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Best Smart Thermostat? Nest Learning Thermostat Setup & Review!

My Christmas gift to myself this year was a Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen in my continuous effort to transition my home to a full blown smart house, and in this video I’ll explain how to install the Nest Learning Thermostat, and I’ll go over the features along with the pros/cons from my experience so far.

After tons of research, I found that the Nest Learning Thermostat was by far the most popular choice as the best smart thermostat. The main reason I wanted a smart thermostat was to save money on my electric bill because not only is it auto-programmable but it’s controllable from anywhere using your smartphone.

In the box there is the Nest learning thermostat itself, the installation and welcome guides, a Nest screwdriver with screws, and a trim kit.

Even though this thermostat works with most 24V systems you should first visit the Nest compatibility checker to see if it’s compatible with your home before purchasing. I’ll leave that link in the description as well. https://nest.com/widget/compatibility

The installation is actually pretty simple. Here’s a quick overview of how to install it.

First, switch off power to your current system by turning off the switch on the breaker box or turning off your system’s dedicated switch if it has one. Remove the cover off your old thermostat and verify that your old thermostat does not say 120V or 240V. If it does, that means its high voltage and Nest is not compatible with high voltage wires. Once you’ve verified Nest is compatible, take a picture of the current wire setup in case you need to reference it later on. Remove any jumper wires which are not needed for the Nest thermostat.

Next, peel off the included sticky labels in the installation guide and attach them to the matching wires. After you’re finished labeling the wires, disconnect the wires from the old thermostat. You can use the included Nest screwdriver to loosen the screws if needed. Remove the old plate while making sure none of the wires fall back into the wall. To install the Nest thermostat, first mark where your screws will go. If your old thermostat was larger than the Nest and there are visible screw holes you can use the optional trim plate to cover up the holes which is what I had to do with mine. Pull the wires through the center of the Nest base and attach it to your wall with the screws, using the built-in level to make sure it’s straight.

Insert each wire into its matching connector by holding down the button and inserting the wire all the way in. After all your labeled wires are connected, make sure the excess wire length in the center are flush with the wall. Attach the Nest display by pressing it onto the base until it clicks then turn your system’s power back on. You should see the Nest turn on automatically and it will walk you through a quick setup. To navigate it, just rotate the outer ring left or right and press on the display to select. During setup it’ll ask your location and language, you’ll connect it to your WiFi network, set your temperature settings, and answer some basic questions about your heating/cooling system.

After setup is complete, you can press down on the display to bring up the menu. From here you can change the mode from heating to cooling, view how much energy you’ve used in the last ten days, view or change the schedule, set it to Away if you’re leaving the house and want to save energy, and adjust some basic settings.

The Nest home screen turns blue when cooling and orange when heating. It not only shows you what temperature the thermostat is set to but it also shows you the current temperature inside and will give you an estimate of how long it will take for the current temperature to reach your set temperature. It also has a motion sensor built into it so when you walk by the thermostat it will light up so you can quickly see the thermostat temperature, and you can also choose to change the setting for it to show the weather or time.

One of its most compelling features is the way it “learns” your heating/cooling habits. After a few days, it will set an automatic schedule based on how/when you adjust the temperature. This is useful if your weekly routine doesn’t change much because with the auto schedule you seemingly don’t need to adjust the thermostat each time you leave and come home. However, if your routine is very different week to week then the auto schedule won’t be as helpful. Luckily you can customize the schedule to however you want it or turn off the schedule completely.

To take full advantage the features you’ll want to download the free Nest smartphone app. It does require an account but the account is completely free to set up.

From the app you can manually change from Home to Away mode. However, the Nest Thermostat uses sensors, algorithms, and even your phones location if you choose to allow that, to automatically determine when you’re home and when you’re away to set the thermostat accordingly so you can save as much energy as possible which is nice.

If you tap on the temperature in the app, you can quickly adjust the thermostat temperature and you also get access to the same settings that are accessible from the thermostat itself: Mode, Eco, Fan, Schedule, and History. There’s also a gear icon in the top right which gives you even more customization options for your thermostat.

Eco temperatures are automatic temperatures that are set when your thermostat is in Away mode and it’s indicated by the green leaf. The default Eco temperatures are good for most people. However if you have a pet you may want to customize the Eco temperatures based on your pet’s needs.

What’s neat about scheduling is you can turn on the Early-On feature which will start the heating or cooling early in order to reach the set temperature at the time specified in your schedule, instead of having it start the heating or cooling at that set time.

You can also create a 4-digit PIN to lock your thermostat to avoid people changing it without the code which may be useful in certain situations.

The only downside I’ve seen so far is how to adjust the schedule using the app. It’s definitely not intuitive when you first start using it. It took me a bit to figure it out and even now I think Nest could make it a little easier to adjust the schedule. Hopefully that will come in a future update. That’s what’s great about smart thermostats is that they are WiFi connected so not only can you control them from anywhere, they also download software updates as Nest releases them so it can technically improve over time.

Overall I’m extremely happy with my Nest Learning Thermostat. It’s only been a few weeks but I’ve already seen the energy saving benefits from having a smart thermostat which was my main goal. I also love the ability to control the thermostat from anywhere with my smartphone.

I hope you enjoyed this setup and review of the Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd generation. The Amazon link to this is in the description below. Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment and hit that thumbs-up button if this helped you out. Subscribe to see more tech reviews in the future. My name is Andy, thank you for watching and I will talk to you in the next one.

Which MacBook to Buy in 2018? Apple Laptop Guide!

Which MacBook to Buy in 2018? Apple Laptop Guide!

So you’re interested in buying an Apple laptop. Congratulations, a laptop is a big purchase so it’s very important to choose the right one. In this video I’ll explain which MacBook model is best for you in 2018.

Currently there are 3 MacBook models: MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro
(All MacBook models come standard with an SSD and at least 8GB RAM)

MacBook

  • Apple’s 12″ screen laptop; Base model starts at $1299
  • Only MacBook available in 4 different colors: rose gold, space gray, gold, and silver
  • Base model has 7th-Gen 1.2GHz Intel Core m3 mobile processor; configurable to dual-core i5 or i7
  • 8GB RAM (up to 16GB) and 256GB SSD (up to 512GB)

Get MacBook if you

  • Care about looks more than performance (sexy; IPS Retina display with 226 ppi; colors)
  • Want something ultra portable and mobile; Apple’s thinnest lightest laptop (2 lbs and up to 10 hours battery life)
  • Want the smallest screen of any Apple laptop (12″ diagonal)
  • Mainly run basic applications, nothing too CPU dependent (base model has mobile processor)
  • Don’t need a lot of ports (only 1 USB-C port for charging/input/output)
  • Don’t mind having a crappy webcam (only 480p)

MacBook Air

  • Base model starts at $999
  • 13.3″ screen; 8GB RAM; 128GB SSD (configurable to 256GB or 512GB)
  • 5th-Gen Intel dual-core i5 processor (can be upgraded to 2.2GHz Core i7)

Get MacBook Air if you

  • Have the lowest budget (Apple’s most affordable laptop)
  • Care about battery life more than anything (up to 12 hours; longest battery life of any Apple laptop)
  • Want a small lightweight laptop like the MacBook but with more ports (great for students and travelers)
  • Don’t mind having a mediocre display (it’s not an IPS Retina display; 1440×900 not even Full HD)
  • Don’t mind having silver bezels (has fairly large bezels relative to its size)
  • Run the same basic applications that the MacBook is good for and if you know you don’t need more than 8GB RAM (this is Apple’s only laptop that is limited to 8GB)
  • Need an HD webcam (720p)
  • Don’t need a lot of storage space on the laptop and you utilize Cloud storage or external drives (base model only has 128GB storage)

MacBook Pro

  • Comes in silver or space gray and 2 screen sizes: 13.3″ starting at $1299 (non-TouchBar) & $1799 w/ TouchBar. 15.4″ starts at $1999 (2015 non-TouchBar model) & $2399 w/ TouchBar
  • All MacBook Pro models have IPS Retina displays (13″ has 227ppi; 15″ has 220ppi) and all MBP models can expect 9-10 hours battery life
  • 13″ comes with 8GB RAM (configurable to 16GB); 15″ comes with 16GB RAM
  • 13″ starts at 128GB SSD (configurable up to 1TB); 15″ starts at 256GB SSD (configurable to 2TB)
  • 13″ starts with Intel 7th-Gen Kaby Lake dual-core i5 (configurable to dual-core i7)
  • 15″ 2015 non-TouchBar comes with 4th-gen quad-core; 15″ TouchBar comes with 7th-Gen Kaby Lake quad-core i7

Get 2015 15″ MacBook Pro if you

  • Want an awesome laptop for under $2,000 (some say it’s the best laptop ever made)
  • Want Mag-Safe
  • Want all the other ports besides USB-C (HDMI, SD slot, USB-A, Thunderbolt 2)
  • Don’t mind having an older processor (4th-gen)
  • Want 15″ size but no Touch Bar

Get newest MacBook Pro if you

  • Want the best performance and fastest speed of all the Apple laptops (for professional work; 15″ Touch Bar has the best specs out of all MBPs)
  • Need the most internal storage (only Apple laptop to be configured for 1-2TB of storage)
  • Want the best/brightest display out of all Apple laptops (The newest 13″ and 15″ MBPs have 25% more colors than sRGB and 500 nits of brightness; 2015 MBP has sRGB and 300 nits; 13″ has the most ppi)
  • Run CPU-intensive or graphics-intensive applications like gaming, HD video editing, 3D modeling, CAD, virtual machines, hardcore Photoshop (For best graphics performance get 15″ which has dedicated Radeon Pro GPU with up to 4GB memory)
  • Don’t mind having a slightly bigger laptop compared to the other MacBook models (having said that, the 13″ is a very compact and portable laptop)
  • Absolutely want TouchBar/TouchID (even though 13″ MBP doesn’t have it)
  • Are okay with having USB-C ports (USB-C to USB-A adapters are a must-have)
  • Have a large budget (expensive; can go over $4,000 for certain configurations)

 

Model 3 Secret: What Tesla Isn’t Telling Us

Let’s talk about the Model 3 and why its possibly the most mind blowing futuristic car on the market right now.

Back in August a member of Tesla Motors Club forum wrote a very interesting article about this Model 3 theory that I want to explain in this video and what it means for car owners going forward.

Last week Tesla had their best event ever in my opinion when they announced the new Tesla Semi and the 2nd Gen Roadster. Since these are two very cool new products, as expected Elon seemed happy and excited when he was announcing the Semi and the Roadster. Compare that to the last Model 3 event, which was probably the least climactic Tesla event where it was short and some parts were a bit awkward and Elon didn’t seem very happy and excited.

Why was that? It’s because the Model 3 event was the Anti-Sell. Tesla does not want you to buy a Model 3…yet.

Here’s why.

  1. The Osborne Effect. Tesla doesn’t want the customer to think that the Model 3 is its best car just because its their newest car model, even though the Model 3 does have a lot of newer technology in it compared to last year’s Model S which is double the price.
  2. Tesla doesn’t want to sell any more Model 3’s right now. With over 450,000 preorders of the Model 3, Tesla has a huge backlog on their hands, and they would much rather sell you a more expensive Model S or X right now because they can produce those immediately and make an instant profit. If you look at the official Model 3 page on Tesla’s website it’s pretty obvious they’re trying to sell you a Model S instead of the Model 3.

That’s The Anti-Sell.

Now let’s talk about that new tech in the Model 3. It’s actually referred to as Autopilot Hardware 2.5 and its purpose is to provide more computing power for future autonomous driving. Tesla tried to downplay this by saying this:

“The internal name HW 2.5 is an overstatement, and instead it should be called something more like HW 2.1. This hardware set has some added computing and wiring redundancy, which very slightly improves reliability, but it does not have an additional Pascal GPU.”

Some people are saying that Tesla started producing cars with Hardware 2.5 instead of the previous Hardware 2.0 because they had some reason to believe Hardware 2.0 wouldn’t be capable of full self driving in the future.

Starting in July or August 2017 all Tesla cars (S, X, and 3) have Hardware 2.5, and Tesla has said that any previous Model S and X cars with Hardware 2.0 that somehow may not be capable of full self driving would get a free upgrade if the customer paid for FSD feature. Having said that, Tesla still believes Hardware 2.0 is capable of self driving.

Why introduce Hardware 2.5?

The Tesla Network.

This is the name of Tesla’s future ride sharing platform, which works sort of like Uber and Lyft but instead of a human driver, nobody will be driving because the car will be driving itself, picking up passengers and taking them to their destinations without the owner having to be in the car.

Here’s an excerpt from Tesla’s Master Plan:

“When true self-driving is approved by regulators, it will mean that you will be able to summon your Tesla from pretty much anywhere. Once it picks you up, you will be able to sleep, read or do anything else enroute to your destination. You will also be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation, significantly offsetting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost.”

So what’s the big “secret”?

The Model 3 is currently the only Tesla vehicle that is capable of joining the Tesla ride sharing Network. Let’s find out why.

The minimalistic interior is one of the most polarizing features of the Model 3. Some people love it (like me) while others hate it. I know some people who reserved a Model 3, but they’re not excited about the interior. And let’s not forget that touch screen. Some people are just infuriated that almost everything in the Model 3 is controlled through the 15” touch display. I mean almost everything, from opening the glove box to setting the direction of the air vents to opening the trunk, it’s all software-based controls on the touch screen.

Why? Because it needs to be, for autonomous ride sharing, that is. Since it’s software controlled, everything is customizable and can be remembered and even better, it can be remembered based on who is using the car.

The Model 3 answers the two biggest concerns regarding autonomous ride-sharing: What if someone steals my valuables, and what if someone damages my car?

The first issue is addressed with the software-controls. You can restrict or grant access to anything, based on your own custom settings.  So if you don’t want anyone to access your trunk, trunk or glove box, you can set it that way.

What about damage to your car? Well, this is where some more new tech in the Model 3 comes into play. The Model 3 has something in it that the S or X don’t currently have: an interior camera. It’s built into the rear view mirror and it can see who is in the car at any given time and monitor what’s happening inside the car.

But with an interior camera how is the car going to be able to handle that new data processing? Remember when Tesla said that the new Hardware 2.5 has “added computing and wiring redundancy”? There ya go.

The Model 3 solves the two biggest concerns with autonomous ride sharing by giving the owner complete control via software settings based on who is using the car, and the ability to monitor the interior.

But there’s one more piece to the puzzle: The Entry

The Model 3 doesn’t come with a car key or even a key fob. It comes with a key card that uses NFC to unlock and start the car. But this is just the backup entry method.

The real entry method to the Model 3 is a smartphone. With the Tesla app utilizing Bluetooth LE, it sends an encrypted signal to the Model 3 as your get near it so in theory when you have your smartphone in your pocket and walk up to the Model 3 it will unlock and start when you get in. But not only will it do that, it will also know exactly who is getting in the car and it will set the car settings based on who the person is.

To recap, the Model 3 has:

  • New autopilot hardware
  • New interior camera
  • Full software controls
  • Automatic entry via a smartphone

So what does this mean? It means The Model 3 is not just another electric car built for the mass market. It’s not even just about a car capable of driving itself.

The Model 3 is the first car ever to be designed for autonomous ride-sharing.

Tesla is trying to downplay the significance of the Model 3, for now at least, because they are still in production hell. But there’s no denying that the Model 3 may be the most technologically advanced car ever to be built. Of course, autonomous ride sharing is entirely dependent on whether or not the Model 3 will even be capable of full self driving if and when it is made legal.

But from Elon himself:

“There will be a shared autonomy fleet where you buy your car and you can choose to use that car exclusively. You can choose to have it used only by friends and family… or other drivers who are rated five stars. You can choose to share it sometimes but not other times. That’s 100 percent what will occur. It’s just a question of when.”

What do you think about this? Do you think that this will happen and if so, when?

Does Antivirus Slow Down Your Computer?

HP Pavilion Power 15 Laptop on Amazon

Webroot Internet Security Complete on Amazon

Trasnscript:

A popular question I see is “Does Antivirus Slow Down My Computer” and I’ve been wanting to do a video about this for a long time because it’s been almost 2 years since my last antivirus video so for this one I’ve teamed up with HP and Webroot so I can finally answer this question once and for all and find out how antivirus software really affects a computer’s performance and if it’s even worth having security software on your PC. For this test I wanted to use a laptop that was pretty powerful but also fairly affordable at under $1000. This HP Pavilion Power 15 was a perfect fit. It’s currently $950 on Amazon for this particular model. Let’s go over the specs and features so you can get an idea of what kind of machine this is.

Even though HP doesn’t officially label this as a gaming laptop, I like to label it as a budget gaming laptop because it can easily handle the majority of your gaming and media creation needs with no problem but it doesn’t have that crazy bulky gaming laptop look to it. And it doesn’t have a hefty price tag like actual gaming laptops. It looks like your normal everyday notebook but as the name implies, it packs some power. The exterior and interior of this laptop are pretty much blacked out which gives it a cool stealthy look to it. Inside the laptop there is a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8Ghz processor, and having that kind of CPU will definitely help out when running apps in the background such as an antivirus. It has a relatively fast 7200 rpm 1TB hard drive. I usually always prefer solid state drives over hard disk drives, but for most users who are buying with a budget in mind it almost always makes sense to get a machine with a hard disk drive because they are a still more affordable for the amount of storage space you get in return. And if you do end up getting a hard drive in a laptop, always make sure it’s 7200 rpm because anything lower like 5400 rpm is going to be much slower and it will make you pull your hair out. So at the very least I’m glad this has a 7200 rpm drive in it. It also has 12GB DDR4 RAM inside along with a dedicated AMD Radeon RX 550 graphics card with 2GB of memory which really comes in handy if you are gaming or doing any type of HD video editing on this machine. Even though it’s not 4K, this laptop has a great looking 15.6” WLED-backlit Full HD 1920×1080 anti-glare IPS display which is another highlight for gamers and anyone who watches videos or movies. I actually had 3 different screens up on Saturday with a football game playing on each one, and I really enjoyed the display quality on this HP laptop. The viewing angles were great and it was doing a good job at avoiding frame drops. It’s got a nice full-size keyboard with chicklet style keys that can be backlit which is a useful feature for night owls. It’s sporting dual speakers that have a decent sound, basically the quality of what you can expect out of a laptop in this price range. The trackpad is a nice size and is pretty wide. And last but not least it has an HD webcam, 3 USB ports along with a USB-C port, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port and a media card slot. Now you’re seeing why its slogan is “Creativity by day, high gear by night” because it’s this unique blend of business productivity mixed with performance for basic gaming and digital creation.
So to answer our question “Does Antivirus Slow Down Your Computer” I am using the free PCMark benchmarking test. This tool tests a bunch of different components and scenarios and spits out some scores, and it’s a pretty good indicator of overall system performance. I ran the PCMark test on this HP laptop with no antivirus running and it scored a 3939. What were are going to do now is install and test out Webroot Internet Security Complete then run another PCMark test with Webroot running and see what the second score is compared to the first score.
Before we start talking about antivirus, just know that your best line of defense against viruses start with your own actions. So no matter what antivirus you use I always tell people to follow these basic tips: Always make sure your computer and software are up to date (set Windows to automatically install updates/patches and regularly update your software), always backup your data to a secure offsite location, and don’t click sketchy links/pop-ups/ads (consider using an adblocker). But even if you do all of those things right, it’s still a good idea to have antivirus software as your second line of defense. Antivirus or any type of security software is just there to add that extra bit of protection because it’s still easy to accidentally click on a malicious link or download a malicious app or connect to an unsecured Wifi network.
Literally right before I started working on this video project, my soon to be in-laws called me on a Sunday night and said that they just got a pop-up on their laptop saying that it was talking to them and claiming that their laptop had the Zeus virus and that if they shut off their computer it would wipe out all their data, and their identities would be stolen and all their bank accounts would be hacked. So they were freaking out, and of course this pop-up was just a phishing scam, but for older people who aren’t the most tech savvy when they see a popup like this it genuinely scares them. That’s what these scammers do. They put instant fear into the victims and this causes the victims to make decisions based on emotions, based on fear, which is always a bad thing. So they called the number on the screen thinking that they were calling Microsoft support but really it was a scammer, and they actually talked to him for about 10 minutes, he got them to install software that allowed him to remote into their system, and when he finally told them they would have to purchase software they finally were like “Hold on you’re not getting any money from us.” So that’s when they called me and long story short, it’s all ok now. I cleaned their laptop up and explained to them basically what I said earlier about basic safe computing practices. But that got me thinking, a full security software suite should be able to help in some way to prevent something like that from happening, right? So I’m actually going to try to recreate that scenario and see if Webroot Internet Security Complete can thwart off that phishing scam.
Let’s quickly go over why I think this security software a good choice for this test. First, it’s affordable, currently only $36 on Amazon for a 5-device 1-year license. For an all-in-one security software solution, that’s a pretty good deal. Second, it’s gotten great reviews not only from customers on Amazon but from the professional testers at PCMag who gave it an “Excellent” rating.
Webroot claims it installs 8x faster than its average competitor so let’s see how fast this installs on the HP Pavilion Power 15 laptop. The process is simple, just visit the Webroot download page and it will download a small file then just run the installer. Total install time: 3:30. 2:16 of which was used for the initial scan so it only took about 1:15 to download and install on the HP Pavilion Power 15. All of its main features should address everything that I’ve discussed so far. So:
Security: It guards your personal information by blocking the latest malware and phishing attacks. It scans billions of apps, files, and websites continuously to determine what is safe online. It has comprehensive, real-time protection against the latest threats. It provides login protection by encrypting passwords, usernames, and credit card numbers. It even gives you an option of mobile security to protect your smartphone or tablet.
Speed: It has fast scans with no abrasive interruptions. It’s cloud-based so it automatically stays up-to-date in real-time and doesn’t bog down your computer. Compared to its average competitor, Webroot claims it is 35x smaller, can scan 60x faster, and uses 15x less memory. So if this is all true then it should keep users safe without slowing them down which is the key for this video.
Backup: It comes with 25GB of secure online storage to backup your important data.
Now do not try this next thing at home. I’m going to see if Webroot Internet Security Complete can prevent malware by doing a simple test. Hey Cortana “Search Yahoo.com for free Facebook game download”. I figured that’s a great way to find a malicious site so if we click on one of these sketchy search results and of course it takes us to a scam and asks us to download a piece of malicious software. And there you go Webroot has instantly detected that this is an unsafe site and tells us to take us back to safety. That’s exactly what we wanted to see. It kept us safe in an unobtrusive way. I think that gets a thumbs up from me.
Now finally let’s see what the PCMark score is when we leave Webroot running during the benchmark test. Ok the test is complete and it has scored a 3878. So it took a very tiny hit, only a 61 point difference which is about a 1.5% impact based on the original score of 3939. So that brings us back to our main question: Does Antivirus slow down your computer? Well it honestly depends on what kind of antivirus or security software you are using. Obviously a computer’s performance will be at least somewhat affected by any active antivirus running in the background but the big question is does the antivirus slow down your computer in a such a way that negatively impacts the user’s experience? With something like Webroot Internet Security Complete as you’ve seen, one of its main selling points is how lightweight and unobtrusive it’s designed to be. So the best advice is: Yes it’s always a good idea to run antivirus, but try to make sure that antivirus is not going to take up a lot of your computer’s resources. And if it does, it’s always nice to have a powerful enough machine like this HP Pavilion Power 15 to handle it so that you get a good balance of protection and performance for what you’re trying to do specifically on your computer.

Best Wireless Security Camera System: Arlo Pro Review

You may have remembered that I bought a house last year and after doing a lot of research I finally bought a security camera system for it. And if you know me well you’ll know that I always prefer wireless over wired. I hate cords and I avoid them at all costs when possible. So that’s why I chose to go with the Netgear Arlo Pro because it’s one of the few security camera systems that is completely wireless. No power cords or data cables. I’ve had this for over a month, and now I want to share my experience with you. This is my review of the Arlo Pro wireless security system.

This is not a sponsored video. I bought this with my own money, but even if it was sponsored I do always give my own honest thoughts and opinions. I will leave a link to the Arlo Pro on Amazon in the description below for your convenience. If you do choose to buy it please consider using that link as it does help out the channel a tiny bit at not extra cost to you.

At of the time I made this video, the 3-camera Arlo Pro system which is what I have is a little over $530. So it is a bit expensive compared to ordinary security systems, but you are getting way more features with it being a smart security system along with the convenience of it being completely wireless. There are options for a 1-camera system all the way up to a 5-camera system depending on your needs.

All the systems come with the free basic plan from Arlo but if you do happen to need more than 5-cameras on a single base station you can add up to 10 cameras and upgrade to the premium plan. The free basic plan supports up to 5 cameras and includes free cloud storage for up to 7 Days. The Premier plan is $100/year and supports up to 10 cameras and includes free cloud storage for up to 30 days. I’m currently on the free basic plan so that’s what my review is going to reflect.

Included in the box are: the base station, the base station power adapter, an ethernet cable, the Arlo Pro cameras along with a rechargeable battery for each, a power adapter and cable to recharge the camera batteries, and magnetic wall mounts with mounting screws. A nice perk is that all the batteries are fully charged when they arrive.

For me the setup was very smooth. The included guide was easy to follow. It doesn’t take long at all and basically consists of downloading the free Arlo app which is compatible with iOS, Android, and Amazon devices. Creating your free Arlo account, connecting the base station to your router, then syncing and mounting the cameras, and you’re done.

Just last week Arlo announced the Arlo Pro 2 which is the newest version of Arlo Pro, and even though it is slightly better in a couple of ways, a lot of the new features depend on the Arlo Pro 2 camera being plugged into power and being indoors. So that’s why I do still recommend just getting this original Arlo Pro system because it is cheaper and you’ll get the essential functionality and features that most people need in a security camera system.

The Arlo Pro cameras are built for indoor or outdoor use. They have a 300-ft line of sight range from the base station. They are IP65-certified weatherproof so they should be fine even in the snow, rain, or heat. It’s been very mild weather since I’ve installed mine so I don’t have any experience through winter but I suspect they’ll be fine here in the Midwest. And since the cameras are completely wireless and have rechargeable batteries inside, they connect to the mounts via the built-in magnets. So all you have to do is install the mount and the cameras just snap to the magnetic mounts which allows you to easily adjust the camera angle and quickly remove the cameras whenever you need to recharge them.

As far as battery life goes, Arlo says a camera battery can last 4-6 months but it really just depends on the camera settings and how much it is recording and detecting motion or sound. Mine have been installed for about 7 weeks, and they’re all right below 60% so if they continue like this they should last around 4 months total on a full charge, and that’s right at the 4-6 month prediction that Arlo has claimed which is good.

The way Arlo Pro works is it’s not designed to be constantly recording and saving video 24/7 nonstop. Instead, Arlo Pro is meant to record short video clips only upon motion detection or sound detection. So even though it’s not constantly saving video, the cameras are constantly active and you are able to live stream any camera at any time from your smartphone or device of choice as long as your device is connected to the internet. That’s another reason I went with Arlo Pro because all the cameras can be managed and viewed via the free app wherever I am.

Here’s a quick overview of how the app and camera system work together.

First I love that the app can be configured to log in automatically with Touch ID on my iPhone. All I have to do is open the app and it logs in with my fingerprint. That is very convenient, and I’m always grateful when an app utilizes Touch ID. On the Devices tab you can see all your different cameras and you can view a live feed by tapping the View button. Under the cameras there’s also a button to trigger the base station alarm. If you tap this Alarm button it will trigger a super loud 100 decibel siren from the base station. So the ability to remotely trigger the alarm is a great feature to have in a security system. The Library tab gives you a daily list to view any recorded clips that are stored in the cloud on your account. You can tap on any video clip to view it and on the free basic plan, you can download and save it any time within 7 days of the clip being recorded. You can also quickly share it or favorite it. The filter icon on the top is a quick way to view certain types of clips, so if I want to see all the clips from my indoor living room camera I can filter to just that camera and it will show me all those clips.

The Mode tab lets you choose between 4 modes: Armed, Disarmed, Schedule, and Geofencing. The Disarmed mode cannot be customized, it just disarms your entire system. However you can customize the other 3 modes. You can really drill down and set all the settings however you’d like. In the Armed mode you can customize the rules for each of your cameras. You can set each camera to record upon motion, sound or both or neither. You can tell it what to do when it detects motion or sound, you can configure it to turn the siren on or not upon detection, and you can set your notification settings. That’s another thing I love about the Arlo Pro is that, if you want it to, it immediately notifies you via a push notification, email or both whenever a camera detects motion or sound. And it does work from my experience with it. It seems to be very successful at detecting motion and noise. For example I always get notifications whenever my cat prances into the living room to play, I’ll get notifications of when a package is left at my door so it has been very reliable for me.

The Schedule mode lets you set a custom schedule of days and times that will automatically arm and disarm your system So if you want your system to automatically arm from 6am to 11pm on weekdays and all day on the weekends, the schedule mode lets you do that.

Geofencing mode will automatically arm and disarm your system whenever your smartphone is within a certain radius of your base station so in theory if you get in your car and drive away from your house and you have your smartphone with you, your system will automatically arm your system as you leave that radius area. Then when you arrive back into the radius area it will automatically disarm your system. I’ve tested out both Schedule and Geofencing modes and they do work as expected.

The camera quality is pretty decent. These have a 720p standard HD resolution, and that’s where the new Arlo Pro 2 cameras have the biggest advantage because those are full HD 1080p. But the good news is the original Arlo Pro system is compatible with Arlo Pro 2 cameras so if you really wanted a 1080p camera you could purchase an Arlo Pro 2 camera and add it to your original Arlo Pro system and it should work. For me, 720p is fine for most situations, but 1080p would come in handy if I really wanted to capture more image detail when necessary.

The cameras have a wide 130-degree viewing angle so they are able to capture a lot inside the frame which is nice. They also have 2-way audio so they have microphones to capture the sound as well as speakers that let you speak into the app on your smartphone and your voice will be projected out of the camera’s speaker. So if you see someone on your porch you get on your app and just be like “Hey I’m your guilty conscious, you should really get off this person’s porch. He probably is very handsome and has broad shoulders.”

If you tap on the gear icon next to your camera you can customize the settings for each camera. From here you can name the camera, turn it on or off, view the battery percentage, see if it’s connected to the base station. In the Video settings you can enable night vision which is pretty decent quality even in the pitch dark, you can rotate the image, and you can change your power management. Since these are just standard HD I set all my cameras to the Best Video setting which reduces battery life but I’d rather have the best video quality possible. However there are other options such as Optimized and Best Battery Life if you prefer longer battery life over video quality.

In the Settings tab you can view all your devices, view your Arlo profile, and grant access which is really nice – this lets you give access to your spouse or whoever you choose so they can download and install the Arlo app and view all your cameras too.

Since the cameras are magnetic I do recommend installing them in high places that are out of reach so that people can’t just pull the cameras off so easily. However if you do need to install them in a place within a person’s normal reach, you can purchase screw mounts so the cameras are actually screwed in to the mount which makes it harder for someone to just pull the camera off. I’ll put a link to these along with some other cool Arlo Pro accessories in the description below.

So after using this for over a month I definitely think the Arlo Pro system is the best wireless security camera system for people who want something that’s easy to set up and use, and something that is completely wireless. It has worked exactly as expected for me. The app is intuitive – it hasn’t crashed or have bugs in the software. All the motion/sound detection rules seem to work as expected. I get instant notification on my phone wherever I am, it has free cloud storage with the ability to download and save videos anytime within 7 days. The cameras are weatherproof and work indoors and outdoors, and it comes with a base station with the ability to trigger alarm based on rules or on demand. It’s just a great security camera system and so far I’ve been very satisfied with it. Again, if you want to get this on Amazon I’ll leave the link in the description below. Thank you for watching. My name is Andy, and I will talk to you in the next one.

 

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