There’s no doubt the Arlo is a terrific camera. That seems even more true now considering the lower prices due to the launch of the more expensive Arlo Pro 2 and Arlo Pro 3 models. It offers a very long line of features, though there’s a catch—some of those features may require a monthly subscription.
- Great for outdoors
- Wide angle motion sensor
- Automatic night vision when it gets dark
- USB storage with cloud storage options
- Free basic plan for up to 5 cameras
- 2-way audio
- Loud siren
- Works with many other smart home systems
- Multiple power options (rechargeable battery, plug in, solar)
- 130-degree field of view
- The 720p resolution may not be good enough for some folks
- No option to record 24/7
- No sound detection
When you buy the Arlo Pro, you get the camera and the hub it needs to work. With 1 camera, this is the VMS4130 package. It normally retails for about $250 but nowadays the prices have dropped to below $200. The VMS4630 package with the 6 cameras is supposed to cost $950, but some sellers are offering it for about $710.
Just bear in mind that the discount may mean you don’t get some of the usual freebies, such as the wall mount or the charging cable. However, you can get packages with these accessories, or even packages that includes the smart doorbell.
Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page—this is different from the Arlo Pro 2 and Arlo Pro 3. Still, it’s an outdoor security camera that’s completely wireless. It works with an app so you can control it from your smartphone while you watch the videos.
Arlo Pro Key Features
This camera looks nice enough, and it’s not too big either measuring 2.8 x 1.9 x 3.1 inches. It only weighs 4.8 ounces. It wouldn’t look too out of place if you put it indoors with its housing. Your purchase also comes with the hub (base station), which measures 2.3 x 6.9 x 5 inches.
If you get the discounted package, there’s no wall mount. But then again you can buy that separately (for about $20). You also get the rechargeable battery, power adapter and power cable for the camera, ethernet cable, quick start guide, and window decal. It does have a magnet in the housing to let you attach it to a metal surface, or you can just place it on a table or bookshelf.
You can power the camera with the rechargeable battery, which should last for a few months before needing a recharge. However, you can also buy an outdoor power adapter for your Arlo Pro for about $25, which charges your camera at all times.
The installation for this system is actually quite easy. If this is the first time you got an Arlo, you first need to get the Arlo app and then make your account. Then plug in the base station and connect it to an open port on your home router.
The power and internet LEDs will turn green, after which you tap the button marked “Add Device”. Select “Base Station” from the menu, and your hub will be recognized right away. Give it a name, then switch to the next screen so you can sync the cameras with the hub. Put the camera right near the hub, press the Sync button on top of the hub, and press the sync button on the camera.
This leads to the blinking of a blue LED light on the camera, which tells you that you’ve paired your camera. Do the same process for the other cameras. Afterwards, place the cameras within 300 feet of the base station.
Now it’s time for the app. This has lots of features, with plenty of status reading and settings. You can adjust the settings for motion detection and video, watch clips, and get a live feed. You can also grant access to family and friends.
Here you’re still limited to 720p resolution. For some, that’s clear enough since they’re watching the videos on a small smartphone screen. However, if you do watch these videos on a large TV you certainly will notice that it’s not as clear as 1080p (and not to mention the 4K resolution in some cameras.
The night vision is actually terrific compared to other IR videos from other cameras. These black and white videos offer a nice contrast so you can actually still recognize some people up to a range of 25 feet.
Track and Zoom
This lets you pan and zoom to certain areas to get a clearer view. You also get a 130-degree field of view, compared to other cameras that are limited to just 95 degrees.
This comes with 2-way audio. This helps if you have this right on your gate and you can converse with a visitor. You can also shoo people or animals away. In fact, this even comes with a loud siren that can alert your neighbors and panic would-be burglars. At more than 100 decibels, this siren can wake up people all around.
Motion and Sound Detection
This has motion detection but no sound detection. You can adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensor to minimize the false alerts. Whenever it’s activated, it records videos and sends you an email and push notifications.
Cloud Storage Costs
Technically, you don’t have to pay for cloud storage. You can keep videos of the last 7 days for free. You even have a microSD slot that lets you save up to 32Gb worth of videos. However, you can pay extra starting at $3 per month per camera to get a 30-day history. You also enjoy 30 days of cloud storage if you choose to pay $10 a month for your system of up to 10 cameras. For $15 a month, you get 60 days of video history for up to 20 cameras.
What’s probably more important here is that you can get the full list of features and services if you get one of these plans. These include the Advanced AI detection, which can differentiate between persons, pets, packages, and vehicles. So, you can minimize the false alarms by adjusting the settings to send you an alarm if a person and not a dog approaches the camera.
You also get custom activity zones, which can send you an alert when something enters or leaves a certain area you’ve defined. You can also receive lock screen notifications. You may even get the e911 emergency call service to get the cops right to your home when there’s an intruder.
Smart Home Compatibility
This works with lots of other smart home systems. These include Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. It’s also compatible with Samsung SmartThings, Stringify and IFTTT.
Mobile Apps and Web Portals
The app gives you immediate alerts while you’re also able to watch live streams and previous recordings. You can use different modes (including scheduled arm and disarm) and share access to the Arlo camera activity.
How do I use this with other smart devices?
You can set it to alarm or to start recording if a certain door or window is opened. If your Arlo Pro motion detector senses movement, it can also activate your smart home lights.
Why is there a lag when I hit the Live button?
That’s because the camera is idle until motion is detected or if you request a live feed. So it needs some time to start, though the lag is only 3 seconds.
Where is it best placed?
As is, it’s probably best to put it indoors. While it certainly works outdoors, you need to find a way to secure it so that it won’t get stolen easily. For that you’ll need the wall mount, which costs extra.
How good is the audio?
The videos can include the audio when the camera starts recording. The sound is very clear, so much so that you can hear twigs snapping when someone steps on them.
There’s no doubt that from the looks of it the Arlo Pro is a terrific camera. Sure, the 720p resolution isn’t quite as HD as some may want it to be, but for smartphone videos and live feeds it’s clear enough. The night vision clarity is also great.
What’s just annoying is the need to pay a monthly fee for the full range of features. If the Arlo Pro can give you advanced AI detection and custom activity zones without the monthly fee, it would be just about ideal.