Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell ReviewBy - 01/18/2019
CES 2019 was the year of video doorbells. There were two-way video doorbells, dual camera video doorbells, peephole video doorbells, and more. The question I had to ask myself is, “What makes this one different and would I buy it?” When it comes to Netatmo, the answers are HomeKit and yes.
What Makes Netatmo Video Doorbell Different
There are three things that make Netatmo Video Doorbell different: HomeKit, local storage, and free intelligence. Let’s start with HomeKit.
Netatmo Video Doorbell is slated to become the first HomeKit-enabled video doorbell. I recently tested their indoor camera and declared it to be the best HomeKit camera currently sold. According to the Netatmo rep I met at CES, the video doorbell will have similar HomeKit features including the ability to make commands using Siri, live stream using the Home app, and also the option to use the doorbell’s motion detector in HomeKit scenes. For example, you might say, “If Netatmo Video Doorbell detects motion, then turn on my Philips Hue lights.”
At launch, Siri will be the doorbell’s only voice assistant. Though other Netatmo products work with Google Assistant and/or Amazon Alexa, Video Doorbell will not. It also doesn’t play directly with other Netatmo devices. For example, you can’t set your Netatmo Presence light to turn on when your video doorbell detects motion unless you have them both connected to HomeKit.
2. Free and Local Storage
The doorbell also offers free storage. This is not entirely unique, we have tested video doorbells that can record locally (like this one), but typically they are presented by brands that haven’t entirely earned our trust. I’ve been a Netatmo user for years and have seen promising behaviors. First, they keep a close eye on my account and have emailed me multiple times when unusual logins occurred. Second, a lot of what the camera does remains on the device without ever sending to the cloud. Finally, all data is encrypted.
As far as storage, Netatmo Video Doorbell shares the same storage options as their Indoor Camera: microSD card storage, Dropbox, or your own FTP server. The doorbell ships with an 8GB microSD card but you can remove it and replace it with a larger card if you like. It will support up to a 32GB card.
As far as Dropbox, you will be limited by your account. I tested the indoor camera with my free Dropbox account (2GB) and ran out of space every couple of days. If you want to continue recording to Dropbox, you will either need to delete older clips to make room for new ones or you will need to pay Dropbox for more storage. However, even if Dropbox is full, events will continue to record to the doorbell’s microSD card. I did not test the camera with an FTP server.
2. Free AI
Finally, Netatmo Video Doorbell will support both ring and motion events, but it will also be able to filter out events using person detection. It will only notify you if it sees an actual person which means that you can point it toward a busy street or sidewalk with no worries. While this isn’t entirely unusual (Nest Hello and Ring both offer person detection), what is unusual is that the feature is free.
Now that we’ve talked about what’s different let’s rewind to the basics.
First, the doorbell requires that you have an existing doorbell as it is hardwired. According to Netatmo, “The Smart Video Doorbell … connects through Wi-Fi. It works with any home installation thanks to its all voltage compatibility.” This setup allows it to connect to your existing door chime (mechanical or electronic) which will sound when someone rings your doorbell. You will also get a notification on your phone. From there, you can swipe to view a live feed and you can also use two-way audio.
In the box, you will find the doorbell with the microSD card pre-installed, a chime connector, wall mounting plate, optional finish plate, optional 25° bracket, USB cable, two additional fuses, 1 Hex key, and everything else you need to install the device.
Second, the camera offers a 1080p FHD resolution with HDR and a 2-megapixel sensor. It also offers up to a 5x digital zoom, infrared night vision, and a 160-degree viewing angle. Of course, it is also fully weatherproof with an operating temperature of 14° to 104°F.
Third, we’ve already discussed the mobile app, but we have not discussed one of its most important features: video history. From the history section of the app, you will be able to view events like accepted calls, missed calls, and person events.
Finally, the doorbell includes tamper detection. If someone tries to remove the doorbell, you will receive an alert on the mobile app.
Of all the reasons to buy this camera, I believe that free and flexible storage is the most compelling. Without testing it, I don’t have any complaints, but my Twitter friend Richard Gunther shared an astute observation; the doorbell lacks a button. While some might find it obvious that you have to press the bell to make a call, I can certainly see where it might confuse a select few. Food for thought.
The price of the doorbell is TBD. Netatmo hopes to launch it late 2019. You can sign up to be one of the first to hear of its launch here.