Arlo on the down low!
If you are considering Arlo for real time security and door answering, you will be very, very disappointed. The response time is just to long! If you just want to have a record of what happen and can live with recorded playback, then this is the way to go. The cameras are excellent, but the system as a security solution is full of short falls. Here are just a few of our pet peeves!
Painfully Slow camera Access!
Having had the Ring doorbell with built in Camera. Microphone and Speaker for a base cost of under $200, our expectations were set. Hear the door bell? Hit your iPhone app and then very quickly see and speak with the visitor. With Arlo, If someone knocks at the door, by the time you log in and access the door camera they are gone. Additionally you then discover that for a four camera solution with a price of about $600, you can not talk or hear the visitor even if they are still standing their by the time your App connects! You will need to purchase PRO if you want to Hear and Talk through the camera. We add one Camera for about $200!
Other “Pro” features.
Arlo marketing literature is so confusing, one can only conclude that the purposely set out to confuse the buyer! We have Arlo, Arlo Pro and Now Arlo Pro 2! Can we make it more confusing for the helpless shopper! Let’s talk about “motion detection”. You can set “motion detection” on and off but only for the entire system. Lets say your want motion detection alerts for the front door camera, but do not want it on for the lobby camera or living room. You want to know if someone is at the front door, not if the dog is walking across the living room! If you want to activate “Zone” based motion detection, you need the Pro Camera.
Pro Base Station?
If you want to use the Zone based motion detection I added a Pro camera to my four camera System and I still did not get this feature you have to purchase the Pro base. Both the Pro and whatever you call the “Not Pro” base controller appear to be the same hardware, but the software is different. You can spend the money to add a Pro Camera to your mix, but you still do not get the Pro base features. They don’t mention this when you buy a Pro Camera. This is really BS in my humble opinion. The base units should have the same software and know which Camera they are linking to!
Geo Location Short Fall?
Also you can share notification with another member but no observations. For example assume you have a home setup and you want motion alerts sent to both yourself and your wife. She can share your account notifications but she can not share you “geo settings”. I only want motion alerts when I am away from the house. “Geo Alerts” use the Smartphone GPS app to switch this feature on and off. Well if you share the App with your wife, would it no make sense to turn it on only when both of your iPhones are out of the house, but not when just your iPhone is out of the house? Unfortunately when I leave the house the system is not smart enough to know my wife is still home. Really Netgear?
Your Arlo will connect to the cloud and store your video regardless of you desire to do so or not! In fact we think this is what slows down the response rates. If you do not want your network connected to the cloud and subject to folks that you have no control over, you might want to think this entire Arlo cloud strategy through! Regardless of your security setup, Arlo is going to take your pictures and send them to the cloud for storage! For the Smartphone app to work, you must be linking with a cloud based camera controller that has access to your cameras! Aside from taking forever to connect, the fact that you can not control access to your cameras is perhaps the biggest concern about Arlo as a security tool! Not only can you not control it, or reach the cameras from your internal network but you have not assurance that someone outside your network can’t connect.
Arlo customer services seems limited to “community” support. Admittedly, the Arlo cameras are excellent and weather proof! They have some Zoom capability and some night vision. Netgear should consider making the base software such that you can mix cameras and get the full feature set! They also need to make the cloud storage optional and provide network connectivity options that enable you to select your own IP and port access!
In general this is a great camera system if you only want a historical recording for later playback. As a solution for real time security it does not match Ring and cost much more. A single camera solution from Wansview sells for $89 and provides full tilt and swivel, bi-direcitonal sound and network connectivity options. Not making Pro software available with Pro camera additions is a real corporate miscommunication.
Netgear should stay with their core competency as the low cost provider of switches and routers for the Home Office, Small Office market.
NOTE New Defect 12/7/2017 – Due to the fact that I was out of town the night my neighborhood was evacuated because of the San Diego Fires, I though I would log into Arlo and check my house by camera. My house was offline with power failure. It was at this time that I discovered you can not access your smart phone ap, if Arlo can not make contact with the camera or router. This means you can even check what was stored in the cloud from the Ap! (The product development team clearly never heard of Agile, or Scrum).