Price isn’t always an indicator of quality but in some cases, it’s really best to invest in what you’re getting if you want the best results. This is why even with very cheap options available, the high-end home security camera market continues to flourish. Arlo Pro 2 is a solid proof of this as it continues to provide great features and performance that is worth every penny.
Hailed by many experts as one of the best in class picks, the Arlo Pro 2 may come at a premium price but its wide range of features make it well worth the splurge. From its free cloud backup deal to its waterproof construction and excellent versatility, it certainly makes a solid case in being one of the finest smart home security systems in the market today.
A Closer Look at the Arlo Pro 2: Detailed Review
Design and Features
As an Internet of Things (IoT) device, the Arlo Pro 2 is one of Netgear’s answers to the current trend of offering smaller and more heavy-duty cameras for home security. It’s meant to be modern, easy to set up, and simple to work with in order to appeal to the general public.
To complete its modern design, however, it should also blend in well in a contemporary home. This explains why it has a sleek and minimalist design, making sure that it won’t look out of place in most homes. Being a new iteration of a reprised line, however, it wasn’t completely redesigned to look very different from the first generation of Arlo Pros.
The Arlo Pro 2 is best characterized as a combination of a base station and egg-shaped cameras. The base is a simple white rectangular device that looks like a regular router with just the brand name and indicator lights and illustrated labels on its face. It’s meant to be connected to your router and sit next to it, too.
The cameras are also primarily white-colored with a black face. From the back, it somehow looks like an egg but with its elongated side and black paneling on the lens side, it certainly looks like a modern camera. The bases are flat so they can assume a free-standing position on top of a flat surface like a counter or bookshelf. Angling them can be limited, however, in such a position, so if you need the cameras to face an angle, you will need to attach them on the metal mounts included in the package.
Under the camera, you’ll find a small speaker and microphone that enable the 2-way audio capability of the Arlo Pro 2.
Setup and usage
One of the most enticing things about the Arlo Pro 2 is the fact that there are 2 ways to set it up. You can set it up on an app on your smartphone or through the product’s website. This gives you the flexibility and convenience in installing your home security network.
Setting up the hardware pieces is also very simple to do. As mentioned above, the base station only really needs to be connected to your router and plugged in. Once set up, you just need to power on the cameras then press on one of the top buttons on the cameras to sync them with the base. Wait until the light on the base turns green and you’re all set. You can then place your cameras wherever you wish to place them.
As mentioned above, if you need to position the cameras at an angle, you can use the metal mounts included in the package. They will require a more permanent installation, however, so they might require more work than the other pieces in this system.
It should also be noted that some routers are not compatible with the base, so you might want to check first which ones will work with this kit. With the wrong router, your set up might not work at all.
Arlo Pro 2’s 1080p video quality is a good enhancement from the original Arlo Pro’s 720p. It’s a good match for the 130-degree angle that the cameras capture, providing the right resolution without image distortion or lagging.
Its night vision is crisp and with good contrast and light distribution. However, when viewed on a large screen, it can get pixelated and there are some issues in the fine details.
The clip lengths of the Arlo Pro 2 is also notable. It can save clips up to 5 minutes long and downloading them only takes a few seconds. There’s also no ‘cool down’ time for its recording, ensuring that everything will be captured when its motion and audio sensors are triggered.
The ‘look-back’ feature is also a nice addition to this product as it saves the footage from 3 seconds before the sensor was triggered. As a result, you can get a more complete picture of what’s happening when your security system was set off. This mode is only available when the camera is plugged in, however.
For a surveillance camera, the audio of the Arlo Pro 2 is quite decent. While it’s a bit soft when played back in recordings, it’s clear and loud when picking up audio in real-time. It can, however, become intermittent and some words can be dropped from time to time. The camera’s speaker is also quite loud, so whatever audio you wish to transmit to it can be heard rather clearly.
Track and Zoom
To help you hone in on the details of your footage, you can zoom in up to 8x in the smartphone app. With its 1080p resolution, the picture will stay clear despite the zooming in. It also helps in keeping a good definition when tracking motion. It only slightly falters in night vision as the footage can get a bit pixelated in the said mode.
Motion and Sound Detection
The default mode of the Arlo Pro 2 is to start recording when it detects sound or movements within its Activity Zones. It will also automatically send you notifications on your phone or via email. You can disarm or schedule the sensors so you don’t have to be bombarded with notifications when you’re at home.
Should you wish to record footage continuously, you can also do so by subscribing to the CVR plan. Rates depend on the number of cameras and the duration of the plan.
Cloud Storage Costs
Another edge that the Arlo Pro 2 has over its competition is its 7-day cloud storage which is the basic offering from Netgear. Other brands only offer 24-hour packages, so this is already a generous offer. It also proves to be more than enough as downloading clips is very easy. There’s also a USB port on the base station which will allow you to save the videos without a fuss.
Should you wish to purchase more cloud storage, however, the prices are rather competitive. As mentioned above, they depend on the number of cameras and the duration of the plan that you wish to subscribe for.
Smart Home Compatibility
Further proving its convenience is Arlo Pro 2’s compatibility with various smart home networks. It plays nicely with the Apple Homekit, Amazon’s Alexa, Stringify, IFTTT, and the Google Assistant.
Mobile Apps and Web Portals
The back-end controls for the Arlo Pro 2 is also very user-friendly. Both the mobile app and web portal have the same design so you don’t have to make adjustments when you switch between the two. However, you can’t use both applications at the same time. One will log you out of the other once they detect that you’re logged in both.
What is the difference between the Arlo Pro and Pro 2?
While these two items look a lot alike except for the smaller black front panel in the Pro 2, there are quite a few significant differences between the two. As mentioned above, the Pro 2 is a total enhancement of the original Pro, so you can expect for the newer model to offer more advanced features and better performance in general.
Can you mix Arlo Pro and Pro 2 cameras?
Yes. If you already have an Arlo Pro kit, you can just add some Arlo Pro 2 cameras to the network and they’ll all work with each other. Arlo offers full back compatibility to its base stations making mixing and matching Arlo cameras possible.
Is there a monthly fee for Arlo?
Yes, like other home security systems, you can also subscribe to an expanded cloud storage plan with the Arlo Pro 2. It’s not required to use the system, however.
Will Arlo work without Internet?
Arlo can work without an internet connection if you only want it to record clips. However, you will not be able to access them through the app or the web portal. You can still download them using the USB port, however. With how cumbersome the process is, it tends to defeat the purpose of opting for this home security system.
After getting to know the Arlo Pro 2, it’s a lot easier to see why it received lots of praises and commendations from users and experts alike. It’s easy to set up and is loaded with excellent features that it ticks all the boxes in what a home or business owner looks for in a DIY surveillance system. So despite its rather hefty price tag, it’s still considered as a worthy splurge.