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Netatmo Welcome review: Support for door/window sensors is great, but this camera's facial-recognition feature still falls short

Michael Ansaldo | Aug. 19, 2016
While this security camera successfully takes the creep factor out of home monitoring, its marquee feature feels like a work in progress.

All recognized faces are designated as either Home or Away. Anytime the camera sees a face, that person is identified in the app as being home. “Away” is a misnomer; the system says a person is away if it hasn’t seen them for a certain period of time, even if they’re actually home but out of view of the camera. The default is four hours, though you can change this in the app to be anywhere from one to 12 hours in 15-minute intervals.

You can also personalize settings for each person in their individual profile. By default, you will receive notifications for each person when they arrive home, but you can turn this off. You can also set a time range for when you want to be notified, say between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. when your kids usually arrive home from school. Recording parameters for known faces are also set here: You can have an individual recorded always, never, or “only on arrival.”

The camera’s included SD card can reportedly hold up to 100 clips and delete them, starting with the oldest video, when it nears capacity. Given that the camera only records when it detects an event, it’s unlikely you’ll fill the card quickly; but you can always swap in a new card if you do. Just be aware that each time you take a card out, the camera loses its memory of who’s who, and you’ll need to retrain it to recognize all those faces.

You can also opt to upload videos to your Dropbox account. Just navigate to “cloud storage” in the Neatmo Welcome app settings and select the camera you want to link (if you have multiple Welcome cameras, you can only link one). From there you can adjust various settings for the videos you record to Dropbox, including the resolution (up to 1080p, though higher resolution can slow upload time) and triggers for recording videos of motion and unknown faces.

The point of face recognition is obviously to make sure the camera understands who should be in your home and who shouldn’t. But the system offers several customization options for dealing with the latter as well.

You can tell the Netatmo Welcome to always record unknown faces or only when no one is home. You can also choose to record and/or be notified of motion detection “never,” “always,” or “only when nobody is home.”

The camera’s live-feed screen is similar to that of other home security cameras. A video window sits on top of a timeline of motion and face events. Pressing an event takes you to video of the incident. Live video is exceptionally clear with no fish-eye distortion in either day or night modes. There’s no digital zoom feature, though, so you can’t hone in on specific areas of the panorama. Video playback is crisp and smooth.


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