A few weeks ago Netgear were good enough to let me test out one of their Arlo Q cameras. The Q is a decent security camera that hooks into your wifi and is powered by a microUSB. We liked it and it worked really well for an indoor camera, but security cameras are far more often used on the outside of buildings rather than inside. Netgear had an answer for that – the Arlo Pro. The Pro isn’t USB powered but instead comes with a big battery inside. A camera that’s outside is often going to need to be tougher and waterproof so the Pro comes in an integrated case that keeps it going in all weathers. If its outside you’ll need to mount it – so the case has a tripod mount that can work with Netgear’s stands or most commercial mounts.
We set it up to cover the front door and driveway. It worked perfectly. Someone came to the door and I received a notification on my phone and the person arriving was recorded. Cass, our six-year-old, then discovered it and took the Pro on a voyage of discovery. Point it at and record the cat. Take it on the swing. Use the mic and built-in speaker to chat happily to Dad at his computer from the bottom of the garden. Try and capture a video of the annoying bird that keeps tapping on the patio door. Set it up to try and catch sneaky wildlife entering the garden. Turns out waiting for the neighbourhood cats to arrive and trigger the camera was a lot more interesting than any visitor that came to the front door.
Retailer: Amazon +
Price: ± £300 which includes one camera and one base station. Kits with more cameras or individual add-on cameras available.
Paid extras: There are three plans available. Every camera comes with the Basic plan, which gives you 7 days of cloud DVR recording for free and up to 5 cameras per account. Premier gives you 30 days DVR and up to 10 cameras for £6.50 a month and Elite gives you 60 days DVR with up to 15 cameras. Elite and Premier also extend support from the standard three months to unlimited.
There is also a separate plan that lets you record continuous video from one camera to the cloud for 14 days for £7 a month or 30 days for £13 a month.
Netgear is a very well known American network technology manufacturer. You probably know them best for their home hubs and wifi routers, but they’re a major supplier to the industry as well and make a range of network-connected devices like NAS (Network Hard Disks), firewalls and security cameras. They were set up in 1996 and have just over a thousand employees spread around the world. We positively reviewed their Arlo Q camera last month and their Orbi router last week.
Netgear have decided to set the system in two parts – a central hub connecting to remote cameras.
The central hub is a curved rectangular square that plugs into your home internet. It creates it’s own wifi private network that the cameras all hook into and has an internal speaker for the alarm. Each hub can record or stream up to five cameras at once but can be synced with up to 15 cameras if you have the right type of account. These camera’s don’t have to be Arlo Pro’s but will also work with Netgear’s other Arlo wireless cameras – the Go, the Arlo and the Baby. The hub also has a USB 2.0 port that lets you plug in a USB drive to keep a local copy of your video recordings. Netgear were also smart enough to keep this working if there isn’t any internet access.
We experimented with an Arlo Pro. The Pro follows the rest of the Arlo’s design language with a white plastic body and camera on the front. The unit has IR LEDs (switchable) on the front that let it see surprisingly well in the dark and a rechargeable battery inside. It charges via a microUSB port that has a rubber cover to keep the water out and a 1/4-20 UNC thread that lets you attach it to a wide variety of mounting points.
- Camera has internal rechargeable batteries or can be powered via AC power
- Batteries are removable and can be swapped in around a minute.
- 2-way audio
- Wide-angle lens
- Weatherproof to IP65
- Night vision via IR LEDs.
- Motion and audio detection alerts with changeable
- Siren – extremely loud and needs to be disabled by pressing a physical button on the hub. It would have be wonderful to be able to set the volume for this so it could be used as as notification rather than as an alarm
- Geofencing using the app so it only records when you are away from home (for example).
- Scheduling – record at certain times or days only.
Environment & People
The Arlo Pro System is a high-quality premium product designed to live outside and take everything most climates can throw at it. It’s not that surprising that the system isn’t cheap with the starter pack of one base unit and one camera costing £300 and extra cameras costing £220 although there are some discounts for larger orders. That sounds expensive but compares very favourably to equivalently specced systems on the market.
Product dimensions (camera): 7.9 x 4.8 x 7.0 cm
Item Weight: 238g including battery
Colour: Cream and black but coloured silicon skins available to let it fit in where you want it to.
Decibels (hub): 100 decibels
Release date: 2016
Materials: ABS plastic
Resolution: Up to 1280×720
Video format: H.264
Field of View: 130 degrees
Focus range: 2 feet to infinity
Audio: 2 way
Software: Web interface, Android, FireOS and iOS apps
Operating temperature: -20 to 45 degrees Celsius
Water resistance: IP65 – Protected from total dust ingress Protected from low-pressure water jets from any direction
Battery: Removeable 2440 mAh Li-ion rechargeable
Warranty: One year warranty for manufacturer’s defects.
The Arlo Pro system works best with an internet connection, but can be set up to work without it. The hub requires mains power and you need to keep the camera inside the wifi network it creates.
Netgear has spent the last several years expanding the Arlo range. The system includes cameras with a range of image qualities – some wired and some wireless. Luckily, Netgear integrated the system to work with multiple different types of cameras. The Q camera we reviewed a few weeks ago and the Pro we’re looking at now can be viewed and controlled from the same app making it easy to choose the right camera for the right situation.
The Arlo Pro is designed as an outdoor camera for those who need high-quality video and streaming and it delivers. The camera itself is well made and tough – although I’d recommend a more subtly coloured silicon skin than the default white. It connects to the hub at a decent long range and notifies you quickly and exactly as you want. If you need a high-quality outdoor camera to fit into your Arlo system the Pro is the premium choice. Recommended.
The review is based on the Arlo Pro System kindly provided by NetGear. This article was first published on 3 April 2017.