After a couple of break-ins in our local area, I thought I should invest in a couple of wifi-enabled security cameras for our home. I spent a lot of time researching the many alternatives that are available to purchase online and reading various reviews. I finally settled on the Netgear Arlo Q, and in this post I'll take you through my criteria and why I'm happy with my choice.

Indoor vs Outdoor

My starting point was to lean towards an outdoor camera, but I realised that there are two disadvantages. Firstly, the installation is more tricky - often requiring the need to drill a hole through an outside house wall to accommodate cables. Secondly, and more of a drawback for me, it's much harder with outdoor cameras to avoid false positive alarms. Almost all cameras are motion-sensitive and will report 'motion detected' when triggered. Outdoor cameras are susceptible to motion from trees, plants, animals (eg. urban foxes, cats) when overlooking a back garden and passing people or cars when overlooking the front of a property. Some cameras allow calibration of the sensitivity of the motion detection - but it is hit-and-miss to get it right. On the other hand, indoor cameras are easy to install and move around if needed anywhere within reach of a power socket. There is a much-reduced risk of false positives. For these reasons, I decided that installing indoor cameras made more sense. I now have two cameras which cover areas which could be potential entry points for intruders.

Functionality, Security and Ongoing Costs

Decent video and audio quality is a must. Two-way audio (listen/speak) is a bonus, if available. Ability to see live video and hear audio on your phone and also store video/audio clips to the cloud is a key requirement. Here there is a wide disparity between the potential devices on offer - the accompanying camera control software differs greatly in quality and ease-of-use. At a minimum, the ability to remotely arm/disarm and set an on/off schedule is important. Plus easy access to the live video stream and any recorded video clips. Also, be aware that there is an inherent security risk if you enable a device to permanently open up a port on your router to send video to the cloud. It's worth going with a reputable manufacturer, rather than a company you've never heard of before. Lastly, some manufacturers (for example Nest) have good camera hardware/software but charge a monthly fee for cloud storage. Over time, the costs of this monthly fee can far outweigh your initial camera purchase.

Arlo Q key points

* Good quality camera hardware, looks well made & durable
* Video quality good, wide field of vision, IR night vision
* Very well-designed and intuitive software via desktop browser and phone app
* Free cloud storage for up to five devices (premium package also available but not needed for most people)
* Reputable manufacturer, trusted name in consumer electronics
* Camera set-up is very easy
* Cost is not especially cheap (was £140 on Amazon earlier this month but now back up to £168 - I suggest waiting for the next deal)

Conclusion

There are many home security camera solutions available. The cost ranges from the super-cheap up to those costing hundreds of pounds. The Arlo Q is at the mid-to-high end in terms of cost, but it does offer excellent hardware, high quality software and zero running costs, assuming you have a decent broadband data limit). I purchased two of these cameras for about the combined price of a mid-range smartphone and I think it has been money well spent.
Shared publiclyView activity