Arlo is a home security system created by Netgear, typically a network company that some of you may have heard of as they produce consumer routers for domestic environments. That’s the internet box to me and you. The Arlo from Netgear is a slight diversion to what the company usually produces but it’s a great product and one I had researched thoroughly before purchasing, after using it I thought it would be great to do a small review.
First, let me explain what the Arlo actually is, it’s a simple home security system consisting of wireless free cameras that come in 3 different kits (1 camera, 2 cameras or 3) that communicate with a hub that’s connected to your home router. Essentially its cameras that allow you to monitor your home. Best off all it’s not connected to wires! That’s the beauty of the whole system, I had been after something that allowed me to monitor my home from anywhere in the world but without having to spend a huge amount on installing fancy CCTV kit or running cables to where I wanted the cameras.
Setup of the system is stupidly easy and being a bit of a techie I was actually shocked how simple it was, I would even go as far as saying if you are not up and running within 20 mins you shouldn’t be using the Arlo in the first place. Setup was all done through the mobile app and the Arlo team have created a very useful YouTube channel which features a bunch of decent videos such as how to initially set up the system which I recommend taking a look at.
Because the Arlo cameras are 100% wire free and weatherproof they can be used indoors or outdoors and you can place them virtually anywhere within a max range of around 300ft/90m between the hub and camera, however it’s worth noting that max range all depends on you having a clear line of site back to the hub so for instance, if you have other exterior or interior walls in-between this may impede the range. Luckily for what I wanted out of the system, this was not an issue and I think for most uses the range of the cameras are just right.
Ok so if the cameras are wire-free, how are they powered I hear you ask? They run on 4 CR123 batteries and the important thing is they last ages, Netgear predicts 4-6 months depending on usage. So far I’ve had my system setup for just over a month with heavy usage and the battery indicators have only gone down around a quarter which has had me impressed. They also only run off batteries so if you plan on having them plugged in somewhere permanently this is not the system for you.
The cameras principally work by detecting motion or sound which can be tweaked within app/web settings and record these events to a cloud service provided by Netgear, it allows for 7 days worth of free recording which is a fantastic deal and gives you the option to download any important footage you want to keep forever. There is an option for permanent recordings beyond the 7 days but this comes at a cost, I’ve personally not felt the need to keep recordings for longer than the 7 days and as mentioned if there is anything of importance worth keeping then these can be downloaded.
The recordings can be viewed either on a mobile app (iOS and Android) or via a website when you don’t have a phone to hand. I’ve been using the iOS app and website and have been impressed, both mirror each other in terms of look and feel which makes navigating to what you need to quick and easy, I haven’t found any limitations in what the iOS app can do and the website can’t. Having access from wherever you are in the world to either the app or website, providing you have an internet connection, is a genius and exactly the reason for why I needed a system like this. It’s perfect! I rent my home through Airbnb so being able to see when guests arrive and leave is very handy, sometimes I need to pop back to collect things I’ve forgotten and knowing I won’t disturb them puts my mind at ease.
Now for some not so great observations and like any good thing the system doesn’t come without its limitations:
- I mentioned above the cameras work by detecting motion and sound which is clever, but the recordings themselves don’t include sound which isn’t a deal breaker but it would be nice to have as it might paint a better picture as to why something has been recorded in the first place.
- This system is not intended for permanent snooping hence why the batteries last so long, you can live view the cameras but it’s best to leave the system work out what’s worth recording and what’s not.
- Although the cameras claim to be HD which they are to an extent, it appears to let you view in a 1280 x 720 resolution but recordings definitely seem compressed and not as high def as you might be expecting.
All in all, Arlo really is the best solution out there on the market at the moment for a wire-free home security system, there really isn’t another close competitor that I’ve been able to find that does what this system promises to do and delivers upon. I hate to admit it but Netgear has really done themselves proud. I’ve also potentially missed some key points in this feature but if you have any questions feel free to ask away via Twitter or Facebook.
This post has in no way been endorsed by Netgear or Arlo and is entirely my own opinion.