Review: Netatmo Weather Station helps to master your surroundings
We're obsessed with the weather, especially us Brits whose stereotypical icebreaker is to discuss it. Creators of innovative smart home solutions, Netatmo, are helping us to at least offer more precise measurements during our awkward conversations with their dedicated Weather Station.
The main Netatmo Weather Station kit consists of a mains-operated base station for indoor use, along with a smaller battery-operated unit for outdoor measurements. We also have with us a couple of the additional weather sensors available to purchase seperately – Netatmo's wind and rain gauges.
Last month we reviewed the Netatmo Welcome, the company's security camera. Our impressions of the design were positive and we took note of its robust feel, minimalist looks, and use of metal to give it a premium finish. There's a saying "If it's not broke, don't fix it" and it's clearly something which Netatmo agrees with, because the design of the Weather Station is almost identical to Welcome.
We're happy with Netatmo's decision to keep a consistent design as it prevents having a mess of various devices around the home, and helps it to do its job without making too much of a fuss. That's not to say you wouldn't be proud to show Netatmo's devices off, and their futuristic looks are sure to be a few conversation-starters.
There are, of course, some key differences between the Welcome and the Weather Station. For one, there's no camera lens on the Weather Station and instead the front area has a light strip running lengthways down the front which illuminates based on current CO2 levels in the room. On top of the Weather Station you also get a touch button; a feature which is absent from the Welcome.
Netatmo's outdoor sensor – also included with the base pack – is a shorter version of the main station and doesn't feature neither the light strip of its bigger sibling, a touch button, or any ports. Instead, you have a removable bottom of the device which slides out and contains two AAA batteries which should last for around two years between replacing.
The extra wind and rain gauge sensors – purchased separately – don't follow the same design of the main Weather Station and the Welcome. Instead, they're sleek black units which have the appearance of high-tech garden ornaments.
(Image: Rain Gauge, Weather Station, and Wind Gauge)
Although just a minor issue, we feel the battery compartments of these devices could feature a better design and offer clearer instructions within the box of how to access them. On the rain gauge you twist the bottom off, although this required some amount of effort the first time. The wind gauge you screw the bottom off, which is simple enough, but putting the plate back is fiddly to re-align the screws. These devices should last around two years on their batteries, so you won't have to perform this process often.
It goes without saying, the wind and rain gauge require the base Weather Station and won't function independently. We have a closer look at the hardware in an unboxing video.
After launching the app for the first time, you'll be asked to hold the Weather Station's touch button down for a few seconds until the light glows blue in order to pair the device. Following this, you'll be guided through activating the various sensors and where to position them.
From this point onwards, the Weather Station just works. When you open the app you'll get an overview featuring the current indoor and outdoor conditions – including things like CO2 levels, humidity, and pressure. If you have the relevant sensors, you'll also get information about the wind and rainfall.
(Image: Netatmo Weather App)
We're impressed with the prompt notifications from the Weather Station, alerting users to any significant changes in weather or if CO2 levels are getting too high and should open the windows for a while. In our tests, Netatmo's notifications came through almost instantaneously. Not everyone wants to get spammed with alerts, so these can be customised how you want.
Speaking of CO2 levels, you can get a quick visual representation of the current levels in your home by touching the button on top of the main unit which lights-up the strip along the front with a green, yellow, or red indicator. Based on readings from the outdoor sensor, the Netatmo Weather Station is clever enough to automatically calibrate itself as to whether opening the windows is going to make a difference to CO2 levels in your home.
One interesting feature is the "Weathermap" in which you can see all the other readings from other Netatmo Weather Stations. We feel this could be a little dangerous as it's automatically-enabled and seems to show your home's exact location, but it can be switched off in the settings.
Netatmo offers access to its Weather Station in third-party apps, whilst also providing access through IFTTT for those who like to set-up their own automated recipes. I've got my Hue lights to flash when the CO2 levels get too high based on readings from the Weather Station, for example.
The company has also integrated Weather Station into SmartThings Labs for those who use Samsung's IoT hub, although it only seems to be accessible in certain markets.
We have little to criticise about the Weather Station for people who are looking for such a device, it works and features the same level of fantastic design we've come to expect from Netatmo. If we're being picky we'd maybe like to see a few more air quality sensors for detecting things like carbon monoxide, and ensure users know they're sharing their location data with others through an opt-in to Weathermap.
For most people we feel the base kit will be enough as it offers the most useful information and ensures your family are breathing in clean air, but weather enthusiasts will get a kick out the additional wind and rain gauges. We didn't realise we needed a weather station before Netatmo came along.
You can find our full video review of the Netatmo Weather Station here.
Are you impressed with the Netatmo Weather Station? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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