Arlo security system

$200 for basic kit

Security camera is practical to install

Anyone who has bought a security camera system knows they can be pricey and a pain to set up.

Netgear has come up with a security camera system designed to address many issues with other systems. Dubbed Arlo, it's relatively inexpensive and much easier to set up than most rivals.

What makes Arlo different from other security camera systems is that it is completely free of external wires. The cameras are powered by batteries, which Netgear says should last at least four months. And they transmit video via Wi-Fi, so you don't have to connect it to an Ethernet jack or run extra coaxial cable through your house.

The cameras are also easy to get up and running. The Arlo system includes a wireless base station that's dedicated to the cameras. After you connect the base station to your router via an Ethernet cable and create a Netgear account, you can connect cameras by pressing a button on the base station and one on each of your cameras.



$169 and up

Drive sounds better than it works

Imagine setting up a personal cloud, which would allow you to have access to all your important files, photos and videos on the Internet.

It would enable you to back up to a hard drive on your desk, and with the right user name and password and a fast Internet connection, make all those files accessible anywhere. You could even stream videos from a desktop hard drive to your iPhone, tablet, or another PC or Mac.

The Seagate Personal Cloud Drive, a 3 TB hard drive, can do that and more, according to its maker. But in a test, it didn't work. None of it. Despite a lengthy call to Seagate's excellent tech support.

The Personal Cloud Drive comes with a series of illustrations that show how to set up the drive. Now, illustrations are great for setting up a vacuum cleaner, but this drive is far more complicated.

The software included can be flaky. And there are two more downsides: If you don't have a secure password, it could be open season on your data. And, since it resides on your desk, if there's an earthquake and your house crumbles, the drive does, too.