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Hands-on Gear Review
NETGEAR Arlo Q ReviewPrice: $200 List | $129.99 at Amazon
Pros: Good video quality, well designed app, relatively long cloud history available without subscription
Cons: Poor real time viewing performance
Bottom line: Great if you want a long video history without paying for a subscription, but bad if you want to do any real time viewing
The strongest member of NETGEAR's Arlo line, the Arlo Q provides good video quality, a nice app, and a solid bevy of non-subscription monitoring services. Its only real weak point is its real time viewing performance, which we found to be rather hiccupy. If you like the Nest Cam Indoor or Canary All-in-One but want something that provides a longer video history without a subscription, then the Arlo Q might fit the bill.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
This chart shows how well the NETGEAR Arlo Q (shown in blue) performed compared to the other models we tested.
Below we provide the nitty gritty details on how the Arlo Q performed in each of our individual testing metrics.
The NETGEAR Arlo Q earned a 7 out of 10 in our monitoring performance testing, putting it right behind the top score of 8 in a metric that had scores as low as 4.
Monitoring Services With/Without a Subscription
The Arlo Q's high score largely came from the amount of services NETGEAR offers without a subscription. For free on the cloud the camera will store one week or one gigabyte (whichever comes first) of clips where the camera detected motion. In our testing we always hit the one week limit before we hit the one gigabyte limit, even with lots of testers walking by the camera. This is the longest video history available without a subscription. However, the Arlo Q could be greatly improved with something like Nest's activity zones.
For $10 a month NETGEAR provides 30 days or 10GB of activity clips history, and for $15 dollars that history is extended to 15 days (but still 10GB).
The Arlo Q's audio quality is mediocre. Under ideal conditions we could understand people speaking at a normal conversational volume near the camera, but any sort of ambient noise or echoes could easily render voices indecipherable. The speaker it uses for 2-way audio, on the other hand, was superb in our testing. All testers could easily hear everything that was said through the camera, and you would certainly be able to gain the attention of any intruders with it.
The Arlo Q was one of the lower scoring 1080p models in our video quality testing. It earned a 7 out of 10, one lower than the 8 that most of the 1080p models we tested earned, but still significantly better than the bottom score of 3. The daytime video was nice and clear. It lost points because its night vision was a good bit grainier than that of the other 1080p models. The lens does provide a respectable 130˚ field of view with barely any distortion on the edges.
App Ease of Use
We generally liked the design of NETGEAR's app, and it picked up a score of 8 out of 10 in our ease of use testing. This put it just off the top score of 9 in a metric that had scores as low as 5. We found navigating menus in this app quite easy and intuitive. However, doing the same felt just slightly more pleasant when using the Nest app, so the NETGEAR app was kept off the app ease of use throne.
Real Time Viewing
The Arlo Q was one of the models that shared the low score of 5 out of 10 in our real time viewing metric. It had the worst latency in our test with a whopping 33 seconds. We could run multiple laps around the office before we actually showed up on the Arlo app. The video also frequently paused for a second to refresh. These periods were short enough that we didn't feel like we were missing too much of the action, but they were still quite annoying.
The Arlo Q does not have a battery and must be plugged into a standard outlet. It can be placed on any horizontal surface. The base does have a magnet, but it isn't particularly strong. It definitely adds stability when placed on a horizontal magnetic surface, but we wouldn't trust it to stay on a vertical magnetic surface. It comes with a mounting plate for mounting on vertical surfaces. The mounting plate installs with four screws.
The NETGEAR Arlo Q lists for $200, which seems to be the standard list price for a 1080p camera. If NETGEAR's non-subscription offerings fit your needs, and you don't care about real time viewing, then this is quite a good value. If you want a high definition camera that is adept at real time viewing you might find a better value in the Nest Cam Indoor of the Logitech Circle.
The NETGEAR Arlo Q is a capable camera with generous non-subscription offerings. However, it falls short in real time viewing performance, making it a poor pet camera.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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