Orbi Home Wi-Fi System RBK50 by Netgear – Review



Having internet dead spots is one of the most frustrating things!  I recently was given the chance to test a Netgear Orbi and it’s safe to say my frustrations are much less!  Previously I have tried a number of routers and ultimately needed to use boosters in the house to get the signal strength throughout the house.

What we love…

Orbi is easy to set up router that provides wi-fi in my whole house without having signal boosters or dead spots

What we’d love to see…

Reminders from the app from Netgear to update firmware or simply reboot the router every so often

Summary

Orbi has made my home internet so much faster.  Even though the cost of the Orbi is a bit higher than a traditional router – having a simple easy solution means I can spend more time with my family doing what matters without having to worry about my internet.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

netgear-ambassaodorDisclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review.

iMum Mary had similar experiences when she reviewed Orbi last year.  Read her review here.

Out of the box, Orbi was easy to set up.  I installed the companion app on my iPhone and within 10 minutes, I had both the main unit and satellite set up – firmware updated and running!  The best part – I no longer need to remember two network names – my devices will seamlessly swap between the 2.5G to the 5G network without me having to change anything!

Orbi is an all in one unit – there are no antenas that are external.  You place one unit close to your home modem and use an ethernet cord to plug the modem and the base unit together.  Then, you can place the satellite unit in the house where  most of your electronics are – for me that’s on the first floor near our living room.  We have a TV/DVD player that we use to stream, a home laptop as well as various bluetooth speakers and a charging dock for our devices.  Orbi is cool to the touch, so I didn’t worry about my four year old touching it in error and hurting his hand.

One of my favorite things about Orbi is the ability to configure as little or as much as you wish!  I have an Orbi app on my phone and can use my Amazon Alexa to enable or disable the guest internet with a simple spoken voice command.  I also loved the integration with Circle parental controls – as a mom I’m always watching how much screentime my kids get – with Orbi I have a second person on my shoulder helping to monitor and make sure that they are not accessing sites that I don’t want them to.  Once I got Orbi, and upgraded my cable modem to a CM 1000 I was finally getting the speeds I was paying for with my home internet!  One of the other things I liked was the ability to share WiFi with a QR code or even via a text message to other Apple devices.

 

Inside Orbi

6 dedicated WiFi antennas supporting Tri-band WiFi with dedicated 4×4 Tx/Rx backhaul.

2 antennas for Dual-band front haul connections to WiFi devices (2.4GHz + 5GHz Low-band).

 

To start using Orbi, you plug it into your cable modem using the included Ethernet cable.  Plug in Orbi and turn it on.  Orbi will turn solid white and then pulse white when it is ready for you to set up with your home internet.  The goal is with the base and satellite, that you get a blue ring.  Blue= good connection, amber= fair connection, magenta= unable to connect.   When I first set up the Orbi in one part of the house I got an Amber, so I simply moved it around a bit until I got a better connection.  My favorite part?!?  I finally got a connection in both parts of my downstairs as well as on my side deck so we could stream to our heart’s content.  If you still struggle to get a good connection, Orbi has other units you can purchase to help boost the signal throughout the house as well.  When setting up you can either plug into the included ethernet ports or use WPS setup to allow your devices to find Orbi.  You can see a device list of connected devices and turn on/off the internet with a tap.  WIth our previous router and old modem, I was lucky if I got half the speed I was paying for.  Now I can stream on multiple devices, use the internet and even play music without worrying about my connection.  I pay for Blast services with Comcast and got 296 down and 12 up once I installed Orbi.  This was not location dependent within the house either.

In terms of improvements, I wish the Orbi app would send you a reminder when you need to update firmware or do some other type of maintenance to the network.   Other than that – really there is nothing I would change.

Orbi has made my home internet so much faster.  Even though the cost of the Orbi is a bit higher than a traditional router – having a simple easy solution means I can spend more time with my family doing what matters without having to worry about my internet. Available from Amazon and other fine retailers.



NETGEAR Orbi NETGEAR Orbi by NETGEAR

Price: $FREE

The Orbi App from NETGEAR makes it easy to set up and get more from your Orbi WiFi system.

You can quickly install your WiFi in just a few steps. A dashboard provides easy access to additional.

 


Circle: Smart Family Controls Circle: Smart Family Controls by Circle Media Incorporated

Price: $FREE

Circle is the smart way for families to manage content and time online, on any device.

Circle works with your home Wi-Fi and manages every device on your network, both wireless and wired, without.

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.

 

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 iMums are  NETGEAR Ambassadors.

 

Tech Specs

Tech specs

Combined WiFi speed 3,000 Mbps (1733 + 866 + 400Mbps)
Coverage 5,000 sq ft
Dedicated Backhaul 4×4 (1.7Gbps)
WiFi Technology Tri-band

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.