Pros / Arlo is one of the easiest systems in our review to install.
Cons / You have to pay for a subscription to get customer support after the first three months.
Verdict / Arlo is easy to install, but its video clarity doesn't compare well with most wired home surveillance systems.
Netgear's Arlo system is one of two home surveillance systems in our review that are wireless. This makes the system easy to install, but also that it runs on battery power. The video quality is good, but it lacks the polish of most wired systems. The customer support is good, but only available to paying subscribers after three months.
In our tests, Arlo had good daytime video clarity close to the camera and at distances of 20 and 30 feet. It did more poorly at 10 feet, worse than over half of the home surveillance cameras we tested. The camera had no problems with movement, color accuracy or capturing a person's face, though.
At night, the Arlo had excellent clarity at 10 and 20 feet. In fact, it produced a better image at 10 feet than any other home surveillance system we tested, including the top nighttime performer, Swann. Close to the camera and at 30 feet, though, the image quality was among the lowest in our review. There was noise in the video that obscured some of the details, but this is standard among home surveillance cameras.
The Arlo captured important facial features in total darkness up to 20 feet from the camera, which is a very good result. The system did well considering it has about a third as many infrared LEDs as the home surveillance systems with the best nighttime video. With fewer LEDs, though, the Arlo's video can be quite dim at times.
Since the Arlo camera is wireless, it's very easy to install. You still need to connect the base station's power adapter and use an Ethernet cable to connect it to your router, but this is simple. The camera is weatherproof so you can mount it indoors or outdoors up to 300 feet from the base station.
The camera attaches to the mounting hardware or most metal surfaces magnetically, which is unique in our review. The mobile app is easy to use as well, but it took up more space on our test smartphone than any other in our tests. This is why it scored lower than our other wireless home surveillance camera in usability.
This system records your video to a cloud-based server that stores clips for up to seven days before deleting them. You can get more capacity with a paid subscription. The batteries last up to six months but drain rather quickly if you record videos longer than the default 10-second clips of the motion detection feature. Netgear does make the Arlo Q, which can record continuously, but only as an indoor camera.
You can get assistance with your Arlo cameras by contacting Netgear over email and telephone. The system has a one-year warranty, shorter than those of the best home surveillance systems. Netgear's customer service for Arlo is disappointing, not in terms of quality, but in the fact that you need to be a paying subscriber to use it beyond the first three months after your purchase.
- Video Quality - Day
- Video Quality - Night
- Ease of Use
The Arlo home surveillance system is a good option for its easy installation and decent video. However, it doesn’t hold up to wired systems, which typically have better video quality and features. Linking basic customer service to a paid subscription places unnecessary limits on this otherwise worthwhile system.