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Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus vs. Google Nest Hello vs. Arlo Video Doorbell

Ring's new video doorbell added a feature called Pre-roll that shows you more footage than ever. Is that enough to push it past Google's Nest Hello or the Arlo Video Doorbell?

Editor's note, March 26: Ring has been called out for its partnership with local police departments in the US, leading privacy advocates to express concern about the data Ring shares with law enforcement and how they use that information. In December 2019, thousands of Ring users' personal information was exposed, leading us to stop recommending Ring products. Ring has since updated its security policies, from offering customers a Control Center dashboard allowing people to more easily access privacy and security settings to requiring two-factor authentication

We have resumed recommending Ring's products with this caveat: If you have concerns about Ring's privacy policies, make sure to familiarize yourself with its privacy statement. You can read more about how we factor Ring's privacy policies into our recommendations here. CNET has not and will not be issuing Editors' Choice awards to Ring while the company's policies around law enforcement and surveillance remain on their current course.  


Despite their controversies, video doorbells have been one of the most popular smart home product categories. Amazon-owned Ring helped drive consumer interest with aggressive marketing and a generally compelling product, but lately we've been partial to models from different companies, specifically the Arlo Video Doorbell and, on the high-end, Google's Nest Hello doorbell.

That said, Ring recently released its own high-end buzzer, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus. Priced at $230 like the Nest Hello, Ring's 3 Plus has very different features and functionality than Google's doorbell. With these higher priced contenders, is the $150 Arlo Video Doorbell still our favorite? Let's find out. 

Megan Wollerton/CNET

The $230 Video Doorbell 3 Plus is Ring's first battery-powered buzzer to offer Pre-Roll. Pre-Roll is a feature that captures four seconds of footage before a motion event takes place. Ring customers subscribed to its Protect cloud storage service, starting at $3 per month, can view Pre-Roll as part of their saved motion clips. If you aren't subscribed to Ring Protect, you can view Pre-Roll footage as a window within your live feed as you watch a motion even in real time. 

In addition to Pre-Roll, this doorbell has all of the basics of a standard video doorbell -- HD live streaming, motion detection, alerts, night vision and two-way talk. The 3 Plus comes with a removable, rechargeable battery and a charging cable, but you can also hardwire this doorbell. It has person alerts, motion detection zones and lots of options for customization in the Ring app. The 3 Plus supports Alexa voice commands, so you can ask Alexa to show you the live video feed or saved clips.

This model works with both 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands and you can buy optional accessories like the $50 Ring Chime Pro, designed to act as your doorbell chime if you don't have one (or don't have a compatible one). The Chime Pro can also extend your Wi-Fi range and comes with a built-in night light. 

Read CNET's Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus review.

 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The $230 Nest Hello by Google is quite different from the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus. It's hardwired only, so there's no battery option, but it offers optional continuous cloud recording (rather than just saved clips) starting at $5 per month via its Nest Aware service.

HD live streaming, motion detection, alerts, night vision, two-way talk and person alerts are available for free. If you do subscribe to Nest Aware, you also get access to facial recognition. With Nest's facial recognition feature, you use photos to create a database of friends, family and anyone else who regularly visits your house. Then, when the camera thinks it sees "Andrew" or "Molly," it will send you a custom alert to let you know.

The Nest Hello also works with both Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands so you can ask a compatible smart display to show you the live feed or saved footage. 

Read CNET's Google Nest Hello review.

 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Arlo's Video Doorbell is still my favorite. First, its price -- $150 -- is significantly more affordable than the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus or Google's Nest Hello. It is a hardwire-only model, so it has to connect to doorbell wires to work properly. Again, be sure to consult a professional installer if you have any questions about the setup.

Like the Ring and Nest models, this Arlo doorbell has all the basic features. It has a 180-degree viewing angle, and its 1:1 aspect ratio displays more of the live feed so you can even see if a package was dropped off on your porch. It also has a built-in siren, meaning it acts more like a security camera than the other doorbells I've tested. 

If you subscribe to the optional Arlo Smart cloud service, starting at $3 per month, you get access to saved video clips and customized person, car, animal and package alerts. The Arlo Video Doorbell is compatible with Alexa. 

Not only is it the most affordable of the three doorbells, it also has a lot of great features and performs well. The 1:1 aspect ratio goes a long way toward guaranteeing package deliveries that you might not otherwise see with a different doorbell. Overall, the Arlo Video Doorbell is still the doorbell to beat. 

Read CNET's Arlo Video Doorbell review.

 

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