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Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell vs Ring: what are the key differences?

Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell
Ringing the changes: Netatmo is entering the video doorbell market

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There are A LOT of smart doorbell systems being launched here at CES 2019, but one of the most impressive I’ve seen so far is the Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell. But how does it compare to the devices on offer from market leader Ring? Here’s the skinny.

Basic features

The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell captures video at Full HD resolution with a 160-degree wide angle lens. From the demo we saw at CES, the footage is perfectly clear and sharp, although that’s obviously under near-perfect lighting conditions. We’ll have to wait for review units to see how it stands up in bright sunlight and darkness, although the demo videos seemed fine.

In terms of its slim profile design and features, the Netamo Smart Video Doorbell most closely matches the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. That too offers Full HD video quality.

Both systems also offer motion detection which allow you to see intruders or anyone prowling around your front door. Netatmo’s reps claimed its device will only alert you to human activity, so you shouldn’t be disturbed every time a cat walks past, for example.

Power

The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell must be hard wired – it doesn’t offer battery power. That means it will need to fit in the space occupied by your current doorbell, which even though it’s slim, is no gimme. It wouldn’t fit in the space occupied by my current wired doorbell, for example.

The Ring Video Pro is also hard-wire only, although other devices in the Ring range – such as the Video Doorbell 2 – do offer rechargeable batteries, which give you more flexibility on placement.

Subscription models

One of the downsides of Ring is that you need to pay a $30-a-year subscription to be able to go back and watch videos captured on your doorbell for the past 60 days. Video is stored in the cloud, not on the device, so unless you answer the alert on your smartphone as soon as the doorbell rings, you may never know who was at your door if you don’t pay the subscription fee.

Netatmo is working on a different, cheaper model. It captures video on an 8GB SD card stored inside the doorbell. There’s no ongoing subscription – if you want to see who was at your door when you come out of a meeting, for example, it streams the footage from the doorbell.

The only limit is the capacity of the card. If you find 8GB too restrictive, you can swap the card out for an up to 32GB model. The videos on the card are encrypted, so if someone should crowbar the Netatmo doorbell off your front door, they won’t have easy access to the footage. A snapshot still image of anyone caught on camera is stored on Netatmo’s servers, so you might be able to identify the doorbell thief!

Smart home support

Amazon-owned Ring works with Amazon’s Alexa devices, as you would expect, although you’ll need a video screen device such as the Echo Show to see who’s at the door. There is limited support for Google Assistant with Ring, but you can’t answer calls from Google Home devices, for instance.

At launch, Netatmo will only support Apple’s HomeKit and Siri, which is very much an also-ran in the smart home market, although potentially useful for iPhone owners. Netatmo promises Alexa and Google Assistant support will arrive at a later date.

Price

Netatmo hasn’t got an official price for the Smart Video Doorbell yet, but say it will likely cost between 250-300 Euros when it launches in the Spring.

That puts it in the same price bracket as the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, although there are cheaper devices in the Ring range.

Now read this: How can I get Alexa to find my phone?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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