A few years ago an air purifier manufacturer provided an expensive professional grade air particle reader for "before & after" monitoring. Using the device proved strangely addictive, informative, and an eye-opening affair, revealing plenty about the quality of interior air (or lack thereof). But what was prohibitively expensive then is reasonably priced now, with the unveiling of the Netatmo, a personal weather station and air quality monitoring system designed for smartphone users...
I've been using a preview system for several weeks now in one of the more urban parts of Los Angeles, a perfect test bed for seasonal swings in weather and air quality, especially during the last few strange weeks where high heat, humidity, brush fires, and winds have made for some challenging weather.
Setting up the Netatmo Urban Weather Station is a snap. The simplified, IKEA-ish pictogram style instruction manual is intentionally sparse. Pop in a quartet of AAA batteries into the outdoor unit and plug in the indoor measurement sensor with built-in WiFi adapter into an iOS device (in my case, an iPad). The setup process is primarily done via your iPhone, Touch, or iPad; after a few on-screen menus connecting the Netatmo to your wi-fi network, alongside a helpful walk-thru explaining how the system works and what data it provides, you're left to explore your very own environmental and weather station report once you decide where to place the indoor and outdoor units.
The shorter outdoor unit can be installed anywhere within about 50 ft. of your wi-fi network, but should be placed where it won't get wet.
If you've ever used Nike+ to track your running, you'll likely feel right at home using the Netatmo's dashboard. The GUI is easily digestible at a glance, with information split into two categories: Outdoor and Indoor. If you forget what each section of the GUI is displaying, no worries, an information overlay is available at the touch of a button, complete with additional explanation of each data category.
- Temperature (Indoor)
- Humidity (Indoor)
- Pressure (Indoor)
- CO2 (Indoor)
- Acoustic Comfort (Indoor)
- Overall Comfort Level (Indoor)
- Temperature (Outdoor)
- Humidity (Outdoor)
- Feels Like Temperature (Outdoor)
- Current Weather (Outdoor)
Every 5 minutes the sensors take a reading and then feeds data wirelessly to your iOS (and soon, Android) device for up-to-date readings from your mobile device. The swipe and tap interface is intuitive and fast, all presented beautifully with an easy to understand color-based system (green=good, yellow=ok, red=uh oh!).