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Netgear Arlo Go review: Netgear's Arlo Go LTE security camera doesn't need Wi-Fi

Netgear's Arlo Go is a pretty good choice if you need a security camera that connects over a cellular network, but it's far from perfect.

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Megan Wollerton
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Megan Wollerton

Senior Writer/Editor

Megan Wollerton has covered technology for CNET since 2013. Before that, she wrote for NBC's Dvice.com (now SyFy). Megan has a master's degree from the University of Louisville and a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College, both in international relations. She is a board member of the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. When Megan isn't writing, she's planning far-flung adventures.

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Netgear in June introduced a new cloud service called Arlo Smart. Arlo Smart offers new features many Arlo security camera customers have been waiting for. They include person alerts, motion detection zones and e911, a way to connect with emergency responders from the Arlo app. Here's an overview of Arlo Smart's pricing tiers and options:

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6.4

Netgear Arlo Go

The Good

Netgear's $400 Arlo Go camera works over LTE, rather than Wi-Fi, so you don't have to worry about a spotty wireless connection. It comes with 7 days of free video clip cloud storage. The rechargeable battery lasts for weeks.

The Bad

The motion sensor is adjustable, but overly sensitive -- and Netgear's cellular provider plan is based on the number of alerts you receive. I easily burned through dozens of notifications in an hour or two (and so will you). The base always feels like it's going to fall off.

The Bottom Line

The Arlo Go is a solid camera, but Netgear's pay-by-alert pricing plan is a bad deal, so I'd opt for an AT&T or Verizon plan instead.

Update: Spring/summer 2018

Arlo Smart Add-on: $3 per month (per camera) for person detection, motion zones and rich notifications.

Arlo Smart Premier: $10 per month for person detection, motion zones, rich notifications and e911. The Premier service also extends the video storage period from one week to 30 days. It works with up to 10 Arlo cameras. 

Arlo Smart Elite: $15 per month for person detection, motion zones, rich notifications and e911. The Elite service extends the video storage period from 30 days to 60 days and it works with up to 20 Arlo cameras. 

32 outdoor security cameras that take home security seriously

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The original review of the Netgear Arlo Go posted on April 5, 2018. Read it in full below:

The Arlo Go by Netgear is a $400 HD live streaming outdoor security camera.  It runs exclusively on cellular networks, meaning no Wi-Fi, no Ethernet -- just LTE by way of AT&T, Verizon or Netgear's own Arlo Mobile plan. The Arlo Go is available in the UK for £339 and Australia for AU$599.

Designed like Netgear's Wi-Fi-powered Arlo cams, the Go comes with a rechargeable battery that's supposed to last for over a month. Mine's been running off and on for a few weeks now and the battery is currently around 50 percent. 

Consider the Arlo Go if you're searching for a camera that works where Wi-Fi can't, but sticking to an AT&T or a Verizon plan. The Arlo Mobile service is based on the number of alerts you receive, and while the Go's motion sensor is adjustable, you can receive dozens of alerts within just a couple of hours -- and the camera stops working if you reach your plan's max allowance. That's easier to avoid if you opt for AT&T or Verizon, since they log the amount of data you use rather than the number of times the motion sensor detects activity. 

Netgear's Arlo Go camera goes the distance thanks to LTE

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Getting to know the Arlo Go

There aren't a ton of DIY LTE security cameras available today. In addition to the Arlo Go, there's the D-Link DCS-1820LH, which is supposed to be available some time this year and the Panasonic Nubo, which isn't currently sold in the US. That leaves the Link-U 4G LTE Smartcam, which got its start on Indiegogo back in 2014 and is actually out in the world and available for purchase.

Here's how the Link-U compares to Netgear's Arlo Go:

Comparing LTE security cameras


Netgear Arlo GoLink-U 4G LTE Smartcam
Price $400$249
Color finish WhiteBlack and white
Weatherproof Indoor/outdoorIndoor only
Connection type CellularCellular; Wi-Fi; Ethernet
Power source Rechargeable batteryRechargeable battery, Power over Ethernet (PoE)
Resolution 720p HD1080p HD
Live streaming YesYes
Continuous recording NoNo
Cloud storage YesNo
Local storage Yes (up to 32GB microSD card, not included)Yes (up to 32GB microSD card, not included)
Mobile app YesYes
Web app YesNo
Night vision YesYes
Alerts Motion and soundMotion and sound
Activity zones NoNo
Third-party integrations Amazon Alexa; Google Assistant; IFTTTWorks with Sigma Casa devices
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So many alerts.

Screenshot by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Netgear's upfront cost is higher and its resolution tops out at 720p HD, compared to the Link-U's 1080p stream. The Arlo Go also doesn't offer the option to connect over LTE, Wi-Fi or Ethernet -- or to connect via a Power over Ethernet injector like the Link-U. The Go does, however, offer 7 days of free clip-based cloud storage, a web app and voice integrations with Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as a dedicated IFTTT channel. Just like other Alexa- and Google-Assistant-enabled security cameras, the Go works with screen-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo Show or a Google Chromecast TV. Simply say, "Show me the Garden camera" to pull up a live feed on your devices.

The Link-U is limited to local storage via a microSD card (optional for the Arlo Go) and it only works with Sigma Casa motion sensors, door/window sensors, smart plugs, temperature sensors and other devices. But one Link-U camera can only support up to eight Sigma Casa products at a time. Most importantly, the Link-U isn't weatherproof and its battery is only supposed to last for up to eight hours. 

That makes the Arlo Go significantly more appealing, even though it costs more. A SIM card comes preinstalled when you order your Arlo Go from Netgear, AT&T or Verizon, but the camera has to be activated by adding it to a monthly or yearly service plan. Follow the links below to learn more about your options.

The Arlo Mobile plan starts at $5 per month for one 30-second video clip each day/30 30-second video clips a month. That goes up to a $33 per month plan that offers 15 30-second clips daily/450 30-second clip per month. I know that sounds like a lot, but it isn't. At all. While the Arlo Go has advanced features like geofencing, arming and disarming, free cloud storage and more, it doesn't come with motion detection zones. 

You can adjust the sensitivity of the Go's motion sensor, but you still don't have much control over what triggers the sensor. With the default motion sensitivity setting -- right in the middle of the spectrum -- I got dozens of alerts in just a couple of hours. To me, that renders the entry-level $5 Arlo Mobile plan completely useless. And Netgear doesn't offer any sort of unlimited plan.

The AT&T and Verizon options are better since the plans can be rolled into your existing phone plans or you can establish a new data-only plan. AT&T's options range from the $15 per month 250MB plan to a 10GB plan for $50 per month. Verizon's data-only plans start at the $20 per month 2GB plan and go up to a 100GB plan for a whopping $710 per month. 

Yes, AT&T and Verizon plans cost more, but there's also a better chance that your camera won't stop working after just a few hours. 

Performance and setup

Netgear's Arlo Go camera works well overall. The alerts are prompt (although I got too many) and the app clearly displays the camera's activity log so you can review everything for up to 7 days for free. It's also easy to download video clips, arm and disarm the system, enable geofencing mode and sound the built-in siren.

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Inside the Arlo app.

Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

I like that the geofencing mode lets you select a small, medium or large radius around your home. You do have to let the app track your location at all times for this to work, though. But immediately after setting a small radius around my location, it knew I was "home" and automatically disarmed the camera. When I left the range, it automatically armed it. You can also manually switch among the various modes, including creating your own custom arm and disarm schedules. You can also set the camera to turn on the built-in siren whenever the camera detects motion.

The Go was easy to set up in the Arlo app as well. Create an account (if you don't already have one), select "Add Device," choose the device you're setting up, press the Sync button on the top of the camera, point the camera at the QR code that appears on the app screen, name your device and you're done. It literally took two minutes. 

Two things bug me about the design of the Arlo Go, though. While Netgear makes it easy to access the battery by pressing down a button that opens the back of the camera, it doesn't always latch back into place after the first attempt. The base that comes with the camera for mounting was also very fiddly and any attempt to rotate or otherwise adjust it loosened the screw holding it to the camera. 

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The Arlo Go in its natural habitat.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Final thoughts

Netgear's $400 Arlo Go is an expensive camera, made pricier by the required mobile plans available through Netgear, Verizon and AT&T. It's a good camera overall, but the sensitivity of its motion detector means you should pay for an AT&T or Verizon plan with more data to make this camera useful at all. Given the high cost you're likely to pay, it's difficult to widely recommend the Arlo Go. Still, it's a reasonable choice if you need an outdoor LTE camera and want one that can last for weeks on a single charge. 

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6.4

Netgear Arlo Go

Score Breakdown

Features 7Usability 5Design 6.5Performance 7