Apple HomeKit support and local clip storage and Dropbox sync give this doorbell unique appeal but it's a little bit too expensive
- Smart design
- HDR image quality
- Onboard storage and Dropbox cloud sync
- Very expensive
- Takes wired power only
Ring might have kickstarted the whole smart video doorbell thing but there are plenty of other strong contenders for your cash these days. The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell joins a veritable army of alternatives, and has its own unique appeal.
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Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell review: What do you get for the money?
The Netatmo doorbell is strictly a wired doorbell and at £270 it’s one of the most expensive video doorbells on the market. Despite that, you’re getting a pretty bare-bones kit.
In the box is the doorbell unit itself, plus a selection of screws and mounting brackets for fitting it to your door frame. There’s a special screwdriver for securing it to the bracket once everything is fitted to prevent it from being stolen and a module that needs to be fitted to your existing chime.
That’s your lot, though. There’s no transformer or chime supplied, which means if you’re setting up a new doorbell from scratch you’ll have to budget an extra £10 to £20 for additional hardware plus an electrician’s time to fit it all for you.
If the doorbell you’re replacing is already mains powered, however, it’s all you need. And, otherwise, the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell offers a reasonably attractive set of features.
It’s very stylish, finished in grey and black and brushed aluminium. It captures video in crisp 1080p resolution in HDR. This means you can see people’s faces even if they’re heavily backlit – although it does tend to give visitors a rather florid complexion.
And it’s one of the few video doorbells on the market to support Apple HomeKit. This has a number of benefits. It means you can use the HomeKit App instead of the Netatmo app for answering the door remotely or viewing the video stream. It also means you can employ your HomePod speakers as additional doorbell chimes and view the camera stream on your Apple TV.
It doesn’t, however, support HomeKit Secure Video, which is a disappointment as that would have added features to the doorbell such as iCloud clip storage and facial recognition.
However, the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell is the only video doorbell I’ve tested that doesn’t attempt to push a paid cloud subscription on you. Instead, clips are stored on an internal microSD card from where they can be downloaded to your phone or automatically uploaded to either a Dropbox account or an ftp server.
Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell review: How easy is it to set up and fit?
How easy the doorbell is to fit depends entirely on what you already have in place at home. If there’s existing wiring and a mains-powered chime in place, it’s a fairly simple DIY job. You can check compatibility at the Netatmo website here if you’re unsure but the doorbell will work with most 8V, 12V and 230V systems.
As a fairly confident DIYer it took me around 45 minutes to complete and a large chunk of that was spent cutting and extending the existing doorbell wires.
If you have a wired doorbell with a battery-powered chime, or a wireless battery-powered doorbell with no wires at all, then it’s a completely different ball game. In this case, you’ll need to pay for an electrician to help you as you’ll need to have a mains transformer fitted.
Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell review: What works well?
In general, I found the doorbell works as advertised. Image quality was decent in daylight and its single infrared LED is good enough to illuminate anyone who approaches the door at night, too.
Two way audio was clear, although as with most products of its type, there is some delay between you speaking and your voice emerging from the doorbell speaker.
I also found that motion detection was highly effective. The doorbell has “person” detection that you can train to reduce false positives and it has the ability to set up to four motion zones so you can make sure people walking up your neighbour’s path don’t trigger alerts.
On my front door, however, it worked pretty well out of the box, generally only triggering alerts for people directly approaching the front door.
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Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell review: What don’t we like about it?
The price is too high for me but aside from that, there are a few small irritations. One small annoyance is that the doorbell supports only 2.4GHz wireless connection. I didn’t have any issues with this but it could cause issues if there are problems with network congestion in your local area.
The camera also doesn’t support any fancy features such as facial recognition or package detection. You can’t reply using canned responses, either, as you can with some rivals. And with that in mind it is frustrating that the doorbell doesn’t support HomeKit Secure Video as this would at least add facial recognition into the mix.
Another frustration is that there’s also no support for Google Assistant or Alexa.
Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell review: Should you buy it?
If you’re looking for a stylish smart doorbell that supports Apple HomeKit then, at the time of writing, this is your only option in the UK.
It’s also among the few completely subscription-free wired smart video doorbells on the market, offering not only local microSD video storage but also free Dropbox sync and ftp server uploads.
Those things alone make it worth considering so it’s a shame the price is so high. However, it is worth bearing in mind that, with no subscription, the extra you do pay will balance out in the long run.