Google’s new wired Nest Doorbell is nothing new

Google has finally released its long-awaited successor to the Nest Hello video doorbell. The new Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd gen), which was first teased last year, costs $179.99 and is available now at retailers such as Amazon and at the Google Store.

A wired version of Google’s Nest Doorbell (battery), the new Nest Doorbell is meant for homes with existing doorbell wires. A wired doorbell doesn’t need to be recharged frequently, although if the power goes out, it won’t record video, unlike its battery-powered counterpart.

The design of the new doorbell is almost identical to the existing battery version; it’s just slimmer and, at 5.2 inches tall, about an inch shorter. It comes in the same four colors as the Nest Doorbell (battery): white, beige, gray, or green. It also costs the same and has the same camera specs and the same software features.

The big difference is the Nest Doorbell (wired) can record 24/7 video with a Nest Aware Plus subscription ($12 a month / $120 a year).

The new doorbell’s video resolution is 960 x 1280 pixels at 30 frames per second, with a 1.3-megapixel color sensor and HDR imaging. The camera captures a head-to-toe view with a 3:4 aspect ratio and a 145-degree field of view.

These specs will disappoint those who love the Nest Hello, which has a higher resolution at 1600 x 1200, a wider field of view, and stronger digital zoom. That is still available for $149, down from $229, but it doesn’t include the three hours of event recording for free that Google’s newer buzzers do.

However, when The Verge tested the Nest Doorbell (battery), our reviewer, Dan Seifert, said he never felt the video or image quality wasn’t satisfactory. Google spokesperson Julie Zhu told The Verge in a briefing that the new camera has “the clearest image yet” of all of Google’s cameras. This is thanks to software improvements, which Zhu says Google plans to bring to all its newer cameras. “Our advanced AI and software expertise helps us to extract the best out of the hardware,” she said.

As with all of Google’s new Nest cameras, the doorbell has on-device processing of video footage to deliver quicker alerts for people, packages, vehicles, and animals. With a Nest Aware subscription, you also get an alert that tells you who is at the door with Nest’s Familiar Faces feature.

The doorbell can automatically record an hour’s worth of events if Wi-Fi goes out, but there is no battery backup; if the power is down, so is the doorbell. It can work with Google and Alexa speakers and smart displays as a digital doorbell chime as well as stream live video. This lets you see and talk to people at your door — like a video intercom.

Other software features include quick responses, activity zones, and a three-hour event history for free. With a Nest Aware subscription, you can see a 30- to 60-day history of event-triggered video recordings. If you level up to a Nest Aware Plus subscription, you get 10 days of 24/7 continuous video. All of this is accessed in the Google Home app. As with all new Nest cameras, the Nest Doorbell (wired) doesn’t work with the legacy Nest app.

Google also announced a slew of updates to the Google Home app, which I cover in more depth in this article. But in brief, this includes improved camera integration. You will be able to scroll through recorded footage vertically in the Google Home app — as you could in the Nest app. You will also see snapshots of the action for easier reference, and the app will open to show a live view from your cameras, making it faster to see what’s going on at your front door.