At this stage, there are so many different smart home security systems that it’s often difficult to know where to start.
We’ve always liked Netatmo’s offerings for one reason though: they don’t try and get you hooked on a premium online backup service for a monthly fee; they just upload to a free Dropbox account instead.
However, while Netatmo has long had an indoor and outdoor camera, it’s been late to get into the doorbell market.
Well, that will change this year with the release of the Smart Video Doorbell, a hard-wired solution that will feed into the same app as Netatmo’s other security cameras, as well as playing nice with Apple’s HomeKit.
We got to go hands-on with the device ahead of its release at the end of 2019 to find out how it stacks up against Ring and Nest’s similar devices.
Like all of Netatmo’s products, the Smart Video Doorbell is a sleek design.
It’s essentially a rectangle split into three squares, with a camera at the top, a speaker in the middle and the buzzer at the bottom.
What we will say at this point is that this buzzer isn’t quite as obvious as it is on Nest and Ring doorbells, which feature a blue ring of light to make it obvious where you’re supposed to press.
In contrast, the Netatmo simply has a bell icon to indicate to the visitor where to press.
While most people will figure out what to do, as people are still getting used to video doorbells, we still think something that makes it obvious where you’re supposed to press would be an improvement on the Netatmo.
When we went to see Netatmo on their stand at CES, the first thing they told us was how easy their doorbell would be to install. /Whereas some video doorbells like the Ring Pro and the Nest Hello are recommended to be installed by a professional, as long as you have an existing doorbell, Netatmo says you should be able to fit this yourself.
The Nest Hello in particular got quite a reputation for the level of difficulty of installation thanks to the need for transformers — essentially, it was a US product that was messily introduced into UK homes.
The Netatmo will, however, still require a chime to be installed in your home, so if you don’t have an existing doorbell solution you will need to set this up, or get a professional in to do it for you. The Smart Video Doorbell carries over all the features we love from previous Netatmo cameras.
It records video to a local SD card which is included in the box, which means you can theoretically keep as much video as you can physically store on the card. None of the other major video doorbells on the market offer this feature, instead only allowing you to access your footage from the cloud.
This is obviously more secure than local storage (as someone could always rip the unit from the wall), but it also acts as an incentive to get you to sign up for monthly plans with the doorbell manufacturer which can end up costing you quite a bit over time.
If you do also want to backup video to the cloud, Netatmo offers this feature by uploading your footage to Dropbox over your home WiFi connection.
Again, the only limit is the amount of storage you have, but as Dropbox offers 2GB for free, that should be plenty. You can also backup events to a local FTP server, such as a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device if you have one, for another level of protection.
As with other Netatmo cameras, the doorbell records when it detects motion, and is smart enough to detect when that is a person. If it detects someone, it sends your phone an alert so you can see what’s going on, and if someone presses the bell itself, you can start a video call from your device.
The full HD 1080p camera on the doorbell appears to supply good image quality, although we weren’t able to see a live demo to be sure. We do know that the camera will support HDR video, though, and you’ll be able to look closer at events thanks to the 5x digital zoom.
If you’re an Apple user then there’s one more reason to choose the Netatmo as your doorbell — it supports Apple HomeKit.
Unlike Ring, which supports Echo devices, and Nest, which supports Google Assistant, Netatmo allows you to view video feeds on your Apple devices as long as you have a HomeKit hub somewhere in your home (so an Apple TV, HomePod or iPad). This means you can ask Siri to show you your doorbell, and a video feed will pop up on your phone.
Netatmo’s Smart Video Doorbell is a little bit chunkier than other smart doorbells on the market, but we liked the security features that it boasts.
First of all, it comes with a tamper sensor, so if someone tries to remove it from the wall, you’ll get a notification about it.
Netatmo says that it will also offer some sort of replacement guarantee to anyone who is the victim of theft, although it’s yet to tie down specifics on this.
The camera itself also possesses an infrared sensor so that you can see what’s happening even in darkness.
Plus, all data between the doorbell and your devices is encrypted, so that if someone was able to gain access to your network, they wouldn’t be able to intercept your recordings.
Finally, the Smart Video Doorbell Is completely weatherproof thanks to technology from HZO which supply a thin-film coating solution to protect it from water and dust.
Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell Early Verdict
The smart doorbell market is pretty packed at this stage, but the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell has a lot going for it.
Unlike most other products in this space, it offers free storage and works with Apple Homekit, plus it looks great to boot. It will be available from the end of 2019, and will cost around $250.