A HomeKit Enthusiast's Take on the Google Nest Doorbell

Cupertino, August 3, 2023

When I was building my new home, I found myself struggling with the decision of which doorbell to go with. I've always been a fan of the privacy and security that HomeKit Secure Video offers, but I've also been looking for a doorbell with 24/7 recording. I found myself torn between my love of HomeKit's privacy and the need for 24/7 recording. After much research, I landed on Google's Nest Doorbell. It offered the 24/7 recording feature I was looking for, but I was hesitant about the lack of end-to-end encryption. But in the end, I decided to go with the Nest doorbell because it's not a camera in my house, and the benefits of the 24/7 recording feature outweighed the encryption concerns.

HomeKit Weekly is a series that focuses on smart home accessories, home automation tips and tricks, and everything related to Apple's smart home framework.

Nest Doorbell Hardware

The Nest Doorbell is solid and well built and was a breeze to install. I appreciate that it connected to the traditional doorbell wiring, which made the installation process much easier than relying on battery power. It also worked seamlessly with the doorbell my electrician had already installed at the new house, which was a nice bonus. Google also has a battery-powered option if you don't have traditional wiring, but it does lack the option to record 24/7. The camera on the Nest Doorbell is high quality and the night vision works exceptionally well. I can clearly see who is at my front door, even at night when the porch lights are off. The motion detection with zone function is also very accurate and only alerts me when someone is at my door and not walking along the street. This is especially useful because it eliminates false alarms caused by cars or pedestrians driving past my house. Plus, I can easily set it to ignore pets, which is great since we have cats that roam the neighborhood, and it eliminates false alarms caused by this. It can also detect when packages have been delivered.

The Google Home App vs. the Apple Home App

While the Google Home app isn't as polished (in my opinion) as the HomeKit app, it's still pretty easy to use. I appreciate that it allows me to view live images and recordings from my Nest Doorbell, adjust motion detection settings, and talk to visitors through the doorbell's speaker. I'm currently using the w/beta version of the upcoming Google Home app, redesign and I must say I really like it compared to the old version. It has a more modern and clean design and it is more intuitive to navigate. As someone who has been using HomeKit for years, it's interesting to spend time in a different ecosystem. One area where I feel HomeKit excels over Google Assistant is with automations. Here's a simple example: My home security alarm is in HomeKit and Google Home. I can create an automation in HomeKit where opening the door after a certain time of day turns on a HomeKit outdoor light while the door is visible in HomeKit. I can't recreate the same automation in Google Home. It seems that automation via door sensors will soon be possible.

Adding the Nest Doorbell to HomeKit

If you've been reading HomeKit Weekly for a long time, you know I love the Starling Home Hub. If you have Google Nest products that you want to use with HomeKit, this is the easiest way to do it. All you need to do is connect the device to your network, download the app and you'll be up and running in no time. Having this product on my network was another part of my decision making. The app guides you through connecting your HomeKit environment to your Google Nest environment. Once your Google Nest doorbell is added to HomeKit via Starling Home Hub, you get all the benefits of a HomeKit doorbell that any other device would have. I think one of the big advantages is the integration with the Apple TV. With Starling Home, your Nest Doorball can appear on your Apple TV screen when someone rings the doorbell. Starling Home Hub also supports HomeKit Secure Video for the Nest doorbell. This doesn't mean you can count on your video data to have end-to-end encryption, as Google would still stream your video, but it might save you from having to pay for the Nest Aware subscription. You can also use the Nest camera's motion sensor in HomeKit automations. An example of a possible one is that an outdoor lamp is switched on when it detects movement. You can also create automations for when the doorbell button is also pressed.

General thoughts on the Google Nest doorball for HomeKit

While I sometimes worry about Google, outdoor cameras are a very nice product. The Nest Doorbell looks great and comes in multiple colors. It offers ten days of 24/7 recording through the Nest Aware subscription that costs $120 a year for an unlimited number of cameras. While it's a great product in its own right, when added to HomeKit through the Starling Home Hub, I think it's going to be the best HomeKit doorbell on the market. I can enjoy all the benefits of HomeKit products through automations. I especially love the integration with Apple TV, and I think the hub's price alone is worth it. If you want to learn more about the Google Nest doorbell, check out the 9to5Google guide. You can purchase the Starling Home Hub from their website. The Google Nest Doorbell can be purchased from Amazon, Best Buy, or directly from Google. FTC: We use auto affiliate links that generate revenue. More.

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