Netgear Arlo Security System Fails The Battery Test
At JB Hi Fi a Netgear Arlo 2 camera kit will set you back $547. In the pack are two security cameras that use 4 Lithium 123 batteries, there is also a base station and magnetic mounts for the cameras.
The design of the system is ingenious and smart.
The cameras can be hooked up to an app allowing live content to be streamed direct to a tablet, smartphone or PC. The only problem is that each battery is going to cost you $12.97 to replace which means that with two cameras and four batteries to replace the bill each time will be $103.96.
This costing is based on a standard Lithium 123 battery replacement from Officeworks.
Technically the system has been well thought out and implemented that is until one gets to considering the cost of ownership.
Each camera is equipped with 4 Lithium batteries and eight infrared LEDs so it can see in the dark to a distance of 4.5m. And each one has a passive infrared sensor (PIR) of the kind used in burglar alarms, so it can capture motion-triggered footage while using very little power.
SmartHouse installed an Arlo system in our office, it replaced a Uniden system that cost $398 and was hard wired into a power supply the first Arlo camera started tell us we needed to replace the batteries after six weeks.
The camera was installed on the third week of April, it started blinking battery replacement by the 2nd week of June which was seven weeks in total.
The Arlo system has cameras that run on batteries that are mounted on a magnetic mounting plate that can be stuck to a surface with an adhesive sticker.
This means you can place the cameras anywhere you like, without having to find a nearby mains socket to power it – or drill holes in your walls to run cables.
It also means you can pick up the cameras and move them around whenever you fancy.
In reality Arlo is no different from the thousands of other IP cameras on the market except for the fact that they battery powered and look smarter than anything else out there.
The cameras are even weatherproofed (rated to IP65), so there’s no need to purchase a separate case if you want to point a camera at your front door or keep tabs on the comings and goings in your garden.
The downside of this is that you’ll have to replace the batteries fairly regularly.
Initially Netgear said that a set of batteries would last four and six months, depending on the quality of video you’re recording and how often the camera is triggered.
What we discovered with a camera that was placed in an office foyer was that the batteries only lasted seven weeks.
It’s also worth noting that that the original Netgear figures relate to “recommended settings and “typical usage”.
The Arlo camera records video at a resolution of 720p, and the Arlo cameras have a host of other advanced which set it apart.
But at $700 a year to run, it’s like owning a top end BMW Vs a bog standard Ford Falcon.
What I would like to see is batteries that can be recharged. I am now doing this for remote controls, solar lights and several other devices that need batteries, I see no reason why Netgear is not heading in this direction.
Personally I would pay $40extra for a battery charging kit. Aldi is selling them for $19 with replacement rechargable batteries costing no more than $6.50 a pair.