Impressive technology crammed into a high-end wireless camera surveillance system - flexible kit, stylish design, futuristic tech.
- Totally wireless
- Great design
- Low energy tech
- Battery operated
- No local backup
In this Netgear Arlo review, it’s tough to decide if these new Arlo cameras are an incredibly smart home CCTV solution, or if they are too ahead of their time.
Netgear have equipped their new Arlo home security lines with modest camera specs, coupled with some amazing low-energy, wireless tech.
Arlo cameras from Netgear are an all-in-one wireless network security camera plus Wifi hub. You need the matching hub for the cameras to work. Although it’s an expensive way to buy a wireless camera system, the Arlo ecosystem requires minimal setup and comes with tip-top Netgear support.
You can buy kits with extra wireless Arlo cameras, or add more cameras at a later date.
The hub itself has no onboard storage per se. Netgear’s Arlo home security range streams your camera footage to a secure cloud-based service. So no local storage, but you do get a reliable Cloud backup solution provided your internet connection is solid.
Where the Netgear Arlo might be winning over the opposition though is ease-of-use.
Netgear Arlo review : power
What sets the Netgear Arlo apart from the competition is that the cameras run on batteries. Four CR123 batteries per camera, and they should run under normal usage for 4-6 months.
The necessity for a separate base station now becomes apparent. These low-power surveillance cameras use a special low-energy wireless signal for streaming video. The hub is a specialised receiver, obviating any need for a direct, energy-hungry wifi connection between cameras and routers.
Netgear have packed some really exciting power technology into their Arlo camera kits.
No wires and a waterproof housing means you can get creative with your Arlo camera.
Your video capture is largely motion-triggered, to minimise power consumption. You get 1GB of free cloud storage with the hub hardware, and 30-day retention. The apps and software are well-designed and reliable. It’s great to see a major manufacturer actually investing in CCTV anybody could install.
Netgear Arlo review : features
Specification-wise you get a 720p-capable wireless camera with a decent 120°FOV and OK night-vision.
There’s no onboard storage, networked (NVR) storage or streaming to NAS. For many home users, this will be a big selling point on the Netgear Arlo, as the system requires almost no setup.
There’s no audio, which can be a deal-breaker for people looking for a baby monitor. You can livestream to the Arlo apps, and for most home users, this is the main application.
Arlo cameras are battery-powered, so you will use several battery packs each year. These units aren’t rechargeable which is a shame. The trade off though is that the Arlo software can tell you when the battery is running low, and the huge flexibility in not having a power cable is a massive plus.
You are committed to Netgear’s Arlo ecosystem, so if you want more video storage, you pay. If you can afford it though, and are likely to continue upgrading your Arlo cameras in the future, the Cloud storage is superb.
Netgear is rumoured to be offering ReadyNas as an alternative storage target for their Arlo cams. Right now, you must have an internet connection to use the cameras, rather than recording to a local drive. However this is not designed as a continuous record system, given the reliance on batteries.
Netgear Arlo Review Conclusion
Netgear have created a sweet little package with this Arlo camera system.
Arguably, the weaknesses don’t matter. Any IP camera can be nicked, cables cut, power supplies disrupted, wireless signals interfered, and the Arlo is no different.
The cloud storage option for domestic IP cams is going to become the norm as home Internet connections get better.
If you’re Internet connection can take it, the Netgear Arlo camera system is a cracking, wireless monitoring solution. No wires to route, no NAS or NVR to fiddle with – this Arlo tech could be the future.
Netgear Arlo Technical Specs
- Video: up to 1280 x 720; H.264; Full Color; Auto-adaptive white/black balance and exposure
- Motion detection; Adjustable sensitivity; Automatic email alerts and push notifications
- Night vision: 850 nm LEDs, illuminates up to 25 feet; IR cut-off filter
- Battery: Four (4) Lithium CR123 Photo; Battery life 4 to 6 months
- Dimension: 2.8 x 1.6 x 2.5 in
- Base Station: Fast Ethernet; IP Configuration, DHCP
- Wireless: 300+ feet line of sight; 2.4GHz 802.11n
- Processor and memory: 500Mhz MIPS 74K Processor, 128MB Flash, 128MB RAM
- Dimension: 8.5 x 2.25 x 6.5 in