Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell review: HomeKit ready doorbell put to the test

A long time coming, but was it worth the wait?

Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell
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There’s an ever-growing number of smart video doorbells providing roughly the same features, so it’s nice to see the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell distinguish itself with Apple HomeKit support and, thanks to the built-in microSD card slot, no ongoing subscription fees; which may do something to alleviate the high purchase cost.

For the benefits it brings, the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell also loses out on some other areas, making it a rather niche choice.

Those looking for a subscription-free choice may be better off with the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K, while everyone else will find better compatibility with either the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus or Nest Hello.

And while it's a HomeKit-compatible device, it doesn't boast HomeKit Secure Video like the Logitech Circle View Doorbell.

The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell started shipping in September, in Europe, and will be available in the US from January 2021.

Read on for our full review...

Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell: Design and installation

While there’s only so much that you can do with a video doorbell, Netatmo has at least made its product look neat.

Measuring 135 x 45 x 29mm, this doorbell should fit easily on most door frames, although you do get an angle adaptor in the box should you need it, plus a large mounting plate that can cover up previous holes if you have space for it.

The neat black and silver colour choice looks great: this doorbell is one of the more stylish models, although the design makes it clear that the big silver button is the one for visitors to press.

Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell button

More fiddly is the fact that this doorbell has to be wired into place. It will work with most doorbell transformers (8V to 32V), so you shouldn’t have to make an upgrade. What makes it fiddly to fit is the way that the cables are attached.

Most doorbells, including smart ones, use spade connectors at the rear, but Netatmo doesn’t.

Instead, you have to push bare wires through a silicone waterproof protector at the rear, wire them into a small terminal block, screw this block into place and then fit the doorbell.

Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell wiring

Don’t forget to fit the chime module, even if you don’t have an internal chime.

Although the manual doesn’t specifically state why this is required, an FAQ on the Netatmo site explains that without this the doorbell will short circuit and blow the fuse.

Once it’s connected to power, the doorbell can be added to your home network.

Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell chime

Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell: Features

As this doorbell is HomeKit compatible, you can add the doorbell to the Apple Home app and the Netatmo Security app.

Realistically, you’ll find yourself using a combination of the two to get the full range of features.

With the Home app, you can view the live feed, and incoming doorbell rings are sent via a notification, allowing you to answer through Apple’s app.

You can also get the doorbell to ring any HomePod or HomePod Mini speakers you have, although you can’t answer them from the smart speaker.

That’s it for functionality, and the doorbell doesn’t support HomeKit Secure Video at the moment, so you can’t record any video via the Home app.

Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell apple home

If you want to record and store video, then you have to use the Netatmo Security app. This gives you the same live-stream function, and also sends you notifications when a person rings the doorbell.

Neatly, the app will send multiple notifications in quick succession, which makes it hard to ignore: with Nest and Ring, a single notification is easy to miss.

A doorbell press will ring any HomePod speakers and your internal chime, but nothing comes out of the main doorbell, which stays eerily silent.

Select your camera and you can view the timeline of recordings, with the video saved to the microSD card on the camera.

The interface is a little dated and clunky, and trying to find a single event can involve a lot of scrolling, as there aren’t filters to jump to a specific date.

Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell app

You’ll also notice that the camera only records when it spots a person. Diving into the settings, and Person detection is the only option, and there’s no choice to record all motion.

The only option you have is to turn off person detection completely, although you’ll be better off using activity zones to reduce the number of notifications that you get.

You can also long-press on any clip and help train the doorbell by telling it if it actually spotted a person or not.

Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell review: HomeKit ready doorbell put to the test

While using a microSD card means that there are no subscription costs, you may want to use the app to backup footage to Dropbox or an FTP site.

That way, if someone steals your camera, you won’t lose all of your footage.

Disappointingly, there’s currently no support for either Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant. Given how popular both voice assistants are, this is quite a large hole, so anyone without a HomePod will be better off looking elsewhere.

Netatmo says that it’s looking to add both assistants in the future.

Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell: Video quality

Although it has a 1080p resolution, the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell has a 9:16 portrait aspect ratio, which makes sense, as you get to see all of a person. There’s a 140-degree field of view, so you capture a fair bit to the sides, too.

Video quality is as good as the 1080p competition. During the day, people are sharp enough that you can see exactly who they are, although the doorbell did struggle a little bit with my south-facing door, producing quite a dark image.

At night, the camera turns on its IR lights and shoots in black and white. The image does get softer, and it’s hard to work out individual details at distance, but the footage holds up well to the main competition.

The main issue is that at this price, I expect more, and you can buy cameras with 2K resolutions for less.

Price really is the main problem for this doorbell, particularly given that it misses out on Alexa and Google Assistant support. An interesting doorbell for Apple users, then, but most people will find a cheaper and better doorbell that suits them.

Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell
A neat-looking doorbell, the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell’s main attraction comes from its Apple HomeKit support. Yet, you only get basic support and there’s no Apple HomeKit Secure Video. The biggest issue here is the price, and for less you can get a smart doorbell with higher resolution and support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. As it stands, the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell is good enough but it has niche appeal.
  • HomeKit compatible
  • Nice design
  • Great storage options
  • No extra costs
  • No Alexa or Google Assistant
  • Requires wiring
  • Not HomeKit Secure Video

TAGGED    video doorbells

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