Arlo Pro 2 Camera Review— A Top Option In Home Security?

The Arlo Pro 2 Security Camera from Netgear is a top-of-the-line indoor/outdoor security camera that comes with many of the premium features that make home security cameras so popular for homeowners. In fact, it may be one of the best home security cameras on the market.

How It Works

The Arlo Pro 2 comes with two cameras, a base station, two different power adapters, an ethernet cable, rechargeable battery, magnetic wall mounts, and mounting screws. 

That’s right — two cameras. Arlo Pro 2 only comes in packs of two or more cameras. The starting price is $480 for two and goes up from there. At first, this may seem like a waste — especially if you’re only in the market for one camera. But many users may find the two-camera pack is worth it.

The Arlo Pro 2 works great on a shelf or flat surface, or mounted to the wall. The cameras are small, which makes it easy to stash them in places where they can go undetected. The mounting kit is optional, and not really needed since the camera works great just on a shelf. Because the camera is indoor/outdoor, it’s weather-resistant. 

What I like most about Arlo Pro 2 is the ability to use the cameras wire-free. The wires on other cameras have been a challenge since my cats like to use them as a play toy. But with the Arlo Pro 2, I can place the cameras anywhere and move them around without worrying about an outlet.

However, some features are only available when the cameras are plugged in. For example, non-stop continuous recording, the ability to designate motion/activity zones, and the 3-Second Look Back — which allows you to record three seconds prior to an activity being detected — all require a wire.

It only took me about 15 minutes to unpack the camera, set up the base, and download and set up the app. You will need to download the app and follow the instructions. Setup includes pairing the app and camera, as well as pairing each camera to the base station. The app prompts you with a series of steps and after that, you can go right to a live view on your phone.

You need a high-speed, Wi-Fi internet connection and a compatible device to run this camera. The Arlo Pro 2 app works with iOS, Android, Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Stringify. 

The camera has a 130-degree viewing angle. It also has 1080p video, which records very clear and accurate color images. Arlo Pro 2 also offers 8X digital zoom. 

The first thing I noticed (and liked) about this camera was the quality of the daytime video. The night vision feature turns on automatically and the images are clear enough to pick out a person, but it’s obviously not as good as the daytime clips. When in night vision mode, the Arlo Pro 2 illuminates up to 25 feet. 

When it comes to motion and sound alerts, this camera seems to detect everything. Within minutes of setting it up, my phone was buzzing and alerts were popping up, one after the other. The notifications come quickly, often within a few seconds of motion or sound being detected. When I opened up my email, I had hundreds of notifications there as well.

This got a little out of hand when I was at home, so I immediately changed the mode to disarmed. You can manually change the modes from armed to disarmed, or you can create a schedule of when you would like the camera to turn on and off for video recording and notifications. 

As you’d expect at this price, Arlo Pro 2 has a built-in mic and speaker that allow you to check in on any person (or pet) that happen to be home while you’re away. To access this feature from the live video clip, you press the Push-to-Talk icon at the bottom of the video and wait for it to connect.

Arlo Pro 2 also comes with the option to set activity zones, which allow you to set motion and sound detection zones by specifying the area you want to monitor. The system also includes a 100-decibel smart siren that can be sounded when using the Arlo app. I recommend trying it out when no one is around. It’s really loud (it should work great for scaring off intruders), but if you have anyone sensitive to sound in your house, you need to be cautious with this feature.

If you plug the camera in, you can access an extra feature that allows you to view activity that happens three seconds before a triggered event, called the 3-Second Look Back. This lets you know what happened from start to finish.

Arlo Pro 2 also includes the ability to connect a USB drive base station for optional local backup storage. If you allow the Arlo app to access your location, you can take advantage of the geofencing mode, which lets you manage your recordings and notifications based on your location.

The App

I downloaded the app on an iPhone 8. It was easy to register and set up an account. Once the app was downloaded, the Wi-Fi connection was enabled and the camera was turned on, I started to dig through the app.

The first screen shows the name of the camera and a screen which allows you to see live video. At the bottom of the screen, you can click on “library” and it takes you to the short clips, listed in reverse chronological order, of when activity was detected. The clips include a time stamp and the length of time.

When you tap on a clip, it takes you away from the live feed and to a screen that just shows the recorded clip. You can watch, download, share, or delete from this screen. The audio quality on these clips is honestly impressive. 

When you go to the mode screen, you have the ability to arm, disarm, set a schedule, or set up geofencing right from your phone. This helps cut back on all of the notifications.

The Service

Like most home security cameras, Arlo Pro 2 comes with a basic service, which lets you record seven days of motion and sound-triggered cloud recordings for free before it erases the data. That’s actually one of the most generous basic plans to come with any DIY security camera. Many other cameras only come with 24 hours of free cloud storage.

The camera comes with the following basic features:

  • Seven days of cloud recordings
  • Ability to use up to five cameras on the system
  • Limited support for three months

The Premier subscription includes:

  • 30 days of cloud recordings
  • Ability to use up to 10 cameras
  • Unlimited support

The Elite subscription includes:

  • 60 days of cloud recordings
  • Ability to use up to 15 cameras
  • Unlimited support

Expect to pay quite a bit for these extra services. The Premier plan runs $10/month or $99/year and the Elite plan costs $15/month or $149/year.

Additionally, you can purchase the 24/7 continuous video recording which records non-stop to the cloud (when the camera is plugged in). Otherwise, the Arlo Pro 2 only records when motion or activity is detected. For $10/month, you can get 14 days of continuous video feed and $20/month buys you 30 days worth.

Testing Notes

The camera and app are easy to use. Since I had previously tested the Arlo Q, the app was already set up and all I had to do was add the new camera.

When it comes to bandwidth, I’ve had issues with all of the cameras I’ve tested. While some were very minor, others caused my internet connection to slow down so much that we had to limit the number of devices on at one time.

Then I tried the Arlo Pro 2. Since this camera comes with a base station that connects directly to the router via Ethernet, the problems I experienced with other cameras were non-existent. 

Who It Might Be Good For

  • Users looking for an indoor/outdoor camera
  • Users looking for different mounting/placement options
  • Users looking for a truly wire-free option
  • Users looking for a wide-angle lens
  • Users looking for two-way communication
  • Users looking for a very generous free cloud storage plan

Who It Might Not Be Good For

  • Users seeking an inexpensive camera
  • Users looking for free advanced features
  • Users looking for the best quality in night recordings

Conclusion

If you’re looking for one of the best — and most dependable — indoor/outdoor cameras with high-quality daytime video and a generous free cloud storage plan, the Arlo Pro 2 is a great choice. Its price tag will probably be too much of a hurdle for some home security budgets. But if you’ve got the money to spend, you likely won’t be disappointed with this system.

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