Get the best wireless camera (member content) for your home thanks to our review, including which models feature things like motion detection and which ones are the easiest to use. We also have a wireless camera buying guide if you’d like to find out more about this product.
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Arlo is remarkable technology and it gives a great first impression. Nothing matches it for ease of setup for a DIY surveillance camera system.
The pain comes later. Arlo is heavily enmeshed in ‘the cloud’ and its reliability is largely dependent on how well Netgear is running things. You love it until your first experiences with not being able to log in, the system going offline for an extended period, having your settings messed with, or being required to do a factory reset of the base station to resolve an issue - which involves physically bringing each camera back to the base station to pair it again.
It also has some ‘dirty little secrets’ that professional reviews rarely address, such as the base station persistently setting itself to the same channel as your existing WiFi network. This can degrade the performance of one’s existing wireless network in some cases, and people have long pleaded for a channel override setting, but Netgear has ignored the issue.
Video quality falls short, especially with moving objects, due to low bitrates. The default resolution for the original Arlo and Arlo Pro is actually half the advertised 720p. I’m glad this is reflected in the review scores for image quality, although I thought it a bit odd that the Pro and Pro 2’s scores were so close as the Pro 2 has a lot more detail in the daytime at least. The original Pro can be better at night, so maybe that was factored in? I also note the review didn’t cover audio - that’s another respect in which the original Pro is actually better than the Pro 2 (which has poor audio sensitivity/volume).
The cameras are also particularly attractive to thieves, even though they don’t seem to have realised it en masse yet. They’re easy to locate (the base station has a distinctive WiFi SSID). They’re trivial to remove (instant for the magnetic mount, about five seconds for the screw-thread mounts) for something so valuable and exposed. There’s a strong second-hand market for Arlo cameras, and Netgear has shown little interest in blocking stolen ones.
I’m not going to tell anyone from the outset not to buy Arlo - experiences vary and sometimes it’ll be the best option. I’ve used it for just over two years and now have a mix of 8 cameras that includes the original Arlo wire-free, the Pro and Pro 2, with no plans to get rid of them in the short term, and I’m sure you could do worse with many of the other ‘consumer-level’ cameras Choice reviewed. But I’m also planning to test the waters with other options, such as Ubiquiti UniFi cameras, which have more initial pain (e.g. wiring) but should be less troublesome once set up.