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Arlo Q Review

A Wired, Indoor Arlo Cam

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Arlo Q

The Arlo Q is a wired camera that connects directly to your wifi so a SmartHub isn’t required. You don’t have to worry about changing batteries and the video quality is 1080 HD. Bear in mind, it can only be used indoors and based on our tests has poorer video quality in low lighting. Check Price

Pros

  • Wired camera for continuous security (no worries about batteries)
  • Offers free cloud-based or local storage options
  • Doesn’t require an Arlo base station or smart hub

Cons

  • Video quality may seem grainy on some networks
  • Night vision lacks contrast and definition, especially at far range and in low light conditions
  • Indoor use only
  • Lacks a siren feature

Performance

Video: Day

Good

Video: Night

Okay

Audio

Good

App

Good

10 SECOND SUMMARY: Overall, the performance of the Arlo Q was pretty good. The video quality at 1080p was sufficient and clear, at least during the day. It didn’t seem to struggle with overexposure during the day, but at night, it struggled to provide high contrast imagery from further distances.

Video: Day vs. Night

Indoors with a mix of artificial light as well as natural daylight in natural daylight, the quality was good.

Arlo Q video quality - indoor shot
Arlo Q video quality – indoor shot

While it is a bit more granular than you’d see on the Arlo Pro 3 or comparable 2K camera, it’s still not bad by any means.

In addition, this camera didn’t seem to struggle with washing out figures overexposure.

Arlo Q video quality - indoor night shot
Arlo Q video quality – indoor night shot

Honestly, I was less impressed with the night vision shots from the Arlo Q. The video had poor contrast and made it hard to decipher details further away.

Arlo Q video quality - indoor night shot
Arlo Q video quality – indoor night shot

As you can see between these two images. At close range, the figure is pretty clear, but when I stepped back into the kitchen, the contrast between myself and the background environment is very limited.

This can make it hard to tell exactly what it going on from further distances.

RELATED – See every security camera we’ve tested here.

Audio

Quality of audio on the Arlo Q camera is good and clear. It has two-way audio features allowing you to hear what is going on on-screen as well as sending audio out through the camera, remotely from your smartphone.

One note, the audio of the Q is half duplex, not full duplex.

What is half duplex?

The best way to describe this is thinking that the Arlo Q works like a walkie-talkie. Audio can be sent or received, but it cannot do both simultaneously (example: think of a telephone).

RELATED: Check out the Arlo Pro 3 if you’re looking for an Arlo cam with full-duplex capabilities. See our Arlo Pro 3 review here.

The Arlo App

Using the app, you can access even more features, like viewing the live feed, toggling across multiple cameras, switching modes, viewing camera settings, or checking out the video library.

The video library allows you to view activity from the past 7 days, or more if you opt to pay for the subscription plan.

If you’re viewing live footage on the camera, you can:

  • Adjust volume
  • Use two-way audio
  • Adjust brightness
  • Take a snapshot
  • Record manual video footage
  • Pause a live view
Arlo Q app settings
Arlo Q app settings

Arlo Q Design

The Arlo Q takes a different approach in terms of design, compared to other Arlos on the market. The Arlo, and Arlo Pro cams have more rounded edges and a magnetic mount that joins the camera body to the mount.

But with the Arlo Q, the stand comes already attached to the camera. The head of the camera can pivot vertically or horizontally, giving users quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to viewing angle.

Arlo Q’s camera head feels quite a bit larger than the Arlo Pro cameras as well.

Arlo Q security camera
Arlo Q security camera

In addition, the base of the Arlo Q is actually magnetic, which allows it to stick to magnetic surfaces or simple be placed on non-magnetic surfaces.

The power cable plugs into the back of the camera and routes down to the base. A small piece of plastic on the base helps to hold the cord in place once the camera is installed.

RELATED Ring door camera review

The Controls

The Arlo Q comes with a simple “Reset” button and a “Sync” button that can be used to reset the camera or sync it up to the app.

A small LED light towards the bottom of the camera hels to communicate different statuses of the camera.

  • Orange: On, but not connected
  • Blue: connected to wifi and / or recording
Arlo Q camera close up view
Arlo Q camera close up view

Top Features

Here’s a quick list of some of the best features offered on the Arlo Q camera:

  • Continuous video: allows the Arlo Q to have a 24/7 feed of activity (requires a paid subscription)
  • Custom motion zones: create up to 3 different zones to monitor
  • 2-way audio: allows you to hear sound on-screen or send audio back (half duplex)
  • Smart Alerts: when motion or sound is detected
  • Cloud-based storage: up to 7 days of storage for free (more storage available with a paid subscription)
  • Local storage: take video from the camera using a micro USB port
  • Does not require an Arlo SmartHub: one of the only Arlo cameras that do not require a base station

What’s in the box?

Overall, the packaging and presentation of the Arlo camera was simple and intuitive. It comes in a white rectangle box with bright green accents.

Arlo Q camera with parts and accessories
Arlo Q camera with parts and accessories

Furthermore, after you do the initial unboxing, the camera is basically set up. It comes with the mount already attached to the base and all accessories and cables are neatly stored below the camera.

Parts & accessories include:

  • Arlo Q wired camera
  • Power cord
  • Power adapter
  • Mounting plate (optional)
  • Mounting screw (optional)
  • User Guide
  • Arlo window cling “Video Monitoring in Progress”

Setup & Usability

Setting up the Arlo Q cam is easy and takes less than 5 minutes to get it ready for use. As mentioned above, the camera comes basically pre-assembled. To get going, here are some quick pointers on:

  1. Camera Setup
  2. In-App Setup

How to setup the Arlo Q?

  1. Unbox the Arlo Q camera and remove all original package.
  2. Plug the power cord into the power adapter and plug it into a wall outlet.
  3. A small LED on the front of the camera should light up, letting you know that the camera is ready.
Side view of the Arlo Q camera
Side view of the Arlo Q camera

How to setup the Arlo app?

It takes less than 5 minutes to connect the Arlo camera to the app. Here’s a complete rundown of the process below:

  1. Plug the power cable into the camera.
  2. Download the Arlo app on your smartphone.
  3. Login to your Arlo account (or create a new account) and follow in-app prompts.
  4. Press and hold the “sync” button on the Arlo until the LED is blinking blue.
  5. Pair the camera to the app using a QR code on the app screen.

How easy is Arlo Q to install?

Since the Arlo Q is only used indoors, the setup is quite simple. For install, you basically have two options:

  1. Place on a flat surface, like a table, shelf, or counter.
  2. Use the mounting plate to install on a vertical surface, like a wall.
Arlo Q camera - micro USB input
Arlo Q camera – micro USB input

If you’re using the camera on a flat surface, simply plug the camera in and set it on the surface. One and done.

For wall-mounted installs, you’ll need to install the mounting plate to the wall first. The Arlo Q comes with drywall anchors for typical gypsum-board walls. If you’re installing on a hard wood or masonry wall, you may need stronger screws and / or different anchors.

RELATED Google Nest Indoor camera review

Camera Customization

In the app, you can adjust video settings like:

  • Brightness
  • Image rotation
  • Video resolution (720p or 1080p)
  • Day or night vision
Arlo Q security camera - smart app
Arlo Q security camera – smart app

Usability

Usability is one the most attractive features of the Arlo camera system. From unboxing, to setup, to daily suerveilance, the Arlo Q is extremely simple.

Once you install the camera and setup in-app push notifications, the Arlo Q is designed to let you know when motion or sound is detected in the viewable area.

You can setup custom motion zones, as well, to let the Arlo know about areas that are more important than others.

Does the Arlo Q require a subscription?

The Arlo Q security camera does not require a subscription, but as with most things, a subscription adds extra value and performance features. Here’s the differences to help you decide if you may need a subscription.

Without an Arlo paid subscription, the Arlo Q has the following features:

  • Live remote video streaming
  • 7 days of secure cloud DVR storage
  • Motion alerts, sound alerts, and push notifications
  • Support for up to 5 cameras
  • 2-way audio
  • Custom motion zones
Arlo Q video quality - indoor shot
Arlo Q video quality – indoor shot

With a paid Arlo subscription, you can get higher resolution footage and more video storage on the Cloud. There are two different tiers of subscriptions.

The two subscription Arlo packages are:

  • Premier
  • Elite

Arlo Smart Premier

  • Cost (single camera): $2.99 /monthly
  • Cost (up to 5 cameras): $9.99 / monthly
  • Description: offers rolling 30 days of video storage with up to 2K video resolution for 1 or 5 cameras

Arlo Smart Elite

  • Cost (single camera): $4.99 / monthly
  • Cost (up to 5 cameras): $14.99 / monthly
  • Description: offers rolling 30 days of video storage with up to 4K video resolution for 1 or 5 cameras

Is the Arlo Q a good value?

Okay, so at the end of the day, is the Arlo Q a good value?

Relative size of the Arlo Q camera
Relative size of the Arlo Q camera

I would say yes, the value of the Arlo Q is good. Here’s a short list of some of the most attractive features of the Arlo Q that add to it’s overall value, in my opinion.

  1. 7-day Cloud-based video storage (for free)
  2. Optional continuous 24/7 video feed (with paid subscription)
  3. Doesn’t require a standalone Arlo SmartHub or base station
  4. Wired camera, so you don’t need to worry about replacing batteries

If you’re looking for a simple, wired, indoor camera, the Arlo Q will likely meet all of your needs. Not having to deal with (or pay for) a base station is a huge plus.

Arlo Q Specifications

 Arlo Q
TypeIndoor Only
Video Resolution1080p
Night VisionBlack/White
Field of View130°
Motion DetectionYes
2-Way AudioYes
Local StorageYes; USB in base storage
Smart SirenNo; in base storage
Wireless RangeNone; wired camera
GeoFencingYes
Amazon AlexaYes
Google AssistantYes
Apple HomekitYes
SmartThingsYes
Continuous VideoYes (with subscription)
3 Second Look-BackYes
Warranty1-Year Warranty
ReturnsVaries by retailer
PriceCheck Price

Should you buy the Arlo Q?

I would recommend the Arlo Q if you’re looking for the following in a security camera:

  • Wired connection: If you don’t want the hassle of having to worry about when to replace batteries, the Arlo Q is a nice option for a wired camera.
  • Don’t want an Arlo hub: If you don’t currently have (and don’t want to buy) an Arlo base station or SmartHub, the Arlo Q could be a good pick. The Arlo Q and Arlo Q Plus are the only two Arlo cams currently that do not require a hub since they can connect directly to your WiFi router.
  • Indoor use only: Keep in mind, the Arlo Q can only be used indoors so if you’re looking for a camera you can put outside if needed, this cam might not be the best option.

Click here to learn more about or to buy the Arlo Q security camera.

Wired Indoor Camera, Great Value
  • 95%
    Design - 95%
  • 92%
    Performance - 92%
  • 96%
    Quality - 96%
  • 97%
    Usability - 97%
  • 95%
    Value - 95%
95%

Summary

The Arlo Q security camera is a wired camera that runs at 720 / 1080 resolution, has night and day mode, and sends push notifications when motion or sound is detected. You can use the Arlo Q without a base station or Smart Hub, making it one of the only Arlo cams that can currently do that (the Arlo Q Plus is the other model that allows this). Overall, I was pleased with the performance of the Q, in terms of video, audio, and app usability. Granted, the night shots did leave something to be desired, but if you have a well-lit space in the evenings, you might not have any issues.

About Derek Hales

Derek HalesDerek Hales is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ModernCastle.com. He has been featured in Fast Company, Reader's Digest, Business Insider, Realtor.com, She Knows, and other major publications. Derek has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Kansas State University. Hales has been testing and reviewing products for the home since 2014.

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