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Netatmo Presence review: This outdoor home security camera/floodlight justifies its high price tag

Michael Brown | Nov. 3, 2016
It costs almost twice as much as some of its closest competitors, but you’ll only pay once because there are no subscription fees.

Protection from the elements

Being an outdoor device, the first fact-check question I put to Netatmo was to ask if it had an IP (International Protection Marking) code. These two-digit codes rate a device’s protection from dust and solid particles (the first number) and liquids (the second number). The higher the numbers, the greater the protection. IP codes can have additional numbers to rate mechanical impact resistance and other protections, but the two-digit code is the most common.

Netatmo, however, went a different route to protect the Presence from the elements. Instead of sealing its one-piece aluminum enclosure to protect the components inside, Netatmo used a waterproof coating called HZO to protect the electronics from water and humidity. “So water can actually get inside the product and therefore we can’t assign an actual IP code. But the equivalent would be IP65,” a company spokesperson replied.

An IP65 code would mean the device is completely protected from dust, and that water projected from up to a 6.5mm nozzle will have no harmful effect. That would certainly protect the Presence from rain, dew, and melting snow, and while I wouldn’t recommend doing it on a regular basis, it should be able to withstand a shot from a garden hose. Netatmo tells me the camera will be able to operate in extreme temperatures, ranging from -4 degrees F to as high as 122 degrees F.

Presence alert zones

The camera defaults to monitoring its entire field of view, but you can narrow its focus by drawing alert zones.

Installing the camera

The Presence is fairly easy to install, and the printed instruction manual is quite detailed and well written. You’ll be replacing an existing fixture, so the AC wiring you’ll need is already in place. I encountered some difficulty, however, because of a very shallow junction box behind the light I was replacing. The camera’s wiring is pre-connected to a two-sided plastic connector with set screws on both sides. You push the hot and neutral wires from your home inside this block and tighten them down, and then fasten the ground-wire terminal to the junction box along with the home’s ground wire.

Netatmo Presence wiring block 

I encountered some difficulty getting the cover plate (background) to fit snug against the wall. The camera's stub cable and white plastic wiring block in the foreground got in the way.

Where I had difficulty was fastening the camera’s housing to the bracket on the junction box. The housing rests on a short pipe nipple that emerges from the center of that bracket. Once it’s on there, you put in just one screw to secure the housing to the bracket and prevent it from rotating on the nipple, and a second screw to secure the camera to the housing. The camera’s internal stub cable and that plastic wiring connector kept pushing the plastic housing away from the wall. I did as the user manual suggested and used silicon caulk to seal the small gap I was left with to prevent water from getting inside, but Netatmo’s tech support insists that I should have been able to close up that gap first. You probably won’t encounter this problem if your junction box is deeper or if you can push the wiring inside the wall.

 

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