If you’re in the market for an indoor security camera with face recognition, the Netatmo Welcome camera ($200) comes with many of the same features as other indoor cameras, plus it has the ability to recognize faces and send notices if it detects an unfamiliar image.
How It Works
Out of the box, the Netatmo Welcome has a few working parts including the camera, a power adapter, USB cable, ethernet cord, and microSD card. The camera itself is made of anodized aluminum, which gives it a nice look. And since it doesn’t look like a typical camera, it blends in with many of your home products or decorations.
Setting up the Welcome app was simple once I was able to work on a few Wi-Fi glitches — more on that in the testing notes. The process took less than 15 minutes to unpack the camera, plug it in, and download and set up the app. One thing to note: you do have to flip the camera upside down to get a blue LED light, which triggers the setup. But once the app pairs with your camera, it walks you through the rest of the process.
You need a high-speed, Wi-Fi internet connection and a compatible device to run this camera. The Welcome app works with iOS 10 or Android 5.0, or later. It also has a web app available for the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
One of the most attractive features of the Netatmo Welcome is the ability to recognize and identify faces. The camera did take a few days to learn the faces of everyone in my family, and it requires users to identify pictures in the app, but the extra work is worth it. More on how the facial recognition works in the app section.
The camera has a 130-degree viewing angle and 1080p video, which I’m finding is optimal for my home. The recorded and live images are decent, but not the best I’ve seen. It switches to black and while when the night vision feature (LED) comes on.
If you’re away from your home a lot, you will appreciate the alarm notifications the Welcome sends. When the camera hears an alarm such as a smoke alarm, CO alarm, siren, or security alarm, it will send you a notification and record a video.
The camera picks up sound, but the audio is only one-way. So you can’t use the camera to talk to your pets or family when you’re away from home.
I downloaded the app on an iPhone 8. It was easy to register and set up an account. Once the app was downloaded, the Wi-Fi connection was enabled (it’s important to note that you do need a strong wireless connection), and the camera was turned on, I went immediately to the home page with a live video feed.
The first screen you see tells you the name of your camera. Under the live video image, there are short clips, listed in reverse chronological order, of when motion was detected.
There is also an icon that identifies the type of motion (pet, motion, unknown face, or name of previously identified person). The clips include a time stamp and the length of time. When you tap on a clip, it takes you away from the live feed and to a screen that just shows the recorded clip. The audio on these clips is impressive and easy to hear.
As a pet owner, I loved how the app differentiates between humans and pets. When the camera detects my cats, it shows up in the app as paw prints, so I know the movement is nothing to worry about. Just to make sure it was accurately detecting animals and not humans, I watched a few of the videos, and sure enough, I could see my cats running all over the place.
One of the main selling points of the Welcome is facial recognition. When the camera detects a person, it will capture an image of the face with a question mark above it. You can then click and hold the question mark and you’re given three options: identify, forget, or not a face. This allows you to give the face a name and profile or forget it if the person is not a frequent visitor to your house.
If the camera does not recognize a face, you can click on the question mark, tap on identify, name the person, and the app will ask you if there are other pictures corresponding with their image. The more you use this feature, the quicker the camera learns the faces that it sees most often. It might seem a bit tedious at first, but it works, and within a few days, everyone in my house was being accurately identified.
The facial recognition feature on the app can differentiate between people you know and don’t know, allowing you to spot an intruder from the quick notifications the app sends. The notification is sent with a noise that sounds like an alarm, so you know to check your phone. This can get a little annoying, especially if you’re in a meeting or an event that is quiet. But you can change the notification settings to minimize the number of disruptions.
The more the camera captures your face, the better it gets at identifying the person and sending you accurate notifications — that’s why it’s important to place it near a high traffic area.
You also have the ability to disable the video recording and notifications for familiar faces. This way, you don’t receive notifications every time one of your family members walks in front of the camera.
This is another area where the Welcome shines. Unlike so many other cameras that only offer a limited amount of storage space for free and then require you to pay for a premium service, the Welcome offers free video storage — as the camera comes with a MicroSD card (8GB) support, as well as options for Dropbox cloud storage or a personal FTP server.
When I first tried connecting the Welcome to my Wi-Fi it failed. I spent about an hour trying to get it to work. I came back to the camera a few days later and connected right away, and I have not experienced any more interruptions in service. After looking online to see if this was an issue for other users, I did come across a few reviews that noted the same problem.
Placing the camera near the front door helped speed up the process of recognizing faces since it captured everyone as they went in and out the door.
Another helpful feature with the Welcome is the ability to monitor a live feed from your computer. I liked being able to look at video clips on my Mac instead of my phone.
Another note: The camera can get warm to the touch.
Who It Might Be Good For
- Users looking for a camera with facial recognition
- Users looking for free video storage
- Users looking for a wide-angle lens
- Users looking for a camera that only records activity in the home whenever something happens
Who It Might Not Be Good For
- Users looking for a camera with two-way communication
- Users looking for a camera that can be mounted on the wall
- Users looking for a camera with a siren to alert intruders
- Users not willing to put in the time to for the face recognition feature to work properly
The Netatmo Welcome is worth checking out if you’re looking for an indoor-only camera with facial recognition, free storage, and good motion detection. There’s a lot to like here. However, if you want the two-way talk feature that comes standard with many other indoor cameras, you’ll have to look elsewhere.