Netatmo’s new smart doorbell promises a lot, but how good is it in practice? WANT editor Maarten Verkoren paired it with the Nest Audio and found out for you.
Worse than our current doorbell, it could hardly be, so expectations are high. Until now, we’ve been used to a thirteen-in-a-dozen wireless doorbell from the hardware store. Aside from the fact that it alliterates nicely, such a product is of very little use. There is always a dead battery or a malfunction, so you regularly don’t know that the doorbell is ringing.
The smart doorbell from Netatmo
So that immediately sets the smart doorbell apart from the reservoir of smart gadgets flooding the markets these days. Many gimmicks that are nice to have, but do not necessarily solve problems or make life easier. And those are important criteria to judge a smart product, as far as I’m concerned.
After all, I don’t want a house full of unnecessarily complicated devices that mostly cost power and tax the network but add little.
We previously wrote about smart smoke detectors, which actually turned out to work better than their analog counterparts. In addition, we once installed a smart door lock. This allows you to open the door remotely, and of course that could potentially work very well with a smart doorbell.
What exactly do you get out of it?
Now you can not only speak to the package deliverer if you are not at home (or unable to get to the door), but also immediately open the door for him and give instructions on where to put the package. Through the saved video footage, you can also see exactly who was at the door, should you have any doubts about opening the door.
But which smart doorbell should you choose? We didn’t want to get stuck with yet another subscription, so brands that charge you a monthly fee fell by the wayside. We chose Netatmo, given the very positive experience we had testing their smart smoke detector.
Installing the Netatmo doorbell
After unpacking the box, take a deep breath. Quite a lot of parts and pages in the instructions, but soon I see that for my door, I don’t need everything. For starters, I don’t have a gong. So that saves quite a few pages and wires connected to a transformer. If you do have a gong, by the way, that doesn’t mean your installation is complicated, because on paper it looks easy to do, no more difficult than building an IKEA cabinet.
With me, the most work was still to make a good connection between the meter box and the Netatmo doorbell. This is because I live in an old house with a very thick, ornamental frame. This needs to be drilled through. In most houses, there will already be an opening here or else a much less thick section will have to be bridged.
Once I pulled the wire, the rest of the installation was easy. The bell hung quickly. Then you’re done with the assembly part and the digital installation begins. This can be done with some sort of wizard, which you activate by long-pressing the doorbell.
A white light then flashes, you link the bell to the app on your phone and the rest of the installation takes place on your phone. By the way, I already had the Netatmo app because of the presence of the smart smoke detector from this same brand.
See on your phone who is at the door and communicate with them (Image: Netatmo)
The ultimate test
I simply add the bell to my house (in the app) and set it up. You can choose all sorts of things, such as whether you want notifications of everything that passes in front of your door, or only when the doorbell rings. Or not at all, of course, that’s also possible.
I choose only notifications when the doorbell rings. I test it and it works. From now on, if someone rings the doorbell, I can receive an alert via my phone, but I can also see who is at the door via the camera in the bell and communicate with this person via a kind of intercom.
Also, the camera records footage of passers-by and callers and you can watch it back later. That’s all very nice and I’m glad it works right away. Now I still have to make sure that the bell can also be heard in the house, because it is not convenient if a notification is only shown on my phone, of course.
I will create a few users so that other residents will also get the notification, that will make a huge difference.
The Google Nest Audio as a gong
But then we’re not there yet. I also want to get an audio notification in the hallway. Since I don’t have a gong, however, this is not possible. Not to worry, Netatmo’s smart doorbell also works with smart speakers. However, we didn’t have those in our house yet, but with the Nest Audio (from Google) that changed.
Google’s Nest Audio is affordable, beautiful in design and very easy to install. It also functions very conveniently as a voice assistant, even my four-year-old son can handle it very well. He invariably shouts “Hey Goebel!” and the speaker even understands this interchange. Spotify sound also comes out surprisingly well on the Nest Audio.
Now the pairing with the Netatmo Doorbell. By itself, pairing the Google Home app with the Netatmo Security app is easy, even giving the permissions back and forth is self-explanatory. But somehow I still don’t manage to specify somewhere that the Nest Audio should play the doorbell sound. Eventually I find this somewhere deep in the settings.
Now it works great. When the doorbell rings, I get an instant notification on my phone and shortly thereafter I also hear a doorbell through the Nest Audio, followed by the message, “There’s someone at the door!”. It couldn’t be clearer and we never miss a caller again. Extra advantage: you can place it wherever you want in the house, so also, for example, in the garden when you are sitting outside.
Spotify and Nest Audio sometimes a little awkward
The only downside to using the Nest Audio as a music speaker is that when you turn down your music in Spotify, the Nest Audio turns down as well. We found this out when the doorbell rang a few times but no one heard the bell because the speaker was suddenly very soft. Fortunately, we still had the app.
If Google or Netatmo has any tips on how to avoid this, I’d like to keep my fingers crossed.
Is Netatmo’s smart doorbell worth it?
Netatmo’s smart doorbell is well liked, is not just a gadget, but actually solves problems AND makes life easier. As innovations should. After all, the washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, freezer and vacuum cleaner have also proven to be stayers for those reasons.
In fact, the usefulness of smart devices becomes exponential when you start combining their smart functions to enhance each other’s benefits. The combination of smart doorbell, smart speaker and smart lock has given us many great situations in a short time.
It turns out to be darn convenient to be able to assess (remotely) via camera and intercom who is at the door and, if desired, let this person in!
The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell costs €299.99 and can be ordered here. The Nest Audio can be ordered here, for €99.99.