Home security is booming right now. It’s becoming very affordable to now protect the inside and outside of your home with security cameras. Cameras are also getting cheaper, smaller, more discrete and yet the picture quality continues to improve. Big brands are taking it one step further, with totally wireless cameras. Dedicated power is not even required. Netgear got in touch and sent over their latest Arlo Pro camera for us to check out. Apparently this is the “world’s first and only 100% wire-free, weatherproof, rechargeable HD smart security camera with audio and 130° viewing angle”. This is the second generation of Arlo cameras and it looks like they have improved them a lot!
Before I crack open the box, which I’m super excited about, here are some of the features the Arlo Pro offers:
- 100% wire free, absolutely zero cables required
- Weather proof to IP65
- HD quality, though only 720p right now 🙁
- 130degree wide viewing angle
- Motion detection & night vision
- 7 day free cloud storage
A very cool box arrived on my desk. It’s quite large, and you’ll find out why later but at the top of the box is a clear plastic box of sorts, with just this small camera in the middle, held perfectly, so you can admire it from all angles. Inside the box is the camera itself, a rechargeable battery, a base station, wall mount for the camera, some cables, instructions and a window decal (beware intruders!). Before I go to far, I should add that this is the ‘base’ version, which includes one camera, but you can purchase bundles of up to four cameras and you can also add further cameras if you want.
The camera itself is finished in glossy white, with a black front where the lens can be found. It’s very light, curvy and looks very smart indeed. If white isn’t your thing, you can purchase ‘skins’ for you camera(s) to help make them a little more discrete perhaps (black/camo/brown). There is just one button on the camera, a sync button that you need to press when setting the camera up. The back of the camera casing opens up, allowing you to install the battery and there is also a micro USB port, for charging the battery. It has a soft, rubbery base, meaning it is secure on most surfaces and there is also an indent in the back, for fixing the camera to the given wall mount.
The base station looks like any typical router, in both size and shape and is a necessity if you want your camera to work. It simply plugs into your router and acts as the brain for your security camera set up. I am also very pleased that they included a wall mount, as I was thinking how will mount this.
Setting up the camera was relatively easy but I did read the instruction before hand. Firstly you need to plug the base station into your home router and a local plug socket. It will boot up and a few lights will flash. Next you need to install the free Arlo app, available on both iOS and Android. The app then takes you through the remaining steps. You need to create an account with Arlo, if you haven’t already and you will be asked to sign up to a ‘package’. In brief, you have to use the app to install the camera, by syncing the base station and camera together, using ‘sync’ buttons on both devices. Note the camera needs to be within three feet of the base unit to sync, and then you can move it to your desired location. I did have to charge my battery over night, so don’t assume the battery will come charged.
I signed up to the basic plan and I think it’s a pretty good deal for free. I can add up to five cameras, which would cover my entire house and I get seven days of cloud recordings, so unless I’m unable to access my phone or the internet for seven days and download the video of that thief, I think I’m pretty well covered.
Using the camera was very easy. The app is intuitive and very self explanatory and with just a few clicks, I had full control. There are so many features to talk about, so I’m just going to briefly list them below:
- You get app and email notifications every time motion or sound is detected. At first I thought this was a good idea but after an hour, I looked at my phone and had 30 odd emails! However you can turn them either or both off, if you wish. I imagine this could get quite addictive too, just sitting there, watching some live footage.
- You can set the recording time length from 10 seconds (default) up to 300 seconds, but be aware that the longer it records, the more battery it requires. I think 30 seconds is more than enough.
- Its default setting is to be activated via motion and sound detection, but either/or can be turned on and off. You can also schedule the camera to function at specific times only, i.e. during work hours when you are not at home.
- The app allows for live and recorded viewing, (plus download the videos to your phone or tablet) which you can pinch, zoom, screenshot, record and listen. You can also turn the siren on and off manually, and have two way communication between you and the person at the end of the camera. The siren sounds from the base station and really is one of those annoying, high pitched, screeching alarms, that will put any intruder off.
- There are video settings (quality), audio settings, camera positioning and a few other settings. I did notice there are more settings if you log into your Arlo account via a web browser, instead of the app. If you have an iPhone with touch ID set up, you can use this to protect and access the Arlo app.