The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free. #BBYConnectedHome @BestBuy @ArloSmartHome @Netgear
I’ve been testing wireless security cameras for a few months now, and I’ve finally found one I can heartily recommend! The Netgear Arlo Smart Home Security Camera system is a set of four battery-powered indoor/outdoor cameras that can be mounted anywhere within your wireless router’s range. These small cameras deliver quality video and photos when tripped by motion directly to your email, so you have a record of what’s going on. You can also access any of the cameras and watch them live from your smartphone or computer.
These cameras are weatherproof and work in temperatures from 14° to 122°, captures 720p video night and day, and has a 130° field of view and they work with other NETGEAR products. This 4-camera set is only available at Best Buy.
What makes the NETGEAR Arlo Smart Home Indoor/Outdoor Wireless High-Definition Security Cameras different is that they’re battery powered, so you don’t have to run electrical or limit yourself to where power is available. That makes them portable and easy to move as your needs change. My cameras are mounted outside, but when we recently went on vacation, I brought them inside to supplement our regular security alarm. While I was on the beach in Hawaii, my cameras were monitoring for movement inside my home.
Installing the Arlo Smart Home Security Cameras
Setting up the Arlo Smart Home Security Cameras was was beyond simple, but for people who are leery of installing their own, there are fabulous instructions provided in print, step-by-step online, and in the video below.
Arlo Installation Video
No assembly required and the camera system arrives with one Netgear Adjustable Mount and four magnetic camera mounts (thought I had 6 in my box). There are also wall screws and anchors for mounting them and an ethernet cable for connecting the router.
The Arlo cameras are waterproof and can be installed in so many ways. We currently have one mounted above the front door, and we’ve painted it black to match it so the camera is virtually invisible.
The cameras are connected to your Wireless Router through a Base Station that takes just a few minutes to set up.
Arlo Smart Home High-Definition Security Cameras Monitoring Software
The Arlo Smart Home Security cameras can be monitored from any compatible Android, Apple® iOS, Amazon Kindle, Windows or Mac device, but it can also be controlled via their web portal from any non-mobile device. It’s one of the few systems that offer both ways to monitor and manage your security system, and it’s one of the reasons they’re on my list of the best video systems.
The Arlo Smart Home software and app has undergone a major update in the last month making these cameras even more versatile. For example, now I can set up several camera modes that let me change how my cameras record and alert with one click. For example, I can set up an “OUTSIDE mode” that tells the cameras to send me a photo when it sees motion, but not to record a video. That gives me a chance to see if it’s the wind causing the alert and that saves the battery by not making unnecessary recordings.
I can also set up a “Home Mode” which tells the outside camera to detect motion and send alerts, but tells the inside cameras to ignore any motion. These modes save me so much time in setting the system for our current conditions. I can also schedule modes so that the system changes how it monitors throughout the day based on the schedule I set.
Arlo Video Sample from my Front Door
The software and app also allow me to choose the quality of the video each camera shoots (the lower the quality, the longer the battery life). It also allows me to invert the image if I’ve hung the camera upside down. Plus it lets me set the zoom and pan for the camera if the default view is larger than I need. This feature is especially important if you need to focus on a specific spot instead of a wide area.
Basic Monitoring in FREE!
NETGEAR gives owners 7-days of free cloud storage for photos and videos captured by the cameras, and these can be shared or downloaded before they expire. This camera system is one of the only ones that I’ve come across that provides this valuable service at no cost. There are upgraded monitoring and storage options available for a fee if you need them, but for me, the free basic service has been sufficient with its 1 GB of cloud storage.
The recorded video and photos are easy to access by type, date, favorite, etc. They delete automatically at the end of your storage agreement, or you can delete, share or download them.
The quality of the video and photos are based on the camera settings you choose. You have to consider the value of a better video as opposed to longer lasting batteries.
Battery Operated Security Cameras
I’ll admit, using batteries to run this security system worries me as a supporter of green living. I wish they had a wired version as well since there are many areas that I currently have the cameras that power is available. While they are designed to use their batteries wisely and they are expected to last 3-4 months, that’s still a lot of unnecessary battery usage on my part. But it’s because they are battery powered that they can be mounted in unexpected places where they’re harder to detect.
Each Arlo camera requires four CR123A lithium batteries. Using a quality brand like the Panasonic batteries included in the installation kit can cost over $100 to power all of the cameras. There are much cheaper options, but I’m not ready to trust my cameras to inexpensive knockoffs. I will be doing a little research to find out what the best replacement battery is for these and hoping to power them at a bit lower price. But even at $100 several times a year, that’s a small price to pay for the security they provide.
The Netgear Arlo Smart Home is available at Best Buy for $499.99.
The bottom line is that the Arlo system is easy to install, works perfectly, has a fantastic app and monitoring dashboard, provides free storage, and more. The only downside is that there isn’t an AC version for locations that have power available, and they are video only (not a problem for my use, but if you were considering using these to monitor by sound, you won’t find that option here).