INITIAL VIEW: Good concept overall, but very poor execution on the marketed product. I must admit that I am very disappointed with this 1st iteration by Arlo, I believe that they could have done much better as this is not compex technology.
Based on my initial observations and interaction experience, I would speculate that the product was rushed to market in time for the holiday (and growing competition from Ring and Nest) without adequate testing and debugging. I wouldn't necessarily say that it has a large number of Critical defects, unless you want to use it as a doorbell with your existing doorbell wiring and chime. And it definitely has a large number of Major defects regarding a number of its key functionalities.
I was a little put off by the price at first given the very limited technology that went into this device, but I decided to give it a try anyway since I already have Arlo cameras integrated into my home automation ecosystem. If I didn't already have Alro cameras, I would look elsewhere. RATING: On a 0 through 5 rating, I give this a 3.
Installation is really simple and straightforward (anyone that can use a screwdriver can do this). RATING: On a 0 through 5 rating, I give this a 5.
Device discovery was an issue in my case until I reset the device to factory defaults. This cleared the problem with discovery and I was on my way. Now to reset the Arlo doorbell you have to press and hold the tiny little SYNC button (located between the two batteries) inside the device for 10 seconds. The batteries have to be installed or this will not work. FUNCTIONALITY RATING: On a 0 through 5 rating, I give this functionality a 4.
REUSING EXISTING DOORBELL CHIME & WIRING:
You don't need your existing doorbell wiring to power the Arlo doorbell, but you do need the wiring if you want to reuse your existing doorbell chime. I have a pre-existing, perfectly good, doorbell chime and I didn't feel the need to shell out an additional $50 for the Arlo Chime since the Arlo doorbell is supposed to interoperate with existing mechanical and digital doorbells. Unfortunately, I didn't find this to be true in my case and the troubleshooting guide was pretty worthless in my opinion. Online support documentation on this issue was a joke in my opinion so I decided not to waste any more time and move forward with the devices capabilities and pairing with existing cameras and ecosystem and comeback to this later since it wasn't a complete deal breaker. FUNCTIONALITY RATING: On a 0 through 5 rating, I give this functionality a 0.
MOTION SENSING: The motion triggered alerts work just like they do with the Arlo cameras, so no complaints there. In my case I triggered a camera to start recording video and to be notified by phone with a motion alert. This works well, even in Silent Mode. If you want, you can setup things up such that when motion is detected that the Base Station alarm is triggered. You can also trigger an external alarm, but this is not a part of the standard Arlo ecosystem (at least at the moment). FUNCTIONALITY RATING: On a 0 through 5 rating, I give this functionality a 5.
ANNOUNCEMENTS & VOLUME AT THE DOORBELL:
Even with the speaker volume set to 100% (found in Device Settings -> Audio Settings), the volume is poor. If you're at the doorbell you can barely hear announcements and voice communication from the phone app. FUNCTIONALITY RATING: On a 0 through 5 rating, I give this functionality a 1.
The sound quality on the cameras is not great, but the sound quality with the Alro doorbell is dismal to terrible. The marketing videos are bogus and very misleading in my opinion. Don't expect what is shown in the marketing videos to reflect the reality of the product. But wait, it gets worse. The sound quality is terrible and I would frequently get an annoying beeping and feedback echo at the doorbell. FUNCTIONALITY RATING: On a 0 through 5 rating, I give this functionality a 1.
POWER CONSUMPTION AT THE PHONE:
Using an iPhone 6, I found the Arlo doorbell and iPhone Arlo app interaction to have a significant impact on the iPhone's battery life. Within an hour and 30 minutes of experimentation and debugging including installation of the doorbell my phone's battery level dropped from 88% to 38%. While not a deal breaker, I consider the power demands on the phone significant. This is higher drain rate than watching videos for the same period of time. I am really curious as to what the culprit is. FUNCTIONALITY RATING: On a 0 through 5 rating, I give this functionality a 3.
POWER CONSUMPTION AT THE DOORBELL:
I found that the power drain of the new batteries in the Arlo doorbell to be a bit higher than I would expect after installation and approximately one hour and 30 minutes of debugging and experimentation. It went from a battery reading of 98% to 91%. Nowhere as bad as the impact on the phone, but statistically significant. FUNCTIONALITY RATING: On a 0 through 5 rating, I give this functionality a 4.
Based on the Arlo doorbell performance and my observations thus far, I have to say that I am terribly disappointed. At this point I am debating sending the doorbell back given the poor performance on interoperating with my existing doorbell chime, sound volume and sound quality. Overall I am very disappointed and feel that I have wasted my time with this product. I have actually lost overall capability and functionality with the Arlo doorbell compared to what I already had with my existing electrical doorbell and Arlo camera.