Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System

Security system Arlo Pro 2 with security camera test

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: surveillance

Surveillance cameras are cheap today and available from many manufacturers. Nevertheless, there are sky-wide differences in quality and, above all, the range of functions. From alarm systems with simple motion detectors to smart home solutions, where the camera turns on the TV after a motion detection, we had already a lot in the test. Therefore, a camera test is never the same.

Today, with the Arlo Pro 2 security system, we have tested a surveillance camera with very special features. Who can imagine that a surveillance camera with battery makes sense? Is not there lost security when the battery is coming to an end? The question also arises as to why the Arlo Pro 2 stores its data in a cloud and is not integrated into its own network.

Questions that we want to answer in a detailed test of the surveillance camera.

Contents: Arlo Pro 2 Security Camera Test

  • Technical data Arlo base station and Arlo Pro 2 security camera
  • Arlo Pro 2 security system with two cameras (VMS4230)
  • Workmanship and the first impression
  • Installation of the Arlo Pro 2 security system
  • Operation of the base unit and cameras via app
  • Create your own rules for alarm messages
  • Notification on alarm
  • Data storage in the cloud
  • Operation via internet browser with limited joy
  • Arlo Pro 2 - surveillance cameras with battery operation
  • Image quality of the Netgear security camera
  • Surveillance camera Arlo Pro 2 with solar panel
  • Conclusion: Security system Arlo Pro 2 with security camera

Technical data Arlo base station and Arlo Pro 2 security camera

(Manufacturer)

base station

  • Interface - Fast Ethernet
  • LED display - Power, Internet, Camera
  • IP configuration - DHCP
  • Antenna - Internal
  • Wireless Range - Over 100 meters of line of sight
  • Wireless - 2.4 GHz, 802.11n
  • Certificates - FCC, IC, CE, UL
  • Operating temperature - 0 to 50° C
  • Dimensions - 58.6 x 174.5 x 126.5 mm
  • Weight - 316 g
  • Processor and Memory - 900 MHz ARM Cortex A7, 128 MB Flash, 128 MB RAM

camera

  • Video resolution - Resolution: up to 1080p HD
  • Video format - H.264
  • Imaging Color Sensor, CMOS, Auto Black & White Balance and Auto Exposure
  • Noise - Speaker. microphone
  • Detection - Adjustable sensitivity, automatic e-mail and push notifications
  • Wire-free motion detection - Passive infrared technology, adjustable up to 7 m
  • Plugged-in motion detection - Video-based technology, up to 3 activity zones, 3-second preview, customizable noise detection
  • Digital panning and zooming - 8x digital zoom
  • Night vision - 850 nm LEDs with a range of approx. 7-8 meters, IR cut filter
  • Battery - Battery (2.440 mAh)
  • Battery indicator - yes
  • Field of view - 130°
  • Focus Area - Fixed Focus (600 mm to infinity)
  • Operating temperature - -20 to 45° C
  • Dimensions - 79.3 x 48.6 x 70.5 mm
  • Weight - 136 g

Arlo Pro 2 security system with two cameras (VMS4230)

The Arlo Pro 2 security system offers an interesting scope of delivery with details that are new to me and certainly raise a question or two.

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: surveillance

Required accessories are included and nothing is missing.

  • Two Arlo Pro 2 security cameras
  • Two rechargeable batteries (cameras)
  • Two magnetic wall mounts for (cameras)
  • Two sets of screws for the wall mount (cameras)
  • Power supply for indoor use (charging the camera batteries)
  • Base station with built-in siren
  • Power cable for indoor use (base station)
  • Network cable
  • quick start Guide
  • window Decals

Two things are already interesting here - the magnetic wall mounts and the security cameras with battery.

Workmanship and the first impression

Already when unpacking shows that value is placed on quality. Everything is safe and stably packed, so there is no risk of damage during transport. The Arlo base station pleases by a simple but elegant design without any frills. On controls it has only a large but very subtle button to disable the siren or to synchronize with other cameras.

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: surveillance

A magnetic wall mount for easy alignment.

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: surveillance

The central unit finds its place discreetly.

On the back there are connections for the power adapter, a LAN cable and two USB memory for your own storage of video recordings. Overall, I like the base station because it fits very neutral in the budget.

What I do not like about the base station, however, is the inability to attach it to the wall. TheArlo base station can only be set up. Since they no longer require manual operation after installation and the integrated siren should be widely heard, it could well be mounted on the wall. That would also increase the network reach and thus the connection quality of the security cameras.

TheArlo Pro 2 security cameras They are very interesting because they do not have the typical shape of a surveillance camera. To accommodate the battery, of course, it can not be very small and is rather a bit clunky. In view of the replaceable battery, the size is still not exaggerated and the weight is surprisingly low with 235 g.

Curious makes it possible to attach the Arlo Pro 2 in two different ways. Variant one forms a threaded hole, which allows the camera to be screwed onto sturdy holders, which is certainly an advantage outdoors. The second variant is a spherical bulge, behind which there is a strong magnet. This includes a semicircularmagnetic wall mounton which the camera holds securely and can be rotated in all directions. A great idea that makes alignment easier and allows you to quickly remove the cam from the battery and re-attach it to its destination. However, this variant should only be used indoors or when the camera is mounted at an unreachable height. It would be too easy to remove and plug in the surveillance camera "in passing".

Installation of the Arlo Pro 2 security system

Although the Arlo Pro 2 is a network camera, it is not integrated as such into its own network. This eliminates large installations in the network. The base unit and the cameras can be operated by means of an app that must be installed on the smartphone. Alternatively, the operation is also possible in the web browser at arlo.netgear.com.

After opening, the base unit is found immediately and can be personalized using the access name, email address and password. With the selection of the cloud tariff, the installation is already completed and the existing cameras can be added. An extra instruction is not necessary, because the app itself leads you through each step. It is hardly easier.

Operation of the base unit and cameras via app

A first glance at the app makes it easy to suppose that it is primitive and offers only a few functions. But that is not the case, it is very well arranged and well structured. The app offers far more options than expected.

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: surveillance

The menus: Mode, Devices and Library

In the first overview there are three tabs:

  1. mode - Enable and disable various alarm modes
  2. equipment - Overview of connected devices and live image of the cams
  3. Library - Saved alarms and videos

With these three important points you have a quick overview of the most important functions and tasks. In detail, additional information can be called up in the menu items and settings can be made.

Under "Devices" the base unit and the cameras can be managed. Thus, in addition to the live image, the battery status, the activated alarm detection (movements or noises) or the device information can be retrieved. Furthermore, the video quality and also a detection zone can be set. This is useful if, for example, the entrance area of ​​the property is to be monitored, but in the background people move who are not allowed to raise an alarm. An interesting and useful option.

But especially interesting are theSettings for alarm mode, Besides "Activated" and "Deactivated" there is also a timetable, geofencing and the possibility to create and combine own rules.

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: test

GPS can not detect the location.

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: arlo

At the same time, however, a position in the zone was displayed.

The function "Geofencing" provides a special way to completely dispense with enabling and disabling. For this purpose, a "home" location is determined by means of the smart phone location, the area of ​​which can be resized in three stages.The app can now differentiate whether one is at home or has left the area.For both states then various alarm conditions Of course it would be sensible to deactivate the alarm just as you are in the home area and activate it as soon as you leave it.

As much as the function inspires, it also has its pitfalls. On the one hand, the location function must be permanently activated in the smartphone, which not everyone likes and the battery charged. On the other hand, some in the apartment or their house will not have GPS reception, which can lead to false alarms. In the test reception problems led to the fact that apparently a location outside the home area was accepted and the alarm messages activated. It makes more sense to accept the last position message as long as it takes to determine another position. At the same time, sometimes "Out of Zone" and a unique position in the zone were displayed. Unfortunately, the geofencing function is not yet completely reliable.

Create your own rules for alarm messages

If the regulation by time programming or geofencing is not enough, you can also create your own rules. Here it can be determined for each individual camera if and how it should trigger an alarm. For example, Cam1 could send a push message to the smartphone in the lobby area as soon as there are people there. If the people intrude into the house, Cam2 can trigger the siren in the event of noise or motion detection.

It will be interesting, thoughdifferent alarm rules combined become. This allows you to select any other alarm mode under Geofencing mode. For example, geo-fencing activation works only under a specific schedule or rule.

Unfortunately, not all modes can be combined. Unfortunately, putting your own rules on a schedule does not work. Here is something to be improved, so it is even smarter.

Notification on alarm

In principle, various options can be activated and combined for the alarm message.

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: test

The email for the alarm message is very clear and contains a link to the recorded video.

  • Notification via push message on the smartphone
  • Notification by email
  • Activation of the siren
  • Storing the camera recording

The practical thing is that alarm messages can be set separately for each camera. Not always an alarm is needed and it may be enough to record movements. Will thePush message on the smartphoneused, this reacts very quickly and the app can be opened immediately for inspection. The acoustic message on the smartphone can be set individually and thus discreetly point out or draw attention to themselves with a loud ringtone.

TheMessage by mail looks very clear, offers a preview image of the camera and contains a link to the recorded video. More or less is not needed.

At theActivate the siren Care should be taken that it is extremely loud and shrill. During a test in our house, she herself was clearly heard from the lower floor to the attic. A volume adjustment to use the siren individually, would be desirable. In further tests, we limit our attention to our ears on the push messages via smartphone.

Data storage in the cloud

Netgear is taking an interesting path here. Although many today pay attention to privacy and may be less than enthusiastic that the video recordings do not remain in the home network, the cloud version offers advantages in speed and security.

The Arlo security system has a stand-alone network and sends the data to a cloud server. If settings are made or recorded videos viewed in the browser or on the smartphone, this does not happen through the own network, but remains in the network of the Arlo system. This is monitored and protected by Arlo, which is ahigh safety standard guaranteed. If your own network has security gaps, the camera monitoring remains untouched since this can not be achieved. Thus, the same security can be guaranteed for each user and no additional settings in the domestic network are necessary.

However, storage in the cloud also offersAdvantages in the speed of data transmissionbecause it is only indirectly dependent on its own Internet connection. If videos are retrieved with the smartphone, they come from the cloud server and do not have to be through the own network and the domestic Internet connection. This guarantees a stable video playback even with inferior internet connections.

A special feature that I particularly like: Recorded alarm messages do not start with the triggering of the alarm, but already three seconds before. This really does not leave anything unseen. Presumably, the camera is in a continuous recording loop and an alarm message, the corresponding part is permanently stored.

"Permanently" is to be considered individually. Of course, data storage in the cloud is costly, so it is not unlimited. For this, Netgear offers different packages at different prices. Ensures with the smallest but also that the service can be used for free.

Per monthYearlystorage timememory sizeNumber of camerasSupport
basic0 €0 €7 days1 GBup to 53 months
premier8,99 €89 €30 days10 GBup to 10unlimited
elite13,99 €139 €60 days100 GBup to 15unlimited

Operation via internet browser with limited joy

Admittedly, the test situation does not concern many, but who works on different computers, uses Google Chrome and calls his Arlo profile to see live images of the cameras or make changes to the settings, could be a little frustrated react.

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: arlo

Arlo Pro 2 in the internet browser

If the Arlo profile is opened on a PC in Google Chrome, Chrome reports on the other computer that the profile is probably open in another tab and one should restart the browser or delete the cookies. This error message appeared in the test even if the other browser has long been closed or the computer was no longer in operation. In the end, it only helped to delete the cookies, which meant that all other logins were lost. If you work a lot online, you will not be very impressed.

"Blame" is probably the personalization of Chrome, which compares the browser data between all registered machines. What should actually facilitate the work here leads to a significant disability. With the Internet browser Firefox, these problems do not exist and the cameras could even be opened at the same time in Chrome and Firefox. Settings could then only be made on one of the two browsers.

Arlo Pro 2 - surveillance cameras with battery operation

I have to admit that I was skeptical. Does a battery system make sense in cameras where smooth and secure operation is important? It makes sense, works amazingly well and opens up unimaginable possibilities.

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: surveillance

Easy use of the battery and good sealing housing.

Let's start by inserting the battery, for which the camera is opened with a small lock. Tools are not needed here. Sealing is done with a thin rubber seal, which absolutely fulfills its purpose in the test. A surveillance camera has been specially mounted outside to be exposed to the full weather conditions. Neither strong frost of -12° C nor prolonged rain could affect her anything. Absolutely unimpressed, she delivers her pictures.

But with a battery, a camera can not only be used outdoors where no power connection is available. Likewise, the battery operation facilitates onehidden accommodation, It was used in the test by positioning the camera in the drawer with the Nachkram. Whenever the children secretly wanted to serve, I got a message on my smartphone.

But more interesting is how long the Arlo Pro 2 will last on battery power. On the net I found the statement that an operation of up to six months was possible. That would be enormous, but of course the test should not take that long.

The batteries of the two surveillance cameras were fully charged during commissioning.This is now two weeks ago and currently shows the battery capacity 82%. It should be noted that initially a lot of "played" to properly test the Arlo Pro 2 and to try all the features. During this time, the battery dropped from 100% to 89%. For eight days there is only a typical monitoring operation, with the battery level lowered to the current 82%. Extrapolated, this results in a maximum useful life of over 100 days. The values ​​are pure theory and a lithium-ion battery should never be completely discharged, but they certainly show thatExtremely long operating times possible with one battery charge are. Restrictions arise in my view in the battery operation not advantages, however, already. If you still do not like battery operation, the Arlo Pro 2 can also operate permanently with a power supply.

Image quality of the Netgear security camera

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: security

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: surveillance

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: arlo

Open picture in new window

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: arlo

The Arlo Pro 2 is given with video recordings in 1080p HD quality, which is also achieved and delivers good pictures. However, you can not expect razor-sharp shots, as you would expect from an HD television. HD refers only to the number of pixels that are captured. How sharp the picture is later and how well the colors are displayed has little to do with it. Even with a professional camera, blurred images are created with an obscured focus, which are still in HD based on the pixels. Therefore one should not be fooled by this statement.

The shots of the Arlo Pro 2 look pretty good, but are also dependent on the lighting conditions. In sunshine can be spoken of a very good color reproduction, because the white house wall is actually white. On the other hand, deviations in the backlight, as caused by white snow, may result, as you can see in the bottom right of the downpipe.

The night shots are surprisingly good despite backlighting (lantern) and difficult conditions such as heavy snowfall. Also, the IR illumination is good at the large area and many details remain recognizable.

Overall, the quality of the recordings is good to very good. Even though we already had cameras with a higher sharpness and better color rendering in the test. For monitoring and alarm triggering, picture quality is more than adequate even with a lower quality level (can be set to increase battery power).

Surveillance camera Arlo Pro 2 with solar panel

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: surveillance

The cable on the solar module is difficult to hide.

If a battery charge is not enough and there is no outlet in reach, you can use a solar panel in the accessories, which we have also installed for this test.

I was a little worried about the connectors, which are made via mini-USB ports. But they are unfounded. The special connection cable has a well-fitting rubber seal on the camera side and is securely held on the panel side by latches. In the test, there were no problems with moisture at the terminals.

Nevertheless, I would have liked a better connector position on the panel. For rainwater to drain, of course, the cable must be led away down. However, such a position could also be implemented on the back, so that the cable can be installed better and above all not so visible. The cable is long enough, at least, and the solar panel does not need to be attached directly to the camera.

The charging power of the panel is almost overdimensioned. Just a few hours of sunshine are enough to fully recharge the battery. During operation, you do not have to worry about winter or seven weeks of rainy weather. Dark days and weeks, the battery spans easily and with a bit of sun, it is quickly charged. In my opinion, the solar panel could be even smaller and would do its job just as well. Once the solar panel has been connected and the battery has been fully charged, the battery power never dropped below 90%.

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: arlo

Secure hold of the cable through a lock.

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: test

A rubber seal seals the plug.

Conclusion: Security system Arlo Pro 2 with security camera

The Netgear Arlo Pro 2 security system with two HD surveillance cameras with over 500 € (currently on Amazon) is not necessarily the bargain. Due to the quality and above all the technical possibilities, the price is reasonable. With simple network cameras, which send a message to the Smarthome when detecting motion, the security system can not be compared.

From a technical point of view, there is nothing wrong with the security cameras Arlo Pro 2. They deliver a good to very good picture, report each alarm and start recording even three seconds before the alarm is triggered. The cameras and base unit in the Netgear system form a separate network which stores its data in a cloud. This method guarantees a very high standard of security, since neither the cameras nor the base unit can be influenced or even attacked by its own network. By registering in the browser or via the app, all data can still be retrieved from anywhere. Be it the live image of the cameras, the activation of the alarm system or the watching of recorded videos. The transmission and reception strength of the network is very good and there were no problems when testing the surveillance cameras. However, those who have to overcome other routes between the Arlo base station and the cameras, unfortunately, has no way to use commercially available repeaters. For this, another base station would have to be installed halfway.

Surveillance Camera Test: Arlo Pro 2 and Security System: test

Absolutely excited was the ability to use the Arlo Pro 2 freely and independently of a voltage source. Once charged, the rechargeable batteries allow a runtime of around 100 days (extrapolated and depending on usage). However, if you do not want to charge batteries, you will install the Arlo solar panel, which has more than enough power and would be able to charge multiple cameras at the same time. A distributor would be interesting.

In terms of software and operation Netgear offers with the Arlo Pro 2 and the app associated a super complete package, which is extensive and intuitive to use. Thanks to the very clear app the entry is easy and all components are set up within a few minutes. Positive is the possibility to create and combine your own alarm rules. Thus, for each individual camera, a different alarm triggering (sound or motion) and a separate alarm message (mail, push, video recording and / or siren) can be set. Also possible is an activation by schedule or geofencing. Geofencing determines the current position of the smartphone and activates or deactivates the alarm. Unfortunately, this feature could not convince completely, as it led to frequent false alarms. Due to GPS reception problems and software misinterpretations, the alarm has sometimes been raised although it should be disabled.

Another snappy aftertaste gets the camera monitoring when using Google Chrome on different computers. With each computer change Cookis must be deleted before the cameras open or make settings. Both problems should, however, be solved with the continuous development of the software and possibly it is already being worked on. In the current test of the surveillance cameras, unfortunately, I have to deduct a star for this.

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