withings homestars3Rating = 3.0 Reviewed by Paul Withings Home is a unique home monitoring system with a couple of features that make it more than just a camera.

As a home monitoring camera there are some things that need to be consider about its’ ability to monitor your home, family and pets when you are away, especially

if you opt for the no cost option on the video storage.

The extra features are that it can monitor air quality and be used as a baby cam which can be useful additions.

Since its launch the company has moved forward by adding more functionality and improved performance to bring it more in line with other home monitoring cameras. This is great to see them being proactive with improvement but some of the things should have been there at launch.

Moving on to the review, the first thing to look at is what you need to install it and how easy is it to set up.

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Withings Home Installation

To use and install the system you need an internet connection, WiFi 2.4 GHZ for wireless set up or a spare RJ45 port to connect using an Ethernet cable. You also need a smartphone or device. For iOS devices they require to be iOS 7 or 8 and for Android it needs to be version 4.4 or above for them to run the free Withings Healthmate App.

To install the product is a matter of placing it in the stand on a flat surface and positioning and then plugging it in. It can be tilted to get a better view of the room.

It is designed to be placed on a shelf or cabinet and can’t be attached to the wall. It won’t look out of place on a shelf or cabinet and someone breaking in may not notice it as they focus on looking for valuables likes TVs and jewelry or cash.

The set up is just a little more involved and takes about 30 seconds. You need to download the Withings App and enable bluetooth. Then you tap to pair them. Next is creating a Withings account. Once the account is opened it takes you though setting up your Withings on your WiFi.

You can name each of your Withings with a name that can help you to identify it easier when you’ve more than one for checking live feeds and notifications.

Contract

withings home priceThere is no contract to be signed to use the camera and view the live stream and time lapse. However, if you want to be able to have continuous recording and playback you have to pay a monthly fee. The levels of service are as follows:
Basic Security – cost is free. You can view time lapses and animated sequences which are stored for up to 2 days

Improved Security – cost is $7.95 per month. You get 7 days of cloud storage with continuous video and time lapses. This is per Withings Home with additonal ones costing $5.00

Premium Security – cost is $19.55 per month. For this you get 30 days of cloud storage with continuous footage and time lapses. This is per home with addtional Homes being charged at $19.95

You can cancel at any time on a month by month basis i.e. there is no refund if you cancel part way through a month.

Support

The product comes with a 1 year limited warranty.

When I contacted them they were slow in responding which they said was due to receiving a large number of emails.

They did apologize and gave very good answers. Hopefully they’ll improve and treat customers better but this slow response is concerning.

Cameras

withings home and standThe camera is 5MP with video resolution of 1280 by 720 and 30 fps.

The camera has a wide view of 135 degrees giving good coverage of the room. To prevent any possible blind spots it does need to be placed in a corner.

The video is clear and you can see what is going with only some distortion at the ends of the view. When someone is moving quickly through the view you are likely to struggle with identifying them as it might br blurred.

The Withings should be located so it is a minimum of 20 inches away from a person to receive a good image.

The switch from day to night vision happens automatically but you can turn night vision on and off manually using the App.

The camera doesn’t have pan tilt or zoom capability but you can digitally zoom by pinching the screen out or pinching in to zoom out giving you up 12 times zooming in but this can cause the image to be pixelated.

Video Storage

This is done on the company’s cloud servers. If you have the free service option you get to watch snapshots of events and time lapse photos with a maximum of 2 days. From your phone you can delete or share these photos.

With the paid options it stores a continuous video feed of either 7 days or 30 days depending on the service level you’ve subscribed to.

If you’ve subscribed you can access the recording from anywhere. You can jump to the places where you’ve received a notification and scroll back to see what happened prior to the notification.

With the paid version of the plan you can download video to your phone.

Alarms

The system doesn’t have a siren to sound the alarm when there is a security event.

Notification

withings home and phoneYou can decide what notifications you receive from motion, noise, air quality or if it is offline. You can also have the LED light ring at the bottom to blink red when the air quality is outside the range you specify.

The notifications do come through fairly quickly. The issue can be receiving too many alerts.

To adjust the amount of alerts you receive there is a slider arrangement that goes from none to every time it detects an event. To stop alerts you can also set the system to Do Not Disturb.

It is possible to have 2 people set up, including yourself to receive notifications and monitor the camera. This can be limiting as there could be situations that neither of you are available to read a notification and take action if required.

Remote Monitoring

withings home set upYou use the app on your smart device to access the camera and the events stored on company’s servers.
To view live you need only open your App and tap on the camera to open the feed from anywhere you can access the internet with your device. You can access the live stream from 2 devices at the same time.

When the camera detects an event – sound, motion or VOC outside range a snapshot is stored on cloud and stored so you can access using the Journal function of the App. You tap on the event to see more details of the event.

Depending on what level of service you have determines how far back you can go – free is 2 days, for paid you have an option of 5 or 7 days. (If Withings wants to update you, you’ll also seen an entry here).

The next way to see what is happening at home is the timelapse screen. The camera takes a photo every 5 minutes and stores it online. You then get a scrolling overview of a day in the life of your home. Here again how far you can go back is dependent on the service level you’ve decided on. I’m not sure how useful this is myself as security camera as it is likely to miss an event all toghether.

It is possible to have up to 20 cameras on the one account, you tap the camera on your App to see the live stream from the camera. While viewing the live stream you push down on the push-to-talk icon and you can talk to whoever is in the room or your pets. When finished talking you let the icon go.

During the live stream it is possible to take a snapshot and save to your phone, great for capturing magic moments or if you need to evidence for identification purposes.

To change your cameras functionality you go into the control screen. Here you can set it to Do Not Disturb, Baby Monitor. Off or On.

As well as listening in you can talk to anyone near the Withings by pushing the icon on the App. You can talk to your children or pets or anyone else in your home. There can be a few seconds delay which can make the conversation a little difficult as you may end up talking over each other by mistake.

Each Withings account can control up to 20 cameras.

Battery

The camera is powered by house supply. It doesn’t come with back up battery so when there is an outage it stops working.

Sensors/Detection

How do the sensors work, motion sensors
To detect motion the camera’s field of view into 40 sections and senses the changes in pixels in those sections.

Setting The Camera

withings home dimensionThere are 4 modes you can set the camera to. To do this you go into the control screen. The settings are

Active monitoring – in this mode the camera records all events (noise, motion and air quality) and sends you notifications but the notifications can be turned off one by one or all by using the Do Not Disturb.

Do Not Disturb – The camera continues to record and add notifications to your journal but doesn’t send then to your phone

Baby Monitor -In this mode you can hear what is happening in a room even when you have the App turned off and smartphone screen off.

Camera Off – In this mode the camera is off and there is no recording or notifications received. This is the mode you’d choose when you are at home and up and moving about. You can then change it to active monitoring when you go
to bed.

You can’t set it to work to a schedule where it switches to on or off to accommodate you and your family’s own schedules. Also it doesn’t have any geo-fencing where it senses when you are home or away for turning on and off or change functionality. This is all done through going to the App.

The do not disturb mode means you don’t receive any notifications but these event are still recorded and stored in your Journal (account).

The Unit

withings home runningAt the front of the camera is a black strip that has the camera lens, the ambient light sensor and infra LED light.
At the bottom of unit is the multi-color night light.

On the top of the unit is the 2 way speaker for speaking to the room from your smartphone and devices

The back of the unit near the top is accelorometer (detects movement of camera) and VOC sensor (air quality) . At the bottom is a USB 2.0 port (for charging other devices), environmental sensors, Ethernet port and Micro USB port (for power supply). To the side of the unit is the microphone for picking up sound from the room.

Protection Against It Being Switched Off

When the internet and/or power is out the system does not work. This is not a very good solution for a security camera to not have a back up for power at least.

Coverage

It needs to be installed so that is in the wireless range of your router and there is a strong signal. It works best when there isn’t interference from other electrical items and there are no blockages like doors in the way. You can set the system to notify you when the system is offline. The base will show an orange light if it can’t detect the router.

Wireless or Wired

The camera is designed to work wirelessly with your WiFi but it can be plugged into your router using an Ethernet cable.

It does also need to be plugged into the wall for power using the power cord included.

Dimensions

The dimensions are 2.95 by 2.95 by 3.43 inches.

Features

The box includes:
1 X Withings Home
1 X Table Stand that allows you to angle the camera to give the best view of the room
1 X Micro USB power supply 5V 2A
3 X Plug adapters for use in various countries
1 X Quick Start Guide

Accessories

withings home nightlightIt does take it 48 hours to be fully calibrated to detect air quality properly. Some people have stated it is not too accurate but others are happy and the company states it is accurate. If you or your children have allergies, respiratory or immune reactions this can help to prevent them by letting you know when the air quality is poor.

The baby monitor works so you can hear what is happening in the room on your smartphone even with the app closed and screen off. As well as that you can remotely play a 20 second lullaby that repeats for however long you set it for, have the bottom light up as night light of one solid color or make it change colors (rainbow). You can adjust the volume and brightness levels to help in soothing your baby. You can also speak to your child.

At the back of the unit is the USB charger that can be used to charge mobile devices.

Pros

You can use your apple Watch to monitor your home and view recorded video

It is a good looking unit that will look good in most homes

Works with IOS and Android devices

Quick to install and set up

It is portable so it can be taken with you when you move

Can be used as a baby monitor with a night light and short lullaby playback

It can be set so the notifications and navigation are in the language of your choice

It measures air quality which is useful for keeping levels down if you or members of your family react to them or you are concerned about being exposed to them

All video and snapshots are online preventing them being stolen if camera is stolen

Cons

The android App seems to be still in beta mode with a number of bugs to be worked through

You can’t use a computer to access your camera

Motion and sound sensitivity is very touchy and can result of loads of false alerts

Doesn’t come with a siren for alerting persons locally there has been a break in and scaring off an intruder

You can’t set schedules when the camera is on or off. This has to be done manually

It doesn’t work with home automation products

To have video recording you have to pay a monthly fee which is cancellable
There is back up if there is a power or internet outage

Withings Home Consumer Ratings

Withings Home ReviewThe reviews on this camera are mixed. It looks like it was delivered before it was fully ready. But this does seem to be the way these things are released these days that they get customers to help with finding bugs and seeing what they want.

For some people this is fine but not everyone likes the feeling of being a guinea pig. The company have made improvements since it was released which is positive. They do seem to respond quickly to customers issues but still have a way to go.

It does seem that recent reviews are trending to more positive on the whole with people liking the speed of set up and using the app to monitor their home as the company improves the cameras performance and add more functionality.

Withings Home Price

The camera is priced similar to the Dropcam, Netatmo and cheaper than the Piper nv.

The Piper nv does allow you to store 1000 video clips for free but it doesn’t have the option to record continuously but it does have built in siren and has working entry sensors.

As the company add more features it will become a better deal but for now it seems expensive for what it delivers.

The best pricing I found when I was checking was at Amazon where it qualified for prime and free shipping. You can see the current pricing by clicking here: Withings Home

Review Summary

This system does have some nice features and looks good. The baby monitor and air quality are nice to have with a home monitoring camera but I don’t see these as essential.

In regards to be a home monitoring system it is similar to the Nest Cam but with slightly less quality video and slower notifications, and without any options to integrate with home automation.

It misses out on a siren and without paying a monthly fee it doesn’t cut it in my view as camera you’d want to use as home monitoring camera. You might get lucky I guess with the 5 minute snapshots capturing someone. It also doesn’t integrate with other home automation systems to overcome the lack of entry sensors.

For me as a home monitoring camera system it is getting there slowly but still has much room for improvement and will likely improve as they add more features as the company has been doing since it was released.

Filed under: Reviews

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