Last May, we were reviewing the Arlo Q, a particularly interesting indoor camera because of its good quality Full HD image and its free recording service, which is a real asset for a surveillance product. Our new review this time concerns the Arlo Pro, an equally promising outdoor camera kit, even if, at 570 euros, it is not the most affordable. Arlo Pro – which succeeds the Arlo offer – is in fact in the form of a pack, consisting of two wireless cameras, communicating with a base to be connected to its internet box.
On the basic side, we can say that Netgear has done a pretty good job in adopting a pretty all-purpose design. In any case, it is enough so as not to denote too much in a salon. Furthermore, this case is quite compact with dimensions of 12.5 x 18 x 6 cm and should therefore easily find its place.
At the rear, there is a connector consisting of an Ethernet port, which will connect the base to the ADSL or fiber box in the house, and two USB ports.
These can accommodate a USB key, a self-powered external hard drive, or powered from the mains. Another important strong point of this box since it allows to considerably extend the recording time.
Which brings us to another strong point of Arlo Pro: the two wireless camera pack benefits from a free storage offer in the Cloud from Netgear (paying for more than 5 cameras). The recordings are kept for a week online, or permanently on a USB key or an external hard drive.
Another novelty, this new Arlo Pro base also includes a powerful 100 dB siren (at the back) which activates as soon as one of the cameras detects a movement, provided that the function is activated (via the application or the site Arlo).
720p quality with bi-directional sound
In addition to the presence of a rechargeable battery (whose autonomy would be around 4 to 6 months), the technical equipment of the Arlo Pro is revised upwards. If these cameras still film in 720p, they are now equipped with a wide-angle optics 130 degrees (against 110 degrees previously) which cover more surface than the old models. An advantage all the more appreciable since we have not observed any loss of image quality or distortion.
The new Arlo Pro also includes a microphone and a speaker. The set allows you to hear what’s going on, but also to speak. The catch for outdoor use is that the speaker is clearly not powerful enough to be heard.
On the other hand, the microphone is of good quality and allows you to hear a conversation distinctly a few meters from the camera.
The image quality turns out to be quite correct during the day and the video stream is not too heavy thanks to the H264 compression. Netgear says it has improved the detection speed of its cameras and if it is not yet perfect, it is indeed a little better. However, remember to adjust the sensitivity of the detection function in the application menus. Anyway, it is certainly enough to detect and record an intruder when the field of vision of the camera is far away. In terms of reactivity, the Netatmo Presence does better, however. This is undoubtedly linked to the fact that the Netatmo is a permanently powered model while the Arlo are battery models which must save their energy.
At night, the range of the infrared device is not very long. The camera’s field of vision is severely reduced. In the image above, the cat that activated the motion detection is barely visible in the upper right corner of the image.
It is a little better with a human subject, but the rendering does not allow to identify a face.
On the other hand, on the screenshot above, the fact that we have other night vision cameras installed has benefited the Arlo Pro. The multiplication of infrared LEDs creates, in fact, a completely correct image. Note that all videos can be downloaded, either on PC or on your Android or iOS smartphone.
The Netgear Arlo mobile application, like the web interface of the service, allows you to consult the recording library for each camera, but also all the cameras.
It is currently impossible for us to confirm that the autonomy of the cameras is indeed 4 months. Everything will in fact depend on the video quality selected in the application and the duration of the recordings (up to 300 seconds per activity detection). However, it is important to note that their batteries can be recharged quickly thanks to the supplied AC adapter. The latter is “Quick Charge” compatible and, according to Netgear, it would only take 20 minutes to recover 80% endurance. It will therefore be very easy to refuel. As for the range of the 802.11n Wi-Fi link, used in the base and of each of the wireless cameras, we can tell you that it is around 25 meters, according to our estimates. Beyond that, pixels appear in the image.
A multitude of accessories
We did not dwell on the method of fixing the Arlo Pro. This one is pretty basic. The manufacturer delivers magnetic supports which hold the camera very firmly in its orientation.
On the other hand, the small original supports do not allow the camera to be moved to bypass an obstacle. For this, Netgear offers several adjustable supports, magnetic or screw, as well as cases to camouflage a little more the cameras which are also waterproof, even without protective shell.
The protective covers, below, are sold for 30 euros for a set of three.
The adjustable support is sold for around 15 euros.
The best is yet to come
On the software side, Arlo Pro cameras could still evolve in the coming months. Netgear recently bought the start-up Placemeter, which specializes in video stream analysis. Thanks to this acquisition, the Arlo cameras should have a more precise object recognition function, allowing on the one hand to avoid false alerts (when a tree moves in front of the lens for example) but also to integrate facial recognition functions on the other hand. These features should be available in beta by next summer.