Arlo Pro 3 Review

The Arlo Pro 3 doesn’t have the same quality as the Arlo Ultra, but it has better local storage options and will save you some cash.
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The Arlo Pro 3 is the newest addition to the Arlo Pro series. It’s got a lot more features than the Pro 2, but how does that differ from the Arlo Ultra?

Arlo Pro 3 specifications
ProductList priceVideo qualityField of viewDetails
Arlo Pro 3 (2 cameras + hub)$499.992K160°View on Amazon

Amazon.com List price of $499.99 (as of 03/27/2020 11:37 MST).

Let’s go over the differences between the Arlo Pro 3 and the Arlo 2 and the Arlo Ultra.

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A big change from the Pro 2 to the Pro 3 is its subscription services. Prior to 2019, Arlo was known for its seven days of cloud storage and high prices. Unfortunately, that is not the case anymore. While you can still get the free cloud storage on the Pro and the Pro 2 version, it appears that you can expect to pay subscription services on all of their new products. That subscription service is called “Arlo Smart.” I will be getting to that a little later.

Arlo Pro 3 design

The Pro 3 looks like the Ultra, but it has more options for external storage.

To see some of the new features of the Pro 3, let’s first take a look at the back of the box.

Unboxing

Back of the Arlo Pro 3 box

So just like the Arlo Ultra, the Pro 3 comes with colored night vision and an integrated spotlight—two great additions that came with the Arlo Ultra. It also has a 160° viewing angle, 2K video with HDR, magnetic charging, and a built-in siren.

The Pro 3 is also compatible with Amazon, Google, IFTTT, and HomeKit. A three-month trial of the Arlo Smart subscription is included with the purchase of the Arlo Pro 3 camera.

Smart hub

The Arlo Pro 3 comes with a smart hub. It has the same look as the smart hub that comes with the Arlo Ultra.

back of an Arlo Pro 3 smart hub

We’ve got a button for syncing, a network port, and a power port. Additionally, the USB port is back (which is different from the Ultra). We can plug in external storage, whether that be a thumb drive or a hard drive, and it can support up to 3 TB of storage, unlike the Arlo Ultra, which can only have up to 256 GB.

Camera

Taking a look at the camera itself, it looks just like the Arlo Ultra. We’ve got a spotlight on the top, right below that is the microphone, and then we have the lens. The Pro 3’s lens is a little bit smaller than the Ultra’s, but it still shoots at 2K quality.

Arlo Pro 3 camera

On either side of the lens, we have the infrared sensors, and then right here at the bottom, we have the speaker so you can talk to the person on the other side.

Charging port

So take a look at the bottom of the camera; we have the new magnetic charging port.

bottom of Arlo Pro 3 camera

No longer do you actually have to plug something in like you did with the Pro 2. Now, you just bring it up, and the magnets will automatically connect and start charging. It is so much nicer and simpler than the old Pro 2. I really appreciate this new charging feature.

Catch

Arlo Pro 3 open camera

Right below that, we have the button to release the camera. These new cameras come with something called a “catch,” which will release the camera, but it also catches it. That way, the camera doesn’t fall out if you have it mounted. You can then pull the camera out, replace the battery if you need to, and then just pop it right back into place.

Arlo Pro 3 installation and set up

On the back of the camera, we have the standard 1/4″-20 mount, so you can use any old mounts that you have for this camera. It is super easy to install the Arlo Pro 3.

If you are new to Arlo, you are going to need to download the app and create an account. From there, you are going to click on “add new device,” follow the onscreen instructions, and you’re set.

Arlo app

Now that you have the camera set up, let’s take a look at the app.

Home screen

Screenshot of Arlo app camera feed

From the app, I can see all the different cameras that I have set up.

The top video is for my Pro 3 camera, so if I click on the “play” button in the middle, that is going to launch “live view.” You can see in the top left corner that it says “2K live.” We are able to view live 2K footage because we are here on the same network. But if you are outside of your network, say out of your house, you would only be able to view the live footage in 1080p.

Now underneath the picture where it says “Pro 3,” there are a couple of different icons. One shows your battery life. The next icon shows the signal strength from the camera to the base station. Also, we’ve got the speaker icon there that shows if you have sound notifications turned on. (I do not, which is why it’s grayed out.) Next to that, we have a circle that indicates if it detects motion. That circle, which is dark right now, will turn yellow if it detects motion.

Features

As you can see in the video, I show the following app features:

  • Device settings
  • Audio settings
  • Activity zones
  • Video settings
  • Low light settings
  • Power management
  • Video modes

Tabs

Okay, back all the way out of settings to the home page. We have some tabs on the very bottom of the first page.

Devices

We can click on “Devices” to see all of our devices.

Library

We can click on “Library,” and this is going to show us the cloud backup if we have a subscription. Or we can select the local storage that we have, say if we have a hard drive plugged in.

If you do use local storage and want to access it through the app, keep in mind that it is kind of finicky right now.

I see no thumbnails when trying to do local storage. Arlo says that they are working on this, but it has been a few months, and I have not heard an update since then.

I am going to click on the very top up where it says “SmartHub,” and click on “Cloud.” This is going to bring up the different clips that are on the cloud. You can see I’ve got another Pro 3 set up in the baby’s room, looking at the crib, and we can see the different videos there.

Modes

If we take a look back at the bottom tabs, we also have “Modes.” This is how you can kind of put your camera into different settings. I’m going to go into the setting for my SmartHub Pro 3. Here you can see the different options for modes.

Modes let you:

  • Arm/disarm the cameras
  • Put it on a schedule
  • Set up geofencing
  • Create custom settings

Settings

The last tab at the bottom is “Settings,” and this is where you can control your account and profile settings as well as your Arlo Smart subscriptions.

Arlo Pro 3 audio and video test

The Pro 3 has impressive night vision and audio, but it doesn’t quite compete with the Arlo Ultra.

Now that we have gone through the app, let’s take a look at some sample footage from this camera and see how good that 2K quality is.

You’ll want to watch my audio and video demo to get a real feel for what this camera is capable of. I tested the camera’s features from 10–20 feet away in both the day and night, with and without the spotlight on.

Bottom line: I thought that the video and audio quality of the Pro 3 are definitely better than what I’ve seen from the Pro 2, but it’s definitely not that higher quality that I’ve seen out of the Ultra 4K.

I think the spotlight is pretty impressive, and it gives the video a bright color, even at night.

Arlo Pro 3 subscription plans

Arlo has two subscription plans:

  • Premier 2K: $9.99/mo. for up to 5 cameras
  • Elite 4K: $14.99/mo. for up to 5 cameras

Both plans have 30 days of cloud storage and a few other features, including object detection. This is a cool feature because anything that triggers the motion detection is going to be analyzed by their AI, categorized, and then that notification is going to be shot right back down to your phone.

The good thing about this is that you only get the notifications you want. So, say I only want to know when people pass by; I won’t be notified of any cars going by. This has been a great feature because I am getting a lot fewer notifications than I otherwise would. It has been pretty accurate, distinguishing between people, vehicles, and other motions.

You can also set up package notifications. If the camera detects somebody walking up to your door, or if it can detect a box or package sitting at your door, you’ll get a notification.

The other features of Arlo Smart are the cloud activity zones and intelligent alerts. If you get a popup, you can push and hold down the button, and it will show you a little thumbnail about what is going on, and then you have some options you can choose from there.

You don’t have to sign up for a subscription plan to use the Arlo Pro 3, but you’ll be limited to your local storage. You’ll also lose some of the Arlo Smart features.

Recap: Is the Arlo Pro 3 good?

The Pro 3 is like the Ultra’s little sibling: they look similar, but the Pro 3 is more affordable.

As good as these cameras are, there are a few things I am not a fan of. First off, they’re pretty expensive. A two-camera kit costs $500. Also, I wish it offered a one-camera kit so that you could get one camera to start, and add on cameras later if you wanted.

Next, these cameras do require a hub. Companies like Nest and Ring have cameras that connect to your Wi-Fi, so you don’t have to get an additional hub or store an additional box in your house. With the Arlo system, you must have this extra hub that everything has to connect to.

Lastly, some of the cool features with this product require a subscription. So if you don’t want a subscription and you want to manage your own stuff on the device, you’re going to miss out on a few of those features.

Overall, the Pro 3 is like a little brother to the Arlo Ultra. They have a lot of the same features, they look almost identical to each other, but the good thing about the Pro 3 is that it’s a little bit cheaper and more affordable.

If you’re trying to decide between the Pro 3 and the Ultra, keep in mind a couple of things:

Hardware: Do you want to have that USB port for external storage that the Pro 3 offers, or do you want the better quality that the Arlo Ultra offers?

Subscriptions: Since the Pro 3 shoots at 2K, you really only need that cheaper Premier Plan. If you go with the Arlo Ultra, you’re going to want to invest a little bit more into that 4K Elite Plan.

My recommendation: If you want to save a couple bucks, get the Arlo Pro 3 two-camera kit. That way, you get the USB port that you can plug into a bigger external drive. Then, get a 4K camera for those important areas, like your front door, backyard, and other entry points. You can just buy an add-on camera and connect it to the Pro 3 base station.

So what would you do? Do you like the Pro 3? Do you like everything that it offers? Or would you like to mix and match them? Comment below! I would love to hear more.

Arlo Pro 3 specifications
ProductList priceVideo qualityField of viewDetails
Arlo Pro 3 (2 cameras + hub)$499.992K160°View on Amazon

Amazon.com List price of $499.99 (as of 03/27/2020 11:37 MST).

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