Google Confirms New Nest Doorbell Cam Gets Too Hot to Record All the Time

Google Confirms New Nest Doorbell Cam Gets Too Hot to Record All the Time
The second-gen Nest Doorbell can't do continuous video recording when it's wired because it would get too hot. (Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo)

The second-generation Nest Doorbell is the first battery-powered version of the device from Google, equipped with various battery-saving features by default. But even though you can plug in the new Nest Doorbell via power wire, it won’t support around-the-clock video recording.

Google says that’s because wiring the battery-powered Nest Doorbell introduces “thermal challenges,” because it isn’t large enough to dissipate the heat needed to stay regulated when the sun is blaring down.

This revelation comes from a thread in the official Nest sub-Reddit, initially discovered by Android Police. I reached out to Google, and a spokesperson confirmed that heat is indeed the reason.

In response to a few queries on whether the new Nest “wired devices” had 24/7 recording abilities, a Google community manager responded that the Continuous Video Recording (CVR) feature is available on all devices except for the battery-powered Nest doorbell. “That’s because adding CVR to Nest Doorbell (battery) consumes a lot of energy, and would pose some thermal challenges,” wrote the community manager. “This would have required us to make the doorbell bigger.”

The same community manager elaborated on the specific “challenges” in another thread. “In wired configurations, also it poses thermal challenges for a device that’s battery-operated and likely to be in direct sunlight, which requires larger hardware enclosures.”

Consider this a public service announcement for the one concession you have to make to avoid having your doorbell camera spontaneously combust. It’s also a fascinating insight into what Google has to consider as it’s manufacturing outdoor hardware. With so much disparity between climates, it makes sense to cut out a feature like continuous recording, which is already quite taxing on internet bandwidth.

I’ve seen firsthand what the sun can do to a doorbell camera, though not in this exact scenario. I still have the original Nest Hello, now categorised as the Nest Doorbell (wired) in the Google Store. I mentioned in my review that three years into using it, I noticed the plastic warping around the edges of the doorbell chassis. The sun and heat remain the likely culprits. The original doorbell is still available for purchase if you want a wired camera with 24/7 connectivity. It’ll be interesting to see how the matte finish of the newest Nest Doorbell, which increased in size over its predecessor, holds up over time.

If you want a Nest camera that can do continuous recording, you can choose from any other models available from Google, including the reimagined battery-powered Nest Camera. Our review of that device is coming soon.