With 2019 coming to a close in the new few months, it’s time to start looking ahead to which home automation and security products are going to control the market in 2020 and beyond. Without a doubt, the current market leader in home and office security camera systems is Netgear’s Arlo Cameras.
You’re not going to get a ton of bells and whistles with Arlo Camera System, but they pride themselves on being simple to install and use, and they foster a wide variety of models to choose from. Also, they are all built with DIY installation in mind.
Arlo Camera’s company tagline is “Every Angle Covered”, so clearly they are leaning into their hardware’s ability to be installed virtually anywhere on your property with relative ease. They have both indoor and outdoor models, as well as baby monitors. This makes them a great choice for new homeowners who are looking for a simple and straightforward home security solution. Ahead, we’re going to break down the Arlo product line piece-by-piece and dive into some of the unique features that make them a market leader. But first…
Why Buy Security Cameras?
With the advent of 4G (and soon-to-be 5G) mobile networks, the ability of normal consumers to stream video on their phones has led to a revolution in security camera systems. Major companies like Amazon and Netgear have noticed, and they’re using their infrastructure and hardware expertise to create a new generation of security cameras that allow users to instantly view events or stream live footage from their cameras using their mobile devices.
For everyday people looking to add cameras to their homes or businesses, this will make the process relatively easy. Setting up Arlo cameras are about as simple as setting up a webcam, and their mobile platforms make installation and setup a breeze.
While the ability to secure your property easily with cameras like Arlo is great, the first thing you should do is ask yourself if you really need a security camera system. For example, if you’re considering a security camera for just your front door, a video doorbell system like Ring might make more sense for you. Similarly, if you’re looking to monitor an indoor room such as a nursery or office, you may want to look into cheaper indoor security cameras that will give you basic functionality without making such a dent in your bank account. Though buying one camera for your front door will certainly do the job, advanced camera systems like Arlo are better geared for users that are looking to secure large areas or the entire exterior of their property.
Alright, now let’s start the rundown of Arlo cameras and dig deep into what makes them unique from other camera brands.
The Arlo Pro comes with one totally wireless indoor/outdoor camera. This Arlo Camera is an IP65 weather resistant home security camera with a rechargeable battery, so there’s no need to waste money on an endless supply of lithium batteries. Its features include audio and video streaming, motion detection, night vision, and two-way talk. It does not include a camera light.
The next step up from the Arlo Pro, the Arlo Pro 2 allows for 1080p HD recording, so it’s a great option for those who are need of high-resolution recordings. It also comes with one wireless camera and base station. But unlike the Arlo Pro, Pro 2 allows you to set activity zones that will focus on motion and sound detection on certain parts of the image and ignore others. It has a 3-second look back whenever it starts to record an event, and it also includes a 100-decibel siren, which is handy for home or office defense.
The Arlo Ultra is the most powerful Arlo camera to date. It boasts 4K UHD resolution and multiple smart home features that the other cameras don’t have. At $399.99, it’s a king’s ransom for a single camera, but if you’re looking for top-of-the-line security, this is it.
The Arlo light and base station interfaces seamlessly with your Arlo cameras and can trigger a recording whenever the light detects motion. There are also various “If This, Then That” automation settings, as well as a feature called Dusk To Dawn, which helps your batteries last longer by turning on a power-saving feature when the sun is up. The lights are certified for indoor and outdoor use and the brightness settings are completely customizable. You can set different colors and even adjust the size of the beam. Amazon Alexa compatibility is also a nice plus.
Historically, baby monitors have been a bit of a blind spot in the security camera market – no pun intended. But the Arlo Baby Monitor is a real deal home security camera that has many of the home automation features that parents find useful in their baby monitors. It includes 1080p HD video recording, live streaming video, night vision, motion and sound alerts, air sensors, and two-way talk so your baby can hear your voice from the other room. The Baby Monitor also comes with a variety of different skins, which allow you to blend the Arlo camera into the room.
The Arlo Q Series is made up of AC powered cameras that are not wireless and are really meant for customers who are looking for simple, around-the-clock surveillance, as opposed to a motion-activated system.
For customers looking to get an Arlo system, but unable to spend the money required for an Arlo Pro, the basic Arlo Camera is a reasonable and more-than-capable entry point. This is the basic indoor/outdoor camera and includes video streaming and night vision.
Most Arlo cameras require a base station that helps you connect the wireless cameras to the Internet. It also has a USB drive that can help handle your local storage needs, as well as a 100-decibel siren.
We finally have gotten to the one product that makes Arlo a truly unique choice for people looking for advanced security cameras solutions. The Arlo Go was designed for large properties and locations where it may be difficult to get consistent Wi-Fi coverage. This kind of foresight and product design is really what separates Arlo from the pack, as Wi-Fi connectively is a consistent issue among wireless security camera users, and to this point, there really hasn't been a solid solution. (Besides moving your router, which isn’t always possible.) The Arlo Go includes a mobile data plan with onboard 4G LTE. This gives you a lot more flexibility regarding camera placement since you don’t have to worry about proximity to your Wi-Fi Router. The Arlo Go is also weather resistant, rechargeable, and includes an SD card slot.
Well designed hardware
Arlo cameras are easy to set up and install. Their sleek design doesn’t stand out or draw attention and can be mounted on a variety of surfaces. No need to drill mounts or anything like that.
The camera is 100% wireless, so you don’t need to worry about any plugs or cables. This also eliminates the threat of intruders cutting the wires to your security system.
As with most modern security systems, Arlo includes motion activation alerts that can be sent to your mobile device.
Infrared Night Vision
One of the coolest features of Arlo’s cameras is that you can activate night vision to see exactly what’s going on without blasting the area with artificial light. This allows the camera to stay hidden while recording at night.
Similar to the Blink XT2, Arlo cameras allow you to speak through the camera using your mobile phone. This feature alone will help Arlo compete with video doorbell companies.
Support for up to 60 Cameras
That’s right, you can have up to 60 cameras connected on the same network. That makes Arlo the best choice for large areas.
Wide-Ranging Platform Support
With the ability to connect 60 Arlo cameras, their management system has to be top notch, and it doesn’t disappoint. The system can be accessed using a variety of different technologies, including iOS, Android, web browsers, and Apple TV.
Not all smart home products are created equal. Some, indeed, are “smarter” than others. You can connect just about anything to your home Wi-Fi, but it’s the compatibility with other third-party products that makes something really “smart”. And in that regard, Arlo Cameras excel. They may be bare-bones when it comes to home automation, but the Arlo cameras play very well with third-party devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home. This allows for easy voice commands and allows you the opportunity to connect your cameras to many other devices and apps such as Apple Homekit, SmartThings, Telguard, Stringify, and Wink.
Great Customer Service
There are a few different ways to get help if you have any questions or problems with your cameras. There’s a pretty active and vibrant online community that will answer most questions you have upfront. The Arlo forum is a great starting place for any technical issues or questions. FAQs and a robust resource section on the Arlo website will also give guidance when needed.
If those initial options don’t solve your issue, Netgear has an extensive support center that contains videos and articles so you can learn about your cameras on your own, or, if one-on-one help is required, live chat is available for all customers. You’ll get 90 days of free phone support after you purchase any piece of Arlo equipment, but after those 90 days you’ll need to pay for support unless you subscribed to one of the video recording plans.
Paying for support can be a frustrating concept for some, but we’ll give Netgear a pass considering there really isn't much that can go wrong with these cameras.
- Monthly Cost. The lowest cost residential plan is $9.99/month or $99/year, plus the cost of equipment. This is actually pretty reasonable compared to other subscription-serviced camera systems, but you should weigh the value here against free-to-use systems like Blink.
- Equipment Cost. Again, it’s not that high when compared to other systems like it, but for simple residential needs, you may not want to drop $249.99 for one camera and another $149.99 for a light. Ultimately, this comes down to use. The cameras come with a one-year limited warranty.
- Piecemeal Parts. Despite the high quality of the security camera systems, Arlo cameras and accessories are not sold in very many bundles, so you may end up spending close to $1,000 for a set of 3 or 4 quality cameras. This makes the entry point for Arlo quite a bit higher than some of their competition.
The Bottom Line
Arlo security cameras offer a simple, but robust home security camera system with a few really smart features that help them stand out from the crowded competition. With not a lot of home automation options, the cameras are better suited for renters or people who are looking for a no-contract, “no-strings attached” approach to home security.
The range of different product choices is great for users with specific requirements, and the Arlo Go is a terrific and unique solution for people with Wi-Fi connectivity issues. While the total price point with hardware and subscription fees included may be a bit higher than some other options, you know you’re getting a top-quality camera system backed by Netgear, one of the most trusted and reliable tech companies out there.
Overall, Arlo Cameras are an easy and reliable way to protect your home.
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