Netgear Arlo Pro review

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THE GOOD: Netgear’s $250/£300 Arlo Pro provides indoor and outdoor security monitoring in a single camera. You get seven days of free event-based cloud storage, and its rechargeable battery is supposed to last for up to six months.

THE BAD: The Arlo Pro costs more than its competition, and it was difficult to see what was happening in night-vision mode. Some customers won’t want to deal with a hub accessory during installation.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The Arlo Pro is an even smarter DIY cam than Netgear’s first-gen Arlo, but competitors are closing in fast with innovative designs and updated apps.

There’s a lot to love about Netgear’s $250/£300 Arlo Pro security camera. Its rechargeable battery is simpler to deal with than the original Netgear Arlo’s expensive and hard-to-find CR123s. The Arlo Pro also adds in two-way audio so you can tell any unwelcome guests to get off your lawn, as well as receive audio alerts.

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Otherwise, this indoor/outdoor DIY home security camera is essentially the same as the first-gen Arlo, which Netgear still sells for $180/£135. That’s mostly a good thing, since Netgear nails the features category with seven days of free cloud storage, a wide-angle lens, a loud siren built-in to the Arlo Pro’s next-gen Wi-Fi hub and compatibility with IFTTT and Samsung SmartThings platforms.

The Arlo Pro is a solid choice, particularly for outdoor, scalable security since Netgear sells multicamera kits and the hub can help extend the camera’s reach beyond that of your WiFi router. I’d also consider the $199/£159 Canary Flex, as it has similar features with a more streamlined hub-free design.

Arlo Pro up close

The Arlo Pro shares a lot of similarities with the original Arlo camera. The main difference lies in the type of batteries Netgear uses. Instead of needing CR123 batteries to power a single Arlo camera, you get a single rechargeable battery with the Arlo Pro, designed to last for anywhere from four to six months.

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Netgear also improved the required hub accessory that comes with your Arlo Pro purchase. Not only does the router-connected hub help extend the Wi-Fi range for longer distance outdoor camera installs (around 200 feet when I tested it, although Netgear claims it has a “300+ feet line of sight” range), this updated version also has a built-in 100-decibel siren.

You can use the related Android or iPhone Arlo app to program the siren to sound when the camera detects activity. The one hiccup is that the siren sounds from the hub, not from the cameras. So, if you have your cameras installed outside around the perimeter of your yard and the camera detects activity, the siren will only sound inside your house. 100 decibels is pretty loud, but it might not be strong enough to scare off someone lurking around outside preparing to steal your car.

The Arlo Pro also adds in two-way audio via a built-in microphone and speaker so you can communicate with someone at your front door or tell your dog to stop chewing on your shoe.

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The Canary Flex and the Logi Circle are two Netgear Arlo Pro competitors. Check out the chart below to compare their main features and specs:

COMPARING RECHARGEABLE SECURITY CAMERAS:

Netgear Arlo Pro Logi Circle Canary Flex
Price $250/£300 $200/£159 $199/£159
Color finish White Black, white Black, white
Type Indoor/outdoor Indoor only Indoor/outdoor
Power source Rechargeable battery, power adapter Rechargeable battery, power adapter Rechargeable battery, power adapter
Resolution 720p HD 1080p HD 720p HD
Expected battery life Six months 3 hours (12 hours in power save mode) Two months
Field of view 130-degree viewing angle 135-degree viewing angle 116-degree viewing angle
Live streaming Yes Yes Yes
Continuous recording No No No
Cloud storage Free 7-day event-based video history (Optional 30- or 60-day event-based video history for $10 or $15 per month) Free 24-hour event-based video history (Optional 14- or 31-day event-based video history for $4 or $10 per month) Free 24-hour event-based video history (Optional 30-day event-based video history for $10 per month)
Local storage No No No
Mobile app Yes, Android and iPhone Yes, Android and iPhone Yes, Android and iPhone
Web app Yes Yes No
Night vision Yes Yes Yes
Alerts Motion and audio Motion (Person alerts with Circle Safe Premium subscription) Motion
Activity zones No Yes No
Two-way audio Yes Yes Yes, but Canary hasn’t activated the feature yet
Operating temperature range -4 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to 40 degrees Celsius) 32 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 40 degrees Celsius) -4 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to 40 degrees Celsius)
Third-party integrations IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings No Wink

The Arlo Pro has a definite advantage over both the Canary Flex and the Logi Circle in terms of features. Its rechargeable battery is supposed to last longer, it offers free 7-day event-based cloud storage and it works with IFTTT and SmartThings.

And while I didn’t test this camera over several months to fully explore its battery life, the battery indicator in the app is still showing that it’s fully charged after roughly a week of testing. The Canary Flex is still showing a mostly full charge, but it’s closer to 80 or 90 percent charged at this point.

At the same time, the Arlo Pro costs more than its competitors and some people won’t want to deal with the added hassle of installing the related hub — especially if they have no need for a Wi-Fi range extender.

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Performance

The good news is that the Arlo Pro performed the same as Netgear’s impressive first-gen Arlo camera.

Viewing the live feed was very simple, and I received prompt alerts related to any activity the camera detected.

At the same time, the Arlo Pro’s night-vision capabilities were disappointing compared to the Canary Flex. As you can see in the screenshot above, the Arlo Pro brightly illuminated the table it was sitting on, but everything in the background was still difficult to see.

Canary’s Flex had a much clearer night vision view, one that provided a clearer view of what was going on in the camera’s field of view.

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Even so, the Arlo Pro performed very well. I particularly liked that the Arlo Pro had arm/disarm security modes similar to the Flex that updated automatically via a geofencing radius.

The hub also did a decent job extending the camera’s Wi-Fi range. I walked the camera roughly 350 feet away from the router and was unable to pull up the live feed. But as I walked back toward the router, the live feed began to work at around 200 feet away. That’s a potential plus for anyone interested in installing these cameras beyond 150 feet.

Just keep in mind that the hub’s Wi-Fi range could vary depending on the type of router you have and the quality of your internet connection.

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The takeaway

The $250/£300 Netgear Arlo Pro is a smart choice if you plan to install security cameras outside your home due to the hub’s extended Wi-Fi range. You can also use them inside for advanced install flexibility in places where you don’t have easy access to an outlet. Still, I prefer the Canary Flex for flexible indoor/outdoor monitoring. The Flex’s hardware and app are extremely well designed and you don’t have to bother with a hub.

(cnet.com, https://goo.gl/VjYBLy)

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