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REVIEW: Arlo Baby by Netgear, A High-Tech Baby Monitor

Netgear has added a baby monitor to its Arlo security camera range for those who need a high-tech way to check that their child is safe and sound.

What you’ll get is a camera built to be accessible through your phone, so users can constantly check to see the goings on in the room without using a monitor.

The Arlo Baby is powered via Wi-Fi so if you have access to internet you can access the footage via your smartphone.

Setting Up

To set up the Arlo Baby users need to download the free Arlo app. It is a straightforward and quick process however if you do not have an account with Netgear it will get you to make one. Users are also required to pick a plan: basic, premier and elite. Basic is free with 7 days of video memories in the cloud, 5 cameras and support up to three months.

I will be choosing basic (one because I’m stingy and two I do not have a child to monitor) because premier is $129 a year and elite is $189 a year. They both give unlimited support, 30 and 60 days of support respectively and up to 10 and 15 cameras each.

Once you choose a plan Arlo asks if you want to add on continuous video recording for either 14 days ($129 a year) or 30 days ($249 a year).

The plans can be used for security cameras too, so it might make sense to spend $130 a year on a camera plan. If you’re installing one camera it does not make sense to subscribe to a plan.

Also note when unboxing there will be a lot of packaging and plastic wrapped around the camera and accessories.

Performance

The camera records video in 1080 HD with a two-way talk feature and features a night light and sensors. On the camera itself are buttons to play lullabies and activate the nightlight. The nightlight is at the back of the camera and colours can be changed via the Arlo app.

When motion is detected it will either take a photo, record a video or do nothing. When recording a video, it goes for a minute and you can clearly hear conversations and mutterings, so you’ll know what is going on in the room.

When audio/motion is captured you can view it here and it is stored by time and day of recording.

When you look at the list of recordings from the day you have the option to favourite, delete, download or donate the file to Netgear so they can learn about the video and sensors for ‘research efforts’ (a tiny bit creepy if you ask me).

I was also given a notification about the humidity as it was at a ‘undesirable level’, a helpful feature for parents letting them know when the conditions of the room aren’t good for a baby.

You can change what alerts you get (sound or motion) and what happens if an alert is triggered (do nothing, record video or take picture). There are only so many notifications which you can control such as push notifications and if you want an email or alert on your phone.

Screen when changing alert settings.

App Functionality
One of the great thing about the Arlo is you do not need several monitors to watch over your child, it is paired with your phone and more than one person can be connected to the camera meaning if one parent is busy, another can take charge.

With the app whenever you open it – no matter if you’ve exited from it or not – it will tell you to sign in, the app does save your details and give you the option for touch-id (if you have it) but it’s a frustrating step when you accidentally exit the app.

When using the app, you are supposed to be able to talk to the person being watched by the camera, I tried it a couple of times with different connections and it took a while connecting to the camera even when less than 10 metres away.

Now I am not too sure if this is a problem with the Wi-Fi or just the camera but I never got the microphone working.

A live streaming option is available which helps parents to quickly check up on their kids but it will drain the battery of both the camera and the phone you use.

Battery Life

Arlo is installed with a rechargeable battery giving users the option of moving the camera around. Netgear claims it lasts for ‘several hours’ saying it depends on usage, temperature and settings. I set it down in our office near the entry where there was not much traffic and it lasted for an average of five hours and let me know via email and push notifications my battery was at 20 per cent and then when it was at 2 per cent.

Using the Arlo app and streaming video drains the battery of your phone. I use an iPhone 7 and had to take it out of its casing because it was so hot from usage. I don’t know if it was because I had a few apps open and playing music via Bluetooth but once all that was stopped my battery was still running out fast.

Value

The Arlo Baby retails at $399 with the animal accessories at $39 and the table wall stand priced at $79.

Comparing this to other baby monitors it is one of the pricier models around and then to top it off if you have more than 5 Netgear cameras at home you will have to sign up to a plan worth $129 annually.

Other systems worth this much have a camera with several monitors and maybe an additional camera. Arlo Baby will be coming out with 7-inch touch screen which will be an additional $100 on top of the camera.

The Arlo Baby comes with the camera, USB power cable, adapter, quick start guide, wall mount plate with mounting screws.

Design

It is a relatively reasonable size for a security camera especially when there are conspicuous green bunny ears and paws attached to it.

It has with it detachable bunny ears and feet which can be interchangeable with a dog costume and a cat costume. The ears were easy to get off, the feet not so much.

The camera can be tilted and swerved so the camera is in the optimum position to see your baby. At first glance I thought you could move the camera via the app but alas you’ll have to use your hands for this one.

It’s a sleek modern design and is in line with the other products in the Arlo range.

Overall

The camera is great piece of equipment for monitoring babies. It has a great picture display and high-quality audio. It is sensitive so even when there is a noise that doesn’t resemble music or sleep noises it sends the user a notification.

But for a price point of $399 for just a camera and probably additional costs of stands and a touch screen it seems excessive.

Also giving parents the options to send footage of their children to a company where they do not know who is going to watch it is not okay.

Netgear knows their stuff when it comes to security cameras and the Arlo Baby is a top of the range baby monitor, but the price is off putting.

VALUE: 6

DESIGN: 8

PERFORMANCE: 7.5

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