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MEGATech Reviews: Netatmo Tags and Welcome Camera
If you're thinking about taking smart home security into your own hands, the Netatmo Welcome is a powerful option. The accompanying Netatmo Tags might not be quite as good.
Pros
Cons
  • Tags have shorter range than expected
  • Finicky battery cover on Tags
  • Notifications can get overwhelming
7Overall Score

Professionally monitored home security systems and services definitely still have their place in today’s marketplace. At the same time, more and more consumers are taking matters into their own hands with the explosive growth of the Internet of Things. It’s not just about controlling your smart speakers and your smart lights from your smartphone; it’s about protecting your smart home too.

A smart solution to home surveillance is the Netatmo Welcome camera, which can now be further complemented with Netatmo Tags too. If you want to keep tabs on what’s happening in your house from wherever you have Internet access, this might be a solution for you.

What Is the Netatmo Welcome Camera?

MEGATech Reviews: Netatmo Tags and Welcome Camera

At its most basic level, the Netatmo Welcome is like many other home security cameras that connect to the Internet over Wi-Fi. You can watch a live feed of the full HD 1080p video through the accompanying mobile app or through a web browser on your computer. The extra-wide 130-degree field of view coupled with infrared night vision means you can see a heck of a lot too.

Where the Welcome really sets itself apart from other IP security cameras is with its “revolutionary face recognition technology.” As each person passes through the camera’s field of vision, the Welcome can tell you who that is, effectively telling you who is home and who isn’t. It’s not perfect and the camera needs to go through a “learning” process by you tagging each unidentified face, but it is remarkably accurate.

Rather than recording video on a continuous basis, the Welcome can be configured only to record when it detects motion. You can also set it so that it only records if it detects motion and no one is home. The videos are stored privately on the on-board microSD card and now Netatmo offers Dropbox integration for cloud storage too. There are no monthly fees, which is a huge plus.

Getting Started

MEGATech Reviews: Netatmo Tags and Welcome Camera

To set up the Netatmo Welcome for the first time, which is required to operate as a “base” station for the Netatmo Tags, you have two choices. You can do it through the mobile app on your smartphone (or tablet) or you can do it through a web browser on your computer. The process is fundamentally the same, but I found the mobile solution to be more convenient.

After plugging the Welcome into a wall outlet using the provided micro-USB power cable, you wait for it to start up and then you flip it upside down. This puts the Welcome in a “setup” kind of mode. The app walks you through the rest, connecting the Welcome to your local Wi-Fi. I had some trouble initially, but trying again later resulted in no issues. The whole process only took a few minutes.

The Welcome camera itself definitely feels like a quality product with its anodized aluminum exterior. It’s seriously solid with a contemporary design. Of course, if someone broke into your home and stole the camera (or the microSD card), you could be out of luck. Just hope the crooks don’t notice it or try to hide it in plain sight.

Netatmo Tags for Doors and Windows

MEGATech Reviews: Netatmo Tags and Welcome Camera

While the Welcome camera has been around for some time now, the Netatmo Tags are a new addition to the family. They work in tandem with the Welcome to give you a better sense of what’s happening in your home away from the camera. The tags detect vibrations and they are meant to detect whether the doors (and windows) are opened or closed. Each of the Netatmo Tags is powered by two AAA batteries, which is supposed to be enough to last one year.

The pairing process is such that you need to place one of the Netatmo Tags next to the Welcome, going through the setup process before attaching the tags to your doors and windows using the provided double-sided tape. I found that inserting the batteries was finicky. A small paperclip-like key is provided to open (and remove) the bottom of the tag. That’s fine. Putting the batteries in, however, puts them on a couple of springs, so it’s harder to hold the tiny latch closed while simultaneously turning the key.

It would have helped a lot if either the cover was hinged (and not completely removed) or if the “locking” mechanism was easier. Another issue I encountered was that while Netatmo claims the Tags have a 260 foot range, that’s likely only with perfect line of sight. I had tags lose communication or fall out of range when they weren’t even that far away.

Smartphone Notifications

MEGATech Reviews: Netatmo Tags and Welcome Camera

Going through the options, you can set just how far you want your mobile notifications to go. At the most extreme level, your phone will buzz every time the Welcome sees a face or detects a motion, as well as every time one of your Netatmo Tags senses a vibration or detects the door/window opening or closing. This can get really overwhelming really quickly, especially when you’re still going through the process of identifying unknown faces and assigning them to profiles.

Curiously, while I found the Netatmo Tags were very good at detecting vibrations (you can adjust the sensitivity), they weren’t as accurate in detecting when a door opened or closed. There were several times when I’d open a door, only to see that the only notification was one of motion and not necessarily one of the door being swung open.

MEGATechie Welcome Addition or MEGATechie Tag and Release?

MEGATech Reviews: Netatmo Tags and Welcome Camera

After living with this smart home security solution for a while, I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with the system. The Netatmo Welcome camera really is a great piece of technology that also looks great. The facial recognition software is surprisingly robust and the lack of monthly fees is greatly appreciated. Combining local microSD storage with Dropbox integration offers tremendous convenience. And the video quality is quite good too.

The Netatmo Tags are a different story. Pairing each tag took at least a couple of tries and closing the battery door was more frustrating than it needed to be. The range and accuracy can also be greatly improved, though the convenient installation process is easy to do. Hopefully the hardware can be improved in a future generation. My total overall score reflects the positives of the Netatmo Welcome with the negatives of the Netatmo Tags. For now, I’d say stick with the camera.

The Netatmo Welcome camera sells for $199.99 or less. The Netatmo Tags are also available now, listed at $99.99 for a set of three security sensors.

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