(Pocket-lint) - The Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera with Siren is an improved version of the company's previous outdoor camera, an updated and improved device that now includes a siren and much more besides.
It might not be much to look at, but this camera packs a number of features and design facets that make it well worth considering. Not least of which is the fact that it comes with no ongoing monthly subscription costs.
Are the specs and features alone enough to make it worthwhile owning though? We've been letting the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera with Siren keep an eye on our home for a few weeks to find out.
It's worth noting that there are two versions of this camera, including one without a siren and one with. It's the latter that we're reviewing here.
- Best outdoor smart home cameras: See outside your home anytime
- Best indoor security cameras: See inside your home anytime
Design and setup
- Durable aluminium shell with HZO protection standard weatherproofing
- Functions at -20° to 50°C (-4° to 122° F)
- Built-in 12W LED floodlight panel
- 105dB siren
The Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera with Siren is not the most subtle of cameras. It's a large black rectangular slab of aluminium, plastic and glass that stands out quite a bit when mounted to your outside wall. That is no bad thing though, as this camera is clearly intended as a deterrent as well as a security measure. The built-in ear-piercing siren and bright floodlight system are a testament to that.
Initial setup isn't necessarily as easy as other cameras we've tested though. Get it out of the box and you're greeted with some wiring and the instructions to replace an external light with the camera.
This might not seem like too much hassle, but it means you can't simply plug it into an external mains plug or run a power cable indoors to set it up. You either have to have the knowledge to do it or hire an electrician - and if you don't already have an outside light then it's even more of a problem.
Once the installation is complete though, the niggles a much smaller as this is a fantastic smart home camera. When it's powered on, you simply pair it with the accompanying app for Apple or Android smartphones. That's easy to do as well, as a QR code appears in the app and you just need to point your phone's screen at the camera. Then you can tweak and customise the settings.
Settings and modes
- Daylight and infrared (IR) motion detection
- Car, people and animal detection
- Custom Alert Zones
- Geofencing via GPS
Like most smart home security cameras, the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera includes a variety of settings to customise the way it works. When it's setup it will automatically capture footage from within the area it's pointing at and alert you via your phone when something happens.
As with other smart home cameras, as standard, these notifications can be a tad overwhelming - but there are tweaks you can make to change that.
Firstly, you can set custom alert zones. These are designated areas within the camera's field of view. That could be a gate, alleyway, footpath or any area where an unwelcome guest might travel to get into your home. This setting allows the camera to ignore other spots where your family might be or areas that would otherwise be a distraction.
You can also adjust the monitoring and recording settings to either choose to record and/or notify when people, cars, animals or "other" are spotted within the capture area. Tweaking these so you are only notified about people obviously reduces the number of notifications you get. You can choose to ignore other things or simply record them without notifying. You may also set to only be notified at certain hours, so you don't get harassed when everyone is at home.
This camera captures footage and stores it internally on a microSD card. It's then downloadable via the app; you can also choose within the app to save it to your Dropbox account or personal FTP server for safekeeping.
Footage is not constantly recorded on a timeline that can be accessed for the entirety of the day though. That's one area of compromise, but not necessarily an issue. Instead recordings are triggered when movement is detected based on the settings you choose. So if a cat, person or vehicle comes into the camera's sight, then it will trigger the recording.
You'll see an icon within the app to tell you when that happens, along with a thumbnail of what has been recorded. Tap on those thumbnails and the video loads in a more easily accessible window where you can watch it and download it if necessary.
Video capture and storage options
- 4MP video sensor with 100-degree field of video
- Up to 1080p (Full HD) capture resolution
- 15m/50ft Night Vision detection mode
- Encrypted local storage options
- 8x digital zoom
Footage captured by the camera is fairly decent. The Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera sports a 4-megapixel video sensor that's capable of capturing Full HD / 1080p video over its 100-degree field of view. This means you get a nice wide angle of your chosen spot.
It's worth noting that the length of recordings varies depending on how you've setup this camera. If you set it to record everything, then you'll soon run out of storage - at which point the camera seemingly overwrites its internal storage and carries on recording on a rolling basis. In practice, this usually means you get a few days worth of recordings you can access. Unless you use the Dropbox or FTP options of course.
This outdoor smart home camera has the ability to record at night thanks to its infrared night vision mode, but you can also set it to activate the floodlight automatically when movement is detected too.
Like the camera itself, the floodlight can be activated when it spots people, pets, vehicles or other movement. This is useful for several reasons.
Firstly, you can use it as a simple light to illuminate the outside of your home when you need it (whether walking to the car or watering the garden at night). Secondly, it makes a good deterrent for unwanted visitors if they're suddenly lit up when they pop into line of sight.
The other deterrent comes in the form of the built-in siren. When you get alerts on your phone about a person being detected you have the option to click a button and activate that alarm. It's shrill and painful on the ears, but fortunately won't randomly go off when a cat strolls across your lawn (well, unless you want it to).
Smart home compatibility
- Apple Homekit compatible
- Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
Like other smart home cameras, the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera is compatible with Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This gives you some basic voice controls to do various things, at least in theory. Though we found the setup wasn't exactly easy or even suggested directly from the app.
It feels like more of a gimmick than a necessary part of the system or an extra selling point, but it is there if you want to try it.
The Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera with Siren is one of the best outdoor smart home cameras we've seen. It's simple to use, intelligent and easily customisable.
The addition of the floodlight, siren and local storage options makes it capable and convenient too. Recordings are good quality, easy to access and simple to download. During our testing, the notifications system seemed accurate for the most part - unless you happen to have some washing hanging up in line of sight which might get mistaken for a person.
All told, this is a great camera for home security with no on-going subscription costs being a major bonus. It's a tad pricey, but worthwhile for the protection and convenience that it offers.
Also remember if the idea of having a siren doesn't appeal there's always the standard Smart Outdoor Camera as another option.
Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
Although it comes with a subscription requirement, this camera is a nice alternative with plenty of highlights that make it stand out. Those include email notifications with screenshots of what's been seen, a far easier mounting system that can be plugged in inside or outside, and two-way communication.
Ring Floodlight Cam
Like the Netatmo, the Ring Floodlight Cam has bright floodlights to light up your life alongside two-way communication, excellent video capture, and much more besides.