Recently I decided to install some Arlo wireless cameras around my house. Someone else in the neighborhood has them and was able to use footage from his cameras to help determine (loosely) what may have picked off my mailbox. After seeing the video he had captured with the cameras, I thought I would give them a run in my own home. They have been an interesting set of devices in the week or so that I’ve had them so I thought I would give them a review.
Most of the week was just playing with the settings and tinkering with the cameras inside the house. Watching the motion capture was interesting as there many alerts. We have a dog and he mostly hangs out on the couch during the day, but a couple times he appeared on the camera and triggered motion detection. Nice work NETGEAR, the capture was great including the push notification. Today I mounted the cameras, or rather stuck them up.
Installing the cameras outside my home was pretty easy, place the metal mounts on the house and clip the cameras to the mounts with the built in magnets. Since putting them up this afternoon, they are still hanging. The strength of the magnet in each camera is impressive, especially since there are electronics inside and there is no interference or weirdness with the video.
As an example, the image below is captured from the newly mounted cameras.
I found the cost of the cameras to be alright. Sure they are completely wireless and the installation is easy, but the cost of the bundle I got was $550 on Amazon for three cameras, a base station, and a range extender. Since the batteries that ship with the units are not rechargeable and need to be replaced every 6 months or so depending on the video settings and wireless availability for the cameras, a direct power option would be nice. Given the price I paid for the bundle, this should be included. On the other hand, the ease of installation and configuration is awesome. So for what I got the price was not unheard of, but it could be a bit better.
Setting up the system was easy. Configure the base station on the same network as your wireless network. An Ethernet cable is included to ensure the connection to the network is fast and reliable. Once plugged in and powered up, the system syncs the base station with each camera at the push of two buttons. Once completed, the cameras are ready to deploy.
In addition, up to 1 Gb of data can be stored using the included Arlo cloud account. The general monitoring and camera configuration is done using an Android or iOS app or by logging into the portal for your account. When configuring the cameras you can set the sensitivity of the motion sensor, higher is more sensitive and lower is less sensitive. When capturing motion an email or alert can be sent to the account which will let you know what is going on in your environment. To help with day to day management, rules can be configured to ensure that motion is captured when you aren’t home (during the work day) or maybe overnight. Even with rules and scheduling to make sure that things are monitored to your liking, you can login to the app on a smart phone or tablet and watch live video from each camera. The configuration screens and options as seen on an iOS device are below:
I will admit that I wasn’t sure a camera system was right for me, but it provides peace of mind that things in and around my home are monitored. The fact that they can also act as a video doorbell is pretty sweet too.