Following up on the well-regarded Arlo connected camera are the Netgear Arlo Pro and Netgear Arlo Go.
The Pro consists of a base station and 1 or more cameras (up to 15 per base station). The cameras are wireless and rechargeable and, if left to capture around 5 minutes-worth of still frames per day, should last up to 6 months between charging. This is impressive stuff and is partly down to the power-friendly wireless communication between the camera and base station.
Hardware-wise, the Pro contains a 720p camera with a 130 degree field of vision (up from the 110 degrees of the original Arlo) with adjustable sensitivity for motion detection. The camera is designed for outdoor use, and will function in temperatures from –20 degrees centigrade up to 45 (although lower temperatures will hit battery life). Night vision up to 7 metres is also supported. The base station requires an internet connection and also features a 100 decibel siren.
The camera itself has little onboard storage, and so relies on a connection to the base station, where images may be stored locally. It is possible to expand storage on the base station via external USB drives, but Netgear would much rather users opted for cloud storage, where up to 7 days of video (depending on settings) from up to 5 cameras may be stored entirely free of charge. This seems somewhat of a no-brainer since it makes it possible to access the stored imagery and video from anywhere and, of course, Netgear would be very happy to sell users expanded storage for more cameras. However, a rolling 7 days of storage for life seems a very good deal.
The Pro is managed via a smartphone app, which allows cameras to be added, video feeds to be viewed and settings (such as the motion sensitivity) to be adjusted as well as configuring alerts and scheduling. Netgear also continue the theme of voice control through Amazon Echo integration, which allows for commands such as checking battery level and that the cameras are functioning. An intriguing development is the integration with the Echo Show, which allows for voice commands such as “Alexa, show me the front door” and have the camera feed appear on the Echo Show device.
The outdoorsy sibling of the Arlo Pro is the Go edition, which removes the need for a base station. Instead, the chunkier Go accepts a 3G / LTE SIM for cellular connectivity to Netgear’s cloud service (again, 7 rolling days of coverage is included) and also an SD card slot for storage on the camera itself. It will also work with the Arlo Pro base station if one is in range, but having the ability to continue functioning independently adds to the security credentials of this smart camera.
Battery life does take a hit thanks to the cellular connectivity, but by recording on a schedule or using smart motion detecting settings, Netgear reckon up to 3 months is possible before a recharge is needed (although a solar panel is due for release in September 2017 that will go some way to addressing this in both the Pro and Go editions). As with any cellular device, signal strength is also a factor that can impact battery life. In terms of data, the default settings (averaging 5 minutes of video a day) equate to 850MB per month being used on the cellular network.
With voice control through Alexa and Echo Show, and 3rd party integration possible using services such as Stringify and IFTTT, the Arlo camera range appears compelling. We will undertake a full review later this year.