Happy New Year! In a blink of an eye, it’s 2017 already. 2016 was a year of change for us. We got married, adopted Luna and moved to a new house! Since the move into our new place, the biggest change for our family is having to leave our 2 dogs alone at home for long stretches while at work.
Polar & Luna both suffer from separation anxiety; they always needs a human around at home to feel at ease. In our old place, there was always someone at home, so it’s been quite a tough adjustment for Polar and Luna takes cue from him. Every morning, as we step out of the house, Polar launches into a barking frenzy, while Luna whines and howls like a wolf, which subsides only after a long while.
We’ve been working with a dog trainer on their anxiety, so we have been recording video of their activity when we’re not around. Also, we were looking for a basic home security camera for our home, so we started looking into pet monitoring options that would fulfil both requirements.
Today’s pet monitors are multi-functional and can double up as basic home security cameras. My husband had used several China branded cameras before, but found most of the hardware unreliable and the software worked erratically, if at all. With that experience, we narrowed down the functions we wanted in our pet monitor:
– Simple setup process – works without needing to plug it into a computer and easy for beginners like me
– WiFi connectivity – minimal wires please
– Mobile app that is accessible by more than one party – important for both me and my husband to have access to the app. Previously when we were using the China camera, it could only be accessed by one party and it was inconvenient.
– Motion and sound detection – in the event of barking from the dogs, I would like to know
– Night vision – for night time security
– No subscription needed (on top of the price of the camera)
Based on those desired features, we whittled our choices down to either the Piper NV or the Netgear Arlo Q. We finally decided on the Netgear Arlo Q because it was sold locally and would have therefore have a local warranty. Piper NV was only available via Amazon, and shipping would also have taken 3-4 weeks.
As we got the camera for a very specific function (monitoring dogs), our review only speaks to our experience as pet owners wanting to keep watch on our fur kids. If you’re looking for a more technical, spec focused review of the camera, you’ll find reviews elsewhere with such information.
That said, lets jump right into what we liked about the Arlo Q.
You will require plug-in power, WiFi, and an iOS or Android device to use the app. Pairing the camera with the app was quite easy for anyone who’s ever used an application on their phone. The camera face is smaller than my palm, and can either sit on a stand or be mounted on the wall, so you should be able to find a spot in your place for your camera to blend in. With the nearly 180-degree field-of-view of the camera, you should be able to see most of your living room.
Polar just chilling on the sofa and staring at the door
WHAT WE LIKE
When the camera detects motion or audio, the recording is triggered, and 30s of video will be recorded and automatically uploaded to a private cloud account. You will also receive a push alert notification on your phone. You can then proceed to view the recorded footage in the app directly. All this means that you have access to your footage at any time, and don’t have to deal with SD cards and internal storage.
Another function we really liked was the ability to customise modes for your camera. For example, we created a “dogs at home” mode that would only capture sharp peaks in audio, and movement above waist height, which meant that the dogs wouldn’t trigger a recording from their milling around on the floor or the occasional whine.
There’s also a microphone function for you to speak through the camera. We use it sometimes when we catch good or bad behaviour to affirm it. When I see Polar doing his toilet business correctly, I speak through the camera to tell him that he’s a good boy.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
Because the camera is always on, you need to remember to disarm it when you come home, if not it’ll keep triggering recordings and pushing alerts to your phone. There’s a geo-fencing beta mode that solves this problem by disarming the camera whenever your phone logs onto your home WiFi, but we’ve found it to be quite spotty.
We’ve been using the camera for about 3 months now, and so far it’s been very reliable with minimum down time. It’s helped us monitor Polar and Luna’s behaviour during the day so that we can record videos and show them to a dog trainer we’re working with on their separation anxiety. As a bonus, it’s also a good home security device that doesn’t involve complicated setups or expensive subscriptions. We would recommend it for working couples like us who would like to feel close to their furkid at home, even when they are out and about.
Until next time, stay curious!
*Note: This post is not sponsored. We bought the camera from Challenger for our personal use. We’ve also seen it online at Lazada so you may want to check it out!