Netgear has been filling out its line of Arlo home security cameras over the past few months, and today it's introducing what is unquestionably the best one yet: a baby monitor with bunny ears. Or cat ears. Or a little Dalmatian outfit.
It's called the Arlo Baby, and it's basically just a fancier version of the existing Arlo security cameras that's been reworked a little to do a better job of watching a baby than watching your yard for weirdos. Also, it has ears.
To make the camera a little bit friendlier, it'll come with green bunny ears and feet that snap onto the camera. They can be removed altogether or swapped for alternate costumes (which'll be sold for $19.99 each), but obviously you'd want to leave one pair of them on because there's something kind of cute about it. Something kind of really creepy, too, since there's a single unblinking eye literally watching you from the middle of its cutesy rabbit face at all hours. But I guess there's only so much we can dress these things up.
A remarkable combination of creepy and cute
Anyway, it's a baby monitor, and it'll send parents a notification any time their newborn moves or starts to make noise. They can then open up the Arlo app on their phone to check in on their kid live or watch a recording if they missed the moment.
The camera has a speaker built in, so parents can use it to talk to their children or play lullabies. There's also a nightlight on the back that can glow in multiple colors. And since it needs to work at night, the camera includes infrared lights and the ability to record in IR, too, though that’s entirely standard for baby monitors.
Though not unique to this camera, there are downsides to using a more high-tech option for watching a newborn. To check in on them, you're reliant on having a smartphone, and the more you watch — or listen, as there's also an audio-only mode — the more your battery is going to drain, whereas a traditional two-way radio wouldn't be as likely to die on you.
Netgear tries to solve that problem by also selling a tablet that only includes the Arlo app and is meant just for streaming from the Baby cam, but it really seems like the camera will be most useful for occasional check-ins, rather than constant monitoring.
Netgear promises security, but there’s still an internet-connected camera pointed at your baby
Since the camera will be pointed into your home, rather than outside your home, there's also an amplified need for security here. There are already too many horror stories of hackers gaining control of baby monitor cameras, so security has to be a top priority on any monitor brought into your home.
Netgear product manager Tu Nguyen says that Arlo Baby keeps all traffic encrypted while in transit, "the same way your bank encrypts your data from computer to the cloud.” Video is, however, exposed on Netgear's servers for analysis. Netgear even plans to offer advanced features, for a price, like the ability to track sleep patterns and analyze facial expressions, all of which will require scanning the footage on Netgear's servers.
The camera goes on sale sometime in April for $249.99. A bundle including a 7-inch tablet, customized just to show Arlo Baby's video feed, will be available for $349.99 in June.