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Netgear Arlo Baby Review: The Baby Monitor to Beat





With its friendly green bunny ears, Netgear's $250 Arlo Baby looks right at home tucked away on a bookshelf in your child's nursery. But it's no toy — this high-def video monitor is packed with night vision, temperature and air quality sensors, a color-changing nightlight and a speaker that can play lullabies or just let your child know you're on the way.
Design
The Arlo Baby is extremely cute for a smart-home product. It comes with removable rubber bunny ears and feet, which you can swap out for a kitten or puppy look for an extra $20 per critter. At 4.3 x 2.6 x 2.5 inches, it's nicely compact, and comes with a wall mount plate if you prefer that option.

Setup took less than 5 minutes. You just connect the included micro USB cable to Arlo Baby and plug into a power adapter. When the light blinks amber, you can launch the Arlo app on your iPhone or Android device, create an account, and connect up to five Arlo cameras that can all show you live feeds at once. (In addition to the baby monitor, Netgear also offers indoor and outdoor security cameras under the Arlo label.) Following the prompts to put Arlo Baby on my Wi-Fi network was also a breeze — the video monitor connected on the first try and hasn't dropped the network once.
Arlo’s night vision is pretty good, and the viewing angle can be adjusted from 90 to 130 degrees. The camera is fixed, but it’s easy to point it where you need it to go.
Arlo’s night vision is pretty good, and the viewing angle can be adjusted from 90 to 130 degrees. The camera is fixed, but it’s easy to point it where you need it to go.Arlo Baby has an onboard 2400mAh battery, but if you want all-night monitoring, keep the camera plugged in. After I put my son to bed at 9 p.m., with the nightlight at half brightness and lullabies playing for half an hour, the Arlo Baby's battery conked out before midnight. But the battery is still convenient to monitor naps in other rooms, and so it doesn't shut down if you need to move the camera from outlet to outlet.

Specs

Camera Range: Static field of view adjustable from 90 to 130 degrees
Handheld Monitor: NA
Handheld Viewer Size/Weight: NA

Mobile App: Android, iOS
Temperature/Humidity Sensor: Yes/Yes

Video Recording: Yes, 360p to 1080p
Subscription: Free for 7 days of cloud recordings, optional plans start at $10/month

Features

Arlo Baby's camera defaults to 720p resolution and 110 degrees of view, but you can adjust those up to 1080p and 130 degrees, and down as far as 360p and 90 degrees, respectively. Even better, the app lets you specify which areas should trigger a motion alert. That comes in  handy if you want the camera to watch the crib but ignore the cat wandering in and out of the door all night.

You do have to find the right angle by adjusting the camera manually. The camera isn't motorized to let you pan and tilt via the app, but you can use the app to zoom in for a closer look.

A color-changing nightlight on the back of Arlo Baby's "head" illuminates the room more softly than a light on the front would, and you can turn off the status light, which is a nice touch. The Arlo app includes six lullabies (they're MP3-quality, but no singing, just music-box-like tones) and three white-noise sounds to play over the speaker. You can edit or reorder that playlist or add your own MP3 songs from cloud storage — heck, you could even record your own voice singing or talking, right in the Arlo app.
The main screen of the Arlo app shows a live camera view along with tons of controls for the music and lights, to take a snapshot or video, and even to check the temperature of the room.
The main screen of the Arlo app shows a live camera view along with tons of controls for the music and lights, to take a snapshot or video, and even to check the temperature of the room.One unique feature is Arlo Baby's Always Listening mode. This feature streams the audio from the camera's microphones to your smartphone all the time, even if you're using other apps or have your phone locked. It basically replaces the need for a separate handheld monitor, though Netgear says a $349 version of Arlo Baby with a dedicated handheld monitor is coming soon. In our testing, though, the mobile app on a smartphone provided a perfect way for checking in on the nursery.

Onboard sensors measure the temperature (to the tenth of a degree), humidity (to the tenth of a percent) and air quality in your baby's room, and you can get notifications when any of them are out of your preferred range. "Air quality" is explained in the app as the relative amount of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, in the room. Netgear says that if you get an "Abnormal" or "Very Abnormal" reading, you can typically bring it back to "Normal" by opening a window for a while.

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