- Wireless cameras that can be used indoors or outdoors
- Crisp 1080p video quality
- 7 days of video storage for free
- Built-in siren to deter potential burglars
- Long battery life
- Geofencing is not perfect
- Two-way audio is average at best
- Activity Zones and Look Back features only available if plugged-in
We are big fans of the Arlo Pro 2. Yes, it’s expensive but we think it’s the best wireless security system for your home.
We were big fans of the original Arlo Pro. There were really only a couple things that we thought could be improved and the Arlo Pro 2 does just that. In our opinion, the Arlo Pro 2 is the best wireless security camera system you can get. Here’s what to expect:
Design / Set-Up Process
The Arlo Pro 2 cameras keep the same design as the original Arlo Pro cameras for the most part. They have an elongated, egg-shaped design that looks pretty sleek. The cameras are fairly small coming in at 3.1″ x 1.9″ x 2.8″ and weigh about 4.8 ounces. Really the only differences between the two cameras is that the Arlo Pro 2 cameras have a white bevel instead of black and the Arlo logo on the side is metallic rather than flat. As you probably inferred from the title of this article, the Arlo Pro 2 cameras are wireless and they can be used indoors or outdoors. They’re IP65 certified so they can handle all types of weather, including rain, snow, etc. The cameras can operate in weather conditions from -4°F to 113°F. You can place them on any flat surface around your house or you can mount them. The mounting process is super simple – all you need is a screw and the magnetic ball plate. The ball plate hooks onto the screw and the camera magnetically sticks to the ball. From there you can adjust the angle of the camera to get the exact view you want.
The cameras also come with a base station, which needs to be plugged into a power source as well as the Ethernet port on your modem/router. The base station is basically just a skinny white box (2.3″ x 6.9″ x 5.0″) that communicates with the cameras via Z-Wave. This is different from most other home security systems that use Wi-Fi to communicate. It’s also worth noting that the cameras and base station for the original Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2 are all compatible with each other. So that means if you already have the Arlo Pro base station, you could just buy the Arlo Pro 2 add-on cameras and sync them with your existing system.
If you don’t already have an Arlo system though, the setup process is very easy. It shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes. You’ll just have to download the Arlo app and create an account. From there you’ll connect to the base station and then sync the cameras to the base station. After that, you’ll be able to see the live stream from the cameras and you can start fiddling around with the different settings and modes, which we will cover in a little bit.
The biggest gripe everyone had with the original Arlo Pro was video quality – it only captured 720p. Well, that’s been resolved with the Arlo Pro 2. The new model now supports 1080p video capture. At my house I have two Arlo Pro cameras and two Arlo Pro 2 cameras and you definitely tell the difference between the models. It’s just a lot more clear and rich with the Arlo Pro 2 cameras. Here, take a look for yourself:
And honestly, those still images really don’t do it justice. When you watch the live streams, you can see how grainy the 720p cameras are compared to the 1080p cameras. Lastly, the cameras are equipped for night vision. It’s not as clear as daytime clips obviously, but it’s still pretty good.
Security Features / Performance
Let’s start with alerts. You can have the Arlo Pro 2 system send you emails and/or push notifications whenever the cameras detect motion or sound. It’s important to note that the Arlo system is event-based. It is not continuously recording like the Nest Cam Outdoor, unless you have a paid CVR plan and your Arlo Pro 2 camera is plugged in (we’ll talk more about that below). Rather whenever an event is triggered, the camera will start recording and send you a notification that something is going on. And I have to say the alerts are pretty accurate – I rarely receive a notification that turns out to be nothing. However, if you do start to receive a lot of false alarms, Arlo gives you the option to adjust the motion sensitivity within the mobile app.
The cameras also feature two-way audio. So if you receive an alert, you can quickly hop into the live stream and start listening and talking to whoever is at your front door or inside your house. The speaker and microphone are just average though. When you’re viewing recorded clips or watching in real time, you can make out what the person is saying but it’s just not very loud. On the flip side, if you’re talking to the person outside or inside your house, the sound is a little muffled and the person needs to be within about 10 feet of the camera in order to hear you. Good news though, if you are trying to scare away a burglar, the base station comes equipped with a 100+ decibel siren that can be controlled remotely or triggered by motion. So if a burglar tries to break into your house, you can have the base station siren automatically turn on when the camera detects motion or you can do it yourself via the mobile app. The siren is insanely loud (even your neighbors will hear it) and will definitely help deter a criminal.
The Arlo Pro 2 system comes equipped with four different security modes – Disarmed, Armed, Schedule and Geofencing.
- Disarmed Mode – pretty self explanatory – when you switch the system to this mode, motion and audio detection is turned off.
- Armed Mode – motion and audio detection is on, even if you’re home. That means you would get notifications of yourself moving around your house – I would only recommend this mode if you’re on vacation or away from your home for a long period of time.
- Schedule – again pretty self explanatory – you can create your own daily or weekly schedule (i.e. Armed from 9AM to 5pM, Disarmed from 5PM to 9AM).
- Geofencing – I think this is the best mode. Basically, you can create a virtual fence around your house – every time you (i.e. your phone) leave the fenced area, the system will switch to Armed mode. Then once you return to the fenced area, the system will automatically switch to disarmed mode. It’s not perfect though – for me it works about 85% of the time. The other 15% of the time, I just have to open the app so the Arlo system can register that I’m home. Also, Arlo gives you three different fence or radius zones to choose from (small, medium or large). I have mine set to medium, which covers about half my neighborhood.
Also, it’s worth noting that you can drill down and further customize the Armed, Schedule and Geofencing modes. Basically, you can customize the triggers for each camera within your system. For example, you can set one camera to be triggered by motion, one camera to be triggered by sound and once camera to trigger the siren when an event occurs.
As I mentioned earlier, the Arlo Pro 2 cameras are wireless so you’re probably wondering about battery life. Arlo claims each camera will last about 4-6 months (depending on settings and usage) before you need to re-charge it, which is pretty amazing all things considered. I’ve been using the original Arlo Pro cameras for about 3 and half months now and the cameras are at 48% so definitely in line with what Arlo claims.
The Arlo Pro 2 system is also compatible with select Amazon Alexa devices. As of the date of this post, you can ask Alexa to show a live stream of your camera to an Echo Show, Echo Spot or FireTV device. Arlo also works with SmartThings and IFTTT.
Lastly, like Nest security cameras, you can invite other users (friends and family presumably) to your account so they check out live streams and view recorded clips. Each user will have their own login and you can limit what exactly they can do or whether geofencing will be based on their phone as well.
New Features With The Arlo Pro 2
Besides improved video quality, the other upgrades the Arlo Pro 2 offers require the cameras to be plugged in. And since the Arlo power cord is not waterproof, this means you have to use the cameras inside, which limits the flexibility of the system. Here’s what’s new though with the Arlo Pro 2 when plugged in:
- Continuous recording – if you purchase a CVR plan, the cameras will record 24/7, however, Arlo does not allow you to download the CVR video. There’s two different plans to choose from. The first is $10 per month for 14 days of history for the first camera. The second plan gives you access to 30 days of history and costs $20 per month for the first camera. If you want to add continuous recording for additional cameras, Arlo gives you a 50% discount on each camera.
- Look Back Feature – as I mentioned earlier, the Arlo system is event based so the cameras don’t start recording until an event is triggered. As such, you’re not able to view the couple seconds leading up to an event. This was another gripe a lot of people had with the original Arlo Pro system. With Arlo Pro 2, the three seconds before an event is added to each clip so you can see exactly how or what led to the event that the camera picked up.
- Activity Zones – Arlo Pro 2 cameras allow you to setup three activity zones within each view. If motion is detected within the zone, it will trigger an event and anything outside those zones will be ignored. This might be helpful for people that want to keep a close eye on a particular object or area within their home. For example, say you had an Arlo Pro 2 camera setup in your baby’s room – you could setup an activity zone centered on his/her’s crib.
Arlo Mobile App
I’m not going to spend much time discussing the mobile app. It’s very easy and intuitive to use. Basically, you can watch recorded clips from your library, view your cameras in real time, switch between the different modes and adjust settings. You can drill down into each camera and check battery life, change it’s name (i.e. front door), run a motion detection test and adjust video/audio settings. You can also adjust the size of the geofencing radius, add family members to your account and create rules for the different modes within the mobile app, among other things.
One of the best things about Arlo is that with their Basic Plan you get seven days of cloud recordings for up to 5 cameras free. That’s huge – a lot of other home security systems require you to purchase some sort of monthly subscription for that kind of storage. Of course if you want more storage and cameras, Arlo offers advanced plans as well – here’s a snapshot of the different plans:
Arlo offers a local storage option as well if you connect the cameras to the base station. The cameras will record to the cloud and your USB storage device simultaneously.
Lastly, Arlo also offers a paid plan called Arlo Smart, which enhances the motion detection features of your cameras. Basically, Arlo Smart can determine whether the motion detected by your cameras was from a person, car, animal or some other object. This is supposed to help reduce false alarms. Arlo Smart costs $4 per camera per month.
Arlo Pro 2 Price
No need to sugarcoat it – the Arlo Pro 2 security system is expensive. A two camera system has an MSRP of $480 [see on Amazon] and each additional camera costs $220 [see on Amazon]. Ouch, that kind of money is nothing to sneeze at but I guess you can’t really put a value on security and safety now can you. Like with the original Arlo Pro though, don’t see be surprised to see the prices start dropping after a few months. I could easily see the price for a two camera system come down to $430 shortly.
And if you decide you don’t need 1080p or the other features the Arlo Pro 2 cameras offer when plugged in, the original Arlo Pro is still a great option. Plus, we’ve been seeing some huge discounts on the original model lately. We’ve seen the two camera Arlo Pro system as low as $350 [check price on Amazon].
Arlo Pro 2 Review – Closing Thoughts
We are huge fans of the Arlo Pro 2. We think it’s the best wireless security system on the market right now. However, with that said, if you plan on using the cameras outside, really the only major advantage it has over the original Arlo Pro system is video quality. If you’re okay with 720p, we’d recommend you save the money and go with the original model.