I'll be honest: I've never really been one to care about hyper-local weather info, barring those few times a year when snow's a-coming or there's some massive thunderstorm blowing in from the east. But the Netatmo Weather Station – old enough now to be considered venerable, but looked after well enough that it has received an update to support Google Assistant within the past few months – has changed my mind.
It's the data, you see. It's addictive. Watching the numbers from the AAA battery-powered outdoor module is oddly entertaining. Spotting tiny fluctuations in temperature, matching the barometric pressure to those headaches I'm convinced are weather-related rather than down to me staring at a screen all day, even spotting little microclimates by comparing the results from my outdoor module with those from other Weather Station users on the map – it's just neat. Questionably useful, but neat.
More useful, it turns out, is the data from Netatmo's plug-in indoor module. This primarily deals with Wi-fi connectivity and pulling in readings from the outdoor unit or units. You can get a rain gauge or anemometer to add extra functionality, or add extra indoor units to suit.
It also does its own share of monitoring. You get indoor temperatures and humidity readings, as well as CO2 and sound volume readings. While it lacks the VOC monitoring that some dedicated indoor monitors offer, the rest is warning enough that you need to turn down those speakers or give your room some much-needed ventilation.
Turns out my kitchen was very much in the orange zone in terms of its CO2 levels, skirting the edge of red. I blame, as I so often do, breathing children. Implementing a quick breeze was enough to take those levels down to something more comfortable; things probably wouldn't have reached the levels of hypoxia, but given that too much carbon dioxide in the air impacts one's thinking, it's a good idea to keep an eye on the stats.
I was impressed with the quality of Netatmo's app, which puts vital info front and centre and doesn't forget the eye candy. It can be awkward at times (and the graphs showing changes over time aren't the most readable) but in general, things work as they should.
Also impressive: connectivity between the units. It's pretty spectacular – not to go into the specifics of my house too much, but the two parts of the Netatmo Weather Station whole communicated without issue despite a good chunk of solid ground interrupting line-of-sight.
Bear in mind that the outdoor module does require some pretty ideal conditions. I struggled to find a good spot for it, honestly: it's supposed to be somewhere out of direct sunlight, and shielded from the rain, which isn't the easiest in an open garden. You can screw it in under some handy eaves, or strap it to a post beneath a bird table or something, but consider where you're going to place it before you buy.
But should you stump up the cash? At around £170 ($180, AU$279) it's not the most affordable, particularly in the company of cheaper weather stations which include features like rain and wind measurement without demanding costly extra add-ons. They're not nearly as sexy, though. I'd opt for this app experience over a rickety LCD screen every time.
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