Netatmo first announced its smart video doorbell back at CES 2019 and now, 21 months later, it is finally available to buy. So, has it been worth the wait, continue reading this in-depth Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell review. In which I will tell you everything you need to know about this HomeKit enabled video doorbell.
Before we get started, I like to be transparent with all my reviews. I have had the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell for about 2 months. I have had one call with the Netatmo team during this time towards the end of the review as the product was quickly moving from beta to final firmware. This call was to ensure that I was aware of last-minute changes, which I feel is only fair, given the review would be based on the latest release.
However, they have had no influence over my opinion or the contents of this review. They are seeing this review at the same time as you. You can read the ethics statement and the review promise for more details.
Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell Review key features
- 2 megapixels, 5x digital zoom
- Full HD 1080p, H.264 coding, HDR
- Field of view: 140° diagonal
- IR night vision: Infrared LED
- Two-way audio
- People motion detection
- Custom alert Zones
- HomeKit compatible
- Works with HomePod chimes
- Apple TV picture in picture alerts and camera view
- HZO standard waterproofing
- Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz
- Storage: 32GB micro-SD card included
- Power: 8-24V & 230V; minimum 8VA; requires a wired doorbell and chime
In the box
- Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell
- MicroSD memory card (already inserted in the product)
- Some security stickers and other Netatmo promo stuff
- Optional finish plate
- User guide
- Chime connector
- Wall mounting plate
- Optional 25° bracket
- Additional fuse
- Security screw and its custom tool
- Screws and wall plugs
Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell Design
The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell follows a similar design to the company’s outdoor camera in terms of looks. It has a compact and elegant rectangular shape design with a mixture of aluminium and plastic. The Smart Video Doorbell has 3 sections with the camera section at the top, audio in the middle and the doorbell button at the bottom.
At the top you find the 2MP camera with a video resolution up to 1920×1080 and 140 FOV, At one side of the camera lens is a LED status light that is solid blue when not in use, flashes blue when the doorbell button has been pressed. Then it will turn solid red when someone is viewing the camera feed. To the other side is a LED light for night-vision that will flash when its dark.
In the centre is a plastic grill and behind that is the speaker and microphone that is used for two-way audio.
Finally, the bottom of the device is where you find doorbell button which is made of aluminium with a simple doorbell symbol. When you press the button, it gives off a slight mechanical click.
Around the rear of the smart video doorbell you have the one of 3 HomeKit codes, a Micro-SD card slot that has a 32GB card installed and the power connection port. This area is all made of plastic and so is the frame around the doorbell.
Netatmo has treated the internals with its HZO treatment to make the smart video doorbell water and dust proof. Finally, connectivity is provided to your home network via 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz.
Installing the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell
Setting up the Netatmo Smart Smart Video Doorbell is little more involved than a battery operated doorbell that is plug and play. This is because the doorbell requires you to hard-wire the device into your existing doorbell chime circuit. This means it is compatible with almost all chimes powered by 8-24 V and 230V systems.
It is also worth pointing out that Like most wired doorbells, the smart video doorbells push button operates on a low power. So, this means that the Netatmo chime module is essential as it regulates the current between your existing chime and your Smart Video doorbell.
- Setup starts by turning off the power to your existing doorbell chime. Then use the included mounting template to mark the holes for the wall. Finally, using a power drill, you create the holes for the mounting plate.
- The next step is to attach the chime module to your existing doorbell chime. Installation can be a little different for each system. But Netatmo has a handy installation guide that shows you how to get started with most systems. While the wires to install the chime module to your existing chime come pre-striped. I needed to strip roughly 5mm extra off the wire to give me more wire to play when installing.
- Next, remove the existing doorbell and feed the wires through the mounting plate and into the power connector. You then attach to the wall via the holes you created earlier and, if desired, use the optional finishing plate.
- The last step involves attaching the doorbell to the mounting plate and then installing the security screw to prevent it being stolen.
While I mounted the Smart Video Doorbell to my wall flush, you can use the Optional 25° bracket if required.
Once you turn the power back on you should get the installation lights on the doorbell and f so you are ready to set up up with the app.
Pairing the app with the Doorbell and HomeKit
First you will need to download the Netatmo Security app from the App store. Once you have downloaded the app, the setup process is fast and straightforward. The app will search for the camera and once found will ask you to confirm some Wi-Fi settings.
If you adding this to HomeKit, then you scan the HomeKit code, and follow the setup process. This involves assigning the Doorbell to a room in your HomeKit home and, if enabled, turning on HomePod doorbell chimes.
While the prospect of installing a wired doorbell might put people off. I didn’t find it overly complicated and using the Netatmo help guides I installed it in under 30 minutes.
Netatmo doorbell features, app & video
When you first open the Netatmo security app, you will see a timeline of all the events in a vertical timeline. The app gives each event a date and time stamp along with a symbol. These symbols will show you the following.
- Red phone with a cross – This will show you if you have missed someone that has pressed the doorbell and you didn’t answer
- Green phone – This shows if someone has pressed the doorbell, and you answered
- Blue motion person – This shows if it has detected a person. You get this symbol with a call symbol or independent if the person did not press the doorbell.
Clicking on the image will load the captured footage and you can scrub through the footage to look at a certain point or just watch it all. Playback is smooth and you can zoom into the recording to look at an event closer. You can also download clips for offline playback.
You can also click on a clip and either delete it or select “improve detection.” This gives you the option to change the identification of an object. For instance, if the camera has detected a cloud as a person, you can provide feedback to help improve identification performance.
If you want to access the live view of the doorbell, you can do so by tapping on the phone symbol on the preview screen at the top of the timeline. This will take you into a live view of what is in front of the doorbell with controls for the microphone, speaker and end the live stream.
Storage no subscription
It is worth mentioning that the Netatmo Smart Video doorbell and app does not require you to purchase a subscription to use it. Nor does Netatmo store any of your recordings on its servers. Which is a great win for privacy and something that I like about Netatmo.
So because it does not use Netatmo servers for storage, the doorbell saves all recordings to the 32GB memory card. Just to give you an idea of the storage performance you are going to get. I have been using this since the 22nd July and it still not full yet. This is following extensive testing and use, so I feel the 32GB is more than enough for the average user.
Within the Netatmo Security app, you have the option to add activity zones by tapping the 3 and then selecting alert-zones
This is handy if you live on a busy road and the doorbell is going to be facing out. Being able to set alert-zones to limit the number of alerts in this situation.
When you first up the alert-zone settings, the doorbell already has an alert-zone setup, but you can alter this like cropping a photo. You can create up to 4 alert-zones for the doorbell, but none of them can overlap each other.
Tapping the settings icon on the top left, you get some advanced options. Here you can alter things like your HomeKit settings and rooms, alert and recording options, and manage guests that can access the Smart Doorbell.
Multiple people can use the doorbell, so if you have maple users on the account, the notification will go through to all of them. So if another person answers the doorbell, it will sync back in the app.
The settings that you should pay particular attention to are “Alert and recording settings” But unlike the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera, you don’t get options for alerts for cars, animals or other motion.
In this setting you get the option of what you want the app to do when the Smart Video Doorbell detects a person and you can choose from the following options
- Record and notify
You also have the option for “smart notifications” which combines several notifications into one group. Which is a feature that Apple introduced in iOS 13.
You also have a setting to control how the doorbell deals with Deleting old events. You have the option of 1 week, 1 month and 1 Year. Plus the option Never which will delete oldest recordings when the card fills up. If you have multiple Netatmo security camera products, this is the setting for all of them.
You also have further options in the “My Products” section which displays details like signal strength, serial number and Firmware version.
You can also reconfigure the network if you have run into issues and also alter alert zones I have already covered. Finally, you also have an option to alter the quick display zone for the video view. By altering this, you can instruct the app what part of the image view of the camera you want to see in the snapshot view on the main timeline screen.
Answering the smart doorbell
Before we get into the detail of how the doorbell works when answering and performance. It is pointing out that the video quality and responsiveness of the doorbell will depend on your Wi-Fi speed and network quality. It will also differ between when you are on the same network compared to when you are not at home either on your mobile data or another Wi-Fi network.
So, If someone rings the doorbell, you will get a notification from the Security app to alert you. I found that the time between pressing the doorbell and the alert appearing on my iPhone was on average about 2 seconds.
Tapping this alert will then establish a connection to the doorbell and this took on average about 3 seconds. Once a connection is established you will be presented with what looks like a video call screen. You have a green accept button, a red decline button and in the middle a speaker control.
If you accept the call, then it will open up the two-way audio control to speak to the person. I found this did have a slight delay, but it still allowed me to have a meaningful conversation.
I also tested the performance outside of my network when on my mobile data and it did take a little longer to connect compared to when I was at home. But as already pointed out, this was to be expected, but it didn’t cause issues when using it remotely.
When someone presses the doorbell, it will take about 30 seconds before it stops trying and shows the event as a missed call. But it will send multiple notifications to get your attention first.
If you have multiple users connected to the doorbell, it will send a notification to all users. But it will only allow one person to answer at anyone time.
In terms of audio performance, I would say it’s on par with other video doorbells on the market today. You can clearly hear what the person is saying, and they can hear you via the built-in speaker. Although I could only hear audio up to about 5 meters away before it became hard to hear. While I live in a corner plot on my street and it’s fairly quiet. You also need to take into account other factors like living on busy roads or noisy areas when taking into account audio performance.
While you cannot use the app if you don’t have an internet connection or your Wi-Fi goes down. One thing I like about this doorbell is that it will still work as a doorbell as long as you have power. So if someone comes to the door and presses the doorbell, it will still chime.
But the best bit is that it will still register motion, doorbell presses and record even with no internet or Wi-Fi. Then once it establishes a connection again, the doorbell will then sync back with the app and alert you of any activity. This for me is crucial for this device category, and I like the fact it works in a traditional way, but with smart elements built around it.
Video and night vision
The video quality is good, but I would not say it’s the best either. You cannot alter the resolution of the recordings. So, the doorbell will alter the streaming quality based on your Wi-Fi signal strength. Which may cause different results depending on the network traffic.
The video quality at night is reasonable and does a decent job of providing clear recordings. But occasionally the image person would be overexposed when standing close to the doorbell lens.
I also found the range of the night vision acceptable and could still make out objects about 10 meters away from the doorbell location.
I have previously mentioned that the doorbell can detect people that are approaching or around the Smart Video Doorbell. But you should not see this as a security camera like the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera.
The reason being is that while the performance is adequate for what they intended, it’s not the same product as the outdoor camera. They design it to be used with a doorway and the surrounding area. So I would not recommend it to replace an existing outdoor camera, but to be fair to Netatmo, they do not market this product in that way.
it is worth mentioning that I have had some false detections caused by clouds and shadows in the last couple days of testing with the final firmware. But without bringing the beta firmware into this review, this is nothing compared to when I first started using it. Also, if you use the alert-zones to focus away from the Skyline, this helps significantly.
To add to this, the motion detection performance will vary depending on your individual circumstances. For instance, I have the Outdoor Camera on my back garden and occasionally I will get false alerts when the washing is out. But The fact you can use the “improve detection” to report false alerts helps overtime. So, just bear that in mind when you are considering this product.
Dropbox and NAS support
While the box and website state, the doorbell works with Dropbox and NAS support like the company’s other security camera products. The initial release of the firmware does not include this support. However, when I spoke to Netatmo last week, they said it was coming as a free update later this year.
Ok, let’s deal with the elephant in the room first. It does not have HomeKit Secure Video support. Yes, I hear you screaming now that they have enough time to implement HKSV and I do agree with you. But it’s not as simple as that and we should not blow it out of proportion, so let me explain why.
HomeKit doorbells come in two flavours, the first being doorbells that support standard HomeKit and doorbells that support HomeKit Secure Video.
Standard HomeKit doorbells
- Live view
- Motion sensor
- Answer the doorbell
- Two-way audio
- HomePod doorbell chime (With iOS 14)
- Apple TV live view and picture in picture support (With tvOS 14)
So you get all of those features without HomeKit Secure Video.
HomeKit Secure Video doorbells
- Live view
- Motion sensor
- Answer the doorbell
- Two-way audio
- HomePod doorbell chime (With iOS 14)
- Apple TV live view and picture in picture support (With tvOS 14)
- 10 days of iCloud storage for recordings
- Activity zones
- Facial recognition
As you can see the three fundamental differences are 10 days of iCloud storage for recordings, activity zones and facial recognition. So given the Netatmo Smart doorbell has its own storage and activity zones. Then the lack of HKSV is not an enormous blow.
Although it is worth mentioning that Netatmo has said they will deliver HomeKit Secure Video via a firmware update later down the line. Although I would never recommend buying something based on a promise.
Using Netatmo doorbell with HomeKit
So, at its basic level, you can view the live video feed directly within the Home App on your iOS device. You can also use the two-way audio to listen to what is going outside and talk to people by pressing the push to talk button.
If someone presses the doorbell call button, then a notification pops up on your iOS device and it will take you to the live view screen. While it is different from the security in terms of accepting or rejecting the call. You still have the privacy of not having to answer until you press the push to talk button.
You can also setup the Home app to send you notifications when the doorbell detects motion. But because the Netatmo security app has this feature, I did turn them off to avoid duplication of alerts coming through.
HomePod doorbell chime
The Netatmo smart doorbell will support HomePod chimes when Apple releases the public firmware. But I have been testing this feature with the smart doorbell, and it works great.
But to use this feature, you need to turn this on within the Home App in two locations. The first being in the Netatmo Doorbell settings in Notifications. You also need to turn this on within the HomePod settings, again within the Home app.
When someone presses the doorbell, the HomePod will play a chime to let you know someone is at the door. If you have multiple HomePod’s, the chime will also play across them all simultaneously.
Apple TV PIP Doorbell support
With tvOS 14, you can also access the doorbell live view by using the HomeKit controls in the new interface. Here you can see a snapshot of your smart doorbell and if you select the view, tt will then take you to a live view of that moment in time. Although you can hear what is happening outside, you cannot use the two-way audio. But this is a limitation of the Apple TV hardware and not the Netatmo smart doorbell.
You also get PIP Apple TV notifications with this doorbell. So if someone presses the doorbell, a PIP pop up will appear on the top right corner of the Apple TV with a live view of who is at the door.
Apple Watch support
In addtion to answering the doorbell on your iPhone or iPad, you can also respond to a doorbell notification on your Apple Watch. If someone presses the doorbell, a notification will come through to your watch. If you tap this, then it will bring up a live view and allow you to speak two-way with the person who is at the door.
Although it’s great that doorbell does work in HomeKit via the Home app. I don’t feel that that HomeKit offers anything over the Netatmo security app. It also feels that at times that the Home App feels clunky compared to the native app and during my use I tended to just use Netatmo’s slicker offering.
I would also recommend that if you plan to use HomeKit exclusively, then turn off notifications for the Netatmo Security app. But if you plan to only use the security app, then turn off notifications for HomeKit. The reason being is that I found multiple notifications about the same thing can get a little frustrating.
Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell Review summary
Although the Smart Video Doorbell is on the expensive side in terms of price, you don’t need t sign up to a subscription. Which means the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell initial purchase will balance out compared to cheaper alternatives with a subscription model. I also like the fact that Netatmo is a privacy focused business that does not collect user data, nor does they store any of your recordings on its servers.
Speaking of storage, it’s nice to see that Netatmo has included a 32GB card with its doorbell, unlike the 16GB on its outdoor camera. Which based on my testing as not reached capacity in 2 months of use.
Although some may be put off by the installation, but you only need to do this once. Yes, you do need an existing doorbell chime to use the Netatmo doorbell. But if your Wi-Fi and internet go down, then the doorbell still works.
I also like how the Netatmo Security app works in terms of notifications and when answering a call on the doorbell. The fact it presents you with a live view first and then gives you the option to answer the doorbell or not is a nice touch. Motion detection has certainly improved in the final release of the firmware and the false alerts are down a very small number.
Video quality is good, but I would not say it’s the best and Netatmo could have put the same camera lens from the Presence into the doorbell. The night vision performance is good enough for its use. But I did find that if a person got too close to the lens, then the image would be overexposed.
Although some will be disappointed that it does not work with HomeKit Secure Video at launch But, I don’t think this is a huge deal breaker as it features built in storage and activity zones. Plus, it still works as a HomeKit doorbell with doorbell HomePod chimes and Apple TV support. Netatmo has promised HKSV support later this year, but as always do not buy a product based on a product. Although I am confident based on Netatmo track record of Secure Video support, they will deliver on this.
HomeKit support could be better
But as a HomeKit native fan, I am a little underwhelmed with HomeKit doorbell support. I got more out of the doorbell using the Netatmo Security App than I do with the Home App. But this is not a reflection on Netatmo, as they have no control over this part of the user experience.
So, the key question, is it worth buying the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell? For me, it’s a solid yes, and this is not just because it is a HomeKit doorbell. This is is based on a mixture of the excellent build quality, impressive performance, no subscription plan. Makes this a compelling HomeKit camera option that people should consider.
Pricing and availability
You can buy the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell for £269 in the UK and for €299 across Europe from Netatmo. Netatmo has said the Video Doorbell will arrive in the US later this year.
Well, that’s a wrap on the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell Review, hopefully you have learnt enough about the device. If you still have questions or not sure on something, leave it in the comments section below. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for more HomeKit news and reviews.