The Netgear Arlo Q security camera was launched just over a month ago and I’ve finally had the chance to sit down and write up my thoughts about this HD security cam.
Following on from the wireless and weatherproof Arlo HD camera, Netgear are now offering a full-featured indoor camera which is not limited by the compromises needed to implement the wireless Arlo.
Will the Arlo Q prove to be simple to set-up and, more importantly, be able to conduct its important duties without infuriating the owner? Let’s have a look, shall we?
Netgear Arlo Q design
The Arlo Q comes packed in a good quality box and you get everything you need to get up and running in no time.
I like the look of the diamond-headed Arlo Q and, where it might be easier to spot than the MyDlink camera I reviewed around this time last year, the Netgear is packing more tech.
It comes in a no-nonsense white finish with a splash of chrome introduced by a thin band around the face of the device.
The 2.75 x 2.80 x 4.50-inch camera feels sturdy and well built and comes attached to a stand by way of a ball joint that allows it to be freely positioned. The foot of the stand has an integral cable clip.
In the box you also get a mounting plate which allows you to attach the camera to a wall.
The lens is surrounded by 850 nm LEDs which gives the Netgear Arlo Q night-sight chops. Beneath this is the mic and status LED.
It looks good and there’s about as much style as you can inject in to something that really needs to blend in to the background and remain purposeful.
Netgear Arlo Q set up
As already pointed out, the Arlo Q is AC powered so you have to be a little bit mindful of this before deciding where this camera is going to live.
Thankfully, Netgear supplies a good length of USB to micro USB cable that sends the juice from socket to camera. The USB power adapter is quite tall so squeezing this plug behind a unit will probably require a trailing socket or similar.
The plug-and-play promise of most IP cameras is frequently proved to be a bit of creative writing as the setup will involve pressing buttons on devices in different rooms at the same time, scanning QR codes that won’t scan or manually tapping in barely legible serial numbers. Arlo Q is refreshingly easy to get up and running.
All it takes is to download the Arlo app on your Android or iOS device of choice and follow the step-by-step instructions to connect the camera to your Wi-Fi network and you’ll have a live view of your newly monitored room in less than five minutes. Yes, it does involve a couple of QR codes, )one to get the app which you can do just by navigating to the app store and searching for Arlo and the other pops up on your mobile for the Arlo to see), but this all went smoothly at the first time of asking.
As well as the mobile app the Arlo Q has a web-based control centre which you log in to via the main website.
Naturally, you also get access to the Modes and Library sections as you do in the mobile app.
Netgear Arlo Q performance
The camera offers a 130-degree viewing angle which is plenty enough to see into the corners of any room, infrared night vision up to 25 feet, and motion and sound alerts. The camera’s streaming feed can be accessed through either the Arlo app or the web portal.
Where Netgear has managed to raise the bar is by offering seven days of free cloud storage. This means that when sound or motion triggers a recording, the video is stored for you to review for a full week. This free plan is available for up to five Arlo cameras for up to a maximum of 1GB of data. You can increase this with paid options should you feel it necessary.
The Arlo app, which can be used with both the Arlo Q and the original Arlo, offers everything we’ve come to expect from home security camera software. You can even rename the cameras to something more meaningful, for example; Living room, Bedroom 1, Garage, etc.
Beneath the live feed window are controls for managing the camera’s audio, taking a screenshot of the feed, and manually starting a recording. From the menu at the bottom of the home screen, you can toggle between multiple cameras, view a library of your video clips, and access camera controls.
I really like the fact that the Netgear Arlo Q stores video when it has been triggered by motion or audio incidents. The app shows what triggered the camera and when and then allows you to play back the clip.
One thing that gets annoying with IP security cameras is the amount of false notifications. These can be triggered by incidental sound and motion events, such as fluttering curtains or a pet passing in the camera’s view – I used to have a house fitted with passive infra red eyes in the rooms which were forever being triggered by spiders.
The Arlo Q offers a few common solutions for minimising these false alarms.
Arlo Q Activity Zones
This a feature that lets you define sound and motion detection areas by drawing a square with your finger over the camera image.
This reduces false alarms by focusing the camera’s sensor on, say, just an entry point to your home. Even if the family cat passes in the camera’s field of view, it will be ignored if it’s not within that activity zone.
In the picture above I have avoided the windows so that the camera ignores birds and any cats and foxes who might decide to sit on my garden storage locker that’s just on the other side of one of the windows.
Arlo Q Modes
These are sets of rules that tell your camera how to respond when it detects sound and/or motion. Arlo Q comes with three default Modes: armed, disarmed, and schedule.
You can also create custom Modes. If you’re running multiple cameras, for example, you can set your Arlo system to record videos when the motion is detected by one specific camera and send you an email alert.
Custom Modes give you the greatest control as they let you incorporate activity zones and adjust the camera’s motion and audio sensitivity. Other definable settings include the Arlo Q’s response (record video, take a snapshot, or do nothing), the length of the recording, and the type of alert you receive (push notification or email).
Netgear Arlo Q review conclusion
As an extremely short summary of the Arlo Q’s performance, it does everything that Netgear promises – Live streaming and video playback were crisp in both day and night mode, and alerts came in timely and accurately.
The flexibility of the camera’s customisable features will allow users to set the monitoring to almost anyone’s needs.
Add in to that Netgear’s generous basic free cloud storage plan then the Arlo Q becomes even more enticing.
Granted, there may be not enough options for the more tech-savvy out there but the Arlo Q does tick the boxes for the majority of people who are looking for a straightforward security camera that is really simple to set-up.
The Netgear Arlo Q packs 1080p high-definition live streaming in both day- and night-vision mode, two-way talk, video playback, has Arm/Disarm functions and scheduling which all worked very well which makes it really hard to knock.