Our pick

Nest Hello

Runner-up

Ring Video Doorbell Pro

The Nest Hello isn't just a great-looking piece of hardware. Its camera has excellent dynamic range that keeps glare from the sun from blowing out your live feed, and it makes use of Nest's facial recognition technology to announce who's at the door — so long as you've identified them before.

$229 at Nest

Pros

  • Much better dynamic range
  • Uses facial recognition to announce who's at the door
  • Better Wi-Fi connectivity

Cons

  • Subscription service is more expensive

The Ring Video Doorbell Pro integrates great with Amazon services, allowing Echo speakers to announce when someone rings your doorbell. Where the Ring Pro wins out big is in its cheaper subscription service, which offers a whopping 60 days of storage for recorded events.

$249 at Amazon

Pros

  • Cheaper subscription service
  • Subscription stores 60 days vs. Nest's 5

Cons

  • No continuous recording
  • No facial recognition

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.

The result? I now have a new favorite doorbell.

Break it down now...

Installation is a wash. Nest Hello and Ring Pro install with nearly identical processes. You'll need a low-voltage doorbell system already in place — because how else would you get power to the thing, right? And if you're handy at basic home improvement wiring stuff, you can get either doorbell up and running in about 20 minutes or so (maybe a tad longer — I've installed a half-dozen of these things at this point and have gotten pretty quick about 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-looking 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 importantly, 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 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.

Nest Hello Ring Pro
Camera 1600x1200 1080p
Field of view 160 degrees 160 degrees
Wi-Fi 802.11ac 802.11n
Live view Yes Yes
Continuous recording Yes No
Face recognition Yes No
Subscriptions Start at $5/mo Start at $3/mo

Ring has optional chimes, so you can hear notifications throughout your 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.

Ring Pro is pretty darn good. Nest Hello is better.

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, 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.

Our pick

Nest Hello

Nest's first foray into video doorbells is a smashing success.

The Nest Hello is simply the best video doorbell around, thanks to its HDR camera and extremely useful facial recognition features. If you have a Google Home around the house, it'll even announce who's at the door.

Runner-up

Ring Video Doorbell Pro

Still every bit worth the money for Ring users.

If you're already wrapped up in the Ring ecosystem — or if you have a lot of Amazon Echo speakers around the house — the Video Doorbell Pro is a great option. Its two-month event storage is a great addition for a small fee each month.

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