Netgear Arlo Go hands-on review

With Netgear's Arlo Go, home security isn’t limited to the home

The Arlo Go lets you take the impressive Arlo Pro anywhere you go.
The Arlo Go lets you take the impressive Arlo Pro anywhere you go.
The Arlo Go lets you take the impressive Arlo Pro anywhere you go.

Highs

  • Great feature set
  • Weatherproof
  • Affordable 4G plans
  • SD card slot
  • Easy to set up and use

Lows

  • Clips limited to 10 seconds
  • Limit on number of minutes recorded per month

We’re pretty big fans of Netgear’s Arlo smart cameras. The Arlo Pro 2 is the best, most full-featured home security system we’ve ever reviewed, and the Arlo Go takes nearly all of that functionality and combines it with 4G LTE connectivity. Without relying on Wi-Fi, the battery-powered Arlo Go can be used in remote locations, to watch over both commercial and residential property where Wi-Fi doesn’t reach.

The Arlo Go doesn’t require an Arlo base station and, unlike the Arlo Pro 2, can be purchased as a single camera for $430 (MSRP). At that price, it comes in just $45 below the cost of an Arlo Pro 2 two-camera kit, but it requires a paid cellular plan. Therefore, it will only appeal to users who really need the flexibility of 4G coverage, but it’s a fantastic smart camera for those situations, with a wealth of features that many Wi-Fi cameras don’t even get right.

Features and usability

The Arlo Go is essentially a 4G version of the original Arlo Pro, so video resolution comes in at 720p rather than the 1080p of the Arlo Pro 2. However, as we’ve pointed out in previous smart camera reviews, the difference between these two high definition resolutions is minimal, at best, so we don’t see this as a knock against the Arlo Go. Image quality is affected more by the level of compression, which does appear pretty extreme here, but that tends to be true of smart security cameras, in general.

Without a base station, the Arlo Go doesn’t have access to features like the siren or optional USB backup that comes with Arlo Pro kits. However, Netgear did grace the camera with a MicroSD card slot, so there’s still an option for local storage. Given the intended use of the Arlo Go as a remote camera, this might not be the most efficient solution, but at a time when companies seem hell-bent on forcing users into more expensive cloud plans, it’s still nice to have. Other features include night vision, two-way audio, and motion and sound detection.

Without relying on Wi-Fi, the battery-powered Arlo Go can be used in remote locations.

Controlling the Arlo Go is done via the Arlo mobile app (iOS and Android), which is great if you own additional Arlo products. The Arlo Go will show up right in line with any Arlo Pro cameras, for example, and there’s no difference in how you interact with any of them. You can view a live feed, activate two-way audio, or review any clips from motion-triggered events. Netgear’s best-in-class geofencing and scheduling options work with the Arlo Go, too. It’s not the easiest to navigate app we’ve used, but it is the most powerful.

The mobile data connection does mean the Arlo Go won’t achieve the same battery life as the Arlo Pro, but it should still be good for a couple of months or so, depending on activity. Batteries can be swapped and charged separately, so it’s a good idea to purchase a spare to keep on hand in order to minimize camera downtime.

Making sense of the service plans

In order to get the Arlo Go online, you’ll need a mobile data plan. Netgear sells three versions of the Arlo Go for different providers: AT&T, Verizon, and Netgear’s own Arlo Mobile (tested). Additionally, a cloud storage plan is required, but as with other Arlo cameras, seven days of free cloud backup comes standard.

Fortunately, Arlo Mobile plans start at just $49 per year (or $5 per month). Due to the cost of streaming data over a mobile network, however, there are strict limits on how much data can be used. While a Wi-Fi Arlo camera can maintain an up-to-date buffer of video in the cloud, replacing old clips as new ones are recorded, the Arlo Go can only stream so many minutes per month, starting at 15 for the entry-level plan.

The Arlo cameras put powerful security tools in your hands, and the Arlo Go takes it to a new level.

Now, depending on where your camera is placed and how it is set up — for example, if it is scheduled to only be active at certain times or on certain days — 15 minutes may be more than enough. Cameras that are armed around the clock, or located in areas that see a lot of traffic — your family members coming and going, workers on job site, or those deer that keeps eating out of your garden — may require more time. Netgear offers 120 and 240-minute plans for $229 per year and $329 per year, respectively. Apparently, Netgear assumes users will either need a few minutes or many, as there is no option between 15 and 120 minutes.

Beyond a limited number of minutes, individual clips are always saved at 10 seconds — regardless of how long the motion event takes place. In our testing, walking around in front of the camera for longer than ten seconds resulted in brief gaps between the end of one clip and the start of another. This likely isn’t a huge deal, but compared to the impressively long clips of the Arlo Pro 2 (which lasted up to several minutes), we’re a bit underwhelmed.

Conclusion

Netgear’s Arlo cameras have always put powerful security tools in the hands of DIY-ers, and the Arlo Go takes this to a new level. It certainly isn’t a product that everyone will need, but it could be the perfect product for specific customers. If you have a barn, carport, or simply open land that falls outside of your Wi-Fi coverage, the Arlo Go gives you an incredibly easy-to-use solution for monitoring it. Likewise, it’s a great option for commercial applications, particularly when security is needed on a temporary basis, such as a construction site. The Arlo Go can be installed quickly, and can be uninstalled just as quickly when the job is complete.

At $430 (plus at least $49 per year) for a single camera, it doesn’t come cheap, so the Arlo Go isn’t going to be an impulse buy. In some cases, it may be possible to invest in better Wi-Fi to extend the reach of your home network — say, if you want to put a security camera in your garage — which could be more cost effective than a 4G smart camera. But when Wi-Fi simply isn’t an option, the Arlo Go is a viable choice.

Product Review

Gate’s Smart Lock is locked and loaded but ultimately lacks important basics

In a world of video cameras and doorbells comes the Gate Smart Lock, a lock with a video camera embedded. It’s a great idea, but lacks some crucial functionality to make it a top-notch product.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Computing

Netgear’s new Nighthawk Pro Gaming router keeps you connected at a nice price

Netgear's latest router expands its Nighthawk range with a $200 entry. It's still fast and helps reduce lag in gaming, but it does it at the lowest price of a Nighthawk Pro Gaming router yet.
Product Review

The Punkt is no dumb phone -- it’s much smarter than you think

Punkt’s second phone, the MP-02, doesn’t follow the generally accepted update cycle, adding only three main new features, one of which is a 4G LTE connection. It’s a fascinating little phone, and you’re going to love it.
Smart Home

Thermomix introduces a small appliance that can do it all

The Thermomix TM6 just might be what you're looking for. This all-in-one appliance can perform 20 unique tasks that will cut down on the work of meal preparation and will help you cook just about anything.
Smart Home

Amazon knocks down the price on the second-generation Echo smart speaker

Amazon just knocked down the price of the second-generation Echo smart speaker with Alexa by 25 percent. The Echo can answer questions, control smart home devices, fill a room with music with its Dolby speakers, and make hands-free calls.
Smart Home

Whatever happened to those dumb smart products we wrote about in 2017?

A smart salt dispenser? As manufacturers rush to get the next new smart item out there, we wonder if all these new inventions are really necessary. Here’s a list of 10 of the quirkiest home smart gadgets available, and where they are now.
Smart Home

Smeg Dolce and Gabbana small appliances make an art gallery of your kitchen

Spice up your kitchen with Smeg's Dolce and Gabbana-styled Sicily Is My Love collection. Following its introduction of Sicilian-themed major appliances, the Italian collaborators added countertop devices with traditional icons and images.
Smart Home

Sign up for Amazon’s Prime Book Box and get an Echo Dot Kids Edition for $1

Do your kids like books? Sign up for Amazon's Prime Book Box for kids through March 26 and you can get an Echo Dot Kids Edition for just $0.99. The Prime Book Box includes two to four books, delivered every one, two, or three months.
Smart Home

Ikea isn’t throwing shade with the delayed release of its smart blinds

Ikea planned to release is Tradfri-compatible smart blinds in April 2019, but the products have been delayed until later in the year for a firmware update that promises better functionality.
Smart Home

Lutron’s Fan Control makes ceiling fans smart, but has some turnoffs

Lutron recently came out with a smart switch that controls ceiling fans, the Lutron Caseta Fan Speed Control Switch. How does it stack up? Here's a first-hand review of the Lutron Fan Control switch.
Cars

Amazon and Kia team up to simplify EV home-charging station installs

Kia Motors announced a new program with Amazon for electric vehicles. Customers planning to purchase a new Kia EV or PHEV can check out recommended Level 2 240-volt home charging stations and arrange installation in their homes.
Smart Home

Traeger’s latest wood-pellet grills are smoky, smart, and spacious

Traeger is famous in the world of barbecue and heavy-duty grills for its signature pellet grills and now the company is expanding this year by adding three new brands of redesigned
Smart Home

The five best teeth-whitening kits you can buy on Amazon

Teeth whitening can have a major impact on a person’s smile and overall appearance. You don't necessarily have to go to the dentist to get your teeth whitened though. Here are the best teeth-whitening kits you can buy.