Netgear Arlo Pro .....................................................
T he Arlo Pro takes a dierent approach than most. While all the other cameras on test connect directly to your router, the Arlo includes a base station in the package. This then connects, via the supplied Ethernet cable, to a port on your router, which means your cameras’ video streams don’t consume your network’s wireless capacity.
And note the plural there, because Netgear thinks of the Arlo Pro as a camera system rather than a camera or two. You can connect up to six cameras to each base station, but don’t start thinking you’ll get economies of scale: each add-on camera costs around $320, and even the four-camera version costs $720.
Each camera only measures 7cm high, and while the white plastic finish looks vulnerable, in reality they’re all designed to withstand outdoor conditions. You could leave it out in the rain for days and not need to worry about it. They work at night too, with the infrared camera doing a respectable job of capturing the action – albeit not as well as the D-Link pair.
Netgear even supplies fittings in the box, so you could mount one on an external wall and two on internal walls. Then, you only need remove the cameras when you need to recharge them – the fixtures are magnetic, so that’s far simpler than it sounds. I found they lasted for a couple of weeks between charges if action was minimal, and around a week if they were activated multiple times per day.
Most of the time you’ll probably use the app to view the footage, with the Arlo typically recording in ten-second segments when it detects motion; you can select what’s recorded and when in the app. The action shows a thumbnail image of who or what was caught in motion, so you then click play. The video isn’t recorded locally but to the cloud, and you get free storage for seven days – if you want to hold on to them for longer, you need to manually download it or pay for extra cloud storage.
Audio is recorded too, and it’s even possible to have “live” conversations with people remotely: in the Live view, press the mic button and it acts like a walkie-talkie. The camera records at 720p at 30fps, and image quality is respectable. You’ll have no trouble recognising faces, even if colours are rather saturated and compression is obvious. What it doesn’t oer is extra features such as face recognition.
But this isn’t really a rival to the Netatmo Welcome. Instead, the Arlo Pro should be thought of as a rival to a fully fledged security alarm.