Arlo Pro 2 Security System by NETGEAR -Review

Summary

The Arlo Pro 2 system is a very flexible WiFi HD security camera system. With it’s magnetic mounting system and rechargeable batteries it can be used almost anywhere. The system integrates with Amazon Alexa, Smart Things, Stringify and IFTTT to be an integral part of the Smart Home. Although the Arlo Pro 2 is not the cheapest security system on the market, I feel its high quality recording and advanced features make it well worth the cost.

 

The Arlo Pro 2 security system from NETGEAR is the latest high definition wireless camera system in the Arlo range. We reviewed the original Arlo in March 2015, it was a great system then and has had lots of upgrades and improvements since.

What’s in the Box

The Arlo Pro2 is available as a system with 2 Arlo Pro 2 cameras, a system with 4 Arlo Pro 2 cameras or as a single camera to add to an existing Arlo system. We tested the starter set with 2 cameras.

The system comes with 2 Arlo Pro 2 cameras, each with rechargeable batteries, a base hub, power supply for the base, 1 camera charger with charging cable, 2 magnetic mounts with hardware to attach to wall, ethernet cable and quick start guide.

 

Set Up

It is very quick and easy to set up the Arlo Pro 2 system:

  • Insert rechargeable battery in each camera (they come fully charged)
  • Connect Base station to WiFi router using included ethernet cable
  • Plug in base station power supply and switch on
  • Wait until lights on front turn green (about 2 minutes)
  • Download Arlo app
  • If you don’t already have an Arlo account you need to set one up from the Arlo App on your smartphone, if you do just add the base station and cameras to your account
  • Sync cameras with base station by pressing sync button on base station, bringing camera  within 1-3ft of base station, then pressing camera sync button
  • Place your cameras where you want them, and you are ready to go!

Mounting Cameras

Like the original Arlo cameras, the Arlo Pro 2 cameras can be mounted using magnetic ” ball and socket” type mounts or placed on a flat surface such as a shelf. Two magnetic mounts are included in the set, these can be attached to a wall using included screws. I love this mounting system as it is really easy to adjust the camera angle and literally takes seconds to take down a camera or move it to another mount. If you are concerned about your outdoor cameras being stolen there is also the option of a screw threaded mount which can be purchased from Amazon or Best Buy for $19.99.

Features

  • HD 1080dp video recording
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Wireless
  • Long Lasting Rechargeable batteries
  • Indoor/ outdoor use
  • IP-65 certified Weather resistant
  • 100 dB security siren built-in
  • Free cloud storage of 7 days of motion and sound activated recording
  • Live viewing
  • 2 way audio
  • Option to plug in to indoor outlet for extra features such as activity zones and 3 second look back
  • Automatic night vision mode
  • Can add more Arlo, Arlo Q, Arlo Pro or Arlo Pro 2 cameras to system
  • Optional recording plans if want continual 24/7 recording
  • Works with Amazon Alexa, Stringify and IFTTT
  • Option to add local back up storage by connecting a USB to the base station.
  • Can schedule different sensing and recording modes

Picture Quality

Arlo Pro 2 cameras can record in 1080p HD so the image quality is very good. The cameras have a wide viewing angle – 130° and night vision is automatically triggered in low light conditions.  Within the Arlo app there are 3 options for video quality- best video, optimized or best battery life- so you can change the setting if battery lift is more important to you than the image quality. Day time images are recorded in color and night vision recording are black and white. When watching the camera feed live, or the video recording you can zoom in on an area to see it in more detail.

Recording Triggers

The default mode is that recording is triggered by motion or sound with cameras armed. You can add your own custom modes. you can switch modes manually using the app or set them up on a schedule so that they can automatically change between modes at your designated times, which can be different on different days of the week. There is also an option to using geofencing to automatically change modes based on whether or not you are home, but to use this you do need to have location services on continually on your phone, which can drain your phone battery more quickly.

Setting up Modes and Schedules for Arlo

I initially tried setting up modes via my laptop which I found a little confusing, luckily there is an active online NETGEAR Arlo Commmunity and a quick search there was able to answer my questions. I have found this community to be a great resource to answer any questions I have about set up and use of Arlo systems.

Ultimately I found it much simpler to set up modes and schedules via the Arlo mobile app. On the bottom of the screen is a “mode” button pressing it gives a list of all your current modes and the option to add new modes. When you add a new mode you can set it up to respond to motion, sound detection, or both, from one of your cameras. You then set the sensitivity and decide what to do – record on that camera, record on another camera or do nothing. You also choose to receive notifications via push notification, email alerts, both, or nothing. Once you’ve set up the rules for one camera you can add the rules for any other camera within the same mode.

Once you have set up modes to create a schedule:

  • Tap mode
  • Tap “schedule”
  • Tap the pencil icon to edit
  • Tap anywhere on a day and you are given an option to choose a time of day and a mode, you can also chose to have that schedule on just one day, every day or your choice of days

Your cameras will then switch between modes automatically based on your schedule. You can over ride this at any time by tapping “mode” and picking armed, disarmed or any of your custom modes.

Once i got over my initial confusion from trying to set it up on the laptop I found setting up modes and schedules via the Arlo app to be quick and easy.

In Use

The Arlo Pro 2 cameras are very easy to set up and you can start using them straight away without any customization. It does take a little longer to set up your custom recording modes but it is worth it so that you only record what you want to see, and avoid getting swamped with recording notifications.

The Arlo Pro 2 cameras can be used totally wire free, which means that you can put them in places where wired cameras could never be mounted without having to do extensive wiring or using extension cords. The weatherproofing is great too- living by the ocean I appreciate having an outdoor camera that can withstand the elements.

I love having the rechargeable batteries it is so much more economical and greener than using disposable batteries, especially if you are doing a lot of recording or forget to switch off recording when you are home! The “official” battery life is about 4-6 months, but this is based on only recording a short period each day. I tested it out by letting it record every time there was any motion near my front door, which with a family of 5 plus dog coming and going is a lot of recording! Even with this heavy recording schedule the battery has lasted over a month and still has approximately 50% battery life left.

If you have an indoor camera that is near an outlet, it is nice to also have the option to plug it in which and this lets you add activity zones to further customize your recording.

As well as the rechargeable batteries another new feature compared to the original Arlo is the addition of 2 way audio. This is really useful when using the Arlo Pro 2 to monitor a sleeping child. I have older children and like to use it to check my children are working on their homework and remind them to start if they are not!  The 2 -way audio is also useful to communicate with a caller at the front door, even when I’m not home. I think having the alarm is a great additional security feature if an intruder is ever spotted, and the high quality images are useful for identification in those circumstances too.

There are lots of optional extras accessories available for the Arlo Pro 2 system including: extra rechargeable batteries, a dual battery charging station, camera skins, and a solar charger.

Installing the batteries

Price and Availability

 Available from Amazon, Best Buy, Staples and Costco. RRP for starter set of base station and 2 cameras US$479.99

Overview

Arlo Pro 2 cameras can record in 1080p HD- giving high quality images, the cameras have a wide viewing angle – 130° and night vision is automatically triggered in low light conditions. They come with rechargeable batteries and can be used totally wire free or can be plugged in.  The Arlo magnetic mounting system makes installation very easy and moving cameras is a breeze. The Arlo Pro 2 cameras are rugged and designed to withstand the elements with an iP65 weather certification. They have 2-way audio, sound and motion detection.  A siren is built-in to the base station, and can be triggered remotely if you see any suspicious activity.

A rolling 7 days of motion and audio triggered recordings are stored for free on the Arlo server, paid plans are available if you want more storage. You can also store videos locally by attaching a USB to the base station. ARLO PRO 2 system has lots of optional accessories available including a solar charger, dual battery charger, security mounts, skins and extra rechargeable batteries.

The Arlo Pro 2 system is a very flexible, fully featured, high quality, HD wireless WiFi security camera system. With it’s magnetic mounting system and rechargeable batteries it can be used almost anywhere. The system integrates with Amazon Alexa, Smart Things, Stringify and IFTTT to be an integral part of the Smart Home. Although the Arlo Pro 2 is not the cheapest security system on the market, I feel its high quality recording and advanced features make it well worth the cost.

The Arlo Pro 2 is included in our 2017 Christmas Gift Guide 

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Featured App: Furry Friends Run the Show in Toca Boca’s Newest App



On December 7, Toca Boca launched its newest app Toca Life: Pets, the first Toca Boca app all about pets! With more than 120 real-life and make-believe animals, kids can play with their pets IRL and virtually, creating their own worlds and embarking on silly adventures with furry friends.

In Toca Life: Pets, kids are in control of which pets they want to play with and how their pet’s story evolves. Are they bringing their pet along on a family picnic or take their pet to the vet? Maybe their pet is going to a birthday party to celebrate with friends! Kids will train, feed, bathe and entertain their pets while learning what it takes to own a real pet and letting discovery guide their play. Yes, they even have to clean up after their pets, which often takes form as a rainbow colored poop! Kids will explore the five bustling locations, including the pet park, pet hotel, veterinary and more. At the pet hotel, every pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, bird or sloth-bat, will find a nice spot to play or relax while their owners are away. There are secret features to be discovered in the pet park as kids create their own play scenario with their favorite creatures.

Additional features of Toca Life: Pets include:

  • Kids can role-play in five locations: pet park, pet hotel, veterinary, pet shop and breeder’s bungalow
  • 23 new characters for kids to meet
  • Kids can bathe muddy pets and get them clean again, or pretend to be a vet and care for sick or injured pets
  • The pets can be dressed up in fun hats — hats stack on pets stack on hats
  • By building an agility course kids can help train and exercise their pets
  • It even includes surprises for kids to discover — they can pull the branch in the pet park to see what’s hidden

For the first time, Toca Boca tapped fans to help co-create new characters in Toca Life: Pets. The brand received over 1,000 suggestions based on kids’ real and imaginary pets, and from those ideas Toca Boca produced 3 replicas in the new app. The pet rock and sloth bat featured in the app were inspired by drawing and photos from fans and transformed into real Toca Boca characters.

“Sometimes pets are cuddly, fun, weird or even scary. Regardless, they are often a big part of our lives,” said Petter Karlsson, Play Designer. “In Toca Life: Pets you pick which pets you want to play with in your life and decide their stories. As with all of the apps in the Toca Life series, Toca Life: Pets puts kids in the director’s seat to make up their own stories”

Toca Life: Pets features a kid-friendly interface without third-party advertising, free of rules, levels or high scores. Toca Life: Pets is $2.99 on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon . To download please use this link Toca Life: Pets – Toca Boca AB 


Toca Life: Pets Toca Life: Pets by Toca Boca AB

Price: $2.99 USD

Welcome to Toca Life: Pets, where you and your animal friends run the show! What’s your favorite pet like? Furry and fast? Wet and wiggly? A little bit creepy? With more than 120 animals, Toca Life: .

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Twingle Invites & RSVP- Easy Event Invites from your Phone -Review



 

What we love..

Quick and easy to create and manage invites from mobile devices. Fun animated themes, integrated with Apple & Google calendars and Maps. Ability to add potlucks, polls and event schedules.

What we’d love to see…

Even more fun invite choices, ability to add notes when signing up for potluck dish

Summary

Twingle is a great free app without ads that is well worth trying out as an alternative to Evite or Punchbowl next time you are organizing a gathering. It is very easy to use and has enough features you may find yourself not willing to go back to your old invite service.

Our Rating

Twingle Invites & RSVP is a free app and service that allows you to easily create and manage event invites from your smart phone.  If you wish to create or manage your invites on your computer you can do so by visiting Twingle.com from your internet browser, but you don’t need to, as you can access all features from your phone.

To start creating an event you first need to download the free Twingle app on your phone or tablet. Then in the app you can create a free Twingle account and you can start creating events. The service is free to use and is integrated with the contacts on your phone so that you can easily sent it via text or email to anyone on your contact list, you can also manually add anyone not in your contacts. Recipients of your invites can open them in a browser without a Twingle account of their own, or can view them in the Twingle app if they create their own free account. Whenever you open the app it takes you to the home page where you can toggle between future and past events or create a new event.

Creating an Event

 

From the home page press the big + sign and you will be prompted to pick a theme for your event. The theme page displays invitations according to 6 categories : “featured”, Birthdays, Occasions, Weddings, Seasonal Holidays, and Social Events. You can scroll through the invites in each category or enter a search term e.g. “Cinco de Mayo”, “Christmas” or “Engagement to pull up invites more specific to the theme you want. There is also an option to create your own theme- which allows you to upload your own photo for a personalized invite.

To select a theme simply tap on the invite and you will see a sample invitation. Some of them have accompanying music or are animated, others are straightforward invitations. If you like what you see them you can enter your event details. This is really simple to do and involves much fewer steps than entering your event details in the Evite app. Instead of having to tap on every part of the invite to edit it you simply tap “enter details” and a screen comes up where you can enter all the event details in one place. You add an event title, start date and time and can optionally add an end date and time (great for invitations for a weekend gathering or a trip.) For entering the date it shows you a calendar so you don’t have to remember for instance if the last friday of the month is the 29th or 30th.

The event location is integrated with Apple and Google maps, which has dual advantages- the guests can see the location easily on a map plus it makes it easy for you to check a venue’s address. If you don’t know the event venue’s address you can enter the venue name e.g. “Pump It Up” and it will give you a choice if places with that name, when you pick one it will show on the map so you can check it is the correct location.

Your name (as host) and email address are automatically entered, but you can edit them if you wish.

Optional Extras

 

There are several other options you can activate if you wish, these include:

  • Allowing attendees to bring guests (and you can limit how many)
  • Sending a message to guests
  • Adding an RSVP by date
  • Requesting no boxed gifts
  • Hiding Guest list

Once you have entered your details you can see what the finished invite will look like. If you don’t like it it is easy to change the theme without starting over. Simply tap “change theme”, select a new theme and all the details will be transferred to the new invite. You can do this as often as you like until you are happy with the invite. Once you have settled on a final theme tap “create” and your invite will be saved.

Inviting Guests

Twingle accesses your contacts making it easy to find contact information for your guests and you can send invitations via email or via text messages to people in your contact list. You can also manually enter names and email addresses if you wish to invite someone not in your contacts. It is also simple to add a co-host to the event you can invite them from the same page that you invite guests from.

 

iPhone Screenshot 3Additional Features

Twingle also has several extra features you can use if it suits your event

  • Potluck sign up
  • Event schedule
  • Polls
  • Chat

 

Potluck

If you enable the potluck feature you can add a potluck sign up to the event. To add dishes you simply type them in  and they appear in a list with a sign up box. When a guest (or host) has signed up for a dish it is marked as taken and the name of the person supplying the dish is noted. Guests can also add their own dishes. I would like to see an option for guests to add a note when they sign up for a dish, e.g. if the host has “dessert” as an option the guest could write in what dessert they plan to bring to avoid duplication.

 

Event Schedule

This is a feature that I haven’t seen in other invite apps and I really like. It is especially useful for multi-day events or events that involve many distinct parts, so your guests know what to expect and when.

Within your event tap on “activities” and it will pull up the scheduler. Here you can create as many events within your main event as you wish. For each part you are prompted to enter a start and end time, title, description and notes. If its a multi-day event you can also pick which date it will be on. For each segment you can also upload a photo to represent that event.

 

iPhone Screenshot 5Polls

If you need help from your guests in deciding event details the polls section is where you can get it. Maybe you are having a pizza party and want to know whether your guests prefer cheese, Hawaiian, pepperoni or meat lovers ? Or perhaps you are arranging a friends get together and are undecided on which restaurant to go to – let your guests vote between your top picks. You can easily create polls with multiple questions and give a choice of acceptable answers.

 

Chat

The chat feature allows the hosts and guests to talk about details of the event before and after the event and also lets them upload photos of the event to share with other guests. As well as sending typed messages the chat lets you send a wide variety of gifs too.

 

Shareable Event Link

If you have an event, such as a popup boutique, craft fair or open house, that you want to invite the public or a wide range of friends and to you can opt to make the event public and Twingle will create a custom event link you can then choose to share this via email or Social Media directly from the Twingle app.

 

iPhone Screenshot 2Managing Your Event

Twingle also makes it easy to manage your events. On the homepage of the app you can see past and future events. Tapping on any event brings you to its’ dashboard where you can keep track of RSVPs, see the event details and edit them if needed. You can also easily invite additional guests, add potlucks, polls, activity schedules and check the event chat from here.

Twingle will send your guests automatic event reminders and as host you can easily send out custom messages or reminders too. If you have an important message or update for your guests you can send it out to everyone using the Announcement feature.

If you want to plan a similar event to a past event you can simply duplicate it with the touch of a button, you just need to enter the new date and time. You can keep the same invitation theme or switch it out for a fresh look, it also gives the option to duplicate the guest list or invite new guests.

 

Summary

 

Twingle is an app that is designed to make it easy to create and manage invitations from your smartphone or tablet. It is totally free, with no subscriptions and has no annoying adverts. I love how easy it is to create invites, the fun animated themes and how easily you can duplicate an event or change a theme without having to re-enter details. The integration with Maps and Calendars on both the mobile device and desktop makes it easy for both hosts and guests.

I love that is is very flexible for different types of events- not only does it have standard themes such as birthdays, weddings and Christmas parties, but it also has more causal events such as a guys night out, hang out, date night and soccer game, you can even upload your own image for a personalized invite.

The potlucks, polls, ability to create an event schedule and chat are nice additional features.

Twingle is a great free app without ads that is well worth trying out as an alternative to Evite or Punchbowl next time you are organizing a gathering. It is very easy to use and has enough features you may find yourself not willing to go back to your old invite service.

iTunes Link: Twingle Invites & RSVP – BitCompute

Twingle Invitations & RSVP Twingle Invitations & RSVP by BitCompute

Price: $FREE

Life is complicated, planning an event shouldn’t be.  Whether planning a large wedding, a surprise birthday party or a simple date night, Twingle is a fun and easy app to help you organize your social.

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Review of My First Lab WOW Scope – A 3D microscope for Kids

 

What we love…

Binocular microscope, good quality lenses, allows user to look at 3D objects as well as slides

What we’d love to see…

Additional higher powered lenses, a petri dish included

Summary

The WOW Scope is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. It is well made and allows the user to examine 3D objects as well as glass slides.

recommended-by-the-imums

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a microscope designed for children. The WOW Scope is different than most children’s microscopes on the market in 3 major ways

  1. it is a binocular microscope i.e. it has 2 eyepieces, most children’s microscopes are monocular (1 eyepiece.)
  2. It is designed not only for viewing microscope slides but also for viewing 3D objects and so has both upper and lower illumination
  3. It is made by a company (C & A Scientific) who make scientific and educational microscopes for laboratory use.

 

What’s in the Box

The WOW Scope includes: a binocular microscope, 2 interchangeable sets of eyepieces (10x and 25x), a slide case and 2 prepared slides.

One slide is traditionally prepared samples of a mosquito mouth and fly wing – these are thin sections mounted on a glass slide, under a coverslip . The other slide is white card and has 3 samples glued on – sand, a small feather and an insect leg, these are 3D objects and have not been cut into thin sections or mounted under a cover slip.

Set Up

Set up is very quick and easy, and requires 2 AA batteries. The batteries are inserted into the battery compartment in the base of the microscope. Then the slide is placed on the stage (base of the microscope) and held in place by 2 metal clips. The light switch has 2 on positions, for glass slides light I is switched on, this illuminated the slide from under the stage. For 3D objects light II is switched on – this illuminates the object from on top.

The 10x eyepieces are put in place and the large black knob on the side is turned to move the microscope head down and up until the object is in focus. For higher magnification the 25x eyepieces replace the 10x and the focus is then readjusted. The total magnification is 20x or 50x depending on which eyepieces are used.

Construction

The WOW scope is very solidly made, it does have some plastic parts e.g. the base  but it is mostly made of metal and has glass optics. It feels well made and the focussing knob moves the microscope very smoothly up and down.  I have several other kids’ microscopes at home and the quality of the optics is noticeably better on the WOW scope than the others I have.

In Use

The Wow Scope is used in a different way than a traditional microscope, usually the eyepiece lens stays the same and you rotate through different objective lenses (the ones closest to the slide) for different magnification levels. Instead with the WOW scope the objective lens is fixed and it is the eyepiece lens that you change by sliding it in and out of the eyepiece barrel. It is easy to change the lenses but you do need to make sure you have a safe place to put down the ones you are not using.

I love how the WOW scope is designed to encourage kids to examine closely any object they find. Unlike most microscopes the WOW scope is designed to let you examine 3D objects rather than just prepared slides. This makes it much easier to just pick something from the environment such as a leaf or feather. My kids and I looked at moss, sugar, feathers, coins, rocks and leaves as well as looking at microscope slides with prepared specimens. It worked well except when we tried to examine objects that were “too 3D” e.g. a pine cone. This was too hard to focus as the parts of the cone were at many different distances, a somewhat flat object works better. I was a little nervous about placing rough objects, such as rocks, directly on the glass stage, as I was worried it would get scratched. It would be nice to see a petri dish or other container for holding the 3D objects included.

As well as being able to examine 3D objects the WOW scopes optical set up makes objects appear more 3 dimensional. It has 2 eyepiece lenses each with their own objective lens, so you can use both eyes at once and they each see the specimen from slightly different angles.

Moss through WOW Scope

 

The levels of magnification are 20x and 50x, most kids microscopes will have magnification levels higher than this (this is similar to their low level magnification.) Because of this, if you want to look at a lot of slides at cellular level, then a microscope with higher magnification e.g My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope may be a better choice. However, because you can spontaneously examine objects you find in nature, this scope is a great way to get kids engaged in STEM, as they can explore whatever they find, instead of needing to have prepared slides to examine. It is still useful for examining slides if you are looking at larger scale objects such as the parts of an insect, rather than looking at the cellular level

Price and Availability

Available from myfirstlab.com for US$69.99 Recommended for Ages 7+ , other microscopes from my first lab are available on Amazon

Summary

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a great STEM gift to get kids interested in exploring science and nature. It is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. The WOW scope can be used with traditional glass microscope slides but also allows viewing of 3-D objects such as feathers, rocks and leaves. This lets kids view objects they find when out exploring in nature, without needing to do any slide preparation. The WOW scope is well made, My First Lab is a division of C & A Scientific who make scientific and educational microscopes so they use good quality glass optics for clearer viewing.

The WOW scope is featured in our Kids Holiday Gift Guide – 11 Tech Toys For Kids of All Ages

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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