The Arlo is a smart security camera from NetGear that supports 720p video, night vision, and motion detection, as well as options to view and share cloud recordings. Of course, there are plenty of IP cameras that do more or less the same things. However, the Arlo is one of the rare few we know of that can do all that while running on batteries (four CR123 lithium ones); not to mention touting a 130-degree field of view, a weatherproof design, and a ‘100% wire-free’ setup.

Installation

Despite the wireless claim though, there’s still this access point-sized base station that you need to connect to your router (using an Ethernet cable), and which requires its own power supply. However, the base station is probably needed for many of Arlo’s nifty features, especially since it can communicate with multiple cameras. Naturally, this also allows the camera to be made very small, about the size of a mouse.

Placement is a cinch, thanks to the camera’s magnetic back. Coupled with its lightweight (113g), it’s able to stick securely onto the metal cabinets in our office without any adapter. The box also comes with magnetic mounts that use screws for mounting on surfaces should you need them.

image source: Arlo

Features

The biggest problem with most IP cameras is their UI for setting up surveillance rules. The Arlo has done a good job here, employing an easy to understand if-then and method. So a rule can read something like this: If a motion is detected, (then) record a video, and send me an email alert.

Different rules can also be combined to create a ‘mode’, so you can have different modes enabled at different times of the day. By default, when motion is detected, a 10-second clip is recorded and saved to the cloud. The free, basic plan that Netgear provides syncs up to five cameras, and keeps seven days’ worth of recordings with a 1GB storage limit. You can set the camera to automatically delete the oldest files when it hits the cap. All in, we like Arlo.

Camera

The 720p MP4 footage (Best Video setting) that we got from the camera looked fairly sharp. There was a bit of lag during live streaming, but we’ve seen worse on other cameras. Our biggest gripe is that Arlo doesn’t have a speaker or microphone, so it can’t do sound triggers or two-way audio communication. And while Netgear says the batteries can last four to six months, that’s based on four minutes of viewing or recording per day using the Optimized setting (640 x 352).

Bottom line:

If you are looking for the best home security camera, without a doubt this one is definitely it.

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