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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.

 

Best Ergonomic Mouse? Logitech MX ERGO Overview!

If you’ve seen my previous videos you’ll know that I love Logitech mice. I still own the Performance MX which is a great video editing mouse, and I’ve always said that the M570 is one of the best ergonomic trackball mice. Well now after 7 years, Logitech has finally released a new and improved wireless trackball which could easily become the best ergonomic mouse on the market. Logitech was nice enough to reach out and ask if I wanted to try an early test unit so here is my hands-on first look at the Logitech MX Ergo wireless trackball.

The MX Ergo costs just under $100 and I’ll leave a link to it in the description below. In the box there’s the MX Ergo trackball mouse, a charging cable, a Logitech unifying receiver, and probably the most important piece, this magnetic metal hinge. This hinge snaps on to the bottom of the MX Ergo and lets you use the trackball at two different angles based on your own personal preference. This is definitely the best feature about this trackball in my opinion because the ability to switch between angles is great for improving wrist posture. The MX Ergo also claims to reduce muscular strain by 20% compared to a standard mouse.

The overall design is excellent. It’s definitely made of high quality materials. It’s big enough and feels solid in my hand. The way it’s sculpted provides full support for the palm to rest on and scrolling isn’t awkward or tiring. The bulk of the mouse is made of a soft rubber which gives a nice comfortable grip. The bottom of the hinge has a good non-slip finish on it which helps the trackball stay in position when using it. It of course has left and right click buttons on top. The scroll wheel can not only scroll up and down, but it can also tilt for left and right scrolling, and it can also be pressed down to click. There’s an Easy-Switch button on top that lets you instantly switch between two computers without re-pairing, and you can also copy & paste data between the two computers with Logitech Flow. Both of these features require the free Logitech Options software. This software is not required to use the trackball, but it does give you more features and customization tools.

The trackball itself has been smooth and accurate so far, and it doesn’t feel loose or anything. But for those of you who aren’t familiar with using a trackball, there is a convenient precision mode button near the ball so you can easily adjust the cursor speed and sensitivity allowing for faster and more precise control.

The MX Ergo is compatible with the latest versions of Windows and Mac, and even though it comes with a USB unifying receiver that allows you to wirelessly connect up to six Logitech devices, the MX ergo does have built-in Bluetooth if you’d rather just use that instead of using the unifying receiver.

It has a rechargeable battery inside that can potentially last up to four months on a full charge, depending on usage. But what’s really cool is that just one minute of charging usually gives enough charge for a day’s worth of work. That is super convenient for a wireless trackball.

So that’s my first look a the MX Ergo. This wasn’t a full review because I’ve only had it for a few days, but so far I’m really impressed and it’s something that I will continue to use as my primary mouse when I’m not using my Apple Trackpad. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Thanks for watching, and I’ll talk to you guys in the next video.

Standing Desk Setup + Office Tour!

Best Headphones Under $250? Meze 99 Neo Review!

If you’re looking for a new pair of headphones stick around with me for a few minutes to find out if the Meze 99 Neo headphones are right for you.

If you’ve never heard of Meze, they’re an audio company out of Romania who is focused on making high quality professional headphones for people who not only appreciate sound quality but also the aesthetics and design.

The Meze 99 Neo is a more affordable version of Meze’s higher end headphones called the 99 Classics. The 99 Neo headphones start at $249 while the 99 Classics are over $300. There are two main differences between the two. First, the 99 Neo ear cups are made of ABS plastic instead of the walnut wood ear cups on the 99 Classics. The other main difference is that the 99 Neo impedance is 26 ohms compared to 32 ohms on the 99 Classics. Fewer ohms means they require less power to deliver high audio levels. The sound is very similar between both models so if you don’t want to spend over $300 and you’re looking for something at $250 or under, the 99 Neo headphones are a great option.

This is the black and silver model of the 99 Neo so let’s open up the box and show you what you get. Inside there is a very convenient and protective hard-shell case with a zipper to keep it closed, inside the case there is the 99 Neo headphones themselves , and there’s a small pouch that contains two detachable Kevlar cables, one that is almost 4 feet long and one that is almost 10 feet long, along with two adapters, one being a 6.3mm gold-plated jack.

Let’s talk about the 99 Neo build quality. These are contemporary closed-back high-fidelity headphones. They feel very sturdy and you can see they are well designed. A polarizing feature for some will be the outer band that kind of sticks out a bit and could be a nuisance if you’re a tall person under a low ceiling like in the backseat of a car and the tops of the headphones were brushing the ceiling. However, they are made like this because they have a really nice self-adjusting headband which is designed to fit any head without having to deal with notches like the ones that are on my Audio Technica ATH-M50s. The 99 Neo headphones are a bit tighter on the sides of my head than my ATH-M50s but that’s probably because they’re just newer and have been worn a lot less. But the soft cushioned ear pads which are made of medium density memory foam are very comfortable and I can wear these for hours without getting a headache or anything like that. They do have a fairly tight seal so they help drown out any noise on the outside and you definitely feel like you’re in your own head, and if I do wear them for hours I can feel my ears start to get sweaty. They’re definitely made of premium materials. One thing to note is that the ear cups cannot swivel like the ATH-M50s which would be handy if you want to listen to one ear cup DJ style but it doesn’t affect me since I don’t use them that way anyway.

Now let’s talk about the sound quality. I’m not an audiophile by any means. I mainly like to use over-ear headphones to edit the audio in my films and YouTube videos and to also listen to music on Spotify. Compared to the Audio Technica ATH-M50s which are probably the most popular professional headphones under $200 and have been my go-to headphones for the past few years, the 99 Neo headphones sound pretty much just as good. They produce very natural audio and they sound crisp with a clean full sound. I listened to Neutral Milk Hotel, and I was able to hear all the instruments in the songs, the slightest whistle that you may not hear over speakers is nice and clear through these headphones. It really makes the listening experience that much more enjoyable. The mids are clear, everything is balanced. However, the thing that jumped out to me at first listen was the bass is deep and powerful on the 99 Neo compared to my ATH M50s. That was the biggest difference for me. For the test I was listening to my favorite album of 2017 so far, Kendrick Lamar’s new album. The bass in those songs were booming on the 99 Neo headphones. It wasn’t distorted either, just very powerful so if that’s something you like in headphones, you’ll like definitely like these.

The Audio Technica ATH-M50s (which are now the M50X but I don’t have the newer model yet) are $100 cheaper than the Meze 99 Neo headphones, but they also look like it too. They’re very plasticky. If you have a budget below $200 and you prefer headphones with just one cable coming out of an ear cup instead of the two that come out of the 99 Neo headphones, then I would suggest the Audio Technica ATH-M50X headphones. But if you like a slightly more powerful bass with the same audio quality with a more pleasing design and build, then check out the Meze 99 Neo headphones. Let me know what you think of these headphones in the comments below!

Top 5 MacBook Pro Accessories Under $10

If you own a MacBook or MacBook Pro that has USB-C ports, these are the top 5 accessories you can get for under $10! (due to fluctuation, prices not guaranteed)

  1. Ailun USB-C to USB-A 3.0 adapters
  2. Sabrent USB 3.0 hub
  3. USB SDHC/microSD card reader
  4. USB-C to Lightning cable
  5. AmazonBasics laptop sleeve
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