What We Like
Wireless 1080p HD cameras
Free 7-day video storage subscription
What We Don't Like
Not all features are for wireless use
Requires base station
When it comes to DIY home security systems, the wireless outdoor Arlo Pro 2 is top of the line. It has everything most people look for in an at-home security system—reliability, affordability compared to full-service security systems, and excellent camera quality—plus a few features you just won’t find in other lower-priced systems, like geofencing. We tested the Arlo camera in and outside our home over the course of three weeks and found it easy to set up, with lots of smart features and a great app. Most importantly, it exceeded our sound, camera, and video recording expectations.
Setup: Completed in five minutes
The Arlo system connects using a base system, which is a little inconvenient because it’s pretty big, but it makes the whole system run more effectively. The base basically manages the way your cameras communicate with your in-home Wi-Fi. It’s what makes sure your cameras have a secure connection even when you’re using your Wi-Fi for other stuff like downloading movies. According to the Arlo website, the base station also provides long-range connectivity and the best battery life for your cameras.
Out of the box, the Arlo was pretty straightforward to set up. We first downloaded the free Arlo app and created an account for our devices. Then, following the instructions included in the included user guide, we connected the base station to our in-home router using the included LAN cable. Once we turned on our base, we connected it to our Arlo app. The instructions were straightforward and easy to follow.
When syncing our two cameras, we were happy to find that they came with already fully-charged battery packs. We were able to immediately power them up and sync them to our base stations. We connected the cameras before mounting/placing them outside and around our home. It’s amazing that these cameras are wireless because we could really put them anywhere!
The only thing that slightly slowed down setup was the suggested firmware updates. These updates took a few minutes after we synced everything up. Not a big deal, but a strange quirk for a brand new system.
Performance: A lot to love
We were so impressed by the ease-of-use and camera quality of the Arlo Pro 2. Right after syncing and positioning our cameras, we started receiving accurate motion notifications. Through our app, we could easily view these notifications and watch clips of action. We could also easily view live video. After placing our cameras, we were able to select them in our app, arm and disarm them, view the battery life, and adjust features like brightness, zoom, and speaker volume. We were a little disappointed that in order to use features like Activity Zones, Look Back (where you can view video from before the motion trigger), and Continuous Video Recording, we had to keep our camera plugged in. This wasn’t exactly specified on the box, and it could be a dealbreaker for you if you’re looking for a totally wireless camera.
The video quality of the Arlo cameras in daylight is stunningly clear, and the sound is impressive.
On the bright side (literally), the video quality of the Arlo cameras in daylight is stunningly clear, and the sound is impressive. You were able to talk clearly through the Arlo straight from our smartphones, which made it a great camera for speaking to delivery drivers, mailpersons, etc.
According to the website, the Arlo cameras can last 2–3 months with average use (about 5 minutes of video a day). When they do run low, the batteries are rechargeable.
Design: Sleek and weatherproof
While the functionality (the camera and security features) is what really makes the Arlo stand out, the design is so beautiful, you almost forget it’s a home security system! It has a gorgeous round pill shape and glossy white finish. It mounts and rotates easily by hand with the included magnetic mount. The cameras really don’t catch your eye if you aren’t looking for them; they don’t feel intrusive, and they blend nicely into our home’s finishes. We liked that we could use one of the cameras in our son’s nursery, and it didn’t look menacing. The cameras are also waterproof and weatherproof and performed great during the storms and rainy conditions we experienced during our testing. The camera quality during the rain wasn’t affected, although we did receive some errant motion notifications when it was raining really heavily.
The design is so beautiful, you almost forget it’s a home security system.
Video Recording: Accurate and clear HD, day or night
The Arlo Pro 2 is designed specifically for motion sensor video recording—and it shows. It records clips of varying lengths (depending on how long our sensors were triggered) in super clear HD. On our Arlo app, we could easily see a library with all of our clips (in order of date and time) as well as download and share them if we wanted to. The exposure and wide angle are both excellent, and the camera doesn’t miss much. It’s also worth noting that when the motion sensor was triggered, it only took a few seconds for us to receive a notification.
App: Easy to use, with control settings and schedules
As with a lot of home security camera systems, Arlo stores your footage in the cloud. The best part, however, is that it comes with Arlo Basic, a service that lets you keep the past seven days of motion- and sound-triggered recordings, for up to five cameras. We also really liked that the Arlo base station has an option for local storage by simply connecting a USB drive to the base.
Aside from storing and viewing your videos, with the Arlo app we could create a schedule, geo fence (which arms and disarms your camera based on your location), or customize alerts and settings. You can also easily give your family, friends and neighbors access to camera activity or share a specific video recording. My husband and I liked this feature so we could share access to our cameras and both have control over the settings.
Special Features: Loud Smart Siren and smart device compatibility
One of the benefits of the Arlo base is the built-in Smart Siren, a 100-plus decibel siren that can be controlled remotely or triggered by motion or audio. Although we never had to use this feature, both my husband and I agreed we liked that we could scare off an intruder with the alarm if need be.
While the price of the Arlo Pro 2 is much higher than other cameras in this category upfront, you end up saving money by bypassing a pricey subscription.
Bonus: The Arlo Pro 2 works with Google Home and Amazon Alexa, so you can use your voice to view your cameras on your TV.
Price: Worth the high entry price
You can decide to pay a subscription fee to access the footage from the past 30 or 60 days, but one of the best things about the Arlo Pro 2 is that you have the option for free storage with Arlo Basic. So, while the price of the Arlo Pro 2 is much higher than other cameras in this category upfront, you end up saving money by bypassing a pricey subscription. Plus, the clarity and quality of the video alone make the Arlo camera worth its high price.
Arlo Pro 2 vs. Nest Cam Outdoor
Nest is another popular brand for home security, and its outdoor camera is often considered Arlo’s biggest competition in this category. The Nest Outdoor and Arlo Pro 2 have a lot of similarities, but the Nest touts durability, HDR, and 12x digital zoom as its differentiating factors.
The Nest is much, much cheaper upfront, but it will cost you in the long run since it requires a video storage subscription. Where you might choose the Nest if you have one specific spot you’d like to monitor with the top-of-the-line camera features, the Arlo Pro 2 is a better, more comprehensive system for your home overall. The wireless capabilities and siren really make a difference when securing your home, plus you can more easily add other cameras and customize with accessories.
Yes, get this high-end home security camera system.
The Arlo Pro 2 is loaded with best-in-class features like impressive wide-angle motion sensors, a home base with a siren that keeps your connection strong and secure, and a user-friendly app—not to mention sleek and modern cameras. While the system is pricey, it’s worth it and comes with free seven-day cloud storage.
- Product Name Arlo Pro
- Product Brand Arlo
- Price $199.99
- Weight 4.8 oz.
- Product Dimensions 3.1 x 1.9 x 2.8 in.
- Video Resolution Up to 1080p HD Full Color
- White/Black Balance and Exposure Auto-adaptive
- Zoom Digital pan and zoom, 8x digital zoom
- Night Vision 850 nm LEDs, illuminates up to 25 ft.
- Battery 2440mAh rechargeable battery
- Battery Level Indication Yes
- Field of View 130°
- Camera Range Up to 300 ft.