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Review: Netatmo smoke detector and Presence camera – safety first

Review: Netatmo Smoke Detector - The device is not cheap at 99.99 euros, but in our opinion, despite the high price, it is definitely recommended.
4.6/5 - (19 votes)

In this review we look at two products that we have not yet tested but that are important to increase safety in and around the house; the new smart smoke detector from Netatmo and the Netatmo Presence outdoor camera launched a while ago.

What is the Netatmo Presence?

The Netatmo Presence is a security camera for outside, for example in the garden or on the driveway. A handy function that the camera has is that it detects movement of people, cars and animals. The handy thing about it is that you are immediately warned via your smartphone and you can watch it live by using the accompanying Netatmo Security app. So if there are people within a range of twenty meters hanging around your camera, it will never go unnoticed again. It is important that the camera can distinguish between people, cars and animals. So he always tells you exactly what he saw.

With the Presence from Netatmo it is not noticeable at first that you have a camera. The device also simply has a light, which makes it look like you have an outdoor lamp. In addition, the device also has infrared LED lamps, so you also get good quality images at night. You can also make Presence work together with Apple HomeKit, the Google Assistant and IFTTT . Saving images is also completely free. This can be done by means of the supplied (8GB) microSD card or by transferring the images to Dropbox or an FTP server.

The Netatmo Presence security camera for outside costs 299.99 euros but is now available for about 240 euros.

What is the Netatmo smart smoke detector?

The Netatmo Intelligent Smoke Detector is, as the name suggests, a smoke detector. The detector has an 85dB alarm and immediately sends a message to the user’s smartphone in the event of an alarm. All you need for this is the Netatmo Security app. Of course, the smoke detector also goes off without an app, but then you will not receive a notification.

The Netatmo smoke detector immediately sends a message when it detects smoke and also indicates in which room smoke is detected. Via the hush function in the app you can switch off the alarm remotely, if it is a false alarm. According to Netatmo, the smoke detector should last no less than 10 years without having to replace the batteries. If this is the case, you will receive a notification on your smartphone. You can place an unlimited number of smoke detectors in the house and give them their own names in specific rooms. If you do this, you will also receive room-specific notifications. Netatmo’s Intelligent Smoke Detector is compatible with Apple’s HomeKit and IFTTT. The smoke detector has been given a suggested retail price of 99.99 euros.

Our experiences with the smoke detector

We are not going to write very long stories about the smoke detector. After all, the device should just work without you having to play with it or keep an eye on it. The smoke detector from Netatmo is a sleek, round smoke detector with a cream-white finish. Nothing special but exactly what you would expect from looking at the ceiling. Chances are that you can mount the smoke detector in the places where smoke detectors are already hanging. If this is not the case, you can always use the supplied screws and plugs. Do read the manual so that you know where to place a smoke detector.

The installation within the app is also not very good. You download the Netatmo Security app, you create an account (if you don’t have one yet) and you can immediately add products. Select the smoke detector, follow the steps and within 2 minutes the smoke detector is connected to the app and your network. You can give the detector its own name and add it to a specific room. Then the smoke detector will appear in the home screen ‘Home’ and when you click on it you will see the latest activities. This way you can see in a timeline when the last test was and when the last alarms went off. Of course we tested that alarm with some fake smoke. It immediately became clear that the smoke detector is doing its job well; as soon as we inject some test smoke into the detector, the alarm goes off almost immediately, with the full 85db of noise added. You immediately receive a push notification on your smartphone about the alarm and as soon as you open the app everything is no longer green but red. On the home screen, under the smoke detector it says that smoke has been detected, and on the timeline we see a flame appear at the time the smoke was detected, including a message that you must evacuate the house. You can manually ‘hush’ the smoke detector via the app, or mute it, if it is a false alarm or if you have everything under control. The great thing is that you also get a notification as soon as the smoke has cleared. The notification on your smartphone tells you exactly when this is the case. and on the timeline we see a flame appear at the time the smoke was detected, including a message that you must evacuate the house. You can manually ‘hush’ the smoke detector via the app, or mute it, if it is a false alarm or if you have everything under control. The great thing is that you also get a notification as soon as the smoke has cleared. The notification on your smartphone tells you exactly when this is the case. and on the timeline we see a flame appear at the time the smoke was detected, including a message that you must evacuate the house. You can manually ‘hush’ the smoke detector via the app, or mute it, if it is a false alarm or if you have everything under control. The great thing is that you also get a notification as soon as the smoke has cleared. The notification on your smartphone tells you exactly when this is the case.

In addition, you can also dive into the status menu of the smoke detector by pressing and holding the smoke detector icon on the home screen. In the menu that opens you can see when the status was last updated, when the smoke sensor has been checked by the device itself, when the WiFi connection has been checked and how the battery is doing. You can also take a sound test yourself and set when you want to be reminded to take this test. Finally, you can merge the smoke detector within the Netatmo Security app with cameras from the brand, and you can link the smoke detector with Apple HomeKit so that you can also have your lighting or other HomeKit-compatible products respond to the smoke detector. Unfortunately, the integration of the Google Assistant is not yet available.

Design Netatmo Presence

The Netatmo Presence is quite a whopper of a camera, but for an obvious reason. The vast majority of the device is a lamp, or rather a spotlight. It is an elongated, rectangular lamp with LEDs behind a diffusing white shade. Under the lamp we do not see a very conspicuous camera lens. It is neatly concealed so that it does not even stand out from a distance in the otherwise black-gray housing. The Netatmo logo placed under the lens is more noticeable. The Presence is therefore a somewhat larger colossus on the wall, but since it is a lamp at first glance, that is no problem. The Presence is made of aluminum, neatly finished and resistant to weather influences (HZO protection standard).

Placement and installation Netatmo Presence

The Netatmo Presence is intended as a camera with a fixed place, a place where you sometimes want a spotlight to see what is happening. Think of a driveway or a garden. It is therefore one of the few smart cameras that comes without an adapter and power cable. You have to connect the camera to the mains using the blue and brown power cables, so you need a point where they come out of the wall. In most cases this is a place where a lamp is already hanging on the wall. It makes the placement a lot less flexible, so this is something to consider before purchasing. In our case it meant that the light with motion sensor under the carport had to make way for the Presence.

The installation is exactly like installing a new fixture for your lighting, but it didn’t go smoothly. That has to do with being tied to where the power cables come out of the wall. The mounting piece to be screwed to the wall must be at a certain distance from this hole and mounted at a certain angle of the hole, which often does not correspond to the many holes already in the wall. In short, it takes a while to fit and measure, and in our case drill two more holes in the wall. Once done, all you need to do is connect the power cables, screw the base to the mount and screw the camera to the base. Here and there the manual is not completely clear or something is said that does not go or cannot be done quite so smoothly, but if you have ever hung a new lamp you will probably get out. Yes, the installation can definitely be faster and more user-friendly, but the Presence hangs and hangs securely. That is the most important. Incidentally, you can easily rotate the camera, both horizontally and vertically.

Oh, before you screw the Presence all the way in, make sure to test the camera. In our case it turned out that a thread went in the wrong hole and that ensured that everything could be unscrewed again. When properly connected, the camera will turn on automatically and the light will flash. This means that you can search and install the camera almost immediately using the Netatmo Security app. If the app cannot find the camera, you can reset the camera using the supplied QR code (which you must hold in front of the camera). In our case, the app found the camera within 20 seconds, after which a link was immediately established with the network and you can also immediately give a name to the camera and place it in a specific room. You will then receive a brief explanation of a number of extra options,

App and possibilities Netatmo Presence

To use the Netatmo smoke detector and the Presence camera you need the Netatmo Security app. We have already discussed the functionality of the smoke detector, so below we focus on the possibilities of the camera and the general possibilities of the app. This app is one of the apps that Netatmo has, aimed at the company’s cameras and smoke detector.

On the home screen of the Netatmo Security app, we immediately see the installed products. An icon of the smoke detector and below it a recent screenshot of the installed camera. If you tap the up arrow in the screenshot, the general timeline of the app will appear. Here you can see recent activities of all linked products. For example, you can see here whether a car, person, animal or other movement has been detected, accompanied by a screenshot. If the app makes a mistake, for example recognizing a car as a person, you can improve the recognition by pressing and holding the message and indicating the correct message. You can also see reports from the smoke detector in the timeline. You can scroll through the timeline and review recordings depending on storage space limitations. Each recording can also be downloaded directly to your phone (or computer). In the timeline overview you can quickly adjust a number of settings for the camera via the menu that can be opened at the top right. Here you can turn the camera on or off, adjust the Alert zones, turn the floodlight on or off, and turn the audio recording on or off.

The gear on the left of the screen gives access to all settings of the app. Within the option ‘Manage my home’ you can, among other things, adjust the location, name and region, name and organize the rooms / rooms, and make the link with Apple HomeKit. You can adjust the notifications in the ‘Security settings’. For each type of report (human, animal, car and other) you can indicate whether a message should appear and whether it should be recorded. You can indicate by means of a schedule when the camera is allowed to do this. Finally, you can indicate here how long recordings should be kept. With the built-in 8GB microSD card, one week is recommended, otherwise the card will fill up quickly. If you also want to save recordings in Dropbox or on an FTP server, you can do this via the ‘Cloud Storage’ option. You can also manage guests via the settings menu. Here you can add users who may have access to the linked products and their notifications. Finally, you can add new products, adjust your account and view a number of tips via the settings.

There are also a number of settings specific to the camera, which can be reached via the general settings but also via ‘Manage my home’. Select the camera whose settings you want to adjust and you will see a window with various setting options. Here you can, among other things, change the name and view the strength of the WiFi signal. A number of important options are listed under the ‘Advanced’.

For example, in settings (somewhat confusing) you can rotate the image of the camera, switch the microphone on or off and create a security code for interrupting the surveillance. In ‘Alert zones’ you can select specific areas in the image within which movements may be detected, for example a door or part of the garden. Finally, you can adjust the spotlight. You can set the brightness to your liking and choose to switch on the spotlight for specific notifications or always.

The app works smoothly and has a sleek design, but because you can get to certain settings via different routes, it can feel a bit unclear. The app therefore requires some getting used to. In terms of functionality, there are enough options to adjust the camera to your own liking, but we still miss a number of things. For example, facial recognition is not available, an option that is on the Netatmo Welcome camera . In addition, we would have liked to see some more advanced settings for the combination of notifications, time schedules and zones. More of a ‘like this, than that’ principle to really personalize the notifications.

Use (Netatmo Security app)

The Netatmo Presence has a 1080p Full HD sensor and therefore does not offer the highest image resolution on the market, but the image quality can still be called good. During the day, the combination of good contrast and the 1080p resolution ensures a sufficiently sharp picture with good detail reproduction. If you start zooming, it quickly becomes a lot blurry.

A small downside is that the camera does not handle large differences in light very well. We have placed the camera under the carport, the most logical place for some extra security for both house and car. It is often a bit darker under the carport while the street is much brighter. In some cases, this combination ensures that the image from under the carport is too dark and that the part of the street is overexposed.

This becomes particularly clear when it starts to get dark, as you can see above. The camera sees the light coming from the street as sufficient and therefore the lamp and / or infrared LEDs do not switch on. The result is a section of the street that is overexposed and a carport that is very dark. This only takes an hour at dusk, but it is still important. Since the majority of the image consists of the dark carport, the camera should adapt to it. Or the app should have a setting that can be used to adjust the sensitivity to light. It is also important to know that the camera adjusts its image quality to the quality of the WiFi connection. If you have a poor connection at that location, the resolution will be even lower.

The night vision works fine, both with and without floodlight. With the spotlight on, the difference in the image is not very big. There is a little more contrast and detail. Without a spotlight, however, everything is still clearly visible, although the sharpness is slightly less than during the day. The picture is a bit grainy. When you are in front of the camera, the spotlight is absolutely striking. There is a tray of light that illuminates the entire driveway without any problems. This is useful if you are driving or walking in the dark, but it also scares you off.

The Presence camera performs very well in terms of notifications. Almost immediately after registering a movement, a notification will be displayed on your smartphone, containing a screenshot of the movement. That screenshot is not always clear, but you can quickly go to the app to watch the movement live or replay the recording. This is done without any significant delay. The app distinguishes almost perfectly between people, cars, animals and other movements. Small flies hanging in front of the camera are ignored and our cat does not cause false reports. So this works great. In addition, the camera rotates continuously, so you also have a pre-roll. The recording of a movement therefore starts before the movement is detected. This is a big plus as many cameras only record once the movement is registered, which sometimes means that the movement has already passed. There is a delay of 5 to 10 seconds in viewing live images, but this is not a significant downside. The camera reacts quickly to movements, provides accurate and correct notifications and offers complete and clear images.

Another big plus of the Netatmo Presence (and other Netatmo) cameras is that you don’t have to take out a subscription. The camera has an 8GB microSD card on which the images are stored by default. You can replace this card yourself for a variant with a maximum of 32GB of storage space. You can also have recordings stored in Dropbox or on an FTP server. You can store at least a week’s worth of recordings on the 8GB card, depending on the amount of recordings. In our case, that is enough since we can also download important recordings to the smartphone during that week. The only drawback of the construction with microSD card is that you also lose the recordings if the camera is stolen.

Smarthome integration

In terms of smart home integration, Netatmo’s focus is mainly on Apple HomeKit. From the app you can immediately establish a link with HomeKit, making both the camera and the smoke detector part of your house. In addition, Netatmo offers support for the Google Assistant with the Presence and you can connect the camera with IFTTT. Netatmo also has apps for various gateways (hubs), including Fibaro and Homey.

Conclusion Netatmo Smoke Detector

Let’s start with the Netatmo smoke detector. The device is not cheap at 99.99 euros, but in our opinion, despite the high price, it is definitely recommended. Due to the extremely long battery life, you hardly have to worry about it, the smoke detector responds quickly and accurately, and the app provides clear and quick notifications to respond to an alarm. You can even mute the alarm if necessary. In addition, the app offers a lot of checks and double checks to ensure that your home is and remains safe. In short, the Netatmo smoke detector is definitely worth considering if you are looking for a smart and reliable smoke detector that can also be part of a larger (and smart) security system.

Pros

  • Smoke detector checks itself
  • Works accurately and quickly
  • Fast and convenient notifications on your smartphone
  • Works with Apple HomeKit
  • Extremely long battery life

Negatives

  • Not cheap
  • No integration with Google Assistant (yet)

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