Arlo Q Security Camera Review 2021
The Arlo Q is a classic indoor security camera you can put almost anywhere. (Or at least anywhere near an outlet. The Arlo Q requires a power cord.)
This little camera has a magnetic base and multiple mount options so you can set it on a bookshelf or stick it to your fridge. And the Arlo Q has all the features we expect from top-notch indoor security cameras, including night vision and person detection.
Our main complaint with the Arlo Q was a five-second lag time in the live feed and notifications. Sometimes the camera doesn’t start to snap a picture of someone walking across a room until they’ve already walked out of frame. Not a big deal if you just want to keep an eye on your golden doodle, but maybe not so good for a nanny cam.
Arlo Q’s Tech specs
- 1080p resolution
- 130° field of vision
- 25-foot night vision range
- 2.5 and 5 GHz compatibility
- Adjustable modes
- IFTTT capability
- Two-way audio
- Magnetic base
What the Arlo Q does
The Arlo Q has top-notch features for an indoor camera, although the basic Q model lacks a local storage option.
- Excellent night vision
- Easy-to-use app
- Ball-head design
- Multiple mount options
- Five second lag time
- Lightweight body
- No local storage option
The Arlo Q has everything we look for in indoor security cameras: night vision, two-way audio, and person detection so you know when it’s a human walking through your living room and you don’t get notified every time your dog jumps on the couch.
Arlo also gives you a geofencing feature, which uses your phone’s location to arm and disarm the camera. When you pull into your garage, the camera can switch to standby before you even walk through the door. And when you leave for work, the camera will turn on automatically. (Plus, you can find it on Amazon.)
We also liked the Arlo Q’s scheduling feature, so you can set the camera to turn on and off at specific times. If you have a house cleaner come over once a week at 3 p.m., the Arlo Q can turn itself on to keep an eye on things.
The Arlo Q does not have a local storage feature, which is a bit disappointing. You can upgrade to the Arlo Q Plus for a bit more money and get local storage and an Ethernet connection. But while Ethernet is reliable and secure, it’s not as convenient as a regular electrical outlet.
If you want more than seven days’ worth of cloud storage with the regular Arlo Q, you’ll have to pay extra for a monthly subscription plan.
Arlo Q camera user experience
Arlo Q installation was a breeze, and the app is easy to use.
The Arlo Q is really easy to set up. With our test camera, we just downloaded the app, entered our Wi-Fi password, and scanned a QR code on our phone using the camera. That was it! Our camera was good to go.
You can connect multiple Arlo cameras to the app and name each of them so you know which room you’re looking at. You also have access to all the smart tech goodies like geofencing and scheduling.
We thought the Arlo app was super easy to use and pretty intuitive. Along with the standard scheduling and geofencing features, Arlo also gives you something called modes. Modes basically let you set rules for how you want your camera to behave.
Simple modes like arm, disarm, and geofencing are already in the app—all you have to do is tap a button to enable them. If you want something more specific, you can create your own mode for it.
For example, if you come home every day at 6 p.m., you probably want your indoor cameras to turn off then. But if you want your outdoor camera to stay on in the backyard at the same time, you’ll need a mode for that. In the Arlo app, you just click the modes tab, then the Add a Mode button, and set up your rules. Pretty easy.
Arlo Q integrations
Arlo integrates with other smart platforms, like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT.
One of the most inclusive integrations Arlo offers is IFTTT (If This, Then That). Using the IFTTT app, you can hook Arlo up with an unbelievable number of smart home gadgets and appliances. IFTTT lets you create “recipes” so you can do things like turn on the lights when the Arlo Q senses sound or motion.
How much does the Arlo Q cost?
Arlo Q tends to be less expensive than similar cameras like the Nest Cam or the Logitech Circle 2.
The Arlo Q is a pretty mid-range camera—especially for the features you get. You’ll pay less for the Arlo Q than you would for the Nest Cam IQ Indoor or the Logitech Circle 2. The Nest Cam also has nearly identical features and works much the same way. We actually thought the Arlo Q had better night vision than the Nest.
Arlo gives you seven days’ worth of free cloud storage. If you want more storage than that, you have to subscribe to a monthly service plan.
|Plan name||Price for 1 camera||Price for up to 5 cameras||Cloud storage||Resolution||Learn more|
|Premier||$2.99/mo.||$9.99/mo.||30 days||2K||View on Amazon|
|Elite||$4.99/mo.||$14.99/mo.||30 days||4K||View on Amazon|
Data effective 11/20/20. Offers subject to change.
This wouldn’t be such a big deal if the Arlo Q offered local storage—but it doesn’t. Although it’s very common with security camera providers to require a subscription for more than a few days of cloud storage, we prefer cameras that also let you store footage outside on your own hardware.
If you’d rather opt for a camera with a local storage option, the Arlo Q Plus gives you that. It costs around $60 more, but that’s pretty worth it when you compare it to the price of annual storage.
If you want to bite the bullet and get an Arlo service plan, they’re pretty comparable to other providers’ plans—including Nest’s.
Indoor camera service plan comparison
|Provider||Price||Amount of storage||Learn more|
|Arlo Q||$2.99–$14.99/mo.||30 days||View on Amazon|
|Nest||$6–$12/mo.||30–60 days||View at Best Buy|
|Logitech||$3.99–$17.99/mo.||14–31 days||View on Amazon|
Data effective 11/20/2020. Offers subject to change.
If the Arlo Q isn’t quite your style, one of these other indoor cameras might work better.
The Arlo Q works best for people who want a simple indoor camera that either stands alone or works with other Arlo cameras. It’s not really part of a larger smart home system, and it has fewer integration options than you might want if you’re looking for a fully integrated system.
If you want a model that can do a little more, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor or the Logitech Circle 2 might be more your speed.
Nest Cam IQ Indoor
The Nest Cam IQ Indoor is pretty similar to the Arlo Q as far as features and functionality go—but the Nest has a few cool extras. The IQ Indoor has familiar face detection, so it can tell if that person walking through your living room is a stranger or just your Uncle Dave coming over to fix the kitchen sink.
Nest built the IQ Indoor with a heftier and, frankly, prettier design than the Arlo Q. But the IQ doesn’t have a magnetic base, and it doesn’t come with a mounting kit, which makes it less versatile. You’re pretty much limited to setting it on a flat surface near an electrical outlet.
The design isn’t the only hefty part of the Nest Cam—so is the price. The IQ Indoor costs over $100 more than the Arlo Q, and you’ll still need a monthly service plan.
The Nest Cam IQ Indoor fits these needs:
- If you already have Nest smart products and want to build onto your system
- If you want extra features like familiar face detection
- If you prefer Nest’s handsome design over the Arlo Q’s mount options
Logitech Circle 2
If you like the versatility of the Arlo Q, then you’ll love the Logitech Circle 2. You can use the Circle 2 either indoors or outdoors, and it offers a mind-boggling number of mount options. (Seriously, you can stick it to a window if you want.)
The Logitech has a really wide 180° viewing angle (compared to Arlo Q’s 130°), and you get unlimited video downloads as well as time lapses.
You can get the Circle 2 in either a wireless or a wire-free version. We’d recommend the wireless (which ironically means it needs a power cord,) because you never have to worry about charging it or taking it down when the battery dies. It’s also cheaper than the wire-free version.
The Logitech Circle 2 fits these needs:
- If you want an ultra-versatile camera you can mount anywhere and use indoors or out
- If you want the widest possible viewing angle
- If you still want a cheap cloud storage option (Logitech gives you $3.99 per month for 14 days of storage)
The bottom line
The Arlo Q is a pretty good indoor camera that will work for most people.
Aside from the annoying five-second lag time we experienced, we don’t have too many complaints about the Arlo Q. It’s reliable, collects clear video footage, and gives you multiple placement options so you can choose the right spot.
We would like to see Arlo include a local storage option in the regular Arlo Q (not just the Arlo Q Plus), but for a cloud-based camera, it does a good job.
Do you use an indoor camera like the Arlo Q? Let us know about your camera experience in the comments! And check out our Best Indoor Cameras piece or our Best Motion Detection Cameras review for more info on the best security cameras to put in your house.
If you’re looking for a full-blown security system then consider our review of The Best Home Security Systems.