Netgear Arlo Pro 2 Review
Pricey but professional security cameras for the home.
Although it’s currently owned by US tech giant Netgear — a company best known for its routers — it’s recently been reported that Arlo is about to be spun off as a separate company due to its success. Certainly Arlo has gained a reputation for producing a range of solidly built internet- connected cameras, although how it will fare going it alone against offerings from companies such as Amazon and Google remains to be seen.
The Netgear Arlo Pro 2 is one of the company’s high-end security systems. Although billed as a wireless solution, the pack of two comes with its own base station — about the size of a small router — which needs to be connected to your broadband router using the supplied Ethernet cable.
Not only will you need a spare Ethernet port on the back of the router, you’ll ideally need to be able to place the base station close to the router in your home. Alternatively, it is possible to use powerline technology for greater flexibility, in which case, you can plug the base unit into a powerline socket.
The starter pack gets you the base unit and two oval-shaped white cameras, resembling oversized eggs. Weather resistant (with an IP65 rating), these can be mounted indoors or outdoors using the magnetic mounts included. Alternatively, they can be freestanding.
On the bottom of each camera are a small speaker and microphone, allowing for two-way audio. At the top are two buttons; one of these is to sync the camera with the base station, the other opens the back of the unit to reveal the lithium-ion battery.
The battery needs to be fully charged either using the USB plug and lead or by plugging the camera directly into the USB port on the back of the base unit.
Setting up each camera to ‘talk’ to the base unit should be straightforward; by pressing the Sync button on top of the base unit, followed by pressing the one on the camera.
We encountered problems, but it seems the issue may have been with the broadband router we were using. Netgear confirmed that there have been some initial isolated issues with certain broadband routers and providers, but these are said to have all been resolved by its support network.
Once the base unit and cameras were synced, we were able to control the system easily. Each camera can be individually labelled depending on where you use it, and controlled using your PC or smartphone.
You can view two live images side by side, or expand one to fill the screen.
Although the 130° field of view isn’t as wide as some cameras, the image quality from the camera is excellent. Thanks to an 8x digital zoom, you can hone in on parts of the image — in the web interface or with the app’s pan and zoom feature. There’s a night vision mode, too.
The Arlo Pro 2 will inform you if the cameras detect motion. Each camera can be individually ‘armed’ to detect motion all the time or disarmed completely. There’s also an option to only arm the cameras during certain hours of the day. The system also features an integrated alarm with a 100dB+ output.
Solidly built and capable of crystal-clear HD video, the Arlo Pro 2 is also expensive.