Netgear Arlo Review
Weather proof, wire free, HD – so much more than just a nanny cam
Ease of Use
The set-up process is takes only a few minutes once you download the free app
Value for Money
Yes, it’s expensive… but SO Freakin cool!
One year parts and labor warranty, plus the trusted Netgear reputation
- Cloud storage options
- Night vision
- Email push notifications
- Completely wire free
- Multiple video streams at once
- Expansion camera options
I Don’t Like
- Expensive (but.. I had to buy one anyway)
- Does not have local storage
- Does not record continuously (motion activated)
Netgear Arlo Review – The Perfect Nanny Cam?
At a Glance
Before I get started, I have to be honest here and just say WOW – these cameras are so cool – I didn’t wait (or try for that matter) to get a free sample, I just ordered them and I’m really glad I did. Now, that said, I’m going to try and be as honest as possible with my review.
This is the true all-in-one home camera system. For a premium product, the Netgear Arlo camera system does justify its price. You can buy them in packs of up to five cameras, all come with magnetic mounts, and it’s is possible to place them around your house discreetly, and the uses are endless. Here are just a few great ways you can use the Netgear Arlo smart camera system:
- Nanny Cam
- Baby Monitor
- Front Door Monitor
- Home Security
- Pet Monitor
- Business Security
- Vacation Home Security
- Elderly Parents
- Homework Monitor! (one of my favorites)
- Liquor Cabinet Monitor (got teenage kids?… think about it!)
- Tradesman / Housekeeper Monitor
- and you’re getting the idea now right?
The Arlo records sharp, crisp high quality HD videos at 720p. Night vision is clearer than most cameras in the market and being weather proof, you can place them outdoors too, and the Netgear Arlo can record in any weather.
The best camera placement (as advised by Netgear) is about 7 feet above the floor, with the camera facing slightly down. This will produce the best quality images and allow the motion detection (Which works best at 20 feet) perform better. This worked well for me, but I did notice a slight lag between the actual movement and the commencement of recording. Not a big deal, but a little annoying.
The Netgear Arlo also comes with a night vision mode, so it can record in complete darkness. I actually found this to work much better than expected. The image was a little grainy, but definately clear enough to make out what is going on (and with who!).
The camera’s batteries last for between 4 and 6 months depending on usage. There are some settings you can play around with that can alter the battery life:
- High quality (best image quality but reduces battery life)
- Balanced quality (good battery life, good image quality)
- Reduced image quality (lowest image quality, longest battery life)
Is it easy to setup?
The mounting of the cameras might be tricky if you have the threaded mounts for outside cameras, but with some basic handyman skills, you shouldn’t have too many problems. However, when using the magnetic mounts, it is pretty smooth sailing. The magnetic mounts allow you to discreetly place the cameras anywhere in the house, so you control what you want to see.
The setup and configuration of the cameras themselves is also pretty straight forward. Checkout this quick video for a demonstration on how to configure the cameras.
You can also setup a series of ‘rules’. These are used to control things like the sensitivity of the motion detection and what to do when movement is detected. For example, you can configure one of the cameras for a low sensitivity (say when used as a baby cam), and when movement is detected, start recording and then send you a push notification or an email. You can setup a number of different rules for each camera. Pretty cool stuff!
One you’re all set up, using the Arlo is dead easy – everything can be controlled from within the app, using any iOS or Android device.
The Netgear Arlo cameras are designed to work through rain or shine. The build quality is very good and they are completely waterproof, so the camera will not drown should you decide to place one or more of them outside.
The Arlo camera system is completely wireless. Yep – not a wire in sight! This allows you to discreetly place cameras anywhere without the risk of any wires drawing undue attention to them. It also makes moving them around so easy – this is definitely one of my favorite features. (you can have a lot of fun with them, moving them around near unsuspecting victims!)
With the Netgear Arlo home monitoring system, you can interface as many as 15 cameras together, on one base station. You can keep an eye on multiple areas of your home at the same time. For example, you can have one camera in the nursery, working as a baby cam, one at the front door (configured to send you a push notification when it detects someone at the door) and another in the family room keeping an eye on the kids.
Another really cool feature is that you can stream video from the Arlo with as many as 4 devices at the same time. This allows you have different devices configured to watch different cameras at the same time.
Wireless Range extension
The Arlo allows you to connect up to 15 cameras to the one system. For people with large homes (or businesses), this is a great feature and will allow you to cover your entire house and still have room for future expansion if you need it. The guys at Netgear realize that the wireless connectivity in a large home might be weak in some areas, and provides you with wireless extension options to make sure that all the cameras you have are connected. Your options include:
- Extra base station: This extra base station can be placed where you want the camera to be, but the area lacks connectivity. The camera will then be connected to the extra base station and voila, you are covered.
- A WiFi range extender: The wireless range extender should be placed in the middle of your house, to amplify the WiFi range all the way to the area of your home with no WiFi signal.
- Powerline device: The powerline device uses the electrical wiring in your home to connect. Once this is placed in an empty electrical socket, it uses your homes electrical wiring to transmit data back to the base station – no WiFi needed! This is great for areas with weak or no WiFi signal.
The Netgear Arlo does not support local storage on the device, so everything is stored in the cloud (and yes, it even works on sunny days! …. sorry – bad Dad joke there…). This both good and bad. The good news is, all your data is stored (securely) in the cloud and you can access it from anywhere, anytime. This also means that even is someone steals the camera(s), the video they captured prior to being stolen is safe and can’t be deleted (other than by you).
The downside is that if your internet connection drops out, then no video is captured. Period. It would have been great if they at least had both options, so it could still record while the internet was down and when it comes back up again, upload everything to the cloud.
There are three storage plans you can choose from – Basic, Premium and Elite. The basic plan is completely free and will be suitable for most people. The Premium and Elite plans have more storage and expansion options, but you will have to pay a monthly fee for the service.
Basic: This plan comes with every purchase and is completely free. It’s made up of 1 GB of cloud storage, which will allow you to store 7 days days of video. After 7 days the video will begin to cycle, overwriting day 1, then day 2 etc. It also supports up to 5 Arlo cameras and if you have more than this, then you will need to upgrade to either the Premium or Elite plan.
Premium: The premium plan is for those who want to run up to 10 cameras or require more storage flexibility. With the premium plan, you get 10 GB of cloud storage space, and your videos stay in the cloud for longer, up to 30 days after recording (10GB). Its actually fairly reasonably priced at $9.99 per month or $99 if paid annually.
Elite: The Arlo elite cloud storage plan is the large plan available. It is for those who want to run up to 15 cameras. The plan allows for 60 days of recording storage which equates to about 100GB of videos. It is also available to every other customer with an Arlo system, regardless of the number of cameras you have – so if you only have 5 cameras, but want the 60 days of storage, then maybe this is an option for you. The plan costs $14.99 or $149 annually.
What’s in the box?
This camera pack ships in two boxes and includes (the 5 camera pack);
- 5 cameras (All completely wire free)
- One base station with power cable
- Ethernet cable
- 5 Magnetic Camera mounts
- 5 Mounting screws
- 20 Batteries
- 2 Quick start guides
I had the system up and running in minutes. Super easy, you simply connect the base station to your router using the supplied cat5e cable.
Nice looking little cameras and they have a bit of weight to them. They aren’t heavy by any means but feel like quality little units. They can sit on any flat surface or you may use the supplied magnetic mounts to install on a wall. They also have a tripod type adapter on the bottom which may open up some additional mounting possibilities.
I used the suggested balance mode and found the image quality to be great. For my purposes the balanced mode is fine.
Motion detection is excellent night vision is very good. Highly recommended. Do your research before you buy. These are meant for security not surveillance. If you don’t know the difference then you should look into that first. Basically They do not record 24/7. Rather only when motion is detected. That means this is probably not the best if you want to use it as a nanny camera. Yes you can log in and view what’s going on but it will only record with motion is detected or you physically push the record button. Ideally this system is meant for when you do not expect motion in our around your home.
Good no fuss easy to set up system. No wires to run and after 3 weeks of constant playing with the batteries still show full. Has about a 3 second delay between the time movement is detected and the cameras actually start recording. Would recommend but if you have a SAMs club membership they sell the same system for $50 more with 3 cameras. Each additional camera is $150 so basically it’s $100 cheaper there. Didn’t know that until I bought mine. All in all still a good product.Jason Allison
Yes, these cameras are a bit pricey, but it’s a premium product and the uses are endless – you’ll be amazed by how many ways you end up using them. It is discreet, durable and very practical. Because Netgear Arlo comes with more than one camera, and the option to add even more, you can monitor so much with it (and at the same time too!). You can keep an eye on your kids in one room, elderly parents in another and pets in yet another, while having one monitoring the outside of your home, all at once. This is definitely a great nanny cam and so much more. Working up to 6 months, the battery in these things is rather incredible. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Would I buy it? Well, I did! (just don’t tell my wife, may have mentioned that I got it for free as a review demo…)
I hope you found my Netgear Arlo Review helpful – please leave a comment if I’ve missed something out or you have any questions.
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