The Netgear Arlo cameras have been on the market for some time, they are probably familiar to those who planned to deploy a video surveillance system at home or a small office. Our flagship Netgear Arlo Pro model was put into our testing laboratory, which we will undergo close testing.
On the one hand, the theme of “smart home” is becoming more popular, manufacturers are releasing many devices for this segment. On the other hand, the issue of protection and security inevitably raises. At the intersection of the two mentioned spheres are just cameras of video surveillance.
Netgear has been releasing Arlo cameras for quite some time, but now they have added a new flagship model Netgear Arlo Pro. Compared with previous solutions Arlo the biggest difference lies in the addition of a replaceable battery. Thanks to the integration of the battery, Netgear Arlo Pro can be used anywhere, not just near the outlet. Also, video recording in HD resolution is supported, and thanks to the wide-angle lens the field of view is 130 °, while in the conventional Arlo camera it is limited to 110 °. Thanks to the improved night vision mode, Netgear Arlo Pro will provide protection even in the dark. The camera starts shooting only when motion is detected – which eliminates the excess video recording in 24/7 mode.
As for the price, Netgear targets Netgear Arlo Pro at the top of the market. For a standard set consisting of two cameras and a base station, you will have to pay 565 euros, if you add a third camera to the set, then the price will increase to 749 euros. In Russia at the time of publication, the Pro camera has not yet appeared. In any case, if you want to cover a large area of video surveillance system, you have to fork out. But if you only need to look through the road, yard and several rooms in the house, then two or three cameras can not do.
IP-cameras today no one is surprised. But Netgear went with the Arlo camera in a different way. If conventional IP cameras store data on any local storage, such as NAS, Netgear Arlo Pro is focused on the cloud.
Therefore, to use Arlo cameras, the user should configure the account, and the base station must have a permanent Internet connection. The advantage of such a configuration is obvious: for the storage of data the presence of NAS is not required, the records are available at any time. But there is also one “underwater rock”, which not everyone will like: by default, video recordings are stored for seven days. If you want to extend the retention period, you will have to buy a cloud subscription. Of course, when creating an account, you should pay special attention to a strong password, because if your account is hacked by an attacker, it will have access to the videos.
In the case of cameras, Netgear Arlo Pro moved a little from this system, two USB ports were added to the base station. Their function will be considered in the review below.
Compared to classic IP cameras, the Arlo system is relatively closed. The cameras can not be accessed simply by an IP address, they can not be integrated into any other system. But Netgear still opened a loophole, some actions can be performed through integrated support for IFTTT. For example, you can use the motion detection function to turn on Hue lighting. Samsung SmartThings solutions are also supported.
As we already mentioned above, Netgear Arlo Pro is sold in a set from a base station and two cameras, we just got this kit.
Also the manufacturer encloses two suspension camera mounts and user’s manual, two removable batteries and two chargers. One is for the base station, and the second is for the cameras, the battery in which is charged via the USB interface. Unfortunately, there is no separate charge for the batteries. The package complements the RJ45 patch cord and quick setup guide.
The quick setup guide was surprisingly brief. It seems that half the steps are omitted or only partially shown. But this is not so, because the configuration process is very simple.
First you should download the Arlo application via the AppStore or PlayStore. Then the user is offered to either login to an existing account, or create a new one. Next, the base station should be connected to the router and powered. After a while, the application will automatically find the base station, you can start working.
The next step is to select one of several storage plans. Their detailed description is given on the next page.
Then we get to the overview page of the system, but it is not yet full, because you need to add cameras. The process of pairing went smoothly. Simply select the camera, then press the two synchronization buttons on the base station and on the camera.
For the installation process Netgear should be praised separately, because there are practically no obstacles when setting up the cameras. Is that the application a couple of times for a long time “thought”, but here pom
The Netgear Arlo Pro cameras look futuristic and attract attention from the first sight. They differ from non-Pro options, but not so much, the design is similar.
The dimensions of the chambers are 79.3 x 48.6 x 70.5 mm, the body is rounded. It is made of white glossy plastic, except that the front of the camera is black. Regardless of the installation location, the camera will always look beautiful. Of course, if the glossy plastic does not cover with dust.
The cameras are IP65 certified, so they can be installed without problems on the street. They will withstand, for example, a tropical downpour.
To install the battery inside, the camera must be opened. The battery is charged in the installed state via the micro-USB port. Either the batteries can be contaminated in external charging, but it will have to be bought separately. In principle, this investment justifies itself, because you do not have to shoot the camera every time to recharge the battery.
An unusual depression can be seen behind the camera. However, it is part of the camera suspension. Netgear abandoned the usual hinge by choosing a different solution. The camera comes with two metal hemispheres. They are already screwed with the usual screws.
As a result, the Netgear Arlo Pro camera can be rotated along the radius of the hemisphere. The magnet is strong enough to guarantee a reliable fastening, capable of withstanding wind gusts. In addition, such a fastening makes it easy to remove the camera to charge it. The drawback of the solution is also obvious: the camera is easy to take off and steal. Therefore, it is recommended to hang the camera in places unattainable, for example, without a ladder. But to shoot the camera for charging will be more time-consuming.
If you do not want to use the magnetic holder, you can screw the camera to the hinge with a screw, there is a corresponding hole with a thread. But the hinge is not included in the package.
The base station looks more modest, it is enclosed in a matte body with rounded corners. However, it should not attract attention to itself, the base station will mimic the surroundings of the living room. On the case there is only one button – it serves to synchronize with cameras or turn off the alarm. That is, if you activate the siren function, the base station is better to be installed somewhere in the central place of the room.
Interfaces are removed to the bottom of the back panel. In addition to the required ports for connecting the power supply unit and RJ-45 cable, you can see two USB ports. They allow you to connect drives to which you can save the recorded video.
A special function of the Arlo system, as we noted above, is the cloud storage of the recorded video (although Pro cameras have an exception here). That is, the captured video is not stored locally (for example, on the NAS), but is downloaded to the Netgear cloud. A basic subscription is available for free.
The base plan provides storage of records for a period of 7 days with a maximum of 1 GB. Up to five cameras are supported, technical support is limited to three months. If you are willing to pay 8.99 euros per month or 89 euros per year, you can purchase a Premier Plan plan. Records will be stored for up to 30 days in volume not exceeding 10 GB. The data can be stored from ten cameras. For larger scale configurations, the Elite plan is suitable. It provides storage of records for up to 60 days in volume up to 100 GB. The price will be 13.99 euros per month or 139 euros per year.
From previous Arlo solutions, the new Pro suite is distinguished by the ability to save records to a USB drive connected to the base station. The settings are pretty primitive, when 20% of free space remains, the system will overwrite the old video. In our tests, various external USB HDDs were detected without problems.
You need an application to configure Netgear Arlo Pro. It is available both for Android smartphones and for devices running Apple iOS – we used the latest version for tests.
As we already noted above, records obtained with the help of CCTV cameras can contain personal information, so they should be well protected. So do not hesitate to choose a strong password for the account. In addition, the application should be protected with a PIN or used instead of a TouchID.
You can give each camera its own name, and also, for example, see the charge of the battery. In the video settings of the selected camera, you can specify the settings for activating the night vision mode or turn the picture by 180 °. You can also, for example, adjust the zoom. Under the power consumption setting, the video quality is actually hidden. If you select the maximum quality level, the battery life will be minimal. Setting “Optimal” is a good compromise, in the third mode you can reduce the quality of the picture in favor of battery life. In another menu, you can adjust the microphone level and the volume of the speaker of the camera, or turn off these components.
The next menu option is the archive. His work is very simple. You can view recorded videos by day, download them, delete them, mark them as favorites, or share videos.
The menu item “Mode” is interesting. It can manage global video monitoring settings. You can activate, deactivate the surveillance system, and also include it on a schedule. Some cameras, for example, are hardly reasonable to keep on all day, they can only be activated at night. You can also customize the behavior of each camera. That is, what events will be activated when the camera detects motion or noise. You can specify and detection parameters – that is, activate the recording, for example, in case of movement and / or noise. Alerts are configured on the smartphone and via e-mail. You can also adjust the sensitivity of both detection methods. You can adjust the length of the recording after detection. The shortest recording period is 10 seconds, the longest is 120 seconds.
In the last menu item, you can see the settings of individual devices, as well as the subscription profile. You can also configure access to monitoring for other users.
If you do not want to use the applications, then the data can be accessed through the Arlo site. The structure is identical to the application, there are no additional functions.
We tested the Netgear Arlo Pro suite in a fairly common scenario. We aimed one camera at the yard, it was installed on the street in a place where there are often strong gusts of wind. The second chamber we installed inside the room, in the hallway.
In both cases, wide-angle optics perform well, thanks to the 130 ° viewing angle, the camera allows you to follow a fairly wide area. For example, you can cover more than half the yard. In the room, the camera makes sense to hang in the corner, which will allow viewing the entire room as a whole. If you want to accent an area, you can use a digital zoom. It worked well in our tests, but, of course, the picture quality is reduced.
The zoom has one more interesting detail: you can exclude public space. For example, the road and the pavement, so that the camera once again not activated, if a car is passing along the road or a person is walking along the sidewalk.
The cameras were activated by both methods of detection, that is, when motion or noise is detected. The most frequently triggered activation on the movement. In our tests, both detection mechanisms worked reliably. Movement began to be determined when a person was approaching about six meters, after which the recording began. Of course, there were false positives – for example, when a bird flew in front of the camera. If noise is detected, clap your hands in front of the camera or just speak a little louder than usual.
The function of push-notifications when motion is detected, we turned off, because it was too often distracted. However, everything here depends on the configuration and scenarios. It would be convenient to activate this function on a schedule so that push notifications only come in those hours when the surveillance zone should be empty. But then the monitoring function will have to be activated at the same time.
Of course, night mode is also interesting. As you can see from the example video above, night mode allows you to track events in the yard during the dark, the picture quality is quite convincing.
But the Netgear Arlo Pro system can be used not only for video surveillance, since Netgear has added two-way audio communication. In our tests, it worked without any criticism, the quality of the voice was quite satisfactory. It should be remembered that the Netgear Arlo Pro system is not aimed at maximum voice quality.
Energy consumption is within acceptable limits. At the base station we got 3.6W power consumption, with cameras there are also no problems, because they record video not always, but only after motion detection or noise detection. For two test days, the outer camera lost only 2% of the charge – while every day she shot 20-30 videos with an optimal (average) quality level.
As it seems to us, smart home devices should be as inconspicuous as possible in everyday scenarios. That is, they must cope with their functions without distracting the user’s attention. And the Netgear Arlo Pro video surveillance system perfectly matches this criterion.
Installation of systems is very simple, even an inexperienced user can cope with it. The installation takes a little time. And if you were worried about a short battery life, then it’s completely in vain. The magnetic fastening system was quite convincing. Despite the location in the purged place, the camera did not tremble and did not move. To activate the system, it’s enough to install the mobile application, and then configure Arlo. The entire procedure in our case took about half an hour.
Netgear Arlo Pro cameras look stylish and attractive, the quality of making no complaints. Note also the presence of a battery, which was not previously available. Replaceable batteries can be charged both inside the camera via a USB cable, and through external charging, but it will have to be purchased separately. The base station looks more modest, but it contains all the necessary interfaces. A special function of Netgear Arlo Pro can be called the USB ports of the base station, through which external storage is connected, which allows you to store the captured videos locally. But you have to use the application for viewing.
In work, the Netgear Arlo Pro system also proved itself convincingly. The application is well structured, it offers a wide range of functions covering all the main scenarios. Videos are conveniently sorted by shooting date, they can be downloaded via the application or shared.
The quality of the image and the detection efficiency proved to be quite convincing in our tests. The cameras recognized the movement both during the day and at night. Of course, there have been false positives, for example, when flying a bird in front of the camera, but they are quite expected. Netgear allows you to adjust the motion detection sensitivity so that the optimum value can be selected. Night mode in practice has shown quite good quality. Also, two-way voice communication is integrated into the camera. How much it is interesting depends on the scenario. At a minimum, such a connection will be useful if the camera is installed in a room with a small child.
The main drawback of the Netgear Arlo Pro system is its closeness (proprietary). Of the third-party protocols, only IFTTT and Samsung SmartThings are supported. Still, enthusiasts of a smart home would surely prefer a greater openness.
Otherwise, the Netgear Arlo Pro system showed convincing results, we received a wide range of functions with simple setup, convenient operation and good video quality. With this in mind, a relatively high price seems adequate.