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Arlo Baby Monitor Review
Teething issues with WiFi-only operation.
Arlo Baby: Our Verdict
The Arlo Baby's 1080p HD stream sings at a smooth 30 frames-per-second in a stable WiFi environment, but when your broadband isn't on its best behaviour, this always-online device is reduced to nothing more than an expensive nursery decoration. If you're lucky enough to have super fast and reliable Internet, you might be swayed by its advanced monitoring features and customisable alerts, but the $250 price tag is still a bit rich considering more economic options on the market.
- Smooth 1080p HD stream at 30fps
- Clear night vision mode
- Advanced features and tailored alerts
- Useless in less-than-ideal WiFi conditions
- Buffering and feed delays
- No standalone monitor display
- Wall mount won’t suit renters
Reviews.org created this Arlo Baby review with the help of two first-time parents.
Some Australians have reliable enough WiFi (or at least 4G backup) that they can freely deck out their house with a whole manner of Internet-connected products. Things like smart speakers, smart bulbs and security systems all perform reliably, even if someone in the house is five games deep into Call of Duty, while another streams Hamilton on Disney Plus for the umpteenth time. But if your internet connection is less than ideal, you might not have that luxury.
For many Australians, streaming a TV show or movie still means freeing up some bandwidth. The worst-case scenario is usually harmless, but when a more important connected device, like a baby monitor, suffers the consequences of congestion, it can lead to unnecessary panic.
For all its flashy smart features, the Arlo Baby spits the dummy when it can't find a stable WiFi connection. It's an always-online device, and while that won't be an issue for a lot of Australians, others will see the $250+ price tag as a bit of a rort when broadband isn't on its best behaviour.
Arlo Baby Camera Quality
In an optimal WiFi environment, the Arlo Baby's HD 1080p stream sings at a smooth 30 frames-per-second (fps). Gone of the days of grainy baby monitor footage that looks like B roll from a Paranormal Activity movie, the Arlo Baby provides a crisp stream of the weird and adorable things your wee bub gets up to when there's nobody else in the room.
Night Vision mode
The Arlo Baby's night vision mode also does an exceptional job. Night modes on baby cameras, and security cameras in general, are often noisy and out of focus, but the Arlo Baby provides an incredibly clear stream in the dead of night. You might have to tinker with a few things to get the night vision picture quality just right. We found that having the night light helped a lot, as did removing any reflective surfaces from the Arlo Baby's field of view.
Changing the Field of View (FOV) can also be done in the Arlo app, a pretty unique feature in a baby monitor. So if you've got some gremlins in your stream, try narrowing the field of view to reduce any night vision noise. You can set the FOV anywhere between 90 and 130-degrees.
Besides the Arlo Baby's 1080p quality, the other huge selling point is all the advanced monitoring features it offers. Exactly how much information you want/need is going to differ between parents, but we appreciate the option to tailor the alerts we need, and how often we need them.
For a brief overview, the Arlo Baby offers motion and sound detection, auto-recorded video clips (as far back as seven days for free, phone and email notifications, air quality and temperature monitoring, night light features, audio playback, push-to-talk, and multi-camera support. Many of those features might feel a little unnecessary for a lot of people, and those same people might balk at the $250 price tag.
All of these features can be managed and customised within the Arlo Baby app. The video feed is handled entirely by your smartphone or tablet (rather than a proprietary tablet), but the app also offers a massive range of customisation options. For example, the Arlo Baby app offers impressive flexibility when it comes to alerts and notifications. You can send alerts to your phone and email, and even tailor the amount/frequency of alerts you receive if ever you feel like the Arlo Baby's giving you a little TMI.
Thanks to the Arlo Baby's air quality and temperature monitoring, you can also receive alerts when the room's a little stuffy, or the air quality has taken a dip (at which point you might want to invest in an air purifier or humidifier).
Lastly, the app lets you customise the brightness and colour of the night light. A night light feels unnecessary for a baby monitor, but it does help improve the quality of the camera's night vision mode, so it's a welcome addition.
What could be better
The Arlo Baby operates exclusively over a stable internet connection. There's no option for offline viewing like there is with the luxury Nanit Smart Monitor. If your WiFi is down, or just too slow, the Arlo Baby transforms into a very expensive nursery decoration. This won't be a problem for most, but unless you've got super fast and reliable internet, the Arlo Baby is always at risk of dropping out and going dark.
It also makes travelling painful. Your smartphone and the Arlo Baby need to be connected to the same WiFi environment to work, so it's not like you can tether your phone to the Arlo Baby when you're on the road. Thankfully, most of your trips will probably have a WiFi connection at the destination, but even switching to a new WiFi environment is a little painful and time-consuming. This can get annoying if you're heading away for a short weekend to see relatives.
If you're having trouble with your keeping your Arlo Baby monitor connected, try running a speed test on your home WiFi.
Buffering and feed delays
Another terrifying side-effect of weak WiFi is the buffering and feed delay you get when you open the app. In a less than ideal WiFi environment, the video stream can take a second to catch up - often showing you a time-delayed image. That sounds pretty harmless, and for the most part, it is, but booting up the feed to see your baby's not in the room, or you or your partner standing over the crib, is frankly terrifying, even if only for a brief, heart-stopping moment.
The slick Nanit Smart Baby Monitor might be a luxury purchase (starting at $500), but if stable broadband is an issue in your area, you'll find that it offers most of the bells and whistles of the Arlo Baby, but continues to work over WiFi even with the Internet is down. To some folks, that peace-of-mind will be worth the premium.
Like Arlo's security camera range, the Arlo Baby delivers its video stream via an app on your smartphone or tablet. In the case of a security camera, that makes perfect sense. You only need to view your security camera feed when you're sent an alert or dig up footage from a previous day. That's not how people use baby monitors. For better or worse, many new parents are glued to the baby monitor display when their wee bub is resting. At the very least, having a separate monitor allows you to potter around the house with the video feed in your periphery. Unless you have a phone or tablet that multitasks, or you're lucky to have a spare tablet around, checking up on your baby becomes your smartphone's sole function.
Arlo announced a dedicated touch screen monitor for the Baby camera but has since cancelled its release.
Some baby monitors, like the Lollipop Smart Baby monitor, offer very clever solutions for mounting in trickier environments. To its credit, the Arlo Baby comes packaged with a wall mount, but it's a bit of extra work to install, and not an option for renters who can't drill into walls.
The Arlo Baby otherwise rests on any flat surface, so it's most likely to sit atop a tallboy or window sill in most homes. Still, many baby monitors come with much more practical alligator clip mounts that can be attached to the end of the crib.
Arlo does sell a separate table and wall mount, but it just extends its reach (and it's out of stock at the time of writing).
We fashioned our own crib attachment for the sake of this review, but you can also find some really decent third-party mounts on Amazon, like this flexible mount that gives the Arlo Baby the same flexibility of a Lollipop camera..
The flexible Lollipop Baby Monitor might not have as many advanced features as the Arlo Baby, but it does offer one of the most practical mounting solutions on the market, and comes in a little cheaper too at $229. The bendable silicone mount has a lot of grip and can be wrapped around any rung on the crib. It offers night vision, crying detection, and a 30-day money back guarantee.