Review: Netgear Arlo Pro

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test netgear arlo pro

The Netgear Arlo Pro home security camera system was designed to offer an easy-to-install, off-the-shelf solution. Paired with a smartphone, tablet or computer, the Netgear Arlo Pro base station and camera send real-time alerts to inform the user of the slightest suspicious movement or sound. Our test model was the Netgear Arlo Pro VMS4130 (base + 1 camera), paired with the Netgear Arlo Pro VMA4600 solar panel and Netgear Arlo Pro VMA4200 Camouflage camera skins.

Netgear Arlo Pro: easy to install’

In principle, anyone who knows how to use a smartphone can install this camera. Netgear has designed its Arlo ecosystem so that the base station and camera(s) offer wireless functionality. The Netgear Arlo Pro home security camera system is battery-operated, and the battery lasts several months on a single charge according to the manufacturer. Meanwhile, the camera can be powered continuously via its micro-USB port when installed indoors. For outdoor use (the camera is weatherproof), the battery needs to be recharged periodically (its magnetic base station allows it to be removed in a matter of seconds), unless the optional Netgear Arlo Pro VMA4600 solar panel is used. The latter recharges the camera?s battery continuously.

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The Netgear Arlo Pro camera.

Netgear Arlo Pro: accessories included

The Netgear Arlo Pro VMS4130 pack (base station + 1 camera) includes the Netgear Arlo base station, one Netgear Arlo Pro camera, a power adapter and an Ethernet cable for the base station (to be plugged into a set-top box or router), a Li-Po battery for the camera and a magnetic, repositionable mount for the camera.

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Our test configuration: a Netgear Arlo Pro camera and a solar panel to recharge the camera?s battery.
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The micro-USB port used to charge the Netgear Arlo Pro camera?s battery is protected by a silicone cover.
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The compartment of the Netgear Arlo Pro?s 2400 maH battery.
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The Netgear Arlo Pro VMA4600 solar panel is connected to the camera with a specially made micro-USB cable to maintain the system?s weatherproof characteristics. This cable is included.
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The micro-USB cable used to connect the Netgear Arlo camera and the solar panel.

Netgear Arlo Pro: where can the Arlo Pro camera be installed’

Absolutely everywhere. Since the camera is weatherproof, it can be installed outside. What?s more, its infrared night vision system allows it to detect movements and record video in total darkness. As practical in outdoor settings as in a child’s room.

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The Netgear Arlo Pro camera (with its softshell camouflage skin) attaches magnetically to its half-sphere mount, which is directly secured to the roof of our shed.

Netgear Arlo Pro: installation

The process to follow when installing the Netgear Arlo Pro system begins with the Arlo base station. This takes the form of a box with an Ethernet port and a USB port, which should be connected to an Ethernet port on a set-top box or router. Once this is accomplished, the Netgear Arlo app (Android or iOS) may be installed on a smartphone or tablet. The app will then detect the Arlo Pro base station and guide the user in pairing it with a camera or cameras.

Test Netgear Arlo Pro
The Netgear Arlo app is available for Android and iOS. Regularly updated, it has a rating of 4.1/5 with 33,000 votes. Reassuring.
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The Arlo app guides the user in installing each Arlo device (WiFi base station and cameras). Everything is clearly explained, and there wasn’t anything frustrating or confusing.
Test Netgear Arlo Pro
We opted for the ?Basic? subscription, which is completely free of charge and allows the user to pair up to 5 cameras and store up to 1 GB of recorded video for up to 7 days. This is more than enough to satisfy standard home security needs.
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The next step is to pair the camera or cameras with the Netgear Arlo base station. It?s simply a matter of holding each camera next to the base station and pressing the Sync button. Child’s play.

Netgear Arlo Pro: wide viewing angle

The Netgear Arlo Pro camera is equipped with an ultra-wide-angle lens and can thus be installed in a small room to monitor it completely. The trade-off for this wide-angle lens is that the camera must be installed very close to the zone to be monitored. This is why it is important to camouflage it with the optional camouflage skin proposed by Netgear.

For our test, we decided to keep track of who walked across our front lawn. We initially installed the camera on a windowsill on the second floor of our house, and we noticed that its field of vision covered the sidewalk and the side of the road. Apart from the fact that this caused recording to be activated as soon as a car passed or cat crossed the street (without looking), it made it difficult to identify who was really approaching our house.

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The solar panel recharges the Netgear Arlo Pro. The battery level never dropped lower than 90% over the course of several weeks of testing in the middle of winter.

Ultimately, we chose to install the camera on our front lawn between our bike shed and our house. This allowed us to install the Netgear Arlo Pro VMA4600 solar panel on the roof of our bike shed, slightly tilted toward the sky to take advantage of the shed’s southern exposure.

We needed to make a few adjustments and had the choice of using either the Netgear Arlo app or opening a web browser to connect to our Arlo account. The detection sensitivity, image brightness and video quality can all be adjusted. By default, the camera records for 10 seconds as soon as a movement or noise is detected. This didn’t suit our needs, and we adjusted the camera?s settings so that it would record from the beginning to the end of any movement it detected.

Netgear Arlo Pro: video storage

The Netgear Arlo Pro camera transmits video recordings in real-time to the base station via its wireless connection. Note that the RF connection (up to 90 m) is separate from the local WiFi network, thus allowing the camera to function normally in all circumstances and regardless of the available bandwidth. The videos are systematically stored online (cloud), in a private account accessible only to the user. It is nonetheless possible to connect a flash drive to the Netgear Arlo base station, which can come in handy when the Internet connections is down.

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The Netgear Arlo Pro home security camera system?s online control interface offers all the same functions as the mobile app, except that it doesn’t allow the user to speak through the camera?s speaker.

Important: video storage is totally free of charge, but is limited to 1 GB and a 7-day period. Connecting a flash drive to the base station doesn’t change anything. To benefit from more storage, a paid subscription is necessary:

? 89 ? /year for 30 days of storage, 10 GB and 10 cameras max.
? 139 ? / year for 60 days, 100 GB and 15 cameras max.
? Pro subscriptions are available, for up to 60 days, 400 GB and 40 cameras.

We carried out our test with the free Basic subscription over the course of several weeks without ever needing additional storage.

Netgear Arlo Pro: how is the image quality?

The Netgear Arlo Pro camera records in 720p at 15 images/second in high-quality mode (AVC codec, the same as for Blu-ray films and HDTV). The image quality is good even in complex lighting conditions (direct sunlight for part of the afternoon), and everything that was recorded was clear. At dusk, if night vision (infrared) hasn’t been activated, the image automatically switches to black and white (doubtlessly to avoid excessive colorimetric noise). Here again, the image is clear, despite the darkness.

The following three videos, stored on the cloud of the Netgear Arlo Pro camera, were recorded during the day, at dusk, and at night.

In total darkness, it is important to ensure that the camera does not film whatever is supporting it (a shelf, for example), since this will cause the infrared light to overexpose this area and ?block out? the rest of the image. In our case, the walls next to the camera were overexposed in night vision mode, so we chose to deactivate it.

Netgear Arlo Pro: personalized home security

Several personalized home security profiles are available, based on motion and/or sound detection. A recording schedule can be set up (practical to avoid filming oneself), and the camera can also be activated based on the geolocation of the user?s smartphone. If the user leaves a defined area, recording is activated.

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The Netgear Arlo app proposes three home security profiles, all of which are entirely customizable.
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The default recording length is 10 seconds: we recommend recording any activity from beginning to end (5 minutes maximum).

Netgear Arlo Pro: reliability and stability

To put it simply, the Netgear Arlo Pro system stays the course. Placed about 40 ft from the base station and separated by a concrete ceiling and stone wall, the camera?s connection never faltered for an instant. Over the course of about 20 detections and high-quality recordings (720p) lasting about 30 seconds, the Netgear Arlo Pro camera never lost more than 10% of its battery life. This made for a stress-free experience.

The Netgear Arlo mobile app is very well designed and responsive, and we never encountered the slightest problem when using it on our Android Lenovo P2 smartphone (Android 7). For certain Android smartphones with a particularly efficient energy saving mode, the app needs to be manually adjusted to authorize constant notifications.

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As soon as the slightest movement was detected, we immediately received an Android notification (which can be either accompanied or replaced by an email), regardless of whether we were connected to the same WiFi network as the camera or to the 4G wireless network.

The Netgear Arlo mobile app?s homepage, as well as that of the web app, proposes a large green button enabling the user to activate the camera?s integrated siren. The sound level reaches 100 dB at 3?3? (1 m), which is very dissuasive for night prowlers and errant animals.

In addition, the camera can be used as an intercom, thanks to the integrated speaker and microphone.

Conclusion

What we liked:

  • The ease of use
  • The reliability of the system
  • The very well-designed mobile app
  • The wide-angle lens
  • The possibility of recording sound and using the camera as an intercom with the Arlo app
  • The optional solar panelLe panneau solaire (optionnel) de recharge
  • The possibility of adding Arlo cameras after initial installation of the system

What we would have liked:

  • A second camera mount (micro boom pole)

The Netgear Arlo Pro home security camera system is both easy to install and reliable, and the Netgear Arlo mobile app and web app make control a breeze.

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