Sign in with Microsoft
Arlo Go LTE – no Wi-Fi allowed (review)
3.0Overall Score

Arlo Go LTE is a wireless broadband security camera with a Telco sim socket. It is marketed in Australia by Telstra.

Logically, Telstra has bundled it with a 24-month data package that ranges from 1GB per month to 25GB (20GB plus a 5GB promotional bonus). Telstra currently provides a bonus A$149 Arlo Solar Panel to recharge the unit.

Arlo Go LTE

The Arlo Go LTE (Australian website here) model VML4030-1TAUS  supports 3G-850MHz, and 4G-750/1800Mhz only. Check your camera location is covered by the Telstra network first.

But I can buy Arlo Go LTE cheaper on eBay

JB Hi-Fi has the Telstra model for $599 outright plus a Telstra Data plan.  It is possibly the only approved reseller of this model.

It is essential if you buy any other Arlo Go LTE model to ensure that it works with an Australian sim and carrier. Note also that Arlo Go LTE does not work with Arlo base stations – it is 3/4G only.

In other words, avoid any imported models like the plague. US models that don’t work here include.

  • VML4030-100NAS – AT&T
  • VML4030-200NAS – Arlo Mobile
  • VML4030-VHQ – Verizon

What size data plan do you need?

It is hard to know how much data you need because it depends on motion detection events and how much live viewing you do.

[email protected] video consumes about 4.5MB a minute to upload to the Arlo cloud. Motion detection events consume about 1.5MB each.

On that basis, 1GB (1,000MB) is equal to 222 minutes per month or about 7.4 minutes per day.

My advice is to start with a low data package and adjust up. The commitment is for 24 months, and substantial early termination charges apply (essentially the camera cost).

Viewing images in the cloud library uses smartphone data, not camera data. Live viewing uses both.

Out of the box – Arlo Go LTE from Telstra

  • Arlo Go LTE camera
  • 3660mAh removable battery
  • Outdoors (water resistant – not proof) micro-USB 5V/1.3A and 9V/1A fast charger
  • Arlo 1/4” screw mount
  • Setup guide
  • No microSD card provided
  • Bonus Arlo solar panel recharger

It is a little more chubby than the Arlo/Pro/Pro 2 (GadgetGuy review here) but shares the Arlo family design cues.

Arlo Go LTE

Setup

  • Insert the battery (charged), Telstra data sim and optionally a micro-SD sim.
  • As the microSD is only for recording during internet outages, an 8-16GB microSD would suffice. No, you can’t trick it to record all the events on micro-SD either. A valid, activated data sim must remain inserted for setup and ongoing use.
  • Download the Arlo app for iOS or Android. Set up an Arlo account (note you can sign-in using other apps, but I recommend you don’t use these for privacy reasons).
  • The smartphone displays a 3D barcode that your camera recognises. That starts the discovery process.
  • You need to allow smartphone/camera location tracking. Also, contacts if you want to share images with nominated contacts. The latter is a potential privacy issue, so we recommend you don’t allow that to start with.

The quick start guide is here.

Mounting the camera

The base is the only flat surface, so the camera needs to stand upright on a shelf/desk or use the supplied 1/4” screw mount. It can be mounted upside down from a beam (software can invert the image – but not mirror swapping).

There is no magnetic mount as per the Arlo/Pro/Pro 2.

Arlo recommends an ideal height of 2.1 metres above the floor with the camera pointing down. This is great for the PIR sensor but not so good to capture the detail of people’s faces. I found that mounting at 1.2-1.5m resulted in the best facial features.

It also notes that the PIR works best ‘off-centre’ out to 6 metres. Be extremely careful of your mounting position as you cannot set up PIR ‘detection zones’. Each motion detection can result in a few MB of recording, and that will quickly chew up your data allowance. It is best to focus on an area well defined by walls rather than the great outdoors.

The real meaning of IP65 is weather resistant, not weatherproof

Arlo state; “IP65 certified weather-resistant (other company publicity states waterproof). Rain or shine, hot or cold, the IP65-certified Arlo Go camera will brave it all.” Sorry, it won’t brave it all!

According to Wikipedia IP65 means dust tight and rain/hose proof for 15 minutes. Practically that means it is best to mount it under the house eaves.

It will not withstand temperatures below -20°C or above 45°C nor sustained marine use despite Arlo’s main picture below. The solar panel cannot function below 0°.

Arlo Go LTE

Battery life

Arlo states: “Long-lasting, takes the expense out of uninterrupted security.”

You can run it on 240V power using the supplied weather-resistant 5V/1.8A or 9V/1A (9A total) charger. It has faster charging as it uses 9V first to fill to about 60% and tops up with the 5V/1.8A.

Charge time (with the camera off) for the internal 3660mAh battery is just over 4 hours. But if you use a USB 5V/2A charger that is closer to nine hours.

Or hook it up to a VMA4600 solar panel (part of the current Telstra bonus)

Arlo Go LTEArlo states: “Connect the Arlo Solar Panel to your Arlo Pro or Arlo Go camera and never have to charge your battery again.” Sorry, that is plain wrong unless you live in a cloudless desert!

Arlo users frequently report three issues on the Arlo forum. We can only assume they have set them up correctly (facing the sun, no obstructions etc.) and have a reasonable amount of motion detection events.

 

  • That the panel needs at least three hours sunlight a day, every day, to top-up the battery
  • After a few cloudy days, the panels can struggle to recharge from a low base, and the Go requires manual charging
  • And it is weather resistant, not weatherproof!

We could not measure the output from the small 12-cell solar unit (and it is not printed on the unit either), but research suggests it provides 6V/.333mA or 1.998W.

For A$149 it is an expensive charger. You may be better looking for alternative weatherproof panels providing significantly more wattage if you need to rely on solar power.

The video camera

Not stated on any of its marketing material is the fact that camera uses a 1/3” CMOS, 1.3MP sensor. That is low by any standards and barely adequate for 720p.

The camera records video up to 1280 x 720p (HD – not Full HD) at 15fps with H.264 compression (really 640×352 resolution). As full motion is usually 24fps expect stilted motion.

It also has a 130° field-of-view, so you get some fisheye distortion.

We found that with four bars of Telstra signal strength it usually maintained 720p HD on the ‘optimised’ video setting. You can force it to record HD (and use more data) by selecting Best Video or reduce to 640×480 at 15fps or less (to use less data) by selecting best battery life.

A one-minute HD live view is about 4.5MB – that is 36Mb/s per camera per video stream.

Note that the micro-SD card is only for an internet outage for local motion detection events. Otherwise, the Arlo cloud stores everything.

Image quality – HD is OK at short distances

Arlo states: “Live stream and watch recordings in more brilliant detail than ever before.”

The daytime 720p video quality is adequate up to about three metres. By that we mean there is sufficient detail to use up to 2X zoom. It is capable of 8X zoom, but the image becomes too pixelated to be of use.  If you display these on a 27” monitor, it is blurry and has poor focus.

Daylight colours are a little saturated, but again the purpose is security – not pretty pictures.

Still, images are 1280 x 720 and produce a 55kb thumbnail. This is insufficient detail to blow these up to discover number plate lettering etc.

Constant Video recording (CVR) is not available. At 4.5MB a minute you would exhaust a 1GB data plan in under 4 hours.

Arlo Go LTE

Daylight colours are OK but the image is blurry and lacks detail

Arlo Go LTE

The same image on IR – note cloudy appearance despite no clouds in the sky.

 For comparison here is the Arlo Pro 2 – FHD same scene

Arlo Pro 2Arlo Pro 2IR

Arlo state: “Integrated night vision automatically switches on at night to shed light on the smallest wonders.”

It uses 850nm LEDs with a maximum cast of 7 metres. Take care in positioning the camera that there are no reflective surfaces nearby (like a table or glass) or the IR will bounce back and cloud the image.

Unlike the Arlo Pro 2 (above) we found it cloudy and useless.

PIR motion detection

Arlo states: “Wide-angle PIR motion sensor makes sure no movement will slip through without your notice.”

The PIR motion detector has a maximum distance of up to 7 metres. It can be triggered by sounds as well. It took about 3-5 seconds to wake up and record missing the trigger event. Then the video goes to the Arlo cloud adding at least another ten seconds before you can see it on the smartphone.

I found PIR way too sensitive at default and ramped sensitivity back to 50%. Still, I was getting false positives from the camera when it was used outdoors when it was windy with trees waving. There is no way to set up zones to exclude these.

Two-way audio

Arlo states: “Listen in and talk back through the built-in speaker and mic, straight from your smartphone.”

Lag is always an issue. The inbuilt speaker is loud enough for someone to hear what you say but it is impossible to have a two-way or full-duplex conversation.

The Arlo cloud – the only way to record images

Arlo Go LTEArlo states: “Don’t pay for cloud storage that you don’t need. Keep 7 days of motion- and audio-triggered recordings.”

  • The free plan is 7-days cloud roll-over recording for up to five cameras
  • Premier is A$12.99 per month for up to 10 cameras and 10GB storage
  • Elite is A$18.99 per month for up to 15 cameras and 100GB storage

CVR is not available. There are discounts for annual pre-paid subscriptions.

Smart home compatible

Arlo state: “Works with Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant, IFTTT & Stringify.”

Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT integration etc. are not priorities and many other cameras support smart homes. This is more marketing speak until smart homes become more usable.

Recommended uses

This is for areas where you cannot access Wi-Fi but have Telstra coverage. All tests were on four bars of Telstra 4G so I can make no promises for lower coverage strength. At best, lesser signal strength will add lag and at worst reduce image quality to 480p.

  • Businesses with a shop or warehouse – monitor one or more sites with wire-free installation
  • Building, construction or landscaping tradespeople – monitor activity, deliveries, conditions and security of tools, equipment and supplies on a job site
  • Businesses in property industry – set up at properties for sale, inspection or short-term rentals
  • Farming/livestock businesses – monitor safety and movement of livestock during day or night, and change the location of the device

GadgetGuy’s take – Arlo Go LTE is OK as long as you don’t believe the marketing hype

Arlo Go LTE is a security camera that you can place anywhere there is Telstra coverage. It is not available from Telstra for outright purchase (24-month plan only), but JB Hi-Fi has it for $599 plus a Telstra data plan.

Netgear marketing state: “The world’s first and only 100% wire-free, weather resistant, LTE mobile HD security camera”.

Wrong. It is not the first, nor the only with LTE. There are heaps around including the Reolink GO  that works on Telstra networks (Website here) with FHD 1080p recording, huge battery, and more atractive price.

OK, I will stop Arlo/NETGEAR PR/marketing BS bashing – just read the fine print carefully. It is fit for purpose if you know your purpose!

And this is not about Telstra – its role here is to offer a hardware and data plan on Australia’s most comprehensive network, and it does that well.

Data use is the biggest unknown. Talk to Telstra about family data sharing which allows you to buy the smallest allowance and share it with your smartphone allowance.

Beware fake reviews

There are too many ‘paid-for’ blogs extolling Arlo virtues. Fakespot found 72% of reviews for the Arlo Go LTE were ‘unreliable’ using the same text, hyperbole or suspiciously positive words.

We don’t read other reviews until we have completed ours. Then we try to reconcile any obvious differences by re-testing.

I am not saying we are 100% right, and they are 100% wrong. But too many so-called reviews simply repeated Arlo website copy, and we are sure most did not even test the product.

GadgetGuy guarantees it is 100% independent and that every statement is fact checked and tested. We test against defined, real-life use paradigms for all products.

Pros

  • 720p video and stills are fit for purpose
  • Arlo App is easy to use but single user only
  • Good performance on the Telstra network
  • Good build quality
  • Free seven-day rolling storage
  • IP 65 weather resistant (not weather-proof)
  • Rechargeable battery on power or solar.

Cons

  • Way too sensitive PIR motion notifications – false positives abound
  • Speaker/microphone is useless due to lag
  • Battery life claims are highly unlikely
  • Not for exposed outdoor use
  • Too easy to steal
  • One network only – no ability to change carriers
  • Early user reviews claim battery life is closer to a month. We could not test that
  • Read GadgetGuy’s review to cut through the marketing hype

Price:

From Telstra on a 24-month plan

Ratings

Rated as a standalone LTE camera – it is an expensive niche camera

  • Overall: 3.2 out of 5
  • Features: 3 out of 5 – a Cloud-based camera only
  • Value for money: 3 out of 5 – We do not comment on price but have observed there are lower cost, higher specified LTE cameras available. The benefit of Arlo Go is that it uses the same app as other Arlo cameras.
  • Performance: 4 out of 5 – Fit for purpose daylight and night vision but images lack the megapixel resolution for more than postcard-sized images
  • Ease of Use: 4 out of 5 – Very easy to set up
  • Design: 3 out of 5 – Not flexible in mounting without adapters


Keywords: Arlo Go LTE, ARLO Go LTE, ARLO GO LTE

Arlo Go LTE – no Wi-Fi allowed (review)
Good performance on the Tesltra network
Poor video quality
Overall
Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of Use
Design
3.0Overall Score
Reader Rating 0 Votes