THE HELLO HAS MORE ADVANCED FEATURES, BUT RING’S DEVICE IS EASIER TO USE AND COSTS LESS – IT’S OUR PICK OF THE TWO
Once the sole domain of the wealthy and paranoid, video doorbells are booming in popularity. It’s easy to understand why. They let you see and speak to whoever’s at the door without having to open it; they can monitor the outside of your house and alert you when motion is detected; and they allow you to be in when you’re out – especially useful if a courier turns up with a package unannounced.
Nest is the latest big name to join in the fun, with the Google-owned brand releasing the high-end Hello to take on the market-leading Ring Video Doorbell 2. Let battle commence.
EASE OF SETUP
Ring wins the ease of setup round hands down. Even a novice DIY-er with a screwdriver and a few minutes to spare should be able to get it up and running in less than half an hour – you don’t even have to own a screwdriver as one is included in the box.
That’s mainly because the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is powered by a removable and rechargeable lithium-ion battery. All you need do is screw it onto your door frame, charge up the battery and screw the cover on. Next, it’s a simple matter of downloading the app to your smartphone, running through the setup routine and signing up for a Ring account so you can access and download clips once they’ve been recorded. The doorbell connects to your home Wi-Fi via 2.4GHz 802.11n.
The Hello, on the other hand, is mains- powered only. Installation is quite involved, so I’d recommend getting a electrician to put it in.
There are definite advantages to Nest’s approach. Because it doesn’t have a battery built in, it’s more elegant than the Ring 2 and also looks much less like a security camera. There’s no battery to pull out and recharge every couple of months or so and, as part of the setup, it can be integrated with your existing door chime if you have one.
Note that you can also integrate the Ring with your mains and an existing chime, but again you’ll need some electrical know-how.
Which brings us to to the $59 Chime Pro, Ring’s Wi-Fi extender unit that also acts as a chime. The Nest Hello might look similar at $299, but that rises to $358 with the Chime and doesn’t include the price of installation. Overall, the Ring will probably cost around $250 less to
get set up than the equivalent Nest product.
Also consider subscription costs for the companies’ online video storage facilities. Ring’s prices start at $30 per year, Nest’s at $100 per year. You’ll need to pay for this after the first month – otherwise, you can’t view clips after they’ve been recorded or download them for sharing with the police if you’ve been broken into.
The Nest Hello’s video resolution isn’t as high as the Ring Video Doorbell 2. It’s 1,600 x 1,200 (recorded on a 1/3in sensor), while the Ring 2 records 1,920 x 1,080 video. In most other respects, however, the Nest matches or betters its rival.
The first area of superiority is that the Nest records video 24/7, just like a regular security camera, and it saves that video direct to Nest’s servers. This means you can review any minute of the day, whereas the Ring 2 records clips only when it detects motion.
The level of subscription you buy determines how far back you can go in your video history. The cheapest $70-per-year subscription gives you access to continuous video recording five days into the past; the next level up is $140 per year for ten days; and if you want a full month (30 days), it’s an incredibly pricey $300 pa..
Even a novice can set up the Ring, while installing the Hello may require professional help
HDR means that the Nest can deal with tricky light and infrared LEDs boost its night visionThe Hello’s “familiar face alerts” give you a tailored announcement whenever a regular visitor arrives