Category Archives: Electronics

Arlo Security System Review

Wireless technology has come a long way and has improved our lives in many ways. The latest consumer product trend I have noticed is the growing availability of truly wire free cameras. Many big name companies offer them today including Google, Samsung, Logitech, Netgear and many more.

Today I wanted to give you a review of the Arlo security system, now that I have had it for three months. I took a picture for you on the back of my truck below right before I returned them to Costco, whom has a very generous return policy. Before I go on, I do want to say that I am not promoting Costco’s return policy as way to condone evil consumer behavior. I simply mentioned Costco’s generous return policy because it truly allows customers the opportunity to really try out products and make sure it adds value to their lives or not. Companies should stand by their products and this return policy ensures customers can give a true run with their product before deciding to keep it or not. I digress…

Experience

The Arlo two camera wireless home security kit (pictured above) cost me $179 on sale at Costco. This is a great value when you compare it to Amazon that sells the same kit for $213 as of this writing. The Model number of the camera is VMS3230, which features 720p recording, night vision, indoor/outdoor capability and are completely wireless. The battery life varies, but can last up to 6 months according to different reviews I have read. The cameras are a great value if you are in the market for a product like this.

The Arlo cams certainly do bring some peace of mind if you are away from your home, especially if people other than your family have access to your home. I for example have a dog walker that visits a few times a week and I like to be alerted when they arrive. This serves two purposes, which is that I get to see how much time he spent with my dog in between walks and I also get to see if certain rooms have been accessed to ensure that no one gets blamed for anything that may be out of place at my home. Arlo serves these purposes very well, by alerting you of any movements that occur and recording a short video of the movement. The accompanying smartphone app allows you to see the recorded video so that you could see who or what caused the movement. Do keep in mind that the longer you make the record setting, the shorter the batteries will last.

Overall I have to say that my experience with these cameras were generally good even though I ended up returning them. The cameras worked as advertised. I read mixed reviews about the setup, but to be honest the instructions were pretty simple. You just plug the hub directly to your router, add batteries to the cams and then turn them on one by one and initiate the sync feature by holding the camera close to the base station. Setup is absolutely a breeze and for this I give it a thumbs up!

These cameras have night vision, which is hit or miss. I don’t think I mentioned this, but I bought these cameras twice. The first time I returned the cameral kit was when one camera malfunctioned on me. One of the camera’s night vision stopped working the first month I owned these cameras. I noticed that the night vision was quite dark and had clearly malfunctioned. I went on the their website to find solutions and apparently you could fix this problem by opening the battery door and closing it. As you could tell however, this is a problem in it of itself, because if you are away this actually becomes impractical. Because of this malfunction the cameras went back the first time I purchased it.

A few months later we really wanted cameras in our home because we were planning a vacation in two months. After two months passed, I must say that the night vision fail of the first camera set did not happen this time around. The vision stayed strong and the cameras alerted me when there was movement around inside and outside of our house. We went to FL on our vacation a month later and were happy with the camera performance, until one day the camera on our front porch was triggered and we did not know who it was. I will explain a flaw we noticed in the video later, but this video is the reason I ultimately decided to return the camera’s to Costco.

As you could see in the video, there was a visitor at the door. I think it was one of those cable company loyalty sales people that are constantly trying to get me to switch cable companies, I digress… If you look closely at the video you’ll notice the quality is quite decent. If you had to blow the video up on a big screen you could likely identify the person in the video with law enforcement. The problem I have with the video is that after the recording, the camera never went off again, once the preset record time ended. The flaw I found in the cameras, was that since it detected movement already, it didn’t pick up the subsequent movement of him leaving. This flaw bothered me, because while I was in FL and unable to just fly back to my house on command, I couldn’t tell if the guy left my house or came in! Well I am back from FL and I can tell you that there is no evidence of a break in, but had it happened the camera’s did not tell me whether or not I should call the police. For this reason I ended up returning the cameras.

Final Thoughts

Arlo has made a very good product that works as advertised. To be honest, I do stand behind the quality of the cameras and how they do work the way they are supposed to. The unfortunate thing is the nuance in how the system behaves. The fact that it is difficult for the camera to capture subsequent movement makes it kind of hard to justify the cost of these cameras. Also, if I didn’t mention it already, the recorded videos are also very delayed, so when Amazon makes their doorstep deliveries by running up the stairs and just throwing the package up the stairs, you can totally miss recording the person. The point is, Arlo gets a thumbs up from me overall for this functional product. In the end however, I could not live with the flaw I discovered and opted to return the cameras. If you are in the market for a wireless solution to security, I can totally recommend this product. I just caution you that the delay in video recording combined with the lack of motion follow-up makes this system hard to justify with a price tag starting at $179 depending on when and where you buy. If capturing a complete video of people coming and going from your home while you’re away is important to you, then I recommend you look into a wired security system that you could check in frequently without worrying about battery power.

I hope you found this review useful. It wasn’t super techy and full of specs, but was rather a review based on practical experience from my. If you found this helpful, please share this story with someone you know.

 

This is The Simple Asian signing off for now.

 

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Anker SoundBuds Slim Review

I started out this year as an owner of an iPhone 7 Plus. Regardless of the criticism about Apple taking away the headphone jack, I went ahead and took the plunge. I have been an Apple user for far too long to simply make the switch to Android simply to keep the headphone jack. I have been using the lightning port headphone jack for a while, as I shopped and justified to myself whether or not I wanted to purchase an expensive brand of Bluetooth earbuds. Alas, I made my choice and purchased a set of Bluetooth earbuds last week…

I’m sure the suspense isn’t killing you. As I was highly considering the purchase of a set of mainstream Beats or even Bose headsets, I must say that the price tags on those were really expensive ($100+) as I’m sure you all know. A colleague of mine told me to check out a little company called Anker. I looked them up and it turns out that Anker was founded by a group of friends who worked at Google. This brought me a lot of comfort about the company.

So I picked up a set of Anker SoundBuds Slim. As of this writing you can purchase them on Amazon for $25.99, although you can find coupon codes for Anker stuff all over the interwebs. Anker has created a very attractively packaged item. They are light and sweatproof. They come with four sets of earplug sizes for the opening in your ear as well as three sets of anchors as well. There is a lot of size customization here, which should make these good for almost anyone. Also included in the package is a carry pouch and a charging micro usb cable. They are rated IPX4 against sweat or rain, although I would advise you not to walk long distances in a thunderstorm with them. The best part is that it gets you up to seven hours of battery. Not bad for Bluetooth headphones that cost less than $30.

I have to admit to you, that I am no audiophile. While I went on the website and found language with claims that these earbuds have 6mm drivers with skip free connection, I have to be honest with you, I don’t really know what all that means. What is important is that I am a casual user who listens to music from time to time and I podcast a whole lot. For my purposes they are great, and if you are a casual user like me I think you will be fine with them as well. I have read other reviews claiming that the base is a bit low on these, which I will say is probably true. If you are big on the bass, I hear that the Beats line by Dr. Dre is probably a better brand for you. In fact, I was considering those myself, but for the price I paid for these earbuds, I can easily recommend them and say they provide a ton of value and are a sure winner in my book!  That is my review of the Anker SoundBuds Slim headphones.

This is The Simple Asian signing off for now.

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