Netgear pioneered the concept of indoor/outdoor cameras. Their first camera concept, Arlo, was an instant hit. Other companies followed their lead like Flir, Ring, and even Canary. Not to be outdone, Netgear has uped their game with Arlo Pro and Arlo Go. So what’s new?
- Wired, Wireless, and 4G Options
- Local and Cloud Storage
- Pro Requires Base Station
- Go Requires Cellular Plan
Hardware and Installation
Like Arlo, Arlo Pro requires a base station to work. And while the cameras are cordless, the base station requires power and internet. Arlo Pro's base station is different from Arlo's, but Pro works with both base stations. However, it's highly recommended that you buy the Pro base station as it adds local storage and a siren.
Arlo Go does not have a base station. It works alone and only requires an activated SIM card.
Choosing a Package
Once you've figured out which base you want, you will need to choose a camera package. Pro has packages ranging from one to four cameras, and they all include a base station. Prices for a starter kit start at $200.00. You can add more Arlo Pro cameras (without the base station) a la carte for $169.99.
Arlo Go retails for $399.99. If you sign a two-year contract with Verizon, they will lower the price to $349.99. In addition to buying a camera, you will also need a data plan. If you have an existing plan with Verizon, you simply add Arlo Go just like you would add another phone line. If you are on an unlimited plan, adding Arlo Go will add $20 per month to your bill. If you are on a shared data plan, Arlo Go will add $5 per month to your bill. Keep in mind that Go will also share in your allotted data. Netgear estimates that the camera will use about 1GB per month.
Arlo Go also has optional accessories. First, you can buy skins. A set of two skins (black or green) sells for $19.99. A set of two camouflage skins sells for $34.99. Finally, you can purchase an additional rechargeable battery for $59.99.
Arlo Pro and Go are both easy to install thanks to their cordless design and magnetic mounts. The magnetic base allows you to quickly adjust the camera's view, or you can use the wall mount screw set (included in the package). And while both cameras are perfectly capable of running on battery, you can also keep them both plugged in. Arlo recommends that you insert the battery into your camera even if you plan to keep it powered using the included power adapter.
All that said, don't be afraid to mount. Unlike the original Arlo, Pro and Go both use rechargeable batteries. Pro's battery life should provide 4 to 6 months of use. During testing, we found that it lasted more in the 2-3 month range. On the other hand, Arlo Go's estimated battery life is 2.5 months, and we do not plan to test Arlo Go.
So why did we get 2 months of battery life versus the promised 6? The answer is that there are a lot of factors that go into battery life. For one, placing the camera outside will shorten its lifespan. While you can use Pro and Go outdoors as they are both IP65 rated (operating temperature ranges of -4° to 113° F), things like cold weather or even the constant movement that takes place outdoors will zap the battery. Also, using live streaming will affect battery life as will the cellular signal strength for Arlo Go.
Image and Video Quality
Arlo Pro and Go have a resolution of 720p, which is the same as the original camera. However, the viewing angles have been upgraded to 130°. The cameras can pan and zoom digitally though they don't move like other pan-and-tilt cameras. Instead, they zoom into a particular area within their field of view and provide a more detailed look. At night, they provide up to 25 feet of night vision using 850nm IR LEDs. We found that after ten feet, it was hard to identify the person in the photo at night. However, we found that during the day, the HD quality video was high enough to identify a face from about 30 feet away.
One notable new feature of Arlo Pro and Go is the addition of audio. This feature addition opens up three new possibilities.
- Two-way talk. You can now use your smartphone to speak with someone near the camera and vice versa.
- Audio streaming in addition to video streaming.
- Sound detection.
Arlo Pro and Arlo Go to Enhance Home Security
Netgear added a couple of new security features to Arlo Pro and Go. First is sound detection. The cameras will send you an email or push alert if a loud sound is detected, like breaking glass or crashing objects. You can also set the cameras to record videos based on sound alerts.
Second is motion detection. Although Arlo can detect motion, it uses an analog motion sensor, which is more prone to false alarms. Arlo Pro and Go use a PIR motion sensor with adjustable sensitivity. During testing, we found that the ability to adjust sensitivity helped reduce, though not eliminate, false alarms.
Third, the Arlo Pro base station has a siren, which you can manually trigger using the Arlo app or set to automatically sound if motion or a loud sound is detected. The siren is extremely loud!
Fourth, Netgear will roll out a software update to all Arlo cameras this year. The update enables Arlo cameras to differentiate objects from people. This could further reduce false alarms. For example, if the camera sees a moving car passing by, no motion alerts will be sent. But if it sees a moving person, you will be notified.
Finally, Arlo Go uses 4G so it can protect areas without internet and power.
You should take note, however, that Arlo Pro and Go are not free from security challenges. For one, they lack motion detection zones. With motion zones, you can set your camera only to monitor critical areas within its field of view. Instead, Pro and Go treat all motion alerts equally. A person passing by your gate is as much of a threat as a real intruder.
Another security challenge only affects Arlo Pro and Arlo Go when running on battery. In order to conserve energy, the cameras sleep until they detect sound or motion or you start a live stream. The problem is, they don't always wake up fast enough to capture events.
There's also a potential privacy risk if you're planning to buy Arlo cameras from a local dealer. An Arlo user in Kentucky found herself with a window to another family’s home after returning her camera to Sam's Club. According to Netgear, the retailer is at fault. All returned cameras are supposed to be sent back to Netgear to be reset before selling them again. By not doing so, the camera remained associated with the original user's account. If you plan to sell your Arlo to upgrade to Pro or Go, beware.
Customization and App Access
Like Arlo, Arlo Pro and Arlo Go can be set with different modes. Modes affect how Pro and Go behave. For example, when armed, they watch out for motion and loud sound. But when unarmed, they ignore them. You can also tell the cameras to notify you of motion alerts but not sound alerts, or vice versa. You can swap between modes by manually using the app, or you can set the cameras to automatically change modes based on your location (thanks to geofencing) or schedule.
Whether you're an iOS or Android user, Arlo has an app for you. You can also take control of your Arlo cameras using their web app or Apple TV app. These apps allow you to watch live videos, access video history, and change the settings of your system. As Go does not work with Wi-Fi, I'm not confident that the camera will be as flexible as Pro. TBD.
Aside from your primary user account, you can give access to multiple users (friend access) to help you keep an eye on things. They will have limited access to your system but will be able to stream live videos, record clips, take snapshots, and access clips from your video library. You can also customize their access to limit them further or give them additional access. You can do all of this from the app.
One of Arlo's best features is free storage. They offer 7-days of free cloud recording that can save up to 1GB of clips. How does it work? It allows you to store event clips (clips triggered by motion and sound events) for seven days so long as you don’t surpass 1GB. To continue saving videos, you need to delete clips or wait for older clips to expire.
If you need more storage, you can subscribe to one of Arlo's paid cloud plans:
|Basic Plan||Premier Plan||Elite Plan|
| $0 per year||$99 per year||$149 per year|
|7 Days Cloud Recording||30 Days Cloud Recording||60 Days Cloud Recording|
|Up to 1GB Cloud Storage||Up to 10GB Cloud Storage||Up to 100GB Cloud Storage|
|30 Day Premium Trial||Unlimited Premium Access||Unlimited Premium Access|
|Supports 5 Cameras||Supports 10 Cameras||Supports 15 Cameras|
|1 Base Station||1 Base Station||3 Base Station|
|Standard Support||Unlimited Support||Unlimited Support|
In addition to cloud storage, you can use a USB drive for backup storage. Simply plug the USB drive into the USB port at the back of the base station. Event clips will be automatically saved in the drive when your internet is down. This is a feature unique to Pro’s base station. The original wire-free camera uses a different base station that lacks local storage.
And though Arlo Go doesn't work with a base station, it still has a secret storage feature too. On the camera, there is a microSD card slot for local storage. What's cool about this is that the card will record even if your camera loses its cellular signal. The camera can support a card with up to a 32GB capacity. If the card is full, you can set Arlo to automatically delete older clips to make room for new ones.
Arlo Pro and Go will work with existing Arlo systems. This is good news if you're an Arlo user as you will be able to control your Arlo cameras using one app. However, while you can use Pro with the Pro base station and the original base station, I do not know if you will be able to use the original Wire-Free cameras with the new base station. Go does not use a base station.
Arlo Pro also works with third-party devices through both IFTTT and Stringify. Through IFTTT, you can integrate Arlo Pro with other smart home brands and automate your home using rules. For example, you can tell your Philips Hue light bulbs to turn on when Arlo Pro detects motion. You can also trigger Arlo Pro to start recording an event clip if, for example, your August Smart Lock is unlocked. With Stringify, you can create even more complex rules.
The original Arlo also works with SmartThings as does Arlo Pro. Finally, Arlo Cameras are compatible with Amazon's new Echo Show.
Go's compatibility with third-party devices is TBD.
A Quick Summary
Arlo Pro is a lot like Arlo Wire-Free, but better.
1. It now supports audio.
2. Its battery is rechargeable with a 4-6 months battery life (though it tested at 2-3 months).
3. The Arlo Pro base station has a siren and USB port for local storage.
4. It has sound detection.
5. It has a PIR motion sensor.
6. All Arlo cameras will have object recognition post an update expected this year.
Arlo Go is just like Arlo Pro but adds an option for 4G communication through Verizon and does not work with WiFi or require a base station. Also, third-party compatible is still to be determined.
You can buy an Arlo Pro system for as low $249.99 (1 Arlo Pro + 1 Base Station). Every system includes a charging cable and Ethernet cable for the base station, a sufficient number of magnetic and screw wall mounts, and window decals. You can purchase Arlo Go here.