Arlo Pro 2 Review
Installing an outdoor security camera has always been a pain. Whether you try to do it yourself or pay a professional, running wires and drilling holes usually means high out-of-pocket expenses. That’s why we appreciate Arlo tackling one of the biggest pain points for security cameras by designing a camera that ditches the power cord for a rechargeable battery. And here’s the best part: it’s not just an outdoor camera. It works inside as well..
The Arlo Pro 2 is the latest iteration of Arlo’s innovative camera. The original banked on the truly wireless nature of a battery-powered security camera, but the Pro 2 takes it to the next level. It packs upgraded video quality, better weather protection, and advanced features into the same compact design.
In this review, we’ll tackle, test, and tear apart everything the Arlo Pro 2 has to offer and see if these new features are worth the upgrade.
What’s the Arlo Pro 2 made of?
The Arlo Pro 2 improves on previous versions in both picture quality and temperature durability.
- Resolution: 1080p HD
- FOV: 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.
Unlike its two predecessors (Arlo and Arlo Pro), the Pro 2 finally cracks 1080p resolution. The improved image quality is really the main reason to upgrade from previous versions. But Arlo has also stepped up its game by expanding the operating temperature range of the Pro 2.
It works in temperatures almost 10° colder than the original Arlo camera, which means if you live somewhere with freezing winters like Minnesota, you don’t have to worry about your camera falling victim to Mother Nature. On the flip side, The Pro 2 loses that same 10° for hotter weather, so if your live somewhere with scorching heat like Arizona or Nevada, you might want to stick with the original,
What we really like:
- Battery and traditional power options
- Improved video resolution
What we didn’t like:
- High price
- Required base station
- Incompatibility of top features with battery-powered option
The Arlo Pro 2 feels kind of like what we’ve come to expect from smartphone upgrades these days. It’s not really breaking new ground compared to its previous editions; it just does everything better.
Better video. More durability. Better integration. The Arlo Pro 2 is like the Khan of security cameras.
Arlo Pro 2 user experience
The biggest standout feature for Arlo Pro 2 is still the easy installation.
Setup and installation
Installing the Arlo Pro 2 is super easy (especially if you choose the 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.
It’s worth noting that this restricts your base station to a location within hardwire range of your router. 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.
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. 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. Great Scott!
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.
|Plan||Price*||Person detection||Motion zones||Local 911 calls|
|Arlo Smart Basic||Included with your camera||No||Yes||No|
|Arlo Smart Add-on||$2.99/mo.||Yes||Yes||No|
|Arlo Smart Premier||$9.99/mo.||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Arlo Smart Elite||$14.99/mo.||Yes||Yes||Yes|
*Price is per camera.
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 IFTTT technology, we’re happy to tell you that the Arlo Pro 2 works with Amazon Alexa products, IFTTT, and Stringify. Two use cases in particular stand out for us with this level of integration:
How much does Arlo Pro 2 cost?
The Arlo Pro 2 will set you back a couple hundred bucks by itself. And if you don’t already own an Arlo base station, expect closer to $500.
The Arlo Pro 2 is not cheap. Because it requires a base station and functions as part of a larger camera system, you can’t just pick up a single Arlo Pro 2 to start with. Plan on spending a minimum of $500 for the two-camera starter kit, which includes the Arlo base station.
The good news is that if you’ve already invested in Arlo gear, Arlo Pro 2 will work with 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.
Arlo Pro 2 accessories:
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 Arlo Smart features.)
What starter packs does Arlo offer?
Here are a few of the starter kits Arlo has to offer that include an Arlo base station:
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 ($300+), it’s quite a bit cheaper than an Arlo starter system.
Fits these needs:
- High-resolution video
- Integration with Nest ecosystem
Amcrest ProHD Outdoor 3MP
If price is your main hang-up for the Arlo Pro 2, or even for the Nest Outdoor IQ, then the Amcrest ProHD Outdoor 3MP (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 1080p HD resolution, 98-foot night vision range, and a 110° FOV. 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
For more options, check out our review of the best outdoor cameras this year.
The bottom line
The Arlo Pro 2 takes what’s great about the previous versions and cranks it up a notch. Stepping up to 1080p resolution, expanding the operating temperature, and adding useful new features like Look Back really help the Pro 2 stand out from other similar security cameras.
It’s worth the upgrade if you’re willing to stretch your budget a little.
We want to know about your experience with Arlo products. Let us know what you think in the comments below.