and Nest Hello being 802.11ac-compatible, or if it’s some other server magic from a Google-owned company, but Nest Hello hasn’t suffered from anywhere near the lag or outright disconnections that Ring Pro has.
Ring wins out in terms of subscription service, at least as far as price is concerned. Just $3 a month (or $30 a year) stores recorded events (motion, rings, and live viewing) for 60 days. Nest Aware starts $5 a month (or $50 a year) and gives you five days of recording. That’s five days of continuous recording, though. Not just events.
I’ve used every doorbell Ring has produced. At the time of this writing, I’ve had Nest Hello for a week. And while I still say ecosystem wins out — if you have a bunch of Ring equipment already, stay with a Ring doorbell — Nest Hello wins the head to head competition.