Now that I’ve had the Arlo Security Camera system for almost 9 months now, here’s my second part of the review.
Click here to see my initial review.
I brought the system already knowing that I would have to change the batteries. On average, it was stated that I would have to change the batteries every 6 months. So far, out of 4 cameras, I’ve only had to change the batteries on 3 of the cameras around the 6 months’ time frame.
One of the key reasons for this is placement and angle. The fourth camera that I have not had to change the batteries yet is placed on a side yard that isn’t used much. Based on all four cameras and when I changed their batteries, there was a fairly consistent relationship to the usage and how long I set the recording for.
For example, locations where the camera triggered less often but recording was set longer used more batteries than if it triggered more often but only recorded 15 second clips. Of course, I did not keep track of all the recordings to determine total recording length but that’s basically what it came down to.
Motion Detection Recording
At one point, I noticed where the system did not record an action by one of those people that places flyers or business cards at your front door.
The camera for my front door is placed high up and pointed downwards so that it doesn’t trigger with activity out front on the street. I have the sensitivity high and record clips of only 30 seconds. This hasn’t been a problem until one day I received a package from an online order I placed and then one of those people came by to place a flyer on our door. No, they did not steal the package, fortunately.
Earlier in that day, UPS dropped off the package at my front door. Later on, someone comes up to the door with a flyer that I assume he’ll just stick into the door jam. The 30 second clip shows the guy coming up to the door and pulling out the flyer to place on the door.
For almost the whole 30 seconds of the clip, you can see him looking down at the package. At the end of the 30 second clip, you can see him start to bend down and then the clip ends. The good part was that my package was still there when I got home. The bad part was that the camera did not capture him moving the package or anything else.
I know he picked it up and looked at my package because it was not sitting in the same position as when UPS had dropped it off. It had definitely moved from that original position. I don’t know if he picked it up and then saw the camera above him and dropped it back down or if he was just looking to see who lived at this house because the camera did not capture that part of it.
So, the bad thing about motion detection recording with Arlo is that it’s not continuous recording when there is still movement in the recording frame. When you set the recording length to 30 seconds, for example, it’ll record 30 seconds even if there’s still movement. After that, there’s a reset delay in when it’ll trigger again. That delay has been measured between 10 seconds up to 30 seconds before the camera will start recording again on movement. So, during those 10 to 30 second delay, that person had picked up my package and then dropped it on the floor again with his flyer next to it.
I assume he wanted to know who lived at the house. If he was thinking about stealing the package and then realized the camera was there, he would not have left his flyer at my house because I can easily call the company that he represents and question them.
Recording Length Dilemma
Based on my experience from above, do I increase the recording time to 1 minute? What happens if another issue arises and the activity I needed to capture happens at 1 minute 5 seconds and isn’t caught on camera since the camera is resetting at the time? Then do I increase the recording time again? Where does this stop? Do you see my dilemma?
Odds are, for my front door, any activity should occur within 1 minute. Any longer and neighbors or such may wonder why this person is at my front door for so long, right? At least that’s my thought.
Ideal Motion Detection Recording Length
Ideally, these systems should have a feature to continue recording if there is still movement. For example, let’s say you set the minimum recording length to 30 seconds. If the system does not detect movement within the last 5 seconds of those 30 seconds, it stops recording at 30 seconds. If there is still movement, the system continues recording until there has not been any activity for 5 continuous seconds. Also, the ideal system would allow you to customize all of these parameters.