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Arlo vs Dropcam Pro. Which to buy?

Updated on February 22, 2016
Netgear Arlo vs Dropcam Pro Home Security Camera - Which is better?
Netgear Arlo vs Dropcam Pro Home Security Camera - Which is better? | Source
Questions, questions, questions...
Questions, questions, questions...

Arlo or Dropcam?

The Netgear Arlo and Dropcam are among some of the most popular home video surveillance camera that you can find in the market today.

However which should you choose? The Netgear Arlo or the Nest Dropcam? This is certainly the question that many people who looking to install their own home video surveillance solution are asking.

Many people find it very confusing after wading the many writeups. At the end of it, they are still not able to make an informed choice.

With this hub, I want to make it easy for you. I will try not to bore you with all those technical stuff but to make it as easy as possible so that you can easily make the decision to select one or the other..

How I am goin to do that is to provide you a brief and concise information on all that you need to know about what the Netgear Arlo and Dropcam solutions are on their own first.

Then I will highlight their individual pros and cons. After that I will make a comparison between the two so that you can see for yourself which better meet your needs.

However before I proceed, I would like to highlight the fact that when we are compare the Netgear Arlo vs Dropcam or Dropcam Pro, we are not exactly comparing apple to apple.

Why? This is because even though both are DIY consumer class home security cameras, the main difference between the Dropcam and the Arlo is that one still needs wire while the other is completely wireless.

One can only be used indoor while the other can be used both indoor and out doors.

These are very important differentiation because you may absolutely need the wireless type for certain reasons or you must absolutely have an outdoor camera.

If you have the option to choose between a wired solution or a wireless solution I have set out a table comparing both of these camera side by side!

Both the Netgear Arlo and Dropcam are some of the best home security solutions that you can get in the market today and you will not be wrong to pick one of these.

Which ever the case I hope you will find this hub very useful to you to help you make a decision.

The Arlo Security Cameras
The Arlo Security Cameras | Source

What is the Netgear Arlo?

When it was first launched, Netgear laid claim to the distinction that its Arlo Smart Home Security Camera is the world's first wireless high definition Indoor/Outdoor video camera that consumers can use to monitor their house.

The Arlo Smart Home Security camera is motion activated and will initiate automatic recording and then send email or app notifications alerts.

It captures clips and send you the alerts whether you’re at home or away. As such you can remotely monitors your house from anywhere with ease and a peace of mind.

It has a built-in night vision capability so that monitoring even be carried out in the dark. As it is in HD, you get very sharp details and stunning clarity even in the dark!

You can also place the Arlo cameras both indoors and outdoors without any problems because it is weatherproof.

The pros and cons of the Netgear Arlo
The pros and cons of the Netgear Arlo | Source

The Pros and Cons of the Netgear Arlo

Actually the definition of pros and cons here is strictly not correct for what I want to convey. What I want to do here is to highlight for you the plus' and minuses so that you will be aware of what you will be getting before you buy either the Arlo or Dropcam.

However I will just put them as pros and cons.

The pros of the Netgear Arlo

  • Setup is relatively easy for most people and many people got their system working within minutes; typically less than half an hour
  • No wires. This means you can easily setup the Netgear Arlo anywhere without having to worry having to provide power to it via wire
  • Weather proof. This means you can use it both outside or inside
  • Cameras are very small and compact. This means it is easy to mount them where you want without being conspicuous
  • Excellent picture quality
  • Camera automatically switches to night vision when it gets dark. Clear and sharp pictures
  • Free 200Mb cloud based storage subscription for up to 5 cameras. Additional cameras incurs some charge
  • 720p HD resolution with a wide 130 degree lens to provide a wide view coverage of most rooms

The Cons of the Netgear Arlo

  • Battery life (4 CR123) - there are many factors affecting battery life. Some owners happy with their happy life while others find that their battery life is not as long as what they would have preferred
  • The total cost of batteries can come up to a fair amount overtime. As such it is suggested that you get rechargeable batteries. However general feedback is that rechargeable don't last as long as normal batteries. As such there is a trade off between having to change the batteries more constantly over cost
  • Higher resolutions consumes more battery power. Bigger bandwidth also required for higher resolutions.

Which Dropcam should I choose?
Which Dropcam should I choose? | Source

What is the Dropcam or Dropcam Pro?

I will summarize for you the main features of the Dropcam wifi wireless video monitoring security camera first and then show you the similarities and differences.

Both cameras have common basic functions with the Pro model having a higher specs.

The Dropcam is the earlier version while the Dropcam Pro is the enhanced version of the Dropcam with higher specs for a slight difference of around $30 at the time of writing.

Both cameras are very easy to setup. Once you have set it up, you can securely stream high-definition video via your Wi-Fi to your devices.

It allows you to watch live or recorded video from anywhere with devices such as the Apple Mac, Windows PC, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android over its online Cloud Video Recording (CVR) which you have to subscribe.

With the CVR, you can review the captured footage and make clips with optional secure offsite recording. The CVR securely records up to 30 days of footage for you to review after the activity which happened.

The clips can also be shared and saved. While Dropcam allows you to subscribe or unscubscribe to the CVR, you can only view the live actions if you do not have the CVR subscription.

Dropcam vs Dropcam Pro
Dropcam vs Dropcam Pro | Source

Differences between the Dropcam and Dropcam Pro

People generally refer to both as Dropcam. However there are two models of the Dropcam. The Dropcam itself and the Dropcam Pro.

If you are going for the Dropcam, then I would highly recommend the higher specs Pro model.

Here is a comparison between the Dropcam and Dropcam Pro.

Features
Dropcam
Dropcam Pro
Field of View
107 degrees
130 degrees
Color
Silver
Black
Zoom
4x
8x
Night Vision
Good
Excellent
Audio Quality
Solid
Superior
Mobile and Web Apps
Yes
Yes
2-Way Talk
Yes
Yes
Intelligent Alerts
Yes
Yes
Wi-Fi
2.4GHz
2.4GHz and 5.0GHz
Setup
Windows
Windows, iOS, or Android devices
Video Quality
SilverH.264 encoding, 720p HD 1280 x 720 at 30 frames/sec
H.264 encoding, 720p HD 1280 x 720 at 30 frames/sec
Price
$210
$240

Moving forward I will just refer to both the Dropcam and Dropcam Pro as just Dropcam.

The Pros and Cons of the Dropcam

The pros of Dropcam

  • Sleek and cool looking
  • No service fee for basic live viewing
  • Easy to setup and use; typically 10 to 20 minutes
  • Free app for Android, iPad and iOS devices app and windows
  • Two way audio, something like your walkie talkie
  • During video reviews can skip to interesting sections through motion tags
  • Good picture quality - both day and night. Ability to see in total darkness
  • A month of free recording to the cloud

The cons of Dropcam

  • The data to be uploaded for the CVR can be fairly substantial for some people. This is a two edged sword. In order for you to enjoy that user experience, it has to upload that data and then download it to the device that you use for viewing
  • Video is captured continuously so that means a substantial amount of data has to be uploaded
  • Each camera you add to your monitoring system will add to the amount of data you need to upload
  • Additional subscription cost for cloud storage - around $100 to $300 according to the plan you choose
  • Depending on the speed you can get from your Internet service provider, you may experience some lag with the video and audio
  • Needs to be powered through the use of a USB cable and power adapter
  • Indoor use only. However you can overcome this limitation with a separately purchased outdoors enclosure. See below.

Ok. Now you know the pros and cons of both the Netgear Arlo and the Dropcam, how does the Netgear Arlo stack up against the Dropcam?

Netgear Arlo vs Dropcam

I have arrange for a comparison of the main features between both the Netgear Arlo and the Dropcam so that you can easily compare both at a glance.

You will find that both have identical features with wireless, weather proof and cloud storage cost being the main differences between the two.

Many owners found the additional cloud storage cost of the Dropcam to be the deal breaker even though they like it very much.

For other people, the deal breaker for Dropcam was because it is not weatherproof. They need to be able to place their camera outside the house. Others need a wireless solution.

On the other hand the Netgear Arlo is completely wireless. Due to the fact that it is wireless, you will be required to change the batteries when they run low. With batteries, there is also the on going cost to replace them when they go flat. An alternative to lower the battery cost is to use rechargeable ones.

If you are putting the Arlo in a vacation home that you only visit a few times in a year, then the Arlo may not be a suitable option as you will need to change the batteries once they run flat.

Here is the side by side comparison of the Arlo vs Dropcam.

Features
Arlo
Dropcam
Wireless
Yes
Needs a USB cable to power the camera
Batteries required
Yes. 4 CR123 batteries required
No. Wired connection
Weatherproof
Yes. Can be placed outdoors
No. Can only be used indoors. You will have to buy a separate outdoors enclosure if you want to use it outdoor
Audio
Does not have audio
Yes. 2 way talk
Eaze of setup
Very easy to setup
Very easy to setup
Video quality
720p HD resolution
720p HD resolution
Video clarity
Excellent
Excellent
Night vision
Excellent
Excellent
Cloud storage
You have free cloud recording for up to 5 cameras with a total of 1 Gb and your recording stays 7 days for free in the secure cloud DVR storage. You also have the option to download the videos before the 7 days. You can pay for addtional service if you need more than 7 days of recordings or more than the 1 GB
Can watch live video for free from any web browser, iOS or Android device. However you must subscribe to cloud storage if you want to view past 7 or 30 days of recorded footage. It costs around $100-300 per year video to be stored on the cloud
Field of view
Very wide field of view. However that makes everything look small with a slightly rounded fisheye effect
Has a better combination of size and wideness whereby people appear larger in size with everything else looking "normal"

Which more meet your needs?

See results

The Dropcam Pro

If you need an excellent home surveillance camera that can run by itself once you have connected to a power source, then go for the Dropcam. Many people find that they prefer a wired connection because they don't want the batteries to run out on them and these things have a habit of happening especially during the critical moments.

If you are in for the wired Dropcam solution, then I seriously recommend that you pay a little premium to get the Pro version instead of the Dropcam.

It is well worth that little extra more money for the enhance features.

Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Security Camera
Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Security Camera

Excellent camera for indoor use with very good video quality and two way audio.

 
Netgear Arlo is very small but solidly constructed and compact.
Netgear Arlo is very small but solidly constructed and compact. | Source

The Netgear Arlo

The Netgear Arlo come in various configuration or packages such as the ones with a 3 Camera Kit, 2 Camera Kit or 1 Camera Kit. There are also 4 and 5 camera bundles.

In summary the Netgear Arlo is

  • Easy set up – takes just minutes
  • Computer not required
  • Expandable – add cameras as needed
  • 100% wireless and completely Wire-Free

Frankly for me, I prefer a wireless solution.

I find the Arlo an excellent choice for my needs. Besides being wireless and having excellent videos for both day and night time recording, the plus points of the Arlo for me is that I don't have to pay for the additional cost for the cloud hosting.

I am also able to put the Arlo in my yard without having to worry about the wiring or the camera getting wet as it is weather proof. Its small size also makes it easy to place anywhere.

Arlo Security System - 3 Wire-Free HD Cameras, Indoor/Outdoor, Night Vision (VMS3330)
Arlo Security System - 3 Wire-Free HD Cameras, Indoor/Outdoor, Night Vision (VMS3330)

Get the Arlo if you are looking for a wireless video home security systems that provides you ease of installation, functionality, style, performance and excellent day and night video quality.

 

Hiding your camera?

If you need to hide your camera, check out the gadget below.

Get a superfast cable modem
Get a superfast cable modem | Source

Video too slow? Change your modem and plan...

If you find that your current modem cannot handle that extra speed and volume for your monitoring purposes, then you may want to check out one of the fastest cable modem available in the market at the time of writing.

If you are looking for the latest and fastest cable modems, check out this excellent hub comparing the Arris Motorola SB6190 and SB6183 surfboard cable modems.

They should be fast enough to give you the user experience you are looking for.

By the way, also don't forget to check your current wireless router to see if it can make full use of the speed from the above two cable modems.

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