- Can be used wire-free indoor or outdoor
- Solid battery life
- 7 days of video storage for free
- Siren that can be controlled remotely
- Easy to use with intuitive mobile app
- Only 720p video quality
- Geofencing is not perfect
- Two-way audio is just average
The Arlo Pro might be the best wireless home security camera on the market. We are big fans even though it is on the expensive side.
NETGEAR introduced the Arlo Pro in October 2016 and it quickly gained in popularity and joined the discussion for best smart home security camera. And I must agree, the Arlo Pro is awesome and it definitely does belong in that discussion but it does have a couple downsides you should be aware of. Let’s jump into the NETGEAR Arlo Pro review.
Design / Set-Up Process
Let’s start with design. The Arlo Pro camera sports an egg-shaped type design with a sleek, curved white body and black lens/bevel. Jeff says the black and white combination kind of reminds him of a stormtrooper. Regardless, I don’t think you will have any complaints in regards to looks. It will fit in nicely inside or outside most homes. The cameras are pretty small coming in at 3.1″ x 1.9″ x 2.8″ and weigh less than 5 ounces.
What’s also nice about the Arlo Pro cameras is that they are IP65 certified, meaning they are rated for indoor and outdoor use. They will be able to withstand the harsh conditions mother nature sometimes likes throw our way. In fact, the cameras are able to operate in conditions from -4°F to 113°F, including rain, snow, etc. If you’re looking to mount the cameras, the process is super simple – all it takes is one screw to attach the base plate/ball magnet then the camera just magnetically sticks to it from there.
Then there’s also the base station, which is hard-wired to your network and provides the connection to the wireless cameras. The Arlo Pro cameras communicate via Z-Wave rather than WiFi like most other smart security cameras. The base station has a pretty sleek design, although it is slightly larger than the cameras at about 2.3″ x 6.9″ x 5.0″.
In terms of the setup process, it’s pretty simple and will only take 5-10 minutes. First, just download the free Arlo App. After you setup an account, the app will prompt you to connect the base station to your router via a LAN cord. Then you’ll sync the wireless cameras to the base station and you’ll be on your way. It’s really pretty painless.
Let’s just get it out of the way. This is one of the biggest knocks on the Arlo Pro. Like the Nest Outdoor, the Arlo Pro features a 130-degree wide-angle lens that can capture entire rooms, yards and more, but where it differs is in the video quality. The Arlo Pro captures 720p video compared to the 1080p Nest captures. Yes, it would have been nice to have 1080p but honestly 720p should be good enough for most people. The footage is still pretty crisp, has decent color, good contrast and good enough detail. The Arlo Pro also has eight infrared LED lights for night vision purposes. It works but it still just doesn’t look as good as the Nest Outdoor night vision. Overall, the 720p is definitely a negative but I don’t think it should be a deal breaker.
SEE ALSO: Arlo Pro vs Nest Cam Outdoor Comparison
Features / Performance
Perhaps the best feature about the Arlo Pro is that the cameras can be used wire-free. Yes of course, you could always leave the camera plugged in like the Nest Cam Indoor so you never have to worry about the cameras dying but lucky for you the battery life for the Arlo Pro is pretty good. NETGEAR claims the camera will last 4-6 months on single charge but that really depends on settings, usage, etc. You should probably expect more like 2-4 months but still I can’t complain with that. Having the freedom to place or mount these cameras wherever you want without having to worry about where an outlet is or how to hide a cord is worth it in my opinion. Big deal – every couple months, on a Saturday when you’re home, plug the cameras in, charge them up, put them back up and you’re good to go for awhile. The wireless feature is a huge selling point.
Another cool feature the Arlo Pro offers is the siren. The base station has a 100+ decibel siren that can be controlled remotely or based on motion. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use it but if you do happen to get robbed, there’s no denying that a loud siren going off in your house will help deter burglars.
Like Nest Security Cameras, the Arlo Pro system features two-way audio. That means you can listen in on what people inside or outside your house are saying and talk back to them. So whether you’re yelling at a burglar to get the heck out of your house or just saying hi to your daughter as she gets home, you’re set. As far as the speaker and microphone on the camera – they’re just average. Not great but not bad by any means either. You can definitely make out what people are saying during video clips and people will be able to understand you talking but it just doesn’t get too loud.
Let’s move onto alerts. The Arlo Pro system will send you emails and/or push notifications based on motion and sound. One thing to note here is that Arlo Pro cameras are not continuously recording like the Nest Outdoor [see on Amazon] does. Instead it is event based, so once the camera detects motion it will start recording and will automatically send you a notification. And I have to say the alerts are usually right on. I’ve used Nest cameras in the past and I would get false alerts everyday without fail. I’ve noticed the Arlo Pro is much better with this. Every alert I’ve received so far has been real – usually just people coming to my front door trying to sell me something (no burglars yet, knock on wood). What’s also nice is that you can adjust the motion sensitivity for alerts within the mobile app if you would like.
And speaking of the mobile app – there’s not a whole lot to say. It’s really easy to use. I’m not going to get into the details of each little feature because you can honestly master it in about 10 minutes. But basically you can use it to watch recorded events from past days, watch your home in real time, check battery life and change modes. For the modes you’ve got Armed, Disarmed, Schedule (i.e. you can set up a custom schedule) or what NETGEAR calls geofencing – basically the Arlo Pro system will use your phone’s location to determine whether the cameras should be armed or disarmed. So if you want the cameras to turn off once you get home, the system will recognize once you (or your phone rather) gets in range and automatically turn off. And vice versa for arming the cameras.
This is another huge plus that the Arlo system offers. You get 7 days of video storage for free. That’s awesome. With most other home security camera systems you need to purchase a monthly subscription for that kind of storage. For example, the Nest Aware subscription is $10 per month for 10 days of storage or $30 per month for 30 days of storage. That can get expensive over the course of a year. And just in case you do want extended storage with your Arlo Pro, you can 30 days of video history for $10 per month or $100 per year (still cheaper than Nest).
Arlo Pro Price
The Arlo Pro system is on the expensive side for home security cameras. No dancing around it. Here’s what each package retails for:
– 1 Camera Kit (i.e. base station + 1 camera): $250 [see on Amazon]
– 2 Camera Kit: $420 [see on Amazon]
– 3 Camera Kit: $580 [see on Amazon]
– 4 Camera Kit: $650 [see on Amazon]
– 5 Camera Kit: $820 [see on Amazon]
– 6 Camera Kit: $950 [see on Amazon]
– Add-On Camera: $190 [see on Amazon]
But the good news here is that we often see these cameras discounted. For example, we’ve see the 1 camera kit as low as $200 before and the 2 camera kit as low as $350 before so it pays to keep your eye on them. You can also always check our our current Camera Deals section to see if we have any deals on smart home security cams.
We are huge fans of the Arlo Pro security system all things considered. Sure, it’s on the expensive side and we would much rather have 1080p than 720p but beyond those two negatives, it’s hard to beat Arlo. The wireless aspect is huge – it’s so nice to be able to move, place or mount the cameras wherever you want and not have to worry about outlets or cords. Battery life is great and you get 7 days of video storage for free. Having no monthly subscription fee for storage quickly makes the expensive price tag a lot more palatable. Overall, it’s just a solid security system. If having 1080p video quality isn’t all that important to you, definitely give the Arlo Pro a go – I’m pretty confident you will really like it.
SEE ALSO: Nest Cam IQ Review