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Nest Hello Doorbell: 18 Questions/Answers You Need To Know

A marketing image of a black Google Nest Hello Video Doorbell (on a white background).
A black Google Nest Hello Video Doorbell.

The Nest Hello Video Doorbell was released in 2018, and whilst it’s sold decently well, Ring still rules the smart doorbell market. This means that whilst people have lots of questions about the Nest Hello doorbell, some of these questions go unanswered. Other answers are incomplete. Hence I wanted to create this FAQ which answers 18 of your questions about the Nest smart doorbell.

Does Nest Hello come with a chime?


Yes, the Nest Hello comes with a hardwired chime connector – sometimes referred to as a ‘chime puck’ due to it looking a bit like a hockey puck.

This sets the Nest Hello apart from the Ring doorbell series (which doesn’t have a hardwired chime, although a standalone WiFi chime can be purchased and plugged into a wall socket).

The Nest Hello install instructions covers installing the chime in steps 2.5 to 2.10. You essentially must take a photo of your existing chime’s wiring and then input this into the Nest app (during install) and the app will guide you on how to wire up the Nest chime.

You must therefore already have a hardwired chime to install the Nest chime, although you can potentially install your Hello without the hardwired chime (for example if you don’t have a hardwired chime, but you instead will use a Google Home device to be notified of visitors).

Does Nest Hello work with Alexa?


Nest is owned by Google, whilst Alexa (Echo) is owned by Amazon – who also own Ring. In other words, Nest and Alexa are direct competitors.

This makes integration between the two tricky. When a visitor rings your Nest doorbell, you want a Visitor Announcement (this is a Google/Nest term) to be disseminated. And this can be done on Google Assistant-powered devices – both video and audio-only devices.

In other words, your Android mobile phone (Android being produced by Google, which naturally supports Google Assistant) will support Nest ‘Visitors Announcements’. Google Home devices obviously will, as well.

Amazon Alexa products – such as the Echo range – do not officially support Nest Hello because Alexa/Echo does not support Google Assistant.

However, Nest have produced a free Alexa skill called Nest Camera. This is very badly rated (at 2.5/5 stars) – with over 50% of reviewers giving it 1/5 and saying it barely works for them – but it might work better for you?

This skill can be enabled on any Amazon product which has a video display. In other words, a simple Echo or Echo Dot will not support your Nest Hello.

The Echo Show, Echo Spot and the range of fire TVs (including fire sticks) will support the Nest Camera skill and so your Nest Hello. At least, it will if you belong in the 40% of people who have given the skill a positive rating!

Does the Nest Hello work on 5 Ghz (WiFi)?


Yes it does… if you live in America. If you live in the rest of the world: tough luck, you’re limited to 2.4 Ghz!

This is a bit of an odd decision from Google (aka Nest), but only half of Nest’s products support 5 Ghz so it’s not exclusive to the Hello.

This compares to the Ring series whose Doorbell 1 and 2 does not support 5 Ghz, but their Pro (the nearest Nest Hello competitor) which does support 5 Ghz.

In terms of whether to use 2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz if you live in America, you can test both out but it’s worth noting that 5 Ghz WiFi signals do not penetrate solid walls as well. So if you have concrete or brick walls between your Hello and your internet router, you might be better off with 2.4 Ghz.

You can change the setting fairly easily at the bottom of the Settings pane, so it’s worth quickly testing both options. You might find that you have higher download and upload speeds with 5 Ghz, even with a weaker signal.

Why does the Nest Hello have a USB port?


The back of your Hello doorbell has a USB port, which often provokes questions. Unfortunately it’s not to charge up your phone with! It’s not even to transfer video files – since, of course, the Nest doesn’t store video locally (it uploads all video to ‘the cloud’).

In actual fact, the USB port – which is micro USB – is used to quickly charge the small internal battery within the Hello. This shouldn’t usually be needed because the hardwired connections will self charge this small battery, but in rare cases an issue can occur which requires you to dismount the Nest Hello and plug it in to charge it up and restore functionality.

Nest’s support team can also potentially use this USB port for debugging issues with your doorbell.

Can Nest Hello be installed horizontally?


You can install it horizontally, but there is no auto-rotate option for the video, meaning that your video will appear sideways in the app (i.e. when visitors are at your door).

Since it is not really supported within Nest, this also means that features like motion and facial recognition won’t work with your Nest Hello installed horizontally.

This is unfortunate because if your existing doorbell is installed horizontally (for example because you have stone walls or uneven bricks), a Nest Hello won’t really work as you’d want it to.

Does Nest Hello come with a wedge kit?


If you have a narrow door frame or awkward install location, a wedge kit can be perfect to help get the best video capture possible.

The Nest Hello comes with a 15° wedge included in the box, allowing you to slightly tilt your camera angle to either the left or the right (just flip the wedge upside down to tilt the either direction).

Unfortunately 15° is not a huge tilt – if the walkway to your front door is at a right angled, for example, then a 45° wedge kit should be used instead.

Some people have spoken to Nest support about this issue and Nest have sent out further wedge kits, which can then be stacked together (with glue) to achieve 30° or 45° viewing angles instead.

Alternatively, now that the Hello has been out for a couple of years, you can buy third party wedge kits from Amazon which work well.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that the wedge kit allows you to turn the video left or right. It won’t work with ‘up to down’ angles. Again, a third party wedge kit can help with this instead.

Does the Nest Hello record all the time?


Yes, it records 24/7 because it is hardwired so it can constantly record without worrying about draining battery power.

You will, however, need a Nest Aware subscription from $6 per month to ensure that you can access the recorded clips. Without this, the clips are not stored ‘in the cloud’ and so you can only see the recordings in real time by launching the app.

Can you install the Nest Hello Doorbell without its chime?


If you don’t have an existing doorbell with a chime, then you might be wondering how to install your Nest Hello. The hardwired Nest chime acts as a resistor, meaning that if you’re unable (or unwilling) to install the chime, you have two options available to you:

1) Buy a suitable resistor and wire it up in the same way that the Nest app’s install instructions directs, but naturally using the resistor instead of the supplied chime.

2) Take the two chime ‘puck’ terminals so the chime works in series with the doorbell and transformer, and then blank off the other two exposed U-shaped terminals/forks.

Both these options require electrical knowledge so please ensure you are competent to do this, or hire an electrician first.

Can you install Nest Hello with two chimes?


If you have a big house (or want to more-easily hear your doorbell from upstairs), then having two chimes could be useful! So is this possible?

Yes, this is completely possible and Nest even send out the following wiring diagram when you ask them this question:

Nest Hello wiring diagram for multiple chimes.
The top image is the pre-Nest install, and the bottom image is with your Nest Hello and two chimes.

Then all you need to do is buy a second chime (since only 1 is included in the box) and wire it up.

How do you update the Nest Hello Doorbell?


You shouldn’t need to do anything – your Nest Hello doorbell will update itself automatically, as long as you have a stable internet connection.

When it’s update time, your Nest will restart itself at an appropriate time.

To ensure that you have all the latest updates, you can check the latest Hello version on Google’s support page and then compare this to your app by going:

1) Select your doorbell in the Nest app
2) Select ‘Settings’ in the top right corner
3) Select ‘Technical Info’ at the bottom
4) Check the version next to ‘Software’.

Why doesn’t my Nest Hello Doorbell ring?


If your indoor chime is not making a sound, or it’s barely audible, there’s quite a few reasons which could be causing this. The most likely is a low voltage supply, however, which means that the doorbell is ‘eating’ the power and there’s not enough ‘left’ for the chime to ring.

Other reasons include:

1) Having loose or crossed wires inside your chime puck.
2) The chime has been turned off within the Nest app, such as by accidentally enabling ‘Quiet Time’.
3) Much higher or lower temperatures than usual can cause the chime (which acts as a resistor) to turn off to protect the doorbell’s internal wiring.

How do I adjust the motion sensitivity on my Nest Doorbell?


Are you getting too many visitor alerts? Or not enough? This might be down to incorrectly set motion settings, if so.

You will want to adjust the Nest Detect settings in the app by going to Settings -> Security -> Devices, and then adjusting settings like pathlight, placement and activity zones. You can also try enabling ‘Reduced Motion Sensitivity’ under Security Levels, but this is more of a broad-stroke change.

These can allow you to only enable motion alerts within a particular custom zone, and then disable alerts outside of this zone. This can help reduce any false alerts that you receive.

How do I adjust the microphone sensitivity on my Nest Doorbell?


The Nest Hello’s microphone can pick up sound from all directions, which can be both a blessing and a curse. The 3-microphone array within your Nest offers automatic adjustment of sensitivity, to smartly pick up on just the sounds you need.

What this does mean, though, is that you cannot manually adjust the microphone sensitivity up or down – you are at the mercy of Google’s algorithms to get it right.

You can, however, turn off the microphone completely under Settings -> Microphone -> Audio recording, or enable a temporary Quiet Time from the home screen of the Nest app.

Installing a Nest Hello without an existing doorbell: is this possible?


If you have no doorbell wiring at all, you have two options available to you:

1) Run new electrical cabling, preferably from your distribution/consumer unit, so that you properly have a transformer, resistor (chime) and doorbell (Nest Hello) – in accordance with Nest’s install instructions.
2) Power the Nest Hello directly from an Indoor Power Adapter, i.e. just like plugging in any electrical device. This will not include the chime, but you can use a Google Home device (such as a Nest Mini) to ring when you have visitors instead.

Option #2 is much lower effort, and cheaper as well. You could always sell your unused chime puck on eBay or Craigslist, too!

Why does Nest Hello have facial recognition?


It sounds a bit creepy but yes, the Hello comes with facial recognition – as long as you pay for the Nest Aware plan.

This feature will eventually learn common faces (i.e. frequent visitors) to your property – such as friends, family – and maybe the local Amazon courier!

This is called the ‘Familiar Faces’ feature and it seems to works fairly well.

Can you save Nest Hello video footage to local storage (not the cloud)?


No, there is no storage unit inside the Hello to store away video footage. If you want video storage, your only official option is to pay for Nest Aware to back up the video in ‘the cloud’. You can then download video clips from here.

If you pay for Nest Aware, you can potentially stream the cloud video to a local server. But without Nest Aware, there’s no way of bypassing the system and storing the Hello’s video footage locally.

Why does my Nest Hello show a dotted red line of lights?


Dotted red lights mean that night vision mode is active – i.e. the Hello doorbell has determined that it is past dusk, and so it has enabled night vision so that it can still record visitors in the low (or no) light conditions.

If night vision isn’t enabled (either it’s disable in the app, or it’s not yet dark enough) then there’s two other possible causes:

1) A software or hardware bug has meant that these lights have turned up by mistake.
2) It’s cold outside! Some internet rumors have speculated that the (warm) infrared based lights might be turned on to keep some of the internal sufficiently warm when it’s colder than usual. This hasn’t been officially confirmed, however.

My Nest Hello Doorbell won’t stop ringing: help?!


This nearly always signals a problem with the electrical wiring. So before you smash up your doorbell (or its chime), double check that all the wiring matches the install diagrams.

Also double check that the transformer is compatible with your Hello, which must be powered by wires delivering 16-24V AC usually, and at least 10 V in America (8V upwards in Europe).

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