Netatmo’s first security camera, called Welcome, was designed to monitor the interior of your home or office, and introduced facial recognition software so that it could alert you to strangers, or ‘welcome’ anyone else.
It’s joined here by the more expensive Presence – which retails at £250 (around $305, AU$405) – an exterior proposition which comes with a dimmable LED floodlight and object detection that can differentiate between people, animals and cars, alerting you to the ‘presence’ of any, or all of those things.
And while Welcome was a slim, shiny, smartphone-friendly design for keeping in touch with your family, this angular, architectural surveillance cam is aimed squarely at protecting your property, be that a home or business.
It’s an IP camera that works wirelessly over Wi-Fi, either on its own, or teamed up with more Netatmo cameras that can all be controlled by the free Netatmo iOS/Android app called Security. There’s even a watchOS app for Apple Watch fans.
Design and installation
The relatively high price feels somewhat justified when you weigh this well-built and aesthetically pleasing device in your hands. Its all-metal construction is waterproof to IPX7 standard, includes a cluster of dimmable LEDs and comes with a mounting plate that allows it to simply replace an existing outdoor light.
There’s no internal battery, so you’ll need to hijack the power cable that’s already in place. There’s no Ethernet port either, which means using your smartphone and the companion app to help the camera join your home network. Luckily, our router was located within range, but you may find that moving your router is more practical than installing a new power line for the camera.
Here are the full specs of the Netatmo Presence:
Type: IP camera
Mounting: Wall-mount included
Night Vision: IR LED
Motion sensor: Yes (configurable)
Battery: Yes (up to one year)
Local video storage: microSD
App support: Android, iOS, watchOS
Size/Weight: 200 x 110 x 50mm (H x W x D); 1.5kg
The headline feature here is the sophisticated object recognition software that uses Netatmo’s companion app to send you a text or email when a car, an animal or a person crosses its path. It works with surprising success over distances of up to 20 metres in daylight and a little less than that when using its infrared sensors at night.
You can fine-tune the system by focusing on specific zones, which is done by pinching and zooming on the parts of the screen you are interested in, like a garden gate, or your driveway.
As a floodlight, Presence is equally flexible and impressive. Few security lights are dimmable, but this one has a sliding scale of brightness and you can choose to have it triggered by either motion or low light.
The grille at the back guards a speaker and microphone, adding two-way audio and making fairly clear sound recordings to go with the Full HD video.
Another significant feature that could outweigh the initial cost of purchase is the fact that you don’t need to pay a subscription here. With video recorded directly onto a bundled 64GB microSD card, you don’t need a costly cloud server, as is the case with Nest, Samsung and others. You could also set up your own FTP server, if you find yourself recording more frequently.
The iOS/Android app, which as we mentioned is called Security, gives you intuitive control over this and any other Netatmo cameras you have, making it easy to scroll between each camera view. If you have just one camera, you’ll see a timeline of the activity recorded that day. When you turn your phone from portrait to landscape, the image becomes full-screen.
There’s also rather slick watchOS support, so that you can see images from the camera directly on your Apple Watch. It’s now available as a complication, meaning you can add the feature to your watch face.
The resolution goes up to 1080p at 24 frames per second, and we were able to zoom in and capture crisp video clips, although we noticed that zooming introduces quite a lot of video noise.
Aside from the reassuring build quality, convenient floodlight feature and useful object recognition, the big advantage here is the camera’s flexibility. We were able to decide whether we received an alert when a car came up the drive, or if a person entered by the gate, and also choose whether to record that clip or not.