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Hands-on Gear Review
NETGEAR Arlo Pro ReviewPrice: $250 List | $199.00 at Amazon
Pros: Wireless, weatherproof
Cons: Expensive, relatively poor video resolution, poor real time viewing
Bottom line: The wireless capability is convenient for an outdoor camera, but it offer lesser video quality than other model
The NETGEAR Arlo Pro is a wireless, weatherproof indoor/outdoor camera uses a well designed and intuitive app, but it otherwise its an all around mediocre performer. It is also one of the few models we tested that requires the use of a base station, which makes it about 25% more expensive than most of its competitors. This combination of high price and average performance make it a poor choice for most user. If you want an outdoor camera you'd probably be better off with the likes of the Canary Flex. If you want an outdoor camera and don't mind paying for a subscription, you'd be even better off with the Nest Cam Outdoor.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
This graph compares the Arlo Pro's overall performance (shown in blue) compares to the other models we tested.
Here we go into further detail about how the Arlo Pro performed in each of our individual testing metrics.
The NETGEAR Arlo Pro scored a 5 out of 10 in our monitoring performance testing. This put it just above the bottom score of 4 and well behind the top score of 8.
Monitoring Services With/Without a Subscription
NETGEAR will save one week or one gigabyte (whichever comes first) of activity clips to the cloud for free. Even in our testing where people were constantly walking in front of the camera we didn't reach the 1GB limit inside of a week, so unless you plan on using multiple NETGEAR cameras on the same account you probably won't reach it either. Therefore, this week long activity history is the longest offered without a subscription. Paying $10 a month extends this history to 30 days or 10GB, and $15 a month pushes it out to 60 days but still 10GB.
Poor Video recording
The Arlo Pros low score is mostly due to its poor ability to capture video. It was good at detecting initial motion, but it seemed that the recording would sometimes stop in the middle of action and then start up again, leading to disjunct video clips that didn't seem to capture all of the action.
The Arlo Pro's microphone is not particularly sensitive. We often had trouble understanding normal conversations recorded on the camera, even without disruptive ambient noise. It does have 2-way audio, and we found the speaker to be bit better than the microphone. Most testers could easily understand things said via the camera's speaker, but it could be drowned out by wind if placed outside. It also includes a siren, but this sound comes from the base unit, not the camera, making it somewhat useless if you're trying to deter intruders that haven't yet entered your home.
The Arlo Pro was an average performer in our video quality testing, earning a 6 out of 10 in a metric that saw scores ranging from 3 to 8. Its relatively low 720p resolution was noticeable, with video looking a good deal grainer than footage from full HD models. The footage saved to the cloud was also occasionally choppy. The lens does provide a wide 130˚ view, but that couldn't make up for its other shortcomings. Outdoor cameras like the Nest Cam Outdoor and the Canary Flex capture much better video.
This is one of the worst videos we pulled from the Arlo Pro, which displays the pixelated choppiness you can sometime get.
App Ease of Use
NETGEAR's Arlo app was one of the favorites amongst our testers. It offers easy to navigate menus for scheduling, geofencing, and setting alert settings. We had very few complaints with this app, though it did feel just a tad less streamlined and intuitive than the top scoring Nest app.
Real Time Viewing
The Arlo Pro was in the bottom basement club in our real time viewing testing, sharing the low score of 5 with a number of other models in a metric where scores went as high as 8. It logged a mediocre latency of 12 seconds in our test. Like its saved video clips, the live feed was often choppy, sometimes to an annoying degree. The Nest Cam Outdoor is a much better option for real time viewing outdoors.
The Arlo Pro mounts magnetically onto its base so its direction can easily be adjusted. The base itself must be mounted on a wall and installs with a single screw. The camera runs off of a rechargeable battery, but can be charged while in use. If you place it somewhere out of reach of a cable it must be taken down and charged periodically. Battery life can vary depending on a number of different conditions, but ours lasted over two weeks when placed outside in the winter cold. The camera's included base station must be plugged into a standard outlet.
With a list price of $250 the Arlo Pro is the most expensive camera we tested. While it does do some things fairly well, in our minds it doesn't excel enough in any area to justify the high price, thus we would rank it as a fairly poor value.
The Arlo Pro is a fairly convenient, wireless outdoor camera. However, its convenience factor won't outweigh its performance shortcomings for most users.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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