Arlo Go Cellular Cloud Camera Tested
Totally wireless surveillance cameras are growing but almost all typically depend on a hub and local Internet access.
However, many outdoor scenarios will be too distant or difficult to depend on such requirements. In such scenarios, integrated cellular would increase flexibility and freedom of deployment
We bought an tested the Arlo Go to see how well it worked, if cellular connectivity had issues, and how its detection/cloud recording compared to the original Arlo.
We also bought two of the "skins" offered by Arlo for making the Go more covert, shown attached below, making it much less obtrusive mounted in a tree:
In our tests, motion detection and recording were reliable, with no false alarms over the course of two nights of testing in a residential area. However, we occasionally experienced "late" recording issues, with objects nearly out of the camera's field of view when recording starts, providing less usable video, but this occurred in only 3-4 occasions out of hundreds.
Image quality was solid for a 720p camera, suitable for rough details at its maximum detection range (~25' distance), with improved IR illumination compared to the original Arlo.
Cellular signal was reliable in multiple locations tested, including indoors in a metal frame/shell building where cell service is typically poor. Additionally, unlike in our original Arlo test, we experienced no cloud server/connectivity issues, with no issues accessing live or event video.
The Arlo Go's cellular connectivity make it a novel entry in consumer/DIY cameras, mostly dominated by indoor wifi cameras. However, its relatively high price ($350-429, depending on supplier/contract) puts it ~$150-200 or more above typical home cameras. And users must pay ongoing monthly cellular charges, starting at $5/month.
Still, those looking to add surveillance to sites without available internet connectivity, such as construction sites or hunting/hiking/offroad trails, the Go is one of few DIY/consumer options.
The Arlo Go product price varies from $349 - $429:
- Verizon: $349 with two year contract or $399 without
- Best Buy [link no longer available]: $429
- Amazon: $429
At this time, Arlo Go is unavailable outside the US. Netgear plans but does not have a release date for availability outside the US.
Purchasing the Go via Verizon adds the camera to a user's existing account, if any, a $10/mo access fee. If the user does not have an account, a data plan must be purchased, starting at $35/month for 2GB usage.
Cameras purchased elsewhere required an Arlo Mobile account, that includes cellular access, ranging from $4.99/mo to $32.99/mo, depending on usage (below). Note that these usages are approximate, based on 30 second clips at maximum video quality. Using shorter clips or reduced quality settings will increase the number of clips available on each plan (also note that Arlo defaults to 10 second clips, not 30).
Users exceeding their Arlo Mobile plan may add more "video minutes" from the app or move to the next highest plan.
The Arlo Go is substantially larger than the Arlo, about three times larger and three times the weight. Below we provide side by comparisons of the two cameras.
The video below provides a physical overview of the camera.
Arlo Go Skins
Arlo offers several "skins" which may be used to cover and/or conceal the Go, including black, green, camouflage, and ghillie camouflage. Using the ghillie skin drastically reduced the overt appearance of the camera when mounted in/on trees, must less obtrusive than its normal large white casing.
For example, when mounted in this tree, the camera nearly blends in with the surrounding branches:
Those looking to make the Go less obtrusive or use it as a trail cam/game cam (which Arlo specifically markets to) will likely find these skins useful.
The Arlo Go is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery, but it may also be powered via micro USB where AC power is available. Arlo claims 2-3 months of battery life under normal use, assuming about 5 minutes of recording per day. They note that poor cell signal, lower light areas requiring more frequent IR illumination, and lower temperatures will reduce this life.
In our tests, after ~4 days of intensive testing (15-20 minutes of recording per day), the Go battery indicator showed 90%. Note that many of our tests were performed indoors, in areas with relatively weak cell signal, and with a significant portion performed in low light with IR on.
To reduce downtime when the camera runs low, spare batteries may be purchased separately and kept charged. This allows the user to remove the camera's back cover and dead battery and replace with a fresh fully charged one, taking the camera offline for only a few minutes.
Residential Motion Detection
We tested the Go in the front yard of a residence where it performed well; consistently detecting, recording, and reporting motion events triggered by foot traffic as well as vehicles in this field of view:
In this scene the Arlo exceeded its maximum specified motion detection range of 23', detecting passing vehicles at ~35' from the camera.
Detection of human subjects was reliable, as well, with people detected on the side walk, about 22' from the camera, day and night.
However, on a few occasions (<10) during testing, clip recording began late, with the object nearly out of the field of view. This was typically vehicles moving at a higher rate of speed, such as this example:
Image Quality Comparisons
We tested image quality of the Arlo Go vs. the original Arlo in an indoor scene as a baseline comparison, in this field of view:
Despite their differences in angle of view, image quality is similar between the two Arlo cameras. The original Arlo produces slightly more subject facial detail, while the first 2 lines of text are more legible in the Arlo Go.
The Arlo Go's IR illuminator performed much better than the original Arlo, fully illuminating the room where the Arlo did not, shown here.
Because of this, the Arlo Go is able to produce rough subject details and the first line of test chart text, not visible in the original Arlo.
Arlo is mainly intended to be a standalone platform, not to integrate to other platforms. There are some limited video integrations with home automation platforms Smartthings and Wink. IFTTT also supports inputs (motion, low battery, etc.) and actions (arm, disarm, record) for Arlo, but does not support video clips or still images.
Mobile App / Web Interface
In the videos below we take a look at the web interface as well as the mobile app, which both remain unchanged from our original test.
Video may be continuously live viewed via either interface, though this will quickly drain the cameras' batteries. Clips may be exported to the user's mobile device or saved to PC if using the web interface.
We review the web interface in this video:
Mobile App Interface
The mobile app is very similar to the web interface including the look/feel and functionality.
The Following firmware versions were used for this test:
- Alro Go (Hardware H6): Firmware 1.094.1.0_126.96.36.199_4