X

Netgear Arlo Q review: Netgear's reliable Arlo Q camera simplifies DIY home security

Netgear's Arlo Q has Nest-Cam-esque specs with the addition of free cloud storage and activity zones, but can it beat the competition?

meganwollertonportraits0719-23a
Megan Wollerton
meganwollertonportraits0719-23a

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.

See full bio
3 min read

Netgear's Arlo Q indoor security camera, available in the US, UK and Australia for $220/£170/AU$349, doesn't do anything revolutionary. It doesn't have a 360-degree view or IFTTT (or really any integrations with products/services from other companies, for that matter), it isn't rated for outdoor use like the brand's other Arlo cam and it won't blow you away with its app or hardware design, but the Arlo Q is a safe choice that I can easily recommend. (And isn't 'safe' what we really want when we're talking about home security?)

arloqproductphotos-1.jpg
7.6

Netgear Arlo Q

The Good

The Netgear Arlo Q is responsive and reliable, with a 1080p HD resolution, motion and sound alerts, two-way talk, night vision, activity zones and free 7-day event-based cloud storage (you can pay a monthly fee for continuous recording, as needed).

The Bad

Netgear is behind the curve in terms of third-party integrations -- it doesn't currently have any -- and you can't log into the same account on more than one device at the same time. Both the Web and mobile apps could use a design update and the camera itself doesn't feel especially durable compared to its main competition, Nest Cam.

The Bottom Line

If you want a simple, straightforward indoor home security camera with top-of-the-line DIY specs and free cloud storage, Netgear's new Arlo Q is a safe bet.

Netgear's Arlo Q cam gives Nest some competition (pictures)

See all photos

Put simply: the Arlo Q works. Its motion and sound alerts were prompt, the activity zones I created issued consistent alerts only when motion took place in that specific area and the 1080p high-definition live streaming in day- and night-vision mode, two-way talk, video playback, Arm/Disarm function and scheduling all worked very well. Even so, the Arlo Q's live streaming wasn't quite as solid as Nest Cam's, particularly in night-vision mode.

It's also easy to set up -- download the Arlo app on your Android or iOS device of choice and follow the step-by-step instructions to get started. And, like Nest Cam -- a similar 1080p live streaming security camera with motion and sound alerts -- the Arlo Q has a magnetic base that can snap to any magnet-friendly surface.

I reconnected the office Nest Cam to compare the two cameras side-by-side. Hardware-wise, the Arlo Q is larger and lighter and doesn't feel quite as durable as Nest Cam. It also isn't as easy to maneuver and angle.

On the software side of things, both apps have similar functionality, but Nest's version is easier to navigate. There are two significant caveats, though. The Arlo Q sends motion and sound alerts on demand, as soon as an event takes place and it offers free 7-day event-based cloud storage (it also has an optional paid service if you're interested in continuous video recording).

Nest Cam records clips of motion and sound alerts on demand, but will only send one alert every 30 minutes, potentially creating a scenario where you don't get a notification during a burglary or other security event. Instead, you would have to be actively checking your activity log to see motion or sound events the moment they take place. Nest also doesn't offer event-based cloud storage (either free or paid), so you have to pay a minimum of $10 per month for any server-based recording and storage.

arloqvnestcam.jpg
Enlarge Image
arloqvnestcam.jpg

The Arlo Q isn't quite as good as Nest Cam at capturing details in night vision, even with the same 1080p resolution.

Screenshots by CNET

App and hardware design aside, the Arlo Q's main downside is its lack of third-party integrations. Netgear doesn't currently have an IFTTT channel or work with any devices from other manufacturers. You also can't be logged into the Web and mobile app on the same account at the same time, which isn't terribly inconvenient, but seems unnecessary since you can do this with Nest Cam (or any Nest product).

Netgear's $220/£170/AU$349 Arlo Q has some design downsides when it comes to its hardware and app and I wish it worked with more devices, but its alert functionality, free cloud storage and Nest-Cam-level specs make the Arlo Q highly recommendable, even holding its own alongside DIY security staples like Nest Cam.

arloqproductphotos-1.jpg
7.6

Netgear Arlo Q

Score Breakdown

Features 7Usability 8Design 7Performance 9