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Review: Netatmo Smart Alarm – A safe home without a subscription

4.7/5 - (48 votes)

The Netatmo Smart Alarm consists of the Netatmo Welcome Camera, the Netatmo Smart Indoor Siren and three smart door and window sensors. The products can work together to provide your home with optimal security. How do you like the Netatmo Smart Alarm in practice? We’ll tell you all about it in this review.

What is it?

Last year you could already read the review of the Netatmo Welcome Camera with us. Colleague Martijn rated the smart security camera with an 8.5. However, the Netatmo Smart Alarm does not only consist of the Welcome Camera, but also comes with a smart siren and three door and window sensors. The basis is always the Welcome Camera. From this product you can purchase and add accessories yourself. The Netatmo Welcome Camera has a suggested retail price of 199.99 euros. The smart indoor siren costs 79.99 euros and the three smart door and window sensors have a suggested retail price of 99.99 euros. Via the website of Netatmo you can also buy a package with all these products together. This package is called the Netatmo Smart Alarm and gives you a discount of 30 euros on the purchase price. This package costs 349.99 euros.

Netatmo Welcome Camera

The heart of the Netatmo Smart Alarm is the Netatmo Welcome Camera. This is not only the system’s security camera, but also the heart of the entire alarm system. In fact, it immediately serves as a hub for the smart siren and the door and window sensors.

The first thing that stands out is the appearance of the Welcome Camera. Netatmo actually does something different with the appearance of a security camera compared to the competition. The Welcome Camera has a unique aluminum housing in a tubular shape. As a result, the camera does not stand out in your interior. In fact, most people will not recognize the Welcome Camera as a camera at all. However, the shape does come with a downside. You cannot hang the narrow and high tube up, but only put it up somewhere. In addition, the camera is not wireless, but you can connect it to the power outlet via the micro USB connection on the back of the model. It is therefore a shame that the power cable is quite short. The fact that you cannot hang the camera and the short power cable mean that unfortunately you are not that flexible in the placement of this camera.

Another important point is that the camera is not new. As part of the Netatmo Smart Alarm, the entire security system is a new product from the French company Netatmo, but the hardware of the Netatmo Welcome Camera is more than five years old. This product was already presented in 2015 and appeared on the market the same year. Although many important functions were still missing at the time, the French company has continuously provided the camera with new software updates. And that has only benefited the quality. Despite the age of the hardware, the Netatmo Welcome Camera can still go with the best cameras of the moment. You can choose whether you want to connect the camera via WiFi or via a network cable. However, WiFi proved to be good enough during the test period to always receive reliable notifications. A downside is the heat. The housing of the camera gets quite warm. You can just touch the camera, but a little more cooling would have been better.

The camera films in up to 1080p. Although it is not top if we compare the image quality with some other cameras that are currently appearing on the market, the image quality will certainly suffice for what you use it for. Night vision is also present and provides clear images. What is missing is two-way communication. So you cannot communicate from your smartphone with the person in the house. The camera does record audio during filming, which is clear enough to understand conversations.

So far it sounds like a standard security camera of which there are so many on the market already. What the Netatmo Welcome Camera does differently from other models is that you don’t need a subscription. You have all functions directly at your disposal without having to pay monthly subscription costs. And then it is great that this camera has face recognition. This facial recognition also ensures that you will operate this camera in a different way than many other security cameras. You do not have to manually turn this camera on or off. In principle, it is always on. By means of the face recognition the camera knows whether to take action. Familiar faces will just ignore it, but are there any unknown intruders? Then you have various options for dealing with this via the app.

In fact, the Welcome Camera distinguishes between two scenarios. Scenario 1 is the out scenario. So nobody is at home and the camera now keeps an eye on everything. Scenario 2 is what the camera should do if someone with a familiar face is home. In both scenarios you can distinguish between unknown people, known people, movement, pets and alarms. You can indicate per situation whether images should be recorded or whether you want to receive notifications. By means of geofencing (GPS location by means of your smartphone) the system knows whether you are at home or away and this works reasonably well. If desired, you can still manually indicate that everyone has left the house.

The facial recognition works surprisingly well and the camera proves to be a reliable partner in the field of home security. In every unexpected situation, images are recorded and you will see notifications on your smartphone. However, notifications do arrive on your smartphone with a delay of five to ten seconds. That is not bad, because the camera does record immediately as soon as movement is detected, so that you will not miss any images.

Images are automatically stored locally on the supplied 16 GB SD card. Although you can store a lot of footage in 1080p on 16 GB, the memory card did fill up fairly quickly if you continuously record your family or roommates. Fortunately, you can indicate yourself whether images should be automatically deleted after a week. The images of your house do not leave the camera, which makes this a privacy-friendly camera at first glance. In addition to the local storage, you also have the option to place images on your Dropbox or ftp server. This is completely optional, but as you can read below, it is actually indispensable for your home security.

Netatmo Smart Siren

By only using the Netatmo Welcome Camera you can keep an eye on everything when you are not at home. However, it does not deter potential intruders. The camera is not equipped with an alarm. So burglars are on screen, but they have the option to rob your house in the meantime. In that case, meet the Netatmo Smart Siren. This accessory is also part of the Netatmo Smart Alarm and can easily be combined with the Welcome Camera via the Netatmo Security app. You will have new options at your disposal, whereby you can not only record unknown faces with the camera and receive notifications, but in the meantime you can also trigger the Netatmo Smart Siren. What follows is a deafening sound of 110 decibels that immediately scares any intruder.

You can also use this siren preventively. This way you can simulate as if someone is at home. You can play the sound of crying babies, home sounds or, for example, a barking dog. With the siren you also specify when it should go off, how long the siren should make a sound and how much sound it should make. Fortunately, you can test things with a lower volume, otherwise the neighbors would not have been happy here. This smart siren makes a lot of noise at a full volume of 110 decibels. It is good to know that the Smart Siren is purely a siren. It does not have a motion sensor on board and only communicates when the camera has detected intruders. It is therefore an extension of the camera, where images cannot be stored alone, but intruders can also be chased away by the sound. Netatmo therefore recommends placing the siren in the same room as the camera.

You can therefore set the siren to go off when unknown faces are detected. Be smart and do not immediately install the smart siren with the camera, because then you will often be seen as an unknown face. First, let the camera run for two weeks without a siren, so that the facial recognition software always knows how to recognize your face. Only then install the siren. Fortunately, you can set a delay home arrival. The siren will then sound as soon as the camera (or a door and window sensor) detects movement. For the first few seconds, you will hear a soft beep, which gets louder as time passes. If the camera then sees a familiar face, the siren will stop automatically. If it is an unfamiliar face, the siren will beep louder and louder. The smart siren also has a sturdy housing and everything is included to hang the siren. So you don’t have to make an extra trip to the hardware store.

Netatmo Smart door and window sensors

You can expand the alarm system even further by means of the Netatmo smart door and window sensors. When you take these sensors out of the box, you will be surprised at the appearance. We mainly know a door and window sensor as a device with two parts. These are connected to a magnet and you stick to the frame and a door or window respectively. When the door or window opens, the magnets lose contact and the alarm goes off. Netatmo sensors consist of only one part.

In practice, however, it turned out to be quite simple. It is in fact a small motion sensor that you can stick to the inside of your door or window with the included stickers. As soon as someone tries to enter your house through a door or a window, vibrations are received, so that the camera will start recording and the siren can go off. You can set these scenarios yourself. During various tests, it appears that the sensors are not as sensitive as you would like. The sensors were supposed to pick up vibrations, but pushing firmly against a closed door a few times caused the motion sensor to trigger and sometimes not. However, I can imagine that as soon as I really force a door, that movement is immediately detected. However, as soon as a door or window actually opens, then one centimeter is enough for a notification on your smartphone. Again, there is a little delay. The camera will immediately start filming, but before you have received a notification it will take you an average of five to ten seconds. The smart door and window sensors from Netatmo ensure that you can deter potential intruders before they even enter your home. In that respect they do an excellent job, but absorbing vibrations slightly better than is the case now would have been better. You can connect up to twelve sensors at the same time. The smart door and window sensors from Netatmo ensure that you can deter potential intruders before they even enter your home. In that respect they do an excellent job, but absorbing vibrations slightly better than is the case now would have been better. You can connect up to twelve sensors at the same time. The smart door and window sensors from Netatmo ensure that you can deter potential intruders before they even enter your home. In that respect they do an excellent job, but absorbing vibrations slightly better than is the case now would have been better. You can connect up to twelve sensors at the same time.

The Netatmo Security app

You are using the Netatmo Security app. Although the app does not look spectacular in terms of design, that is certainly not a disadvantage. In fact, the app is quite clear. Where many security cameras often have a considerable learning curve when it comes to the app, you will have little to no problems with the Netatmo Security app. Installation is done via the app and is a piece of cake. All products were installed within seconds. At the top of the app you can see which people are at home or away and you will also find your accessories such as the smart siren and the door and window sensors. At the bottom you see the live images from the camera, which you can play directly. Swipe up this section and you will see all the events of what happened in your house.

Via the three dashes at the top left of your screen you can manage the house, adjust the security settings or choose to manage guests and cloud storage. You can also further set up your own account here. The Netatmo Security app isn’t a comprehensive app, but it doesn’t have to be. Everything you expect from a camera and alarm system is available and very easy to set up. Also nice is the extensive smart home integration with support for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and IFTTT, so that you can really make the Netatmo Smart Alarm part of your smart home.

A safer home?

The big question is of course. Can the Netatmo Smart Alarm secure your home? Overall, I can answer a yes to this. Especially if you use the alarm, the sensors and the camera, but you do need to know how best to use this system. Although the camera is very user-friendly and always gives good reports, the camera is also the weak brother of the whole. This is mainly because Netatmo wants you to keep the camera aimed at the front door a few meters away. And since the camera is not wireless, but simply plugged into the socket, this is also the weak point in security. If a burglar pulls the plug of the camera immediately, the connection with your smartphone is immediately lost. It often takes about five seconds before you receive a notification on your smartphone that movement has been detected. If the burglar immediately pulls the plug within those five seconds, then you have not seen a picture. Of course the images are stored on the memory card, but it is a piece of cake for a burglar to pull them out of the camera.

This turned out to be a good time for a practical test. I let the camera know that no one was home, put on a cap and glasses to fool the facial recognition, and walked into my own house. Then I showed the camera myself and walked straight to the camera to pull the plug. Before I could pull the plug, I already received a notification on my smartphone including a screenshot of this ‘intruder’. The alarm also worked and went off. However, the video images themselves are lost, even if the intruder simply leaves the SD card in place. I couldn’t possibly play back the images afterwards, so an interrupted filming camera results in corrupted images that you can’t use. Even if you put the plug back in the socket afterwards, these images remain unusable.

Fortunately, you can also choose to save the images in the cloud or an ftp server. It therefore depends on whether the images are first stored locally and only then sent to the cloud, or whether this happens immediately. In terms of cloud, you can only choose from Dropbox. Fortunately, setting up saving images to Dropbox is a breeze. I entered my own home again as an intruder to walk straight to the camera and pull the plug. As it turned out, the local images on the sd card were unusable, but in the Dropbox we had images this time! Not everything was uploaded, but the first seconds were clearly visible. Fortunately, the camera immediately uploads the images as soon as it starts filming. Despite the delay of a few seconds, this produces reliable images.

So are you afraid that an intruder will pull the plug immediately? Link the camera to a (free) account on Dropbox and you will at least have the images at your disposal if the intruder pulls the plug and takes the SD card. Such a link appears to be really necessary, because with only local storage your house is less secure than you think. However, you must trust Dropbox that your images will be stored there confidentially.

Netatmo Smart Alarm – Conclusion

The Netatmo Smart Alarm is an excellent product, provided you make the link with Dropbox or an ftp server. For a relatively affordable price you get a good alarm system without having to take out an expensive subscription. The camera is the weak brother of the whole, especially because of the plug in the socket, but you can counter this by also choosing to store the images in a free Dropbox account. The app is very user-friendly and intuitive, so everyone can quickly get started with the Netatmo Smart Alarm. The Welcome Camera has proven itself before and is a reliable security camera, while the smart siren and the door and window sensors are a nice addition to the alarm system. Notifications could have come through a little faster, but this does not matter to the alarm system. Images are recorded immediately as soon as movement is detected. In conclusion, we can say that the Netatmo Smart Alarm is a reliable home security system.

Pros of Netatmo Smart Alarm

  • No subscription required
  • Excellent facial recognition
  • Once set up, no more worries
  • Clear app
  • Smarthome integration
Negatives of Netatmo Smart Alarm

  • No two-way communication
  • Local storage not secure enough
  • Door and window sensors not sensitive enough to vibrations
  • Camera placement is too limited

 

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