The Arlo Pro 2 is one of the best wireless home security cameras I have reviewed. Previously owned by Netgear, the Arlo Pro 2 is the company’s flagship product featuring 1080p video resolution, wide-angle lens, advanced motion detection, and integration with a broad selection of home automation platforms. To find out how the Arlo Pro 2 compares to other home security cameras, check out my complete roundup.
Arlo Pro 2 Review
- Full HD video resolution
- Geo-fencing and sound detection
- Advanced motion detection (requires subscription)
- IP65 Water-resistant
- Smart alerts (requires subscription)
- Continuous video recording (wired only, requires subscription)
|Video resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Field of view||130°|
|Advanced motion detection||With a subscription|
|Weather Resistant||Yes (IP65)|
|Power Source||AC Power, Battery with a solar option|
|Video Storage||Local (USB Drive), Cloud|
|Home Automation Support||Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT|
The Arlo Pro 2 is undoubtedly one of the best outdoor cameras in Arlo’s lineup, featuring full HD (1080p) video resolution, sound detection, geo-fencing and more. I have had an Arlo Pro 2 kit for the past several weeks and still love it. One of the best features of the Arlo Pro 2 and its siblings are the magnetic mounts that let you install the surveillance cameras anywhere inside or outside of the house, without having to worry about cables.
When I received the Arlo Pro 2 review units, I had to decide where to position them – inside or outside of our home. Ultimately, I decided to secure the perimeter to catch potential intruders before they can enter the house. I had two Arlo Pro 2 cameras at my disposal, so I positioned one at the main entrance and the other one above the door leading to the patio on the back of the house.
Setup and Installation
Setup and installation of the Arlo Pro 2 camera kit took approximately ten minutes. After unwrapping the camera kit, I connected the Arlo Hub to my APC Back-UPS Pro 1500VA ($187.97 on Amazon), so it stays on in case we lose power, and to my Unifi switch via an ethernet cable. Then I paired both cameras with the Hub before I physically mounted them.
Then I downloaded the Arlo app from the App Store, created an account and linked the camera kit to it.
Mounting the Wi-Fi cameras was equally straightforward, thanks to the magnetic mounting hardware. All I had to do was secure the magnets using a single wood screw and then pop on the Arlo Pro security camera.
The downside of the magnetic mounts and easy installation is that someone could as easily steal the camera by just popping it off the mount. Of course, if the Arlo Pro 2 camera is recording, you’d have the footage and live feed of that incident, but there is no guarantee that you’ll get your camera back. So I’d recommend that you mount the camera high enough up, so it’s not at arm’s reach. The downside of doing so is that you’ll need a ladder or step stool when it’s time to recharge the battery. I decided to go the convenient route and to take the risk of someone stealing the camera while being recorded.
Alternatively, I have seen that Wasserstein offers an anti-theft security chain for $13.99 on Amazon that secures your Arlo Pro or Arlo Pro 2 camera.
Arlo Hub Modes
The Arlo Hub supports a variety of pre-defined and customizable modes, including:
- Armed – Motion and audio detection is on
- Disarmed – Motion and audio detection is off
- Schedule – Based on a customizable plan
- Geofencing – Managed by your location
- Custom modes
For each mode, except for Disarmed, you can configure rules to determine what cameras to include and what should happen if motion or audio is detected. For example, we have set our “Front Door” camera to record video and send push and email notifications if it detects motion and while it’s in Armed mode.
Our goal was only to arm the cameras while both of us are outside the geofence. While at home, we still want the cameras to record if they detect motion, but without sending alerts. That way, we have footage of anyone coming up to the house without producing a ton of false alarms. The exception to that rule is night time. While we are sleeping, we want to receive notification if any of the cameras detect movement in their surveillance areas.
To make this scenario work, we use a combination of a custom mode, geofencing, and a schedule. Here is how you can set up a similar ruleset:
- Go to Mode inside the Arlo app.
- Create a new custom mode that tells the camera to record video if it detects motion and, optionally, audio but without sending notifications.
- Then, edit the Schedule mode and define what modes Arlo should apply during the designated times.
In our case, I told Arlo to apply the standard “Armed” mode from 9 – 11:59 pm and 12 – 7:59 am (overnight) and to use my custom mode during 8 am – 8:59 pm. The latter, as I mentioned, records video without sending notifications.
Last but not least, I selected Geofencing as the active mode and configured it to choose the following modes for both cameras:
- Away Mode: Armed
- Home Mode: Schedule
To get the most out of the Arlo Pro 2 home security system, we have enabled geo-fencing for both my wife’s and my smartphone. If Arlo detects that both devices are out of range, it automatically arms the cameras. That means, it records and notifies us if one of the cameras detects sound or motion. If one of our phones is within the geo-fence, both cameras still record video when someone or something triggers the sound or motion sensor, but we won’t get a notification. Geo-fencing with the Arlo Pro 2 camera works on the first-in, last-out principle.
Troubleshooting tip: During our testing geo-fencing didn’t work correctly, and it seemed to have ignored my wife’s iPhone. To fix the issue, I had to remove both phones from the geo-fencing configuration, disable geo-fencing and then re-enable it for both phones. Also, make sure to open the Arlo app after installing an app or operating system update. On one occasion, after upgrading iOS on my wife’s iPhone X, she got logged out of the Arlo app, which temporarily stopped geo-fencing from working on her device.
What I like about the Arlo Pro 2 cameras is that I can operate them with a rechargeable battery, an optional solar panel that keeps the battery charged, or using a power cord. That gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to camera placement!
If you decide to wire an Arlo Pro 2 camera and you sign up for one of Arlo’s subscription plans, you can even enable continuous recording, but Arlo limits this feature to indoor cameras. I don’t know why that is, because Arlo provides both indoor and outdoor power adapters.
The Arlo Pro 2 battery life is 2-6 months, based on my experience and usage. I installed both of my cameras at the end of May 2018, and on August 9th, the front door camera showed a remaining battery life of 38%. I had to recharge the battery of the patio camera already because we had a string of lights in front of that camera that continuously triggered the motion detector every time it was windy outside. As a result, the camera was recording a lot, which drained the battery. We have since removed those lights, which stopped that behavior and the battery usage has normalized as a result.
If you expect a lot of activity in an area that your Arlo Pro 2 camera monitors, I’d recommend considering adding a solar panel, or at least, buying replacement batteries. Without extra batteries, you have to take the camera offline to recharge, by plugging it into a power source using the supplied Micro-USB cable.
If you do get an extra set of batteries, you’ll also have to get a charging station that Arlo sells separately.
1. The default is PIR-only detection. This is due to the constraints of the camera being battery powered. Pixel-based analytics would deplete the battery in a few hours. This works very well for me at detecting people and animals with minimal false alarms.
2. If Arlo is plugged-in to AC power, you can set one or more motion-zones. In this configuration, detection occurs only if there is pixel-based motion inside a zone AND a PIR detection. This stands to be much more robust against false alarms than purely pixel-based motion detection since you must have pixel changes and a warm body.
3. Arlo Smart Person Detection – A new paid feature that tries to determine when a person triggered the motion sensor. It worked pretty well for me when I tested it.
4. Arlo Smart Cloud Activity Zones. This is a new paid feature similar to 2 but works on battery power. All PIR detections are sent to the cloud for motion zone analysis.
Arlo Hub & Smart Siren
I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Arlo requiring a hub, considering its the only camera system I have tested that has such a requirement. But the hub turned out to be a useful piece of equipment, because I could connect an external 500GB Solid State Disk (SSD) to it, acting as a local storage solution. In total, the Arlo Hub features two Type-A USB ports that you can use to connect external mass storage devices. What’s missing, unfortunately, is a microSD card slot.
It also has a 100 decibel built-in Siren, but we have never enabled it. I know we could use it to deter intruders when we are away, and it would probably work fine in combination with geo-fencing. But to make the siren work, we would have to add our baby- and pet sitters to the geo-fence, so the siren doesn’t come on while my wife and I are on a date night.
With the Pro 2 camera system, Arlo provides broad support for popular home automation platforms, including:
- Amazon Alexa,
- Google Assistant, and
- If This Than That (IFTTT)
Through these integrations, you can issue voice commands to Arlo and trigger actions. For example, you can tell Alexa or Google to stream video from a specific Arlo camera on a compatible device. But the available commands are relatively limited and the, potentially, more exciting integration is with IFTTT, which can trigger actions based on specific events.
For example, you can get a notification or add an iOS reminder when the battery of one of your cameras runs low. Or you can turn on an IFTTT-compatible smart bulb if your Arlo camera detects motion.
The only thing that I was missing in Arlo is support for Apple HomeKit. By integrating with Apple’s home automation platform, I could, for example, turn on lights when the camera detects motion or let our Ecobee thermostat and ceiling room fan know that we are inbound, without requiring the use of a third-party service, such as IFTTT. The good news is that Arlo announced support for HomeKit via software update at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), together with a brand-new smart home security system.
It is also worth noting that the Arlo’s Pro cameras integrate with the Arlo Video Doorbell, which I have yet to test.
Mobile App & Web Interface
Arlo’s mobile app is excellent, and there is nothing I could complain about. One of the previous versions of the app crashed in combination with Face ID authentication on an iPhone X, but Arlo fixed that bug quickly.
The web interface, however, is embarrassing because it requires Adobe Flash. Yikes! Adobe Flash is a bag of hurt, a security risk and even Adobe announced that they’d kill Flash in 2020. So it’s beyond me why Arlo uses Flash, considering that there are plenty of modern web technologies available these days. I’m hopeful that Arlo, now that they are a separate company, will replace Flash with more modern technology shortly.
Arlo Smart Plans
Arlo Smart is a subscription service that adds extra intelligence to your Arlo Pro 2 cameras, and it’s only available in the United States. However, Arlo plans to roll out Arlo Smart to additional countries in the future. In a nutshell, Arlo Smart adds the following features to supported Arlo cameras:
- Person Detection
- Cloud Activity Zones
- Rich Notifications
- e911 Emergency Call Service
Arlo uses artificial intelligence and advanced computer vision technology to allow the motion sensor to differentiate between persons and other moving objects. With Arlo Smart enabled, you can configure the Arlo app only to show you notifications if your Arlo Pro 2 camera detects a person, but not if something else trips the motion detector. I have disabled motion detection for “other” objects, and the false-positive rate has gone down significantly.
Cloud Activity Zones
Cloud Activity Zones limits the area that the motion sensor of your Arlo camera monitors for movement. That can further reduce the rate of false-positives, and it’s worth noting that the feature also works with battery-operated cameras.
iOS supports so-called rich notifications, which can include a photo or video screen and action buttons as part of the alert. That’s convenient because it enables you to see what triggered a motion alarm immediately and to take action on it, like to sound the alarm, call a friend or activate e911.
e911 Emergency Service
With the e911 emergency service, you can quickly get in touch with emergency responders and guide them to your home, even while you’re not there.
Arlo Smart Plans Pricing
Arlo offers Arlo Smart for individual cameras as an add-on for $2.99 per month per camera, or as part of a subscription plan. The Arlo Smart Add-on contains all the features I mentioned above, except for the e911 Emergency Call Service and the additional cloud storage.
Shop Arlo Pro 2 & Accessories
|Arlo Pro 2 Camera (2 Pack)|
|Arlo Pro 2 Camera (3 Pack)|
|Arlo Pro 2 Camera (5 Pack)|
|Arlo Pro 2 Add-on Camera|
|Arlo Charging Station|
|Arlo Indoor Power Adapter|
|Arlo Outdoor Power Adapter|
|Wasserstein Solar Panel|
|Wasserstein Anti-Theft Security Chain|
Arlo Pro 2 vs. Arlo Pro and others
Below is a table comparing the Arlo Pro 2 with the original Arlo camera, the Arlo Pro and the Arlo Go. You can download the entire table by submitting your email address below, and I’ll send you a link to download the PDF version of it.
|Arlo Cam||Arlo Pro||Arlo Pro 2||Arlo Go|
|Video resolution||1280 x 720||1280 x 720||1920 x 1080||1280 x 720|
|Field of view||110°||130°||130°||130°|
|Advanced motion detection||With subscription||With subscription||With subscription||With subscription|
|Continuous Recording||✘||✘||With a subscription (wired model only)||✘|
|Mobile Alerts||Yes (smart alerts with subscription)||Yes (smart alerts with subscription)||Yes (smart alerts with subscription)||Yes (smart alerts with subscription)|
|Power Source||Battery with solar option||Battery or AC Power||Battery with a solar option or AC Power||Battery with a solar option|
|Battery life||4-6 months||Varies||2-6 months||Varies|
|Video Storage||Cloud||Local (USB Drive), Cloud||Local (USB Drive), Cloud||Local (SD-Card), Cloud|
|Home Automation Support||Amazon Alexa, IFTTT||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT||Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT|
|Networking||WiFi||WiFi||WiFi||CDMA, GSM, LTE|
|App Store Rating (1-5)||4||4||4||4|
|Kit Includes||1 Camera and Base Station||1 Camera and Base Station||2 Cameras and Base Station||1 Camera|
|MSRP (Individual Camera)||$159.99||$189.99||219.99||$399.99|
Arlo Pro 2 Review
After having reviewed eighteen and having tested five home security camera systems, I conclude that the Arlo Pro 2 is the best home security camera for my needs because it offers a balanced mix of features at a reasonable purchase price. There are other cameras that may provide similar capabilities in specific areas, such as Nest’s advanced motion detection, Logitech’s HomeKit support or the Ring Video Doorbell, but overall, the Arlo Pro 2 delivers everything I need, and the magnetic mounting options are priceless.
Do you own Arlo cameras? If so, what’s your experience with them? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
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