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Arlo Pro 2 Review
The Arlo Pro 2 is a versatile camera system that ditches the power cable.
The Arlo Pro 2 is a pretty sweet little outdoor security camera. It's wire-free, so you can put it anywhere you want. But it does have a wired option as well if you don't want to run around recharging batteries. Plus, it offers both cloud and local storage options so you'll never lose that video of your neighbor's kids TP-ing your yard.
Arlo has come out with a few newer iterations of this camera, but the Arlo Pro 2 is still an excellent option for yard surveillance.
Arlo Pro 2
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT
|View on Amazon|
Amazon.com List Prices (as of 9/29/20 15:32 MST) Full disclaimer
* Price for two-camera starter kit.
Since the Arlo Pro 2, Arlo has come out with a few other version of this same style of camera. If you want upgraded features like 4K video resolution, a built-in siren and security light, or color night vision, then you might be more interested in one of the newer Arlos. Just keep in mind, they'll cost more than the Pro 2.
What’s the Arlo Pro 2 made of?
- Resolution: 1080p HD
- Field of view: 130°
- Operating temperature: -4° to 113° F (-20° C to 45° C)
- Power source: Rechargeable battery or indoor AC power outlet
- Night vision: 850 nm infrared LEDs (up to 25 feet)
- Dimensions: 3.1″ x 1.9″ x 2.8″
- Weight: 4.8 oz.
The Arlo Pro will give you a crisp view of your property with 1080p video resolution and night vision. And installation is easy.
Since the Arlo Pro 2 is wire-free, you can put it just about anywhere you need an extra eye. That same features also makes the Arlo Pro 2 perfect for people who want multi-camera systems around their property. You can set up a slew of cameras and you won't have to run a bunch of wires all over your yard.
That said, if you prefer to rely on a wire instead, you can do that too. The Arlo Pro 2 comes with a power cord option.
What we really like:
- Battery and traditional power options
- Improved video resolution
What we didn’t like:
- Required base station
- Incompatibility of top features with battery-powered option
The wire-free feature is great and everything, but it does mean the Arlo Pro 2 requires a hub, also known as the base station, in order to connect to your Wi-Fi network. You'll want to buy an Arlo base station as part of your camera starter kit, which does make things more expensive. But you only need one base station to support multiple cameras.
Arlo Pro 2 user experience
Setup and installation
Installing the Arlo Pro 2 is super easy (especially if you choose the wire-free, battery-powered route). It’s pretty much a plug-and-play system. To set up an account, you’ll need to download the Arlo smartphone app.
Once you’ve created your account, check to make sure the base station is powered up and connected to your router—look for the little green LED lights for confirmation.
You’ll need to connect your base station directly to your router using an Ethernet cable (included).
It’s worth noting that your base station has to be within spitting distance of your internet router. (Or rather, within Ethernet distance.) Our router happens to be down in an unfinished basement, so it’s not in an ideal location.
Syncing your Arlo system with your account is pretty easy, Choose “Add Device” in your Arlo app, and your base station should automatically connect to your account and show up in the app.
To add cameras, insert the battery pack into the camera and then press the sync button on both the base station and the camera you wish to connect. It should take only 10–30 seconds for the camera to sync with the base station. Rinse and repeat for subsequent cameras.
The whole process takes around 15 minutes, and that’s if you’re fiddling with a spiderweb of ethernet cords in the basement like we were. All in all, it’s a super easy setup.
Battery and traditional AC power
Because the Arlo Pro 2 lets you choose between rechargeable batteries and traditional AC power, you can install it pretty much anywhere within Wi-Fi range. Even in a tree.
Not all features work with the battery-powered option. Some features (like advanced motion and sound detection) require the Arlo Pro 2 to be connected to a traditional power outlet. Bummer, we know.
The battery-powered option adds an extra layer of protection from tampering, as well. Since the Arlo Pro 2 doesn’t have wires, a potential burglar cannot disarm your camera by cutting a cord. Just remember to keep an eye on your battery levels and recharge them when necessary to avoid any gaps in your video coverage.
After testing for a little over a month, the battery barely dipped below half power. Batteries tend to drain faster in cold weather, so the lifespan of a charge may depend on weather conditions.
The Look Back feature is one of the cooler additions to the Arlo Pro 2 (although you need to hardwire your camera to use it). Sometimes motion sensors are slow to activate and record. Look Back allows you to rewind and see footage three seconds before motion or sound was detected.
This is especially useful for capturing burglars approaching, and not just getting the back of their head as they walk away from your porch with your Amazon package. Basically, you can go back in time to see what happened before the trigger event and you don’t even have to get in the DeLorean and gun it to 88 MPH.
USB backup storage option
Cloud storage is the popular choice for security footage these days. Arlo offers seven free days of cloud-based storage, and more extensive options if you sign up for a monthly subscription. But what we really like about Arlo is how it can connect a USB drive as local backup storage. Not a lot of competing contemporary cameras offer this functionality.
If you do want to up your camera game though, Arlo’s Arlo Smart plans give you more cloud storage and better functionality. Your cameras will be able to tell a person from an object and show real-time images right on your smartphone lock screen.
|Price||$2.99/mo. per camera OR $9.99/mo. for up to 5 cameras|
|Video history||30 days|
|Custom motion zones|
|Advanced object detection|
|Details||View on Amazon|
Data effective 11/15/20. Offers subject to change.
Smart security siren
The base station comes equipped with a 100-decibel siren that you can set to sound when motion or audio is detected by one of your Arlo cameras. For us, this wasn’t all that useful, simply because our base station was down in the basement and the siren—although loud—didn’t have the same effect.
We ended up turning this feature off because we couldn’t find the right balance of when to arm the siren vs. when not to. This is probably a more useful feature for someone installing the base station in a central location.
Arlo Pro 2 integration
If you’re big into smart home technology, we’re happy to tell you that the Arlo Pro 2 works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Apple HomeKit. Two use cases in particular stand out for us with this level of integration:
Arlo Pro 2 range
Whether it's the Arlo Pro 2 or a different model, your Arlo camera has a range of up to 300 feet. But there's one major caveat to that distance: it's based on line of sight. If there are three walls and two ceilings between your camera and the Arlo hub hooked up to your router in the basement then you're not going to get that full 300-foot range.
How much does Arlo Pro 2 cost?
The Arlo Pro 2 isn't one of the cheapest security cameras. Because it requires a base station and it functions as part of a larger camera system, you can’t just pick up a single Arlo Pro 2 cam to start with. Plan on spending more than $450 for a two-camera starter kit, which includes the Arlo hub.
The good news is that if you're just looking for additional cameras then you can add them to your existing base station. In that case, you can buy a single Pro 2 camera for a little over $200. We always recommend checking the Amazon price, since it frequently offers deals lower than MSRP pricing.
Do you need a base station for the Arlo?
The base station will definitely add to your up-front cost, but there are some bonuses to having it (even though we think a standalone Pro 2 would be better). The local storage factor alone makes the base station worth the money. Having the USB storage option means you can skip the cloud service if you’re not into paying a monthly subscription, and the money you’ll save per month on subscription fees will have that base station paying for itself in no time. (Just remember you won’t have access to extra Arlo Smart features.)
Arlo Pro 2 not your style?
If you’re not sure if you’re ready to throw down a chunk of change on a full-blown camera system, we get it. For as great as the Arlo Pro 2 is, it’s a little spendy.
We’ve taken the liberty of rounding up a few of our favorite standalone security cameras that you might consider if the Pro 2 just isn’t your jam. Check them out.
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ
The Nest Cam Outdoor IQ doesn’t have the same versatility as the Pro 2, but it makes up the deficit in raw power. The Outdoor IQ sports 1080p HD resolution with a 4K image sensor that helps propel both its video quality and still images above the majority of modern security cameras. It also does not require a base station connection, and though it’s still an expensive individual camera (about $400), it’s quite a bit cheaper than an Arlo starter system.
Fits these needs:
- High-resolution video
- Integration with Nest ecosystem
Amcrest ProHD Outdoor 4K
If price is your main hang-up for the Arlo Pro 2, or even for the Nest Outdoor IQ, then the Amcrest ProHD Outdoor 4K (who names these things?) might be just what you’re looking for.
At less than $100, this camera holds its own against the competition with crisp 4K ultra-HD resolution. It’s not perfect, but you won’t find a better high-end camera that can get the job done without emptying your wallet.
Fits these needs:
- Budget price (less than $100)
- Great night-vision range
- 4K resolution
For more options, check out our review of the best outdoor cameras this year.
The Arlo Pro 2 isn't the latest in the Arlo line of wire-free cameras, but it's still an excellent choice for an HD outdoor security camera with night vision and easy installation.
Still not sure if the Arlo Pro 2 is the right camera for you? Check out our Best Home Security Cameras review to compare more options.
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