Netgear released their Arlo range of wireless security cameras back in 2015 – we covered the initial battery-powered version here. They were super-easy to configure, convenient and worked really well. Since then Netgear has extended the wireless Arlo range with the Pro and Go versions – offering HD and audio upgrades as well as 4G mobile connectivity in the case of the Go.
Today we are looking at a wired addition to the Arlo range – the Arlo Q. This camera integrates with the Arlo system and brings some unique benefits made possible through the power cable, alongside a lower price point.
Priced at $199/£169 the Arlo Q offers a cheaper entry into the 1080p Arlo range. At this price, it compares favourably with the competing Nest Cam or Logi Circle. Add to this the free cloud storage option for up to five cameras and you’ve got a great cloud camera service for a discount price.
The Arlo Q retains our favourite features of the original Arlo including the night vision support, smart alerts and cloud storage. The new features on this model include two-way audio, continuous video recording and an improved 1080p resolution.
What’s in the Box?
The Arlo Q ships in quality packaging, but it lacks the fancy ‘camera on a pedestal’ casing that we saw on the original device. The branding is consistent across the Arlo range, with the Netgear logo being quite understated.
Because there is no wireless base station, the Arlo Q packaging is compact. Once you’ve opened it up, you’ll find:
- 1 x Arlo Q Camera attached to a stand
- 1 x USB power adapter
- 1 x USB power cable
- 1 x Mounting kit
The Arlo Q has a design that is distinct from other cameras in the range, but it keeps the smart looks and compact size. The camera is a diamond shape, with the main lens flanked by infrared LEDs under a translucent cover. Below the lens are two small holes – one is an indicator LED and the other is the microphone for two-way communication and audio alerts.
There are minimal controls on the camera itself, with just a triangular sync button and a reset button. The power socket on the back of the camera is a standard micro USB port. The included right-angled connector on the USB cable keeps the connector from protruding too far.
The stand is very easy to use and lets you adjust the camera to exactly where you want it. If you are thinking of permanent mounting then you just use the included mounting bracket.
Setting Up the Arlo Q
Once you’ve plugged everything in and downloaded the Arlo smartphone app, you need to set up an account or enter your account details. Next, choose the type of Arlo camera that you have, select your Wi-Fi network and enter the password.
Next, something clever happens – you are presented with a QR code on your phone and asked to hold it up for the camera to see. All your account details and Wi-Fi credentials are included in the code and the camera can ‘see’ the information. It quickly configures itself and connects to your Wi-Fi and account.
You can name your camera and choose if you want to use the free cloud storage plan or opt for a paid plan. The free option offers 7 days of motion/sound triggered recordings on up to five different cameras. If you want to increase that to 30 days/10 cameras for £6.49/$9.99. Continuous recording costs £6.99 for 14 days storage.
If you don’t have a smartphone to hand, you can also perform all the setup through the Arlo website. This offers a useful backup and can also access all of your cloud-stored clips.
Using the Arlo Q
Using the Arlo system is easy – the initial screen shows you a recent image from your cameras as well as indicators for detected sounds, motion, power, WiFi and number of detected events. To use the two-way audio you just use tap the microphone icon to speak and have it come out of the small speaker on the Arlo Q. Great for giving children or friends a fright when they think you aren’t looking!
You can review your cloud recordings in the Library tab, each one played by tapping on it to bring up a large view and a full-screen option. Here you can also download the clip to save to your phone. You also have a share option to upload clips to YouTube or Facebook.
The app has a range of modes that you can choose through the Mode tab. These let you decide when you want to activate a recording. The range of options is very flexible and includes motion detection, motion zones, audio detection, and schedules. You can even use geofencing where your phone will arm recordings when you leave home and deactivate them when you return.
The Arlo Q performed well during my month testing it. The event triggers worked really well, pinging an alert to my phone whenever motion was detected. After a few days, I became slightly fed up with all the alerts, so I used the activity zones and schedule to limit the triggers. This worked really well and just notified me when something unusual was happening.
Picture quality is really good both in daylight and using the night vision modes. The camera automatically switches based on lighting conditions and I never had a problem with visibility.
I did have a couple of problems where a video appeared corrupted. I’m unsure how this happened and it didn’t happen often, but it’s quite frustrating when the clip you need won’t play. Overall about three of my 1000+ videos had this problem, so it’s unlikely to cause a huge issue.
The Arlo Q is a good addition to Netgear’s Arlo range and brings some useful features. The cable may seem like a hindrance, but you gain continuous video recording and a permanent power source.
The Arlo range remains super-easy to configure and manage – both through the smartphone app and the web portal. There’s a great range of useful features, but little that distracts from the task of managing and viewing your camera footage.
I really like the free basic subscription plan – I’d probably use this for most of the year and take out a premium subscription over holidays. This lets you keep the costs down while having the benefits of a premium service when you need it. The free 7-day Arlo service compares well to the basic Nest Cam 10-day service – but with Nest you’ll pay $100/year for the privilege.
If you already own an Arlo camera, the Arlo Q is a great choice if you’re looking for a wired 1080p addition to the system. If you don’t have an Arlo yet, the Arlo Q is still worth considering. It does a lot of things right and the possibility of expanding with the other Arlo cameras makes for a unique setup that’s versatile and easy. If you’re only ever going to need one camera then there are lots more cameras that you should also consider, but Arlo’s free cloud storage is a real benefit that could save you hundreds of dollars.