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Watchful camera for indoors and outdoors

The Netgear Arlo Pro security camera can run for months on rechargeable lithium ion batteries and is weatherproof.
The Netgear Arlo Pro security camera can run for months on rechargeable lithium ion batteries and is weatherproof.PHOTO: NETGEAR

The Netgear Arlo Pro detects motion and sends you alerts via e-mail or its mobile app

The Netgear Arlo Pro security camera adds a number of features to the original Arlo camera.

Outwardly, they both look identical and work similarly.

They can run for months on battery and are weatherproof.

When the camera detects motion, it starts recording and alerts you via e-mail or notifications on the Arlo mobile app (for iOS and Android). You can watch the camera's live feed, start a recording manually, or take a photo.

Like the earlier model, the Arlo Pro has a 1,280 x 720 pixels HD camera and support for night vision.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $699 (for two Arlo Pro cameras)

    VIDEO RESOLUTION: Up to 1,280 x 720 pixels

    VIDEO FORMAT: H.264

    FIELD OF VIEW: 130 degrees

    NIGHT VISION: Yes (up to 8m)

    MOTION DETECTION: Yes

    MOBILE APPS: iOS and Android

    WEIGHT: 136g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

But the Arlo Pro uses rechargeable lithium ion batteries similar to the ones you'd find in most tech gadgets, instead of the disposable CR123 batteries that are typically used by cameras.

A micro-USB charger is bundled so you can power the camera via the wall outlet, too.

Also new is two-way audio, which lets you talk to someone on the other side of the camera using the app. Audio quality is iffy at times and, because of the latency, it is best used as a last resort.

Unlike other home-security cameras, the Arlo Pro connects to your home router via a base station, which itself looks like a small router. Netgear says this arrangement makes it easier to set up the cameras. This is true - using the app, I simply had to press a button on the base station, followed by the Sync button on the camera to pair the two.

But I am still not entirely sold on the reason, because I can remember only one instance in my past testing when the usual methods, such as QR codes and audio tones, failed to connect the camera to the home router.

Furthermore, the base station connects to the home router via a LAN cable, which means it takes up a valuable Ethernet port that could be used for other devices such as an NAS or game console. I am also not keen to add more clutter to the area near my router.

On the other hand, the base station can extend the reach of the Arlo cameras - if you have already laid Ethernet cables throughout your home - as you can place the base station at the periphery of your home, and not adjacent to your router.

Netgear has added a loud and piercing alarm to the base station that can be set to trigger if the cameras detect motion.

More importantly, the base station comes with two USB ports and will save a local copy of your videos in an attached USB storage drive, in addition to automatically saving up to seven days of recordings in the cloud.

The Arlo app has been improved, too. You can now log in to the app using your phone's fingerprint reader. Using a beta geofencing option, I can set the camera's motion-detection feature to be disabled automatically when my smartphone is at home.

The Arlo Pro's additional features don't come cheap. A starter kit with two Arlo Pro cameras costs $699, compared with home security cameras in the market that are priced from $200 to $300 each.

• The Arlo Pro is easy to set up, offers useful features and has a sleek companion app. But it also costs more than the competition.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2017, with the headline 'Watchful camera for indoors and outdoors'. Print Edition | Subscribe