netatmo welcomeRating 3.8stars38 Reviewed by Paul
Netatmo Welcome is one of the first home monitoring cameras that comes with facial recognition. This is a cool feature that is designed to help with privacy and the security of your home. It is a wireless HD camera that has a wide angle view of 130 degrees.

It is made to be used in the home and it can see during the day and night. It lets you know when people it knows arrive home or when it detects someone it doesn’t know or it detects movement.

You can receive these notifications where ever you can access the internet with your mobile device or computer.

It certainly has the potential to be an excellent home monitoring camera . In our review we look closely at how it delivers on the potential plus how it helps you capture those magic moments you might miss otherwise when you are way from home.
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Installation

The set up and installation process is quick and easy.

There really is no installation required as you place it on a table and plug it in.

It is recommended that the camera is placed facing an entrance so it can detect people entering and leaving. It does need access to a power socket to be plugged in for power and needs to be on a flat surface as it can’t be attached to a wall.

The company does not recommend setting it up to look out a window to monitor the outdoors as changing light, shadows and other movements may end up sending you multiple unwanted notifications and make too many recordings to monitor.

Nor should you install where there is a bright light as this can affect the camera’s ability to recognize faces.

To use the system you need a high speed 2.4 GHZ internet connection with a minimum upload speed of 30/40 kb/s, a computer (with one of the last 2 versions of Safari, Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer) or iOS (iOS 8 or later) or Android device (Android 4.3 and up).

The set up is a little more involved but not much more. You can set it up using the iOS or Android App or with a computer (Wndows.Mac/Linux) App. You follow the instructions after you’ve downloaded the App to your phone or the installation program to your computer. To set up using an App is done via bluetooth and on computer with the included Ethernet cable.

The written instructions are little basic and hard to follow but there aren’t that many steps to follow.

Contract

netatmo welcome priceThere is no contract or ongoing fees to use the camera for remote viewing or storing video.

Support

Some people have found the company is not very responsive in responding to questions and issues taking too long to respond. When they do they aren’t helpful.

When I contacted them by email they came back within a day. The responses to my questions were helpful and had all the information needed.

Cameras

netatmo welcome on cabinetThe cameras video sensor is 4 MP and resolution is up to 1920 by 1080. The video is clear and has good definition during the day and at night. It will adjust quality of the image dependent on how good the connection and speed is at the time. The first few seconds can be a little blurry but it improves quickly.

The camera has a field of view of 130 degrees giving it good coverage of a room when placed by a wall although it does have 2 blind spots either side of the camera which are eliminated if placed in a corner. It is recommended that it be placed facing a door to capture people’s faces as they enter.

The camera doesn’t have any pan, tilt or zoom capability (including digital), so there is no zooming into get additional detail of an incident.

The camera can get hot to the touch but this is to be expected in the same way that laptop batteries get hot to the touch. Although it can be a little unnerving the company says that is nothing to worry about and it meets all safety requirements. It does advise to keep it out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources.
For the camera to work an SD card needs to installed which is used for storing the video and face recognition information.

The camera has a microphone which is adequate but at times it can be give a distorted sound or buzzing. It doesn’t have a speaker so there is no way to speak to anyone in the room like your children or to tell your pets to behave.

The quality of the video is adjusted to take into account the speed of the internet connection to provide the best viewing quality. When a recorded video is downloaded it is HD quality. The best viewing experience is when your phone or computer is on the same WiFI network as Welcome.

Netatmo Welcome Video Storage

netatmo welcome placed on cabinetThe camera is on all the time but only records when it detects motion or a face depending on how you configure it.

The system comes with an 8 GB SD Card. The maximum it can take is an SD card is 32 GB. When the card is full the oldest videos are recorded over. It is expected that an 8 GB card can hold up to 100 video sequences (clips). If you replace the SD card you do lose all the faces it has learned and you’ll need to start the learning process again.

There is no other way to store video locally or on the internet.
The only thing that is stored on the internet is a snapshot of each incident which is the clearest picture of a face.

It is possible to down load videos 1 at a time to your phone or computer using the App by pressing on the record icon.

As the camera is filming all the time it will records up to 7 seconds before the security event and can record up to 4 minutes.

It is not possible to record a live stream now but it is something that may be added at a later date

Alarms

The system doesn’t sound an alarm when it detects an intruder but sends you a notification. It doesn’t work with any home security systems now. This lack of integration with other systems may change.

The best way to use this for home security would be to use it conjunction with a DIY system so that you can see what is happening at home when you get a notification to determine your course of action.

An alternative camera is the Piper NV which comes with free cloud external storage, siren, alarm notifications and can work with home automation. It doesn’t have face recognition.

Notification

netatmo welcome appWhen an event is detected by the camera it records it locally and it sends a snapshot of the event along with the time and type to the cloud. This is then sent to your App to notify you of an event.

Within the App you can define what events trigger a notification. These rules are set for all cameras you have at your home:

You can determine when you receive notifications when the camera:

Detects motion

Detects someone it doesn’t know

Detects someone it knows you can have it send you a notification the first time it sees them and considers them home, every time it sees them or not at all.

Motions and unknown notification can also be tailored to be on always, never or when no one is home.

There can sometimes be a delay between an event being detected and when you receive a notification, and in some cases it can be enough that you may miss the event all together giving time for a criminal to have left the premises or turned the camera off, or miss your pets or children doing something that requires a response.

Remote Monitoring

netatmo welcome app 2There is no restriction on the number of people you can allow to have access to the camera via the App to monitor your home. Also you can access as many cameras as you want by adding them to the App. You can switch between the cameras to view a live feed from them.

With The App you can see who is home or away, identify people and train the Welcome who they are, watch a live stream video, watch recorded video, download single video at a time to your phone or computer and determine when you’ll receive a notification.

The camera knows when someone is away: by using their phone location when it is 100 meters (when set up in the App) from the camera, when you tell it using the App or when the camera hasn’t seen that person for a specified time.
The last of the 3 ways seems a little flakey as they might be in bed and it will think they are away and as they leave it could see them as home and then wait another number of hours until they are detected as being away .
It can only know a person is at home when it sees that person.

Within the App you have:

Dashboard which shows who is home and who isn’t and when the person was last seen. It also shows last person it didn’t recognize with a ? on their picture.

Timeline. This shows all events available on the SD Card – known person seen, known person not home, unknown face, motion detected, monitoring stopped/started, camera disconnected/connected or started and camera being updated. More details are seen by touching and holding on the timeline. This is where you also access recorded video.

You then have known people and profiles. Known people are those that you have taught the camera to recognize where you can chose to edit profile, forget the person or indicate that the person has left home.

Within the person profile is where you can see how strong the recognition is by the camera, when to receive notifications, enable or disable recording, change picture, say it is you and indicate that phone being used is yours so it can determine when you leave.

And of course in the App is where you can initiate live streaming to see what is happening at home in real time.

The App itself has a 3.7 rating as to its usability on Googleplay. People do find it difficult to use and it can be buggy after there has been an update. It is improving as they go but still does need some work.

You do need to be careful who you add to your camera as once they are added they have full access to it all and can make changes at they wish. So you are only going to want to add it close family probably and not have neighbors as back up. I’m not really keen on this as I’d prefer to have someone be a master administrator to determine who can see what and when, delete people, change passwords etc.

Battery

There are no batteries required. The Welcome is powered by the house supply. There is no backup battery, so if there is a power outage the camera stops working. You do receive a notification when the camera doesn’t have power.

Sensors/Detection

The camera is filming continuously but only records when it detects an event. The 3 events it can be set to detect are
1. Someone it knows

2 Someone it doesn’t know

3. Motion is detected.

To detect this it processes what it films in real time to detect changes from frame to frame. This is all done locally using all the recognition data stored on the micro SD card.

The camera can be set to recognize up to 16 faces. It takes time for it to learn the faces. When a face appears it doesn’t recognize it shows in your App with a question mark. You can then tell the camera who it is by adding it to an existing profile or to a new one. Each time it miss identifies someone you help the camera learn by adding it to the existing profile.

Sometimes the camera will mistake something as a face and you can help to improve its recognition by holding a face and selecting “Not A Face”

Welcome recognizes people when they are facing the camera so it important to have it facing the front door or other entranceways.

It is sensitive and when it is facing a TV it can see the different people on it as people not recognized and send you a notification that someone unknown is in your home.

Facial recognition can take up to 2 weeks to be at full strength (indicated bars in persons profile). To help the process along you can stand in front of the camera for a few moments so it builds up a profile quicker rather than passing through. The company has does this deliberately so it doesn’t make a mistake in identifying someone.

It does do a better job of facial recognition than the simplicam (available for a monthly fee) which still has some way to go as you have to stand in front of it and get profile photos taken whereas the Netatmo learns as it goes.

Control panel

netatmo welcome with childrenThe camera is beautiful looking piece of equipment that will look good in most homes.

There are no buttons on the camera as it is all controlled by the App.

At the front there is black long rounded rectangle strip. At the top of the strip is the camera lens and LED lights (for night vision) and at the bottom is LED status light.

At the back of the camera are three slots – 1 for the SD card, 1 for the power cable and 1 for the USB card.

Timers

The only timer on the camera is for how long it takes for the camera to decide someone is away. This is the time it was since it last saw a person. Once the time has elapsed it determines the person is way.

The default is 4 hours but it can be changed using the App to a delay you want.

Protection against it being switched off

There isn’t much protection to stop the camera from being switched off. You do receive a notification if there is no power or the internet connection is down.

If the internet is down the camera continues to detect faces and motion plus record video. You don’t get notifications but these are sent to your App once the internet is restored.

If someone takes your camera you’ll receive a notification that the camera has been switched off. The person can’t access your videos and data (as they are encrypted) without your Netatmo account details to protect your data and privacy.

Coverage

The distance the camera can be placed away from your router is dependent on the strength of your WiFi signal. You should get the same distance as you do with other WiFi devices.

You are notified if it is not connecting and also the LED status light on the camera will flash yellow.

Wireless or Wired

It is a wireless device but it can be connected to your router using the included Ethernet cable if you’ve problems with your signal dropping out.

It does need to be plugged into the house supply for power.

Dimensions

The dimensions of the camera are 1.8 by 1.8 by 6 inches.

Features

The camera comes with
1 Welcome camera

1 Ethernet Cable

1 Power Cable

1 8 GB Micro SD Card

Accessories

There are no accessories now and it doesn’t work with any other products.

In the next few months it is expected that will release entry sensors called tags. They will detect vibration on a door or window which indicates that it is about to be forced open. It has an algorithm that knows the difference between a ball hitting the door or window and someone who is intent on breaking in. They can work up to 330 ft away from the camera.

They are battery powered and the batteries have 2 year life span.

They’re also waterproof so can be used outside on gates. This gives you the ability to receive notifications on your phone when your gate is opened at any time you set.

Pros

There are no ongoing fees to use the camera remotely or store video

It is quick to set up and install

Face recognition that can let you know when people it knows arrive home and when it detects someone it doesn’t recognize

Can set camera to ignore people and not record or send notifications when it detects them

Video quality is clear during the day and at night

Has wide range of view of 130 degrees

It is wireless so is portable so can go with you when you move

You can access the video and live stream anywhere you can access the internet

It is easy to give other people access to the system

You can set the camera not to record when it sees certain people to protect privacy

It records up to 7 seconds before it detect an event to ensure you see what it detected

The notifications and system can let you know who is home and who is away (sort of)

Cons

All motion recorded video is stored locally so if camera is stolen during a burglary or home invasion you’ve no video record of the event

Doesn’t work with other home automation systems including Z-wave or zigbee

The face recognition can be slow and sometimes misses faces and detects motion

It can sometimes miss motion if it is too fast or slow

Everyone who has access has access to everything there is no way to restrict access

Can’t be attached to the wall

Notifications can sometime be slow to arrive so that any event is well over

Doesn’t have 2 way audio

The one of the away settings is based on when it last saw you not on whether you’ve actually left home

Netatmo Welcome Consumer Ratings

Netatmo Welcome ReviewCustomer reviews are mixed but positive with some absolutely loving it but with others being left with a bitter taste in their mouth especially in regards to customer service responsiveness.

The other feeling is that they are almost like being beta testers rather than having a finished product.

However, other reviews appreciate the facial recognition and that it takes time to learn who they are, that it is easy to set up and that they can keep a close eye on who is at home plus know when their family members are at home.

Netatmo Welcome Price

The camera is priced at the same level as the Dropcam Pro and Nest but without the ongoing fees for usage and storage of video. It does store video locally whereas Dropcam stores it on the company’s cloud servers.

The best price was on Amazon when I checked. It qualified for free shipping. Check the latest deal here: Netatmo Welcome

Review Summary

This camera has a really great feature in the facebook recognition and it looks good too. But it does seem to be not quite there yet with the App and functionality.

The video quality is good during the day and night. it is easy to set up and its facial recognition is ahead of its competitors.

It’s just not delivering it all yet. The facial recognition and motion detection can be a bit haphazard and notifications can be slow at times meaning you’re informed too long after the event to take action.

If you are looking for a security camera than the Piper NV is a better option even though it doesn’t have facial recognition but it is quicker at notifications and picking up movement.

However, if you are prepared to go through the iteration of software over the next few months then at the end of that time you’ll have a good camera for monitoring your home and comings and goings as well as capturing any magic moments too, as I think they’ll continue to work on it as they have the their Weather Station

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