(Pocket-lint) - Netatmo is a French company that has formerly been associated with a wireless weather station and a smart bracelet for regulating sun tans and avoiding burns, but now it is after the smart heating market.
There are numerous smart heating options already on the market, including Tado, Nest, Hive by British Gas and Honeywell's Evohome, so what makes Netatmo different and how will it earn its place in the smarthome arena?
What is the Netatmo Thermostat for Smartphone by Starck?
Apart from having a long-winded name, the Netatmo Thermostat for Smartphone by Starck claims to be the perfect balance between functionality and design and it allows you to control and monitor your heating anytime and anywhere using an app.
As with all smart heating systems, you will need to be connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network and you can control it from a smartphone, tablet or computer so in this sense, it offers nothing different from others already available on the market.
Designed by Philippe Starck, as you might have gathered from its name, the Netatmo thermostat aims to save you money and give you a more comfortable experience when it comes to heating.
After answering a few questions when you initially set it up, the Netatmo system will then adapt to your lifestyle by observing your habits and create a program based on them.
What can it do?
The Netatmo allows you to adjust the temperature on the thermostat itself, or via your smart device and through the app, you can also find out your energy consumption but that's pretty much it in terms of features.
It doesn't track your location to heat your house in time for when you come home like Tado does, and it doesn't allow you to adjust individual room like Evohome, although Netatmo does have an Auto-Adapt function. This feature uses GPS to pull in weather information for your location so it knows the outside temperature and adds this information to what it knows about your household insulation to predict the start of the heating period.
It's prime purpose seems to be saving you money and energy though, with a claim to save up to 25 per cent in energy consumption. Every month you will receive an Energy Savings Report that allows you to track your consumption and schedule your heating more effectively so if energy saving is your goal, this may be your best option.
Why is it different?
Aside from having a designer name behind it, Netatmo offers a couple of different elements compared to its competitors.
First of all, the company claims anyone can install it, suggesting it is as easy as changing a lightbulb and Netatmo is compatible with gas, fuel, wood and heat pump heating systems.
It can be wall-mounted or just sit on your coffee table, which means it doesn't have to be on display as it is battery operated and wireless, so if you want to tuck it away in a drawer, you can.
The design element is perhaps its strongest point of difference though. In true Starck style, the Netatmo thermostat is made from a frosted glass-looking material and it features a truly minimalist look. It can be customisable with five colours comprising blue, green, yellow, orange or grey but you can opt to have it without too.
Light then shines on these colours when the device is on to deliver a thermostat with a bit of a twist. We weren't sure about it to begin with, but in the flesh, the Netatmo is actually a lovely looking product that would look good in most homes.
Netatmo was also keen to point out that as it is a French company, it is bound by French law and therefore the data collected by the thermostat belongs to the user rather than the company, so if you are worried about your data getting into the wrong hands, you should be safe and sound with this thermostat.
The Netatmo app is compatible with Android, iOS and Windows Phone users and the system itself carries a price tag of £149, which is competitive in the market.
It isn't as advanced as others but from what we have seen, it offers a simple and fuss-free way of remotely controlling your heating from your smartphone or tablet.
The fact that it doesn't need to be on show is a definite plus and the changing colours is a nice idea, although we would have liked to have seen a broader selection to match a wider variety of home decors. Self-installation also raises alarm bells for us as Tado said the same and we wouldn't have liked to attempt that.
Overall though, as smart heating becomes more and more popular, we wouldn't be surprised if this simple and minimalist solution starts fighting with the big boys in the UK properly given it has had a year of practice from France.