Netatmo Presence Review
Netatmo is well known for its smart home thermostats, but they also do a line of home security products and in this article, I will be reviewing the Netatmo Presence smart security camera. So continue reading for the in-depth Netatmo Presence review that will tell you everything you need to know about this smart home enabled security camera.
The Presence might not be as aesthetically pleasing as the Circle 2. But unlike the Circle 2 which needs a subscription to get some of the advanced features, the Netatmo Presence features onboard storage and no subscription required to access things like motion detection and alert zones.
Netatmo Presence review key features
- Outdoor Wi-Fi security camera
- 4Mp sensor, video resolution up to 1920×1080
- Field of view: 100 degrees
- Motion detection
- Alert Zones
- HomeKit compatible
- HZO standard waterproofing
- Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz
- Storage: 8GB microSD card included, optional Dropbox integration or FTP server
- Floodlight: 12W, dimmable
- IR night vision: detection up to 15m (50ft)
- Dimensions: 50x200x110 mm
Netatmo Presence review in pictures
- Mains powered
- Built-in 12W LED floodlight panel
- 100-degree field of view
- Weather-resistance (-20C to 50C operation)
- 50 x 200 x 110mm
The Netatmo Presence does not look like a conventional security camera with its grey/black rectangular design in aluminium with the floodlight and sensor on the front. When you open the box for the first time and feel the Presence camera, it screams high-quality design, but you may not take to the block design of this security camera, although I do like it.
The camera comes with a mounting bracket and all of the relevant screws and fittings to install the camera on the wall. One of the things I liked that was included was an installation bag that which allows you to place the Presence inside when mounting to avoid scratching it on a wall for example.
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On the front of the Presence camera, you will find the LED flood light which takes up most of the surface at the front and at the bottom of the front plate the 4mp camera with a video resolution up to 1920×1080 and this is also where Netatmo has put the Infrared sensors for the night vision.
Towards the rear of the camera is the power cable to provide power as there is no internal battery, so you will need a power source from an existing outside light due to not having a plug either.
On the bottom of the Netatmo Presence, it has holes in its casing, which did alarm me and prompted me to email Netatmo to ask about its waterproof rating. Not to worry; Netatmo has treated the internals with HZO standard to make them waterproof.
It is also worth noting that the Presence camera connects to your home network via 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz, so no ethernet. I was a little surprised that the camera didn’t support 5Ghz band as this may have helped with the video quality over wifi.
Installation & setup
- Drill and screwdriver required for installation
- Use the protective bag provided to protect the camera from being damaged during install
- Identify a spot to install with an existing outdoor light fitting
- Make sure that your wifi will work in the location you are installing
- If in doubt get a qualified electrician to install
With the Netatmo Presence, the Setup is a bit more involved than with an internal camera or a smart camera like the Circle 2 which you just mount and then plug into the mains socket. However, with the Presence, it requires finding an existing outside light with a power source.
I found the installation of the wall bracket and the wiring of the Presence camera easy, it is just like wiring a socket. However, the most fiddly part was mounting the camera to the wall bracket as the supplied alan key is a little small and I suggest if you have your own that connect that to a screwdriver handle to give you more reach.
Once the camera is up on the wall, then you will need to seal the back plate with the surface of the wall to stop any water getting in, then its time to turn on the Presence camera and if everything has been wired correctly you should get some flashes of the LED floodlight to let you know its ready to pair with the app.
One tip I suggest for adjusting the angle of the camera position. Do this after you have connected the app and can actually see what the camera is seeing for a better installation.
Pairing the app with the camera
In order to start the setup process, you will need to download the Presence app, which is called security on the iOS or Andriod app stores.
Once you have downloaded the app, the setup process is fast and straightforward, The camera app will search for the camera, ask you to confirm some wifi settings and then you have connected the Netatmo Presence camera and ready to go.
You can also pair the Presence camera to HomeKit to be used in the Home app, the process is as simple as other HomeKit enabled apps. However please note, when you first set up the camera, the app will give you the HomeKit code. YOU NEED TO SAVE THIS for future use as you won’t find this on the box or anywhere else in the app after this and you will need to reset your camera to get it again.
- Daylight and infrared (IR) motion detection triggers recording
- LED flood light 12W
- Alert Zones can be set to ignore motion detection
- Car, people and animal detection
The camera is monitoring at all times, but not recording everything, so if you wanting a camera with 24/7 recording this is not for you. But the real beauty of this camera is the motion detection which records and save’s the video if it spots a car, person, animal or motion. I personally think this is the best option as it only saves the recordings that may matter, saving storage. But also its easier to look through the footage via the event window in the security app.
As mentioned the Presence camera has a motion detection built in that will activate the camera recording and send alerts via the app, if it detects a car, person, animal or motion. I found this to be pretty good with the Presence camera telling the difference between a human, animal or a car.
However it is not perfect, so, for instance, I have some bushes on the front of my property and if they blow in the wind it would set the motion sensor off, which became annoying, but this is when the alert-zones come in handy.
You also have the option if you press on the event to either delete it or if the motion detection has identified a person as an animal, you can select an option to improve the detection and I suspect (hope) this helps the detection technology improve.
So speaking of alert zones, you can setup up to four for where the Presence should take specific note, I found this handy for ears of the drive I didn’t want to trigger due to bushes moving or at the top of the drive it meets my neighbours. You can see in this image I have created the zones around the bushes and this removed the false motion alerts.
The settings for the alert zones can be done in the Presence security app unlike the Circle 2 that requires you to do this from a computer and its simple to achieve by using your finger in the app like you’re cropping a photo and once set it works really well. However just one complaint, you cant name them like in the Circle 2 to give you a notification of which zone has been activated on the notification, which would be handy in the Presence camera.
Netatmo has included a 12W LED flood light in the presence camera and it does a very good job of light up my driveway where the camera is located. The floodlight can also be manually turned off and on along with a dimming option.
You can also decide when you want the floodlight to activate when it gets dark, you have the option to set it to always, which means it will turn on and stay on when its dark, or you can set it to turn on when certain motion is detected like People, Cars, animals or motion.
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As I have said the floor light works really well to light up the area the camera is covering and will provide a deterrent to anyone that should not be snooping around your house, however I did find that when viewing the recording at night when the floodlight was activated would get a “paranormal activity” type image and would overexpose the face, so you would need to decide what works for you at night, but I kept it on as it provide more benefit, even though the image was not as good.
Video, quality and subscription
- 8GB microSD card included
- Auto-upload to Dropbox or FTP
- No subscription fees, ever
- infrared (IR) night vision
The video quality is impressive and clear using the 4Mp sensor, video resolution up to 1920×1080. Just one thing to note, you cannot alter the resolution of the recordings like you can on other smart cameras, the Presence will do this for you based on Wifi strength. I would have liked to have more control over this.
Netatmo has included a microphone to record sound in the Presence camera, the sound recording isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. You can overhear conversations that are close to the camera, so you can hear the delivery man tutting you are not in to collect your parcel, But a missing feature for me is the ability to also talk back through the camera to tell the driver to leave it behind a bin for instance.
One of the biggest features of the Presence smart camera is that it does not have a subscription model unlike the Circle 2 or Nest Camera to access the advanced features or for more storage options.
Videos are automatically saved to the 8GB memory card that’s included, but you can also have them uploaded to Dropbox or a personal FTP server.
The video quality at night is pretty good with the infrared sensor and does a very good job of providing clear recordings. As I have already mentioned above, when the floodlight is activated, it can overexpose the subject in the frame of the recording.
App and HomeKit
- Android and iOS app compatibility
- Multiple family members can get access
- Apple HomeKit compatible, Siri voice control
- Event timeline to view motion-activated recordings
The app that controls the Netatmo Presence smart camera is called “security and this also controls the Netatmo Welcome indoor camera and is available for iOS and Andriod and based on my use is simple, straightforward and is well laid out.
When you first open the security app, you are presented with a timeline of all the events the Netatmo Presence cameras have detected and recording. These are laid out in a vertical timeline and with a date and time stamp along with a symbol indicating the type of motion the security camera has detected along with a zoomed in view of the subject the camera detected, which I found handy.
Clicking on the image will load the recording footage and you are able to “scrub’ through the footage to look at a certain point or just watch it all. You can also goto full screen by the pressing a symbol in the right bottom corner to expand the screen.
Playback is normally pretty smooth and you can zoom into the recording to look at an event closer, however, I did find it would get pixelated the more you zoomed in. In addition to zooming, you can also download clips for offline playback or sending onto family or friends. This was put to good use when my neighbours 10-week old dog chased a cat into the bushes and I shared it to great amusement.
It’s from within the app you can change the settings of the Netatmo Presence camera and this is done by pressing the icon which is represented by 3 dots and you presenting with the following settings and options
- Monitoring – Gives you the option to turn the monitoring of the Presence camera off and on along with turning off the audio recording.
- Alert zones – This is where you can set alert zones for the camera to focus on, handy if you have some bushes you can the camera to ignore.
- Floodlight – Options to set it to, auto, off and on along with the option to change the motion events that would trigger it
- Alerts and recordings – This is powerful setting that allows you control what motion it will ignore, record or record and notify: here are the options
- People, Ignore, record and record and notify
- Cars, Ignore, record and record and notify
- Animals, Ignore, record and record and notify
- Other motion, Ignore, record and record and notify
These settings are used so you are not flooded with notifications if like me you have a few cats on the street, you can still set it to record, but not notify you via the app.
I would suggest keeping everything on record rather ignore as sometimes the detection miss identifies a human as an animal
You can also set a window of when you want to receive notifications from the security app and this I found useful at bedtime.
The final setting is the storage options which is, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year or no limit. However, once the storage gets full it will delete the oldest. I found leaving it to no limit worked fine for my purpose.
You can also change the storage location of the recordings from the default SD card provided to Dropbox or a personal FTE server. I got the dropbox option working without any issues, however, despite a significant amount of time, I could not get it to work with my QNAP NAS FTP.
The security app has another settings menu and this is where things can get confusing as lots of the settings and options above are also included here also, so I will only cover those that I have not already
- Manage my home – This is the where you would add the location the Presence camera is located or room if you were using the Netatmo Welcome camera. You can also setup up HomeKit from here.
- Manage guests – This is to manage other users access, but you cannot set permissions for users to only access certain things like the recordings only. You are giving the user full access including the ability to change settings and even remove you as a user!
- My Products – This is the location all your Netatmo security products are located and this option will give you things like model name, wifi signal strength, serial number and firmware. You can also reconfigure the wifi if you change any wifi settings or access the factory reset code
On the subject of the factory reset, Netatmo allows you to factory reset your Presence camera using a QR code that is in the app, you simply point the card at the camera and the camera will return to factory settings. You can also do the same when setting it up if you have the QR code in the box or saved from the app, but I didn’t find it any quicker if I am honest.
The presence camera is one of the few smart security cameras that support HomeKit and because HomeKit has a structured Home app and framework, the options are simple but somewhat basic.
Setting up the Netatmo Presence camera in HomeKit is just like setting up any smart accessory. You first enable HomeKit support in the Presence security app and then follow the instructions in HomeKit.
Take Note – However and as already mentioned, when you first setup the Presence in the security app, you will be given the HomeKit code. YOU NEED TO SAVE THIS as you will not be able to get it again without factory resetting your camera. So once again remember to the same the HomeKit code when you setup up the presence camera.
Once you have setup the Netatmo Presence camera in HomeKit you can view the live video feed and also control the floodlight. You can also set the Home app to send you notifications when the Presence camera detects motion, but they are pretty useless as it won’t show you the action is captured, instead of the real-time feed.
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One of the biggest advantages of connecting the Presence camera to HomeKit is the ability to use the motion sensor to trigger other HomeKit accessories. So in my case, I have a trigger setup to activate the lights at the front of the house and in the doorway when the Presence camera detects motion after sunset. This is useful not only for return home at night the entire drive and front of the house is illuminated, but when a strange comes to the door at night, it lights up the front door without affecting the rest of the house lights.
Should I buy the Netatmo Presence camera?
If you need or want a smart home security camera, then the Netatmo Presence is a good option, albeit one of the most expensive ones. However it does not need a subscription plan to access advanced features or storage unlike some smart security cameras, means the Netatmo Presence initial purchase cost will balance out compared to cheaper alternatives with a subscription model over a year.
Yes, Installation can be a bit tricky, but you should only need to do this once and that’s it installed (Although I did move it to another location). The motion detection works really well and the fact you have control over what it records and what you get notified about is an added benefit along with the integration with Apple HomeKit.
The fact the smart camera has Dropbox integration allows an extra sense of security providing offsite storage or data if the camera was stolen during an intruder situation, but its a shame I could not get the FTP to work, I will give it another go when I have time.
I have found since installing the Netatmo Presence outside my home I have been more aware of what is happening outside, noticed that I get visited by lots of cats and been able to plot when the postman arrives each day within a 1-hour window, he seems to be later on a Thursday for some reason.
So to answer the original reason why you came to this Netatmo Presence review article, should I buy it? Then yes it is a great buy and you get good value for your money. I bought this camera myself and I will be keeping it up along with the Circle 2 I also reviewed and decided to buy