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NETGEAR Arlo Review

Price:   $220 List | $144.97 at Amazon
Pros:  Wireless, weatherproof
Cons:  Expensive, relatively poor video quality and real time viewing, requires buying/replacing batteries
Bottom line:  A reasonable outdoor camera, but not a top performer in any category
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   NETGEAR

Our Verdict

The NETGEAR Arlo is a wireless and weatherproof outdoor security camera whose lackluster performance in our testing doesn't match its high price. We found the Arlo to be below the benchmark set by its peers in term of video quality, monitoring performance, and real time viewing performance. Those looking for an outdoor camera would most likely be much happier with the Canary Flex or, if you're willing to pay for a subscription, the Nest Cam Outdoor.


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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Wednesday
February 22, 2017

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Performance Comparison


This chart shows how the NETGEAR Arlo's performance (in blue) stacks up again the other models we tested.


Below we go into detail about how the Arlo performed in each of our testing metrics.


Monitoring Performance


The NETGEAR Arlo was the worst performer in this metric, earning a 4 out of 10, ar off the top score of 8.

Monitoring Services With/Without a Subscription


NETGEAR actually provides a fair amount of video history without a subscription. For free you get one week or one gigabyte of activity clip history (the video files tend to be small, making it unlikely you'll reach that gigabyte limit within a week). For $10 a month that activity history is extended to 30 days or 10GB, and for $15 you'll get a 60 day history, but still with the 10GB cap.

The Arlo runs off of batteries  which must be replaced periodically.
The Arlo runs off of batteries, which must be replaced periodically.

Poor Video recording


The Arlo's bad score in this metric is partially due to the fact that, during our testing, recording wasn't always continuous. The camera often stopped recording in the middle of continuous activity and then started up again a bit later, causing us to miss some of the action.

Audio Quality


The Arlo does not capture any sound with its video, only producing silent movies.

Video Quality


The Arlo scored a 6 out of 10 in our video quality testing. This was an average score in a metric where scores ranged from 3 to 8. Its 720p resolution is noticeably fuzzier than the 1080p models we tested, but still produces a reasonable picture. The videos it saved were also often choppy, making it more difficult to recognize faces of people walking by the camera. It also has a relatively narrow 110˚ field of view.



App Ease of Use


The NETGEAR app is thoughtfully designed and earned a score of 8 out of 10 in our testing. This put it right near the top of a metric where scores ranged from 5 to 9. We found navigating the app to be quite intuitive. We were always able to easily find the setting we wanted to change or the video clip we wanted to view. However, doing these things felt just a bit more pleasant on the top scoring Nest app, which kept the NETGEAR app from taking home the top score.

The NETGEAR app is generally simple to navigate.
The NETGEAR app is generally simple to navigate.

Real Time Viewing


The Arlo earned a 6 out of 10 in our real time viewing testing, putting it towards the bottom of a metric that saw scores between 5 and 8. It performed very well in our latency test with the video feed lagging only 5 seconds behind the real world action. However, the stream kept pausing to refresh while we were watching it, causing us to miss a good amount of what was happening in front of the camera. The Nest Cam Outdoor would be a much better option for outdoor real time viewing.

Installation Notes


The Arlo is completely wireless and runs off of Cr123 lithium batteries that must be replaced periodically. Battery life will vary depending on a number of conditions, but we got 3 weeks out of a battery when we put our Arlo outside in the winter cold. The Arlo mounts onto its base with a magnet, which makes adjusting it to the exact angle you want quite easy. The base must be mounted to a vertical surface and installs with one screw. The camera comes with a base station that must be plugged into a standard outlet.

The Arlo: completely wire free. It comes with just a camera and a mounting base.
The Arlo: completely wire free. It comes with just a camera and a mounting base.

Value


The Arlo's list price of $220 makes it one of the most expensive models we tested. Unfortunately it just did not perform well enough in our testing to back up that high price, thus we feel the Aro is a poor value.

Conclusion


The Arlo is a relatively expensive outdoor camera that did not wow us in any of our tests. If you like the idea of a wireless outdoor camera, we would suggest looking at the Canary Flex.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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