Home security has never been easier, and simultaneously more complicated than ever. There’s a variety of options available to you, some are subscription based, others are a one time purchase, and some are a hybrid of the two. Today we’re taking a look at Netatmo’s Welcome home security camera, which has a unique feature in that it recognizes faces. That feature alone might make this camera better suited for families than for single people – but as we’ll get into, there’s a lot to love about this security camera.
Design wise, the Netatmo Welcome has a nice small profile that can easily be hidden in plain sight. Even on it’s own, you’re unlikely to recognize it as a security camera on first look, unless you knew what you’re looking at. The 15.5cm (6″) tall cylinder is just 4.5cm in diameter, is coated in a goldy-metallic finish, and stands on a white plastic base. The black strip down the middle houses the camera, a microphone, and a night vision light. The back includes a MicroSD slot, a micro USB slot, and a Ethernet port.
The camera on the Netatmo Welcome is a 4-megapixel 1080p HD video camera. Thanks to a wide angle lens built into the design, the camera captures 130-degrees from the point where it’s placed. Essentially, it allows you to set the device against any wall and capture the entire room flawlessly. The camera is also capable of picking up great night vision shots as well – granted they are not as crisp as the daylight ones are. You’ll see roughly the same image taken with full light exposure, and one with blackout blinds used to make the room completely dark.
The device connects to your home internet either through a wired connection or direct through WiFi connection, and then is remotely controlled, activated, deactivated and taught from your smartphone. The main feature setting the Netatmo Welcome apart from it’s competitors is it’s unique face recognition software. This feature does two things – it allows you to know who is home, and it allows you to train the device to know when to record. Knowing who is in your home is useful if you have kids who you want to make sure got home from school, or to ensure you know who you might run into when you get home. Someone breaks into your house and robs you? Well, you’ll probably have a great picture of their face! Suspect your partner of cheating? You’ll know for sure.
Teaching the app to recognize your face takes a bit of work, because it’s not an exact science. If you walk in with a hat on it might not recognize you, or if you walk in in profile, same thing. So teaching it your face takes some time but eventually will pay off. Additionally, you’ll get push notifications on your phone when there’s an unknown face, or perhaps motion in a room that was previously motionless. It’s accurate too – I received a motion notification while I was away, immediately checked the footage (it records and stores 30 seconds worth) and witnessed a fly flying through my room.
The box includes everything you need to get started including the Netatmo Welcome unit, an ethernet cable, a USB cable, a Micro USB cable, and an 8GB MicroSD card. Set up takes about 5 minutes to connect it; Simply pair it to your smartphone and then your WiFi signal, at which point you can begin to program it and teach it your face. Data is all kept secured on your own device, and being able to view/hear your place streamed live to your phone is a nice feature for peace of mind.
The Netatmo Welcome reviews well, and features some nice things that set it apart from others on the market. The facial recognition capabilities is quite interesting, and while it is not perfect, it’s certainly unique and useful. The camera quality, ease of setup and the nice app are all benefits to the system as well. The only real drawbacks to the device are it’s lack of battery operation (in case the power is cut), the lack of being able to mount it somewhere and in truth, the fact that it is so advanced. With some additional updates, and rumoured plans to include additional add-on sensors coming in 2016, the Netatmo Welcome certainly has a lot of potential to be the go-to home security device in a crowding market.