Arlo Smart Security Review. Best Protection For Your Home?
Security is one thing that always gives us piece of mind. there was once a time where having security cameras were odd. It wasn't something the average joe would have. There are a bunch of new DIY security cameras hitting the market, but today we will be looking at the Netgear Arlo Security System.
Straightouttabox are the two cameras, base station, ethernet cable, manual, 8 lithium CR123 batteries, and two camera mounts. I will start off by saying the cameras are very discreet. They don't look threatening. I would even say they are cute in a way. The base station is fairly large. I am not sure why. I wish it was flat. Having it stand just does not look appealing. The included mounts simply suck. They are magnetic (and so are the back of the cameras) and are really strong. You would never have to worry about the camera falling off the mount from the magnet being weak. However, what you would need to worry about is the mount simply falling off the wall (along with the camera). It includes a screw that goes into the wall and in theory the mount hangs on it like anything that you normally mount. The camera has some weight, so it just pulls it from the wall. You have to set the camera at a perfect angle, so the mount won't come off the wall. I will give Netgear credit though; they do mention in the provided manual that adhesive can (probably should) be used. It would of been great to have that included.
The Arlo cameras put up a fight in rough weather. They are advertised to be used outside in the rain. I suppose I took this too the next step and put it in my sink for about 10 minutes and water run over it. I had no issues.
The battery life of these are very good, considering they are wireless. They are said to be 4-6 months and I would imagine this would depend on how much you are using the Arlo. There are tons of complaints of people using the Arlo in cold weather and having issues with battery life. The battery life is in fact normal. For some odd reason the app reads that it has low battery under cold temperatures. Luckily, I will never have this issue. I live in Miami.
The range of the Arlo is advertised at 300 feet. This will change depending on how many walls and obstacles you have in the way of the base. The average home owner should not have any issues with range.
The video quality coincides with the battery life. There are power management options. They are Best Video, Optimized, and Best Battery Life. The better video you have, the worse the battery life you have. I find it best to just stay at optimized. The difference in all three is not all that extremely noticeable. It shoots at 720P which is more than enough to see if someone is stealing something. Getting robbed at night? The night mode works just as great.
There are no audio capabilities with these cameras, which are the largest drawback for most people. It isn't an issue for me, but for some people it is a dealbreaker. I imagine this would be something put into the next gen cameras. I just hope I wouldn't have to buy another base station....unless its flat.
The app itself has a ton of great features. Once you get the hang of it, you can do some cool things. You can set schedules for when you would like your Arlo's to record motion. The motion sensitivity of these cameras can be set to your liking. We have a dog, so having a high sensitivity will have the camera record everything she does. We lowered the sensitivity, so the camera would only pick up larger objects...like humans.
These recordings get sent up to the cloud. It comes with 7 days of cloud recordings. This only includes 1 gig. I suppose that can be a decent amount of files. I assume you would only be recording if you have unwanted movement. If you are getting robbed three times a day, than you might want to upgrade the service. You can do that to a Premiere or Elite plan. The premiere plan is $9.99 a month or $99 a year. The Elite is $14.99 a month or $149 a year. These include more storage and can support more cameras.
I think for the average user five cameras are more than enough. If you are finding yourself needing more than five cameras, than you might want to look at a larger security system. You can get a HD 720P system (not wireless) for around $700. Some of these include up to 16 cameras. They won't be as 'Smart' but they aren't dumb either.
If you arre going to use more than five cameras just have your wallet prepared. Once you do the math you can easily be spending over $1000 on just cameras and plans for the system. This kit in particular runs around $299.99, so you can see where I am going with that.
I do believe though that these cameras target a specific audience. If you are a home owner that just needs some piece of mind and wants to keep a look out on kids/pets, than this is for you. If you are looking for a maximum security system in your large house or business, than maybe something else would fit better. I would suggest overall going with the 4 pack kit. It goes for $499.99 which is more than fair. Do you have a specific security system you like? What do you think of the Arlo? I will have a video up soon of some videos of the Arlo in action. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram and let me know your thoughts.
Disclaimer: I am a Netgear ambassador. I received this product for free from Netgear. Netgear does not pay for my review, nor do they alter my opinion.