Review of the Arlo Q Security Camera with Audio from NETGEAR



arlo-q-lifestyle-bookcase-1-mediumDisclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review.

What we love…

2 way audio, high definition video, night vision, a long cord, easy camera angle adjustment, zoom capability, sound and motion detection and free cloud storage.

What we’d love to see…

I would love to see integration with other connected home accessories and the ability to view from multiple devices simultaneously.

Summary

The Arlo Q is a great addition to the Arlo family, it is a very versatile indoor video camera.  It is very quick and easy to set up and needs no hub. It adds an Arlo option that has 2 way audio and needs no batteries. With no monthly fee for the basic storage plan this is a considerable saving over other systems that require a monthly fee.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

I first reviewed the Arlo home security camera system from NETGEAR in March 2015, and I still use it on a daily basis. I love the versatility of the wireless cameras, the free online storage and the ingenious magnetic mounting system. For the cameras I use really frequently it would be nice to have a wired option to cut down on battery usage. NETGEAR has just launched the Arlo Q, which makes that option a reality. Arlo Q is a wired camera, so no more batteries, and includes 2 way audio. It can be used as an add-on to an existing Arlo system or it can be used independently. I have been testing out Arlo Q with my existing Arlo system and it is a great addition to the Arlo family!

Set Up

Set up is very easy. If you already have an Arlo system you can add Arlo Q as an additional camera via the app. If you don’t already own an Arlo system, Arlo Q can be used as a standalone, to start simply download the Arlo App and set up a free account. Arlo Q connects directly to your home WiFi network and does not need a hub.

Connect the included micro USB cable and wall charger to the Arlo Q, and plug in. The cable for Arlo Q is almost 10 feet long, much longer than the cables on other cameras I have tested. I really appreciated this as I’ve experienced how short cables can limit installation options. I could put Arlo Q on top of a high shelf and still reach an electric outlet.

Follow the instructions in the app to connect Arlo Q to your home WiFi network. The camera scans a QR code in the app to complete set up so you don’t even have to type in serial numbers, it took me about 3 minutes to have it up and running. I have the Arlo app installed on all our family’s smartphones and when I added the camera on one phone it automatically appeared in all the others linked to our account.

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Mounting

Unlike the wireless Arlo cameras Arlo Q is permanently attached to its base. The base can sit on a shelf or other flat surface or be mounted on a wall using the included bracket, the base is also magnetized so it will stick to a metal surface. One of the things I love about the wireless Arlo is how its magnetic ball and socket style mount allows easy adjustment of the viewing angle, Arlo-Q has a totally different mount but still includes a ball and socket joint making it easy to adjust the angle on this camera too.

Settings

From the Arlo app you can arm or disarm the camera and set up recording to be triggered by either motion or sound or both. You can also set a weekly schedule so that the camera is only armed during certain times and the schedule can vary on different days. You can also view the camera live stream at any time.  You can choose to record still images or video and you can opt for push notifications or email alerts when the camera is triggered.

You can adjust the sensitivity level for both sound and motion detection and can set up separate motion detection zones (by zooming in on different parts of the room.) For video recording you can choose to record clips from 10-120 seconds long.

There are a variety of storage plans available, the basic plan is free and allows free cloud storage of a week’s worth of video clips (maximum 1GB.) For my families needs the free basic plan is as much storage as we need, but there are also paid upgrade options available including the option to have continual video recording from your Arlo Q.  You can easily download or share video clips from your online library.

iPad Screenshot 2

In Use

 

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The Arlo Wireless cameras are weatherproof and designed to be used inside and out, but the Arlo Q is strictly indoor only. Arlo Q is ideal for situations where you want to be able to view a live video feed or make frequent recordings without worrying about batteries. I find it very useful for keeping an eye on my pet dog and cat when I am away from home. With the 130° camera angle I can watch pretty much the whole living room on live feed, and I can set up motion detection recording to keep an eye on their food and water bowls to make sure they are eating. It is also great for keeping an eye on my teenager to make sure he is getting his homework done when I am out of the room or even out of the house. I love that the 2- way audio means that I can gently remind my son to get back to work and that if he wants my attention he can just speak and I’ll get sent an alert. I do notice a slight lag in the video and audio feed- for me the live feed is about 10 seconds behind real life. For most situations this doesn’t matter but if you are having a 2 way conversation you need to remember to allow time for the other person to respond. I have noticed similar lags with other live feed cameras in my home.

For families with younger children it can make a great baby monitor – you can watch your child to see they are settling down to sleep and then set an alert to send you a notification if there is any sound or movement. I wish it had been available when my kids were younger. When my twins were babies I had a video monitor but the video quality was poor, I could only see one crib at a time, and unless I constantly watched the small fuzzy screen I couldn’t tell if they were awake but quiet, or sleeping. Arlo Q works so much better- good quality video streaming, wide enough angle to get both cribs in view and push notifications if the child moves or makes a sound. It would also work well for elder care with families being able to watch and speak to elderly relatives from afar.

Arlo App

In Camera you can view live feeds of video from all your Arlo cameras,and add new devices.

In Library you can look at your stored video clips and download or share any clips you wish to save.

In Mode you can also set up or change your schedule, create new “modes” and customize their rules and switch between modes. For each mode you can customize what triggers it – sound, motion or both; what action to take- record video, take snapshot or do nothing and how you wish to be notified if it is triggered- email, push notification, both or neither. You can also choose the length of video recording from 10-120 seconds. You can have different schedules for your Arlo Q and Arlo wireless cameras.

In Settings you can choose from 5 different video resolution options varying from 240p up to 1080p, switch the microphone on/ off, switch the speaker on/ off and adjust the speaker volume. You can also set up different zones within the camera field of view by zooming into certain areas. You can have up to 3 zones for each camera.

You can access the Arlo app on both Android and iOS devices as well as on your desktop. Currently you can only be logged in on one device at a time- so if you are viewing your cameras on your phone and your spouse also decides to view on their laptop or phone you will get kicked out. The newest log-in gets priority. In a future updates I would like to see the ability to view from multiple devices at once and integration with other connected home accessories.

Overall, I think the Arlo Q is a great addition to the Arlo family. I think it is a very versatile indoor video camera, it is very quick and easy to set up and needs no hub. It adds an Arlo option that has 2 way audio and needs no batteries. With no monthly fee for the basic storage plan this is a considerable saving over other systems that require a monthly fee. I love the 2-way audio, high definition video, night vision, long cord, easy camera angle adjustment, zoom capability, sound and motion detection and free cloud storage.

 

Arlo Q is available from Best Buy, Amazon, Wal-Mart and other retailers RRP $219.99

Arlo App

Arlo Arlo by NETGEAR

Price: $FREE

Arlo is the worldwide leader in Smart Home Security, and the creator of the world’s first ever 100% wire-free, weatherproof HD security camera.
Arlo cameras make it easy to keep tabs on all the important.


NetGear-Ambassaodor

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Review of the Piper NV Smart Home Security System

Piper nv - Black - Front-1

Pros…..

180° camera, motion sensing, night vision, 2-way audio, loud alarm, environmental sensors, no video storage fees. Links with door/ window sensors, smart plugs, light bulbs.

Cons…

Doesn’t currently link with Nest or other smart thermostat, not all z-wave accessories are supported, can’t change the length of video clip recorded, can get quite pricey when setting up multiple camera system.

Summary

Overall, if you want a DIY home security system without any monthly fees Piper NV is a great option, with video recording, motion sensing, 2 -way audio, a loud alarm and ability to connect to a variety of accessories including door/ window sensors  it has a lot of great features.

recommended-by-the-imums

Do you want a security system for your home but don’t want to deal with recurring monthly fees from a security company? Then the Piper NV Home Smart Security System may be what you are looking for. It is a DIY home security solution without any monthly fees.

The heart of the system is a 180° camera with day and night vision, 2-way audio, and motion detection, but is is much more than just a security camera. The Piper NV has a built-in 105 db alarm, environmental sensors that monitor your home and can connect to z-wave accessories such as door/ window sensors, smart plugs and smart bulbs.

To use Piper NV you need to install a free app on your iOS or Android phone/ tablet and wirelessly connect the Piper to your home WiFi network.

iPhone Screenshot 2

You can set 4 modes -stay, away, vacation and notification only and decide how Piper should react to movement, loud noises, or temperature changes. You can choose to be notified of alerts by text, email, phone, push notifications or all of them. When triggered the Piper will record 30 second video clips with audio which are stored in the cloud, there is no storage fee. From the Piper app on your cellphone you can view stored clips or watch live video. One feature I really like is that when watching the video you can pan around the field of view and zoom in to see details. You can also watch in a quadrant view where you have 4 copies of the video feed in a rectangle, within each copy you can pan to a different angle or zoom in so you can really explore a video clip in depth.

iPhone Screenshot 1

When using Piper NV for home security you can also add door and window sensors. I tested this out by attaching a Piper sensor to my front door. It was really easy to set up and install- and only took a couple of minutes. It comes with both screws and 3M adhesive mounts. I used the adhesive mounts which worked well. I was concerned that it would be tricky to install correctly as I have a decorative moulding around the doorframe, but it was no problem. Once it is set up whenever the door opens or closes you can be notified and you can choose to have it automatically record and/ or sound the alarm. I found the notifications were fast and accurate. The alarm is REALLY LOUD! (105db) and would be a good deterrent for anyone making an unauthorized entry. I would recommend working out how to switch it off (by tapping the alert home icon in the Piper app) before testing it as it can be hard to think with the alarm blaring!

When you are watching the video feed live you can not only hear audio but also have a 2-way conversation via the Piper – great for when you are checking up on pets (or teenagers!) left alone.

Another feature that I really like and that you don’t see on most home video cameras is that Piper NV also records and displays environmental data – so you can check on your home to see how the indoor and outdoor temperatures, humidity, light level, sound and activity level have been over the last 48 hours.

iPhone Screenshot 4

I’ve been using the Piper NV in my home for the last month, at first I thought it was just another WiFi video camera system but as I have discovered all its different features I have been very impressed with all that it can do.  As a busy mum I use the camera in several different ways – to check on my dog and cat when I’m not home, to check on my teen to ensure he got home safely from school if I need to go out, and to monitor my home when I’m out for the day or on vacation. I love that the 2-way audio lets me talk to my son, dog and cat. If I’m away from home the weather warnings and environmental sensors are useful to let me know of weather changes happening. I love that when I’m away I can have it record if I have unexpected motion, loud noises, or doors/windows opened and that it also has a very loud alarm that may help scare intruders away. It also has backup batteries so if the power is out or the unit unplugged it will continue to operate.

Whenever Piper is triggered it sends an alert and records a 30 second video clip, it then stops recording, however, the app has a very useful feature – automatic re-arming. If you switch this on it will automatically reset and record again if there is any further motion.

Piper also sells smart plugs and light bulbs that integrate with the Piper NV system. It would be nice to see it integrate with other companies #connectedhome accessories too, so that of you already own a nest, smart plugs or smart lights from other companies you could use them with the system. You can monitor up to 5 Piper’s from your cellphone app so that you can cover a large area of your home. There are bundles available including multiple Piper NVs plus accessories but getting multiple cameras can still add up quickly.

Overall, if you want a DIY home security system without any monthly fees Piper NV is a great option, with video recording, motion sensing, 2 -way audio, a loud alarm and ability to connect to a variety of accessories including door/ window sensors  it has a lot of great features.

 

Available from:  GetPiper.comAmazon and other retailers, single camera $279.

 

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

iPhone Screenshot 5

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Review & Giveaway for Zuli Smart Plug #connectedhome

Zuli
I am loving the new #connectedhome products that have been coming on the market in the last year. As the technology is maturing I’m coming to expect more from my #connectedhome devices, but I’m not ready to get rid of all my old appliances to replace them with smart appliances.  Zuli iPhone controlled Smartplugs allow you to create a #connectedhome using your regular appliances. Not only can you control and dim lights with Zuli, but you can also control a whole range of other appliances such as your slow cooker, coffee maker, heater or kettle and it integrates with your Nest thermostat. You can schedule your coffee to brew before you get up, or the heater to go on before you get home.

Set up is simple, you plug in the Zuli Smart Plugs and connect them one at a time using a free smartphone app. As you set them up you can label which room they are in your house and name the plugs (important so you don’t accidentally brew coffee when you want to switch on the light!) To control the plugs you can view them room by room or see all the house’s plugs at once (you can also set up multiple locations e.g. if you have Zuli both at home and at the office.) During setup you mark whether the plug is being used for a dimmable light, non-dimmable light or appliance, if it is a dimmable light you can adjust the brightness via the app otherwise you can switch on and off via the app.

One feature that I love is the ability to schedule plugs to turn on and off at chosen times. This is great for security when you are on vacation, but also useful for everyday living. In the cold winter months I like to have an electric blanket warm up my bed before bedtime but rarely remember to switch it on ahead of time- with the Zuli I can schedule it to switch on 1/2 hour before my regular bedtime and switch off before I’m due to wake up. I can also schedule it so that when I get up in the morning my coffee is brewed and waiting!

features-schedule-2Another cool feature is “presence” which, if you have at least 3 Zuli Smartplugs, allows Zuli it to sense your presence in a room and automatically adjust your connected devices to your preferences. This is cool to watch but more practical for someone living on their own than for a busy family where multiple people are using the room other than the person whose smartphone is controlling the Zuli. Like all GPS enabled apps your smartphone battery will drain much more quickly if you have the location feature on.

Overall, Zuli smartplugs are a great addition to the #connectedhome and I especially love their scheduling feature. Available from: Amazon or Zuli.com Price: $159.99 for Presence 3- pack or $59.99 for single smart plug.

recommended-by-the-imums

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

Giveaway

If you would like to win a single Zuli Smart Plug valued at $59.99, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to US & Canada and a valid mailing address is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

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Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Yale Real Living YRD 120 Touchscreen Digital Deadbolt T1L Review

Yale Real Living Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt T1L_group

Summary

The Yale YRD 120 Touchscreen Deadbolt T1L is a battery operated digital deadbolt that allows you to create (and cancel) up to 100 user codes. It looks stylish, is straightforward to install and set up, easy to use and feels like a more secure way to give access to your home than sharing keys. I would highly recommend the Yale YRD 120 Touchscreen Deadbolt T1L to bring your home security firmly into the 21st century.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

Do you ever need to give access to your house when you aren’t home? Maybe a neighbor is feeding your cat whilst you are away, a workman needs to complete a job or someone is coming to walk your dog? Maybe you have a teenager who needs a key to let themselves in, but you are worried they may lose the key. All of these scenarios involve a risk that your key may be lost, stolen or copied and end up in the wrong hands. One solution to this dilemma is to install a digital deadbolt and create temporary access codes that you cancel when they no longer need it.

I recently had the opportunity to test out the YRD120 Touchscreen Deadbolt T1L with Z-Wave from Yale. This was great timing as I wanted to be able to give my Middle Schooler a way to get in to the house independently, but considering the rate at which he loses sweatshirts I wasn’t convinced he would manage to keep a physical key safe for very long.

Set Up

The lock comes in 3 color choices and I picked the Satin Nickel. The installation of the deadbolt was quite straightforward and similar to installing a traditional keyed deadbolt. The kit comes with a template to show where to cut the holes if installing in a new door. If you are lucky when replacing a traditional deadbolt you may just be able to re-use the same holes. In our case the holes were in the right location but we needed to enlarge them just a little to fit the new deadbolt. The lock is powered by 4 AA batteries, which are included.

Once you have installed the lock you need to create a master passcode- this then allows you to create other passcodes and control the unit. You can create up to 100 user codes. With the master passcode you can create or cancel other user codes, set or unset automatic re-lock and enable all code lockout mode.  If all code lockout mode is enabled the master code is the only one that will open the door, useful if you want to be extra secure at times.

In Use

At first I was a little nervous about having a totally keyless system, what if we were away on vacation and the batteries ran out ? How would we get in? It turns out Yale have thought of that, there is a low battery warning, but if you are away and miss it there is an emergency back up option. On the bottom of the lock there are attachment spots for a 9v battery- you can use this to power up the lock and enter your code as usual.

Most of the time the lock is in sleep mode – showing just a plain black face, to activate it you wave your hand over it, or touch the position where the check mark is. Individual access codes can be 4-8 digits long and I like that there is no indication as to whether a code is correct or not until the whole code has been entered followed by the enter key.

It takes a little practice to memorize your passcode but once you have done it a few times its like dialing a phone number, the muscle memory comes into play and you can tap out the code by feel without even really thinking about it.

I like the ability to set and unset automatic re-lock – it is a useful security feature to have on most of the time, but when my children are playing in the garden or driveway I like to switch it off so they can come in without needing to ring the bell.

I have found having the Digital Deadbolt has made leaving the house much easier and quicker. Instead of finding the key, locking the door and double-checking I’ve successfully locked it, all I have to do is wave my hand over the lock and I hear it securely clicking into place.

It has been a great option to use with my teen – on the rare occasion that he gets home and no-one is in, he knows he can let himself in and I don’t have to worry he’ll lose his key. It also feels much more secure if I have to give anyone else access whilst I’m out, as I can just cancel that passcode after they have used it.

I like how it looks too- it is very sleek and modern looking, my only problem is my old door handle looks very dated next to it, but luckily Yale has a whole range of matching door handles available so I’m going to upgrade that to match it too.

This lock is Z-wave enabled so can be used with security systems that work with Z-wave, I have not been able to test this as I don’t have a system set up to connect with it. It is nice to know however that this could potentially be integrated into a future #connectedhome system.

Overall, I am very happy with the YRD 120 Touchscreen Deadbolt T1L from Yale, it looks stylish, is straightforward to install and set up, it is easy to use and feels like a more secure way to give access to your home than sharing keys. I would highly recommend the Yale YRD 120 Touchscreen Deadbolt TL1 to bring your home security firmly into the 21st century.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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