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Somfy One Review: Smart security beyond the camera

4

The Good

  • Door and window entry monitoring
  • Loud alarm
  • Attractive, thoughtful design

The Bad

  • Pricey
  • No facial recognition

We review the Somfy One, a new smart home security camera which offers solid value for money when compared with a lot of the competition.

Somfy, the smart shutters company, recently bought home security firm MyFox. This takeover has given Somfy the necessary smarts to offer smart home security products, with the Somfy One launching as its first product (with a highly imaginative name).

The Somfy One is a smart integrated piece of kit; a smart camera that doubles as a full-on security system for protecting your household. Not only can it capture an image of anyone entering your home, you also get full IntelligTAG support and a built-in siren which can blast at the first sign of an intrusion.

Once alerted to an intruder by these smart home cameras, you can immediately check what's up and call the police if needed. You can even snap a photo or shoot a video clip when needed, all without that monthly fee from traditional home security systems. Of course, most smart cams do charge for storage of images for longer than 24 hours, but this still works out as quite affordable, especially considering the bonus features on offer.

Check out our round-up of the best home security cameras to see our pick of the Somfy One alternatives, including the Nest Cam IQ.

Somfy One review: Design and build

Short, round, shiny, black. This little beauty is every bit the security bot you’d want it to be.

While we said that it’s shiny, the black Somfy One is still a discreet little gadget that could sit hidden away in a room’s corner. That means any would-be burglar can be snapped by you before even noticing that the Somfy One is watching and listening.

The front features a physical shield that opens and closes to reveal the camera lens. This is a nice touch for those that want to be reassured the camera is definitely off when they set it to privacy mode. This feels solid, with a quick snap shut and pop open action - a bit like a compact camera lens cover, but bigger.

The micro USB charging port is housed on the back, although is quite deep set so you may struggle to fit any type of cable in here. Thankfully the included one is equally as black and unobtrusive as the Somfy One itself, while it’s also a flat cable which can be easily mounted out of the way.

The rear of the unit features a single speaker as well as a reset button. We say button, although it’s one of those proper reset jobs that require a pin to press. Thankfully Somfy has thrown one of those in with the kit - especially useful if you’ve lost your one to get your phone’s SIM card out.

Somfy One review: Setup

All things considered, the Somfy One setup process was relatively painless. Plug it in, turn it on. All you need to do then is download the app and enter the usual personal details, followed by the Wi-Fi password so your new security device can connect to your network. A quick scan of the camera's QR code using your smartphone and the two will pair up and complete setup. All in all this process takes about five or ten minutes, depending on how quick you are. No tech expertise required.

Since the Somfy One camera itself is a short and stout little fellow, it can be placed nearly anywhere you need. There is a mounting bracket bottom if you want to attach it somewhere up high, but since the wall mount isn’t included in the box we didn’t try this option. Luckily it'll sit anywhere you like and with that wide angle lens, it’s pretty easy to place the camera down and get a full-room view from most positions.

If you then want to setup the key fob and and IntelliTAG (more on these later), you can do them separately from within the app. Also a simple process. The only hassle here is mounting the IntelliTAG on a door or window, although even that is straight forward thanks to an included AAA battery and a quick-stick mount.

Somfy One review: Features and app

The Somfy One has all the usual smart camera features you’d expect. Support for up to Full HD 1080p resolution gives a nice clear picture, although this can be set to lower levels if you want to save data when streaming on your smartphone, for example. At Full HD there was no lag when we had a decent mobile signal.

Audio is picked up clearly by the built-in mic and you can speak into your phone to get your voice projected through the Somfy One's speaker, with only a little lag. Good news if you want to scare random family members or unwitting burglars.

The Somfy One features a motion sensor, which means the camera can sit in low useage mode and will only notify you if movement is detected. Thankfully this is smart enough to know the difference between pets and humans, to a certain extent. We found it did go off with the dog but sometimes didn’t when a cat or two entered the room. So a bit hit and miss there then.

This is a device designed with a family or housemates in mind as it has multiple user access. This is quite nice when you see in the Somfy Protect app that so-and-so has made a change to the camera setting. Even better, with key fobs you can even see who is coming and going, and when they arrive or leave the house.

The Somfy Protect app is super simple to use, with nice big touch buttons. You can set to privacy mode, where the camera lens and mic shut off, with one tap. You can also turn off motion sensing so you don’t get non-stop alerts, which proved useful when the dog started setting it off.

Another nice touch is the app lets you snap a photo or take a snippet of video which is then stored on your phone. That means you don’t need to worry about cloud storage or anything as you have immediate access. While this is probably great for getting evidence of burglars, we found it fun to catch people in embarrassing poses. This also has great potential for internet-winning cat videos and memes.

Somfy One review: Extra security hardware

The addition of the IntelliTAG is pretty cool, not to mention useful and rather rare. These tags attach to doors and windows in your home and use vibration sensors to detect any kind of entry attempts. Don’t worry though, they’re smart enough to tell the difference between you leaning against the door drunk trying to find the keyhole and a burglar forcing entry.

The key fob is another cool addition. This allows you to track the comings and goings of people in the home, while also allowing you to disarm the Somfy One as you enter. Realistically this isn’t always so great, however. The only place with a power supply that’s also in a good vantage point at our home means crossing a room to get over and tap the Somfy One - a bit of an effort that would otherwise not be needed. With competitors such as Nest offering facial recognition, these tags do feel a little out dated.

If the camera does detect suspicious activity, you can get notifications straight to your phone via the app, or also via text message in case you don't have a data connection.

What if you don’t disarm the camera when it detects suspicious activity? The mighty siren is 90+ decibels. That, we can attest, is a lot. Ear-piercing, in fact. Just make sure you don’t set it off when the baby is sleeping, the dog is near or your wife is unsuspecting (or expecting). We did all three. At once. Bad. But for scaring away a burglar, it’s very good indeed.

The Somfy security range offers all sorts of extras which can be connected up, including a simple security camera, indoor siren, outdoor siren, indoor motion sensors and of course those key fobs and IntelliTAGs (which can be activated and connected to your original Somfy One).

Somfy One review: Verdict

The Somfy One is a pretty comprehensive smart home camera offering, with more security extras than a lot of the competition. The app is clean and easy to use, while setup and design are both wins. That siren is certainly effective and the closing front shutter for privacy peace of mind is a really nice touch.

The IntelliTAGs are a great way to offer the feeling of more security, although they’ll cost you more. The key fob is also a nice idea, although in reality can be a bit of an effort, so we'd have preferred facial recognition.

This is an early days product for Somfy, yet it feels already in line with the competition on smart camera offerings and ahead when you consider the security extras. With future software updates, this could become even better as time goes by, making that rather steep £229 asking price seem not so off-putting after all.

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