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Netgear Arlo is a top contender in smart home security

, December 17, 2015, 0 Comments

netgear-arlo-home-security-marketexpress-inOne of the hottest trends in smart tech is a smart home security. Thanks to extremely fast internet connections and advanced cameras, smart home security is now a reality. Of all the smart cameras for home security, there are two that stood out – Netgear’s Arlo and Nest’s Dropcam.

The kit we are reviewing is the Netgear Arlo 2 HD Indoor/Outdoor cameras with Night vision. Netgear, for long is known for its home networking products such as routers and modems. After having scoured the market for over a month, I was able to zero in on the Arlo over the Dropcam for one reason – Wirefree. I did not appreciate the fact that I could place the dropcam only near a power source. This led me to try the Netgear Arlo which runs on batteries, provides high quality video recordings, high quality live video streaming and also offered night vision. It all seemed too good to be true at the time of purchase and it really has kept its promise.


Smart home cameras tend to be pricey investments and this one doesn’t come cheap either. The Netgear Arlo is priced at $179 for 1 camera, $329 for the kit of 2 HD cameras and $625 for a 5 camera bundle. However, the initial investment price is reasonable. A NETGEAR Arlo Wire-Free camera uses four (4) CR123 lithium 3-volt photo batteries. These batteries are quite expensive and cost about $8 to power one camera.


The Netgear Arlo is one of the best looking smart home cameras that blends easily with any decor style. What’s even better is that it is battery operated and hence one does not have to deal with ugly wires dangling around the house. The kit also provides a magnetic wall mount to place the camera at specific angles. An interesting tip from the SJPD is to place security cameras at face level or at a lower level as opposed to placing cameras at a higher level (which is what is normally done). This helps capture the face of the intruder which is missed when the camera is placed at a higher angle. The cute oblong shaped device is white with a black camera face touched by silver borders. It has one tiny sync button on its header. It is designed to be weather proof.


The setup process is not very complicated. Plug in the base station and connect it to your router using the given Ethernet cable. After powering up and all the lights have turned green, go ahead and download the Arlo app to sync the new system to the base stations. Create your account. Choose the subscription plan of your choice. Or the free account records videos for a period of 7 days, after which they are automatically deleted and a new cycle begins. You can download these videos to your device before the end of the 7-day period. Insert the batteries in the camera and press the respective sync buttons on their heads. It takes only a few seconds after this for the video feed to show up on the app.


Wire-free – The Arlo can be placed anywhere on your property without having to deal with the hassle of finding a power source to designate a spot or add more clutter with wires.

HD/Night vision/Weather proof cameras – The Arlo can comfortably stream 720p videos, in any weather and even in the dark. Thanks to speedy internet connections and an amazing camera.

Free Cloud Recording – The camera can record up to 7 days in the cloud before beginning a new cycle. These videos can be downloaded for personal use before the end of the 7 day period.

Alerts/Push notifications – You can receive notifications when motion is detected on your camera with video recordings through the clips in your library.

Modes – The Arlo allows users to custom create modes to specify when the camera needs to be on and off. For instance, I have two modes – Home and awake and Sleeping. Home and awake basically keeps the camera from streaming or recording for when I’m at home. Sleep mode turns the camera on for detecting motion at night or when I’m away on vacation. I was away in India for a whole month receiving notifications every time a friend came over to pick up mail.

Long lasting battery – The Arlo cameras can run up to 8 months without the need to change battery depending on how it is used. I bought my camera in the last week of January 2015. I turn it on before bed every night and turn it off in the morning. Besides my regular schedule, it has also lasted three vacations this year – two were a month long and one was a fortnight long. I changed my batteries around the last week of October after getting a low battery warning for nearly 2 weeks.

App control – You can control your cameras using the Netgear Arlo app on your smartphone. The app is available on both the Google Play Store and Apple iTunes. The app is very easy to understand. There are three tabs – Mode, Camera and Library. Mode lets you control what mode you want your camera on. The camera lets you view your rooms live. The library hosts all the recordings of the last 7 days if you are a free user and more if you are subscribed to a plan.


Sound – The Arlo camera does not allow one or two-way conversations through the camera which is a rarely used yet critical feature. Arlo’s latest offering Q has 2-way sound which is another option to think about.

Weather limitations – There are complaints that the Arlo’s batteries suffer under extreme temperatures. Anything below 20 F and above 120 F takes a hit on the battery life. This is a bummer since most of the world has harsh winters and hot summers. I haven’t faced this issue yet. Thanks to the moderate weather in sunny California.

Camera Angles – Cannot zoom, tilt the camera for better viewing. Arlo’s Q can be repositioned. However, we are unsure if this can be done remotely.


The Netgear Arlo is an excellent option for homeowners looking out for smart solutions to secure their homes. The Netgear Arlo is also a great product for small offices and shops. Despite the lack of features like the 2-way sound and remotely controlling the angle of the camera, the 130 deg angle captures more than what’s required with a crystal clear video.