Withings Home review: Home monitoring made easy
Withings is making something of a name for itself in the world of ‘smart’ technology. The Home – which is the company’s enigmatically-titled home monitoring camera – instantly wins points because it doesn’t reek of tech. The soft styling and bamboo sheath help it blend into household décor in the way that a traditional IP camera wouldn’t.
It further won me over with high quality video. For years we’ve had IP cameras that either tote 640 x 480 sensors or which have higher-res sensors, but only use a fraction of that resolution at a time, reserving the rest for semi-fake zooming and panning. This, though, punts impressive, high frame rate and high definition video to your iPhone (a beta version is available for Android 4.4 or later) – not just when you’re connected to your home network, but when you’re out and about too.
“The night mode is superb, too.”
The low-distortion 135-degree view means you don’t have to pan most of the time, but it’s a five megapixel sensor so there’s still headroom for zooming, and even when you crop in to the maximum amount, the image, though soft, is still useful. The night mode is superb, too. I am, in short, blown away by the quality of the video after years of testing disappointingly low-res IP cameras.
You get two-way audio as well as video, and can push-to-talk from your iPhone to remonstrate with unruly children or spouses. And, of course, you can get notifications – of motion, noise, or high levels of volatile organic compounds, the latter of which lets you know you should open a window when you’re cleaning, say. You can also get a visible warning of this poor air quality with the whole of the base of the unit softly glowing red.
There’s also an app for the Apple TV and Watch. The latter lets you toggle notifications or discretely check whether your husband gave the kids dinner like he said he would, the lazy sod. You can see the scene live, or also review the “journal” (also on iPhone), which shows thumbnails for every event – motion, noise detection – the camera has witnessed. It also builds per-24-hour time-lapses of your home, which are surprisingly sweet and can be exported.
What’s more, there are optional service subscription packages that give you seven- and 30-day cloud video storage.
Withings Home: Verdict
It’s not cheap, but Withings is to be commended for putting together such a slick, easy-to-use package. An internal rechargeable battery could make the Home even more versatile, but that’s nit-picking – if you want a network camera that helps you keep an eye on kids, pets and unpredictable family members, then the Home is well worth the money.