Arlo Wireless Smart Security System Review
Netgear, a company more well-known for their vast selection of wireless routers and networking solutions, is the creator of the Arlo Security System. It would only make sense that a company who produces high quality networking equipment would release a product that is reliable, wireless, and offers the ability to watch events in real time on your smartphone. Whether you’re at work, on vacation, or just took a quick trip to the grocery store, Arlo is always monitoring your home, in high definition, so you’re always protected, 24/7.
Benefits of Arlo Security System
Being connected to wi-fi has its benefits, especially when it comes to instant notifications. If a sensor on this system is tripped or activated, you’ll receive an instant notification on your smart phone. After opening the alert, you’ll be able to view your cameras live, from your smartphone and even download the video file later on. This feature is especially helpful if trying to describe the physical appearance of a burglar to law enforcement, if you’re unfortunate enough to experience a burglary.
Magnetic Mounting, Wireless, Weatherproof
With each set of Arlo cameras, every one includes a magnetic mount that can be adjusted in many directions. Pair this with its wireless and weatherproof features, you’re able to mount these just about anywhere you can get a wireless signal, even outside or in a garage! Compared to a wired system, these are huge benefits in terms of flexibility and locations where the system can be installed.
Free Cloud Storage, No Monthly Fee
Unlike almost all other security cameras, Arlo offers 100% free cloud storage for up to 7 days for 5 cameras. This is big for two reasons. One, if a burglar wants to try and beat the system by smashing the camera and destroying the recording, he can’t, at least not the recording. By storing the video in the cloud, the file is safely stored in an offsite location, probably thousands of miles away where it can later be accessed by law enforcement if needed. Two, did I mention it’s free? Arlo allows for up to 7 days of activated recording for free, meaning you don’t pay a dime, ever!
These recordings are, however, only stored when motion or activity is detected, which is all most people need. However, if you need additional space for recordings or are using this system for business purposes, Arlo offers additional space options and even around the clock continuous video recording. The best part is, compared to other services, Arlo is one of the least expensive.
Full HD footage and Built-in Night Vision
You would think that with what TV’s and smart phones can do nowadays that the home security camera industry would have at least trailed a little way behind. Unfortunately, that is not the case for most. While 1080p, or 4k home security video would be nice, it’s not necessarily needed. However, that doesn’t mean that the scratchy and grainy video that looks as if it was recorded on a flip phone from the early 2000’s will suffice. Arlo finds the middle ground in this and records in 720p, which is considered the low end of high definition. 720p provides more than enough detail to provide a description of whatever may have triggered the camera.
Who knew you could customize a home security system!? Some may think this is pointless, but the cameras come in a shiny white appearance, which may make them easier to spot by would-be thieves. Luckily, for you, Netgear offers a variety of silicone skins that slip on right over the camera, which are even UV resistant and can protect the camera from the sun. These skins come in several different colors or patterns including: black, green, camouflage, pink, blue, yellow, brown, and grey.
Drawbacks of the Arlo Security System
This is going to be a common issue amongst any wireless device connected to your wireless network. Unfortunately, for some it is going to be a bigger pain than others to deal with. Since Arlo does record in 720p quality, this means it is most likely going to use more battery than another low quality camera, but the tradeoff is better footage, which could be the difference between identifying a burglar or not. On the other hand, this means you may have to change the batteries every week or every several months. Despite the manual citing a 4 to 6-month battery life, some owners disagree and this could be Netgear rating the standby time (un-recording) under optimal conditions.
This time frame will vary greatly depending on the amount of times the camera is activated, distance from the wireless network, ambient conditions, and type of batteries installed. Arlo has tried to remedy this problem and appears to sponsor a specific brand and model of rechargeable lithium ion batteries which will significantly cut down on battery purchases.
This is probably not a problem for most people, but other smart security systems offer audio in their cameras. While this could be useful for some, the majority of people won’t need this.
Technical Details and Compatibility
Arlo’s base station, which all the cameras wirelessly connect to operates on a 2.4GHz 802.11n frequency and can have up to a 300-foot clear range. The station also has a DHCP IP configuration. The cameras record in a H.264 format and offer a 110-degree field of view. Night vision illuminates up to 25 feet, and offers operating temperatures of 14 to 122 degrees F (-10 to 50 degrees C). Cameras have a waterproof rating of IP65.
Based on the versatility and flexibility of these cameras, they’re already a great value and offer so much more than a traditional surveillance system. Paired with even better features such as HD recording, and free cloud storage, and it seems almost like a no brainer. For most people, the battery issue shouldn’t be a problem unless the cameras are mounted extensively far from the network and there is constant foot traffic or other activity activating them. Overall, these little cameras offer a desirable and high quality surveillance at a consumer level price that won’t break the bank.