Why Arlo by Netgear Sucks so bad!

October 30th, 2017

Arlo on the down low!

If you are considering Arlo for real time security and door answering, you will be very, very  disappointed.   The response time is just to long!   If you just want to have a record of what happen and can live with recorded playback, then this is the way to go.  The cameras are excellent,  but the system as a security solution is full of short falls.     Here are just a few of our pet peeves!

Painfully Slow camera Access!

Having had the Ring doorbell with built in Camera. Microphone and Speaker for a base cost of under $200,   our expectations  were set.   Hear the door bell?  Hit your iPhone app and then very quickly see and speak with the visitor.   With Arlo,  If someone knocks at the door, by the time you log in and access the door camera they are gone.   Additionally you then discover that for a four camera solution with a price of about $600, you can not talk or hear the visitor even if they are still standing their by the time your App connects!    You will need to purchase PRO if you want to Hear and Talk through the camera.    We add one Camera for about $200!

Other “Pro” features.

Arlo marketing literature is so confusing, one can only conclude that the purposely set out to confuse the buyer!  We have Arlo, Arlo Pro and Now Arlo Pro 2!  Can we make it more confusing for the helpless shopper!    Let’s  talk about “motion detection”.    You can set “motion detection” on and off but only for the entire system.   Lets say your want motion detection alerts for the front door camera, but do not want it on for the lobby camera or living room.   You want to know if someone is at the front door, not if the dog is walking across the living room!   If you want to activate “Zone” based motion detection, you need the Pro Camera.

 Pro Base Station?

If you want to use the Zone based motion detection I added a Pro camera to my four camera System and I still did not get this feature you have to purchase the Pro base.   Both the Pro and whatever you call the “Not Pro” base controller appear to be the same hardware, but the software is different.    You can spend the money to add a Pro Camera to your mix, but you still do not get the Pro base features.  They don’t mention this when you buy a Pro Camera.  This is really BS in my humble opinion.  The base units should have the same software and know which Camera they are linking to!

Geo Location Short Fall?

Also you can share notification with another member but no observations.    For example assume you have a home setup and you want motion alerts sent to both yourself and your wife.   She can share your account notifications but she can not share you “geo settings”.       I only want motion alerts when I am away from the house.   “Geo Alerts” use the Smartphone GPS app to switch this feature on and off.      Well if you share the App with your wife, would it no make sense to turn it on only when both of your iPhones are out of the house, but not when just your iPhone is out of the house?  Unfortunately when I leave the house the system is not smart enough to know my wife is still home.   Really Netgear?

Cloud storage?

Your Arlo will connect to the cloud and store your video regardless of you desire to do so or not!   In fact we think this is what slows down the response rates.    If you do not want your network connected to the cloud and subject to folks that you have no control over, you might want to think this entire Arlo cloud strategy through!    Regardless of your security setup, Arlo is going to take your pictures and send them to the cloud for storage!   For the Smartphone app to work,  you must be linking with a cloud based camera controller that has access to your cameras!  Aside from taking forever to connect, the fact that you can not control access to your cameras is perhaps the biggest concern about Arlo as a security tool!   Not only can you not control it, or reach the cameras from your internal network but you have not assurance that someone outside your network can’t connect.

Summary

Arlo customer services seems limited to “community” support.   Admittedly, the Arlo cameras are excellent and weather proof!   They have some Zoom capability and some night vision.     Netgear should consider making the base software such that you can mix cameras and get the full feature set!  They also need to make the cloud storage optional and provide network connectivity options that enable you to select your own IP and port access!

In general this is a great camera system if you only want a historical recording for later playback.  As a solution for real time security it does not match Ring and cost much more.   A single camera solution from Wansview sells for $89 and provides full tilt and swivel, bi-direcitonal sound and network connectivity options.   Not making Pro software available with Pro camera additions is a real corporate miscommunication.

Netgear should stay with their core competency as the low cost provider of switches and routers for the Home Office, Small Office market.

NOTE New Defect 12/7/2017 – Due to the fact that I was out of town the night my neighborhood was evacuated because of the  San Diego Fires, I though I would log into Arlo and check my house by camera.   My house was offline with power failure.  It was at this time that I discovered you can not access your smart phone ap, if Arlo can not make contact with the camera or router.   This means you can even check what was stored in the cloud from the Ap!  (The product development team clearly never heard of Agile, or Scrum).

5 responses to “Why Arlo by Netgear Sucks so bad!”

  1. Scott Evans says:

    The really fun part about the Netgear Arlo security camera system is getting to resync the cameras on a daily basis. It’s really easy to do. All you have to do is take each one of your cameras down and bring them within three feet of the router. Open the battery cover, close the battery cover, push the sync button on the router and then push the sync button on top of the camera. You do this process to each camera one at a time. You then reinstall the cameras. It’s even more fun if you need to use a ladder, the higher the better. Of course you have to spend a few minutes readjusting each camera because they never reinstall exactly the same way each time. I have five cameras. Sometimes all my cameras will work at the same time when I resync them. Most if the time I might get three of them to work. I then might try rebooting the router but most if the time doing that just makes things worse. Right now I have 2 out 5 cameras working. At least I save money on batteries with 60% of my cameras not working.

  2. Steve says:

    Lol, Scott, I couldn’t have written that better myself. Horrible product and a giant waste of time.

  3. Ron Markarian says:

    Coming from a wireless camera solution, I have far less expectations. While your points are well taken, Im not sure if your experience would fit everyones situation.

    1. copy to the cloud, great option for outdoor cameras, ensure your videos will survive local disaster.
    2. slow access to camera (Agreed, hopefully this can be corrected).
    3. Confusing models (HD,Pro, Pro2) – I have the Pro and will be installing Pro 2 system today. So far, no confusion in what to expect (feature wise).
    4. Geo Location – again sounds like a software fix, however, I use SmartThings to handle Geo fencing.

    In summary – A truly wirefree camera will have some downsides in comparision to a wired camera (data or power). The upsides of painless installation and setup and meeting my needs made me a happy customer.

  4. I am a small business owner using Arlo Pro for my shop. The delay in motion / sound feedback is a huge drawback. Also, the IOS cellphone application leaves a lot to be desired. The sound notification has no real alarm to notify you of a security breach. Instead, it uses the normal cellphone message notification sounds. How are you to know if you business has been accessed? Telekinesis? No formal notification or alarm for IOS is even possible!

    As for the IOS application itself, I am constantly being kicked out of the system or being shown a message to rate the system. When I have a motion or sound detection notification, the last thing I want is to be asked to rate the your application. Talk about inappropriate timing. This is supposed to be a security system to help protect my business, not a game system. The Arlo Pro cameras are awesome, but Arlo application in itself is a poor excuse for a security system! Stop asking for ratings and worry about doing the job that you advertise you systems to do!

    Lastly, every time I turn around, I am having to request to be reinvited to Arlo in order to accesss and use the IOS app. When I turn my system on, I expect it to be on. Likewise, when I turn it off, especially the alarm, I expect it to cut off! I am the owner, director, and the ultimate authority and decision maker for my company. Yet, I cannot even set my application up as the administrator because my IT department set up the system. So, I am at the mercy of being able to contact them after hours to access and control security to my own company. Now, that is truly messed up! They are not always accessible!

    If you are going to market this system as a “Security System?” Make sure that your product, the applications used to manage it, and application notification features are are suited to actually make security possible and effective. This is not a game people! Meet the expectations of those you misled Into buying this product of get out of the business all together and stop wasting our time.

  5. CAROLINE WINE says:

    I put up three cameras, chimney, tree and porch soffit. They have not recorded the mailman one time, who would be 20′ in range. It captures less than 10% of front door activity. The other cameras randomly capture nothing happening and miss all the happenings and movement. To view live feed I would have to turn each one off and back on, wait for the reset and feed delay. Who has time to play with this thing. I didn’t buy a toy.

    Today I will remove them and return them to the retailer … I was happy to see I have 3 days left for the 30-day return policy.

    What a terrible waste of my time and money. So frustrating.

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