Arlo Pro Camera Review – How Good is an Arlo Camera System?

Arlo Outdoor Security Cameras

Is the Arlo Pro Wireless Security Camera System Recommended by ACME Locksmith?

Outdoor home security cameras are becoming more and more popular as the technologies continue to improve, prices drop, and features get added and enhanced.

In fact, they are often replacing home alarms, because many don’t require monthly subscription fees and services; the cameras themselves alert you directly on your cellular phone.

A Wireless Camera From Ali Express

You can find some outdoor wireless camera systems for less than $100 on over-seas websites like Ali Express, which is extremely affordable for most people. But, very often the instructions aren’t very clear and the camera app functionality can be a problem as well.

So, I wanted to look at an outdoor security camera system that would be extremely easy for anyone to set up and didn’t have monthly fees.  I went with a referral from a friend who was extremely happy with her Arlo camera system.

ACME Locksmith recommends the Arlo Security Camera System with the caveat that if you want free video cloud storage, you purchase the Arlo Pro 2. If you don’t mind paying, then you can upgrade to the Arlo Pro 3 or 4 security camera systems.

The Arlo Cameras are Super Easy to Install

Why did I choose this one, around $400 (at this writing) when far less expensive systems are available? Simplicity. This security camera system can be set up by just about anyone. And we like easy!

 

You Can Have USB Video Storage

Arlo Pro 3 Camera System on Amazon

There are a number of camera system configurations offered by Arlo; I reviewed the Arlo Pro 3 with Hub available here on Amazon. This set-up will allow the recording of video to a USB storage device plugged into the Hub, and you can view a live camera feed at any time. The cameras are wireless and 3 were included in the system I installed, plus the Hub.

There is no subscription required when using the USB for storage but you are limited to accessing the recorded camera video from the Arlo app to only when you are on the same network that the Hub is on (i.e., your home network).

You can view the live feed from anywhere.  There is a subscription available, though, that gives you more features, including the ability to store camera video in the cloud and access the recordings from anywhere.

You Can Have Free Cloud Storage

Arlo Pro 2 Camera System on Amazon

The older Arlo Pro 2 Cameras comes with free 7-day cloud storage and you can still find the Arlo Pro 2 Cameras available on Amazon at good prices. Even though they are older, that free storage makes them our preferred version of the Arlo Security Camera System.

You can purchase the systems with more or viewer cameras.  Be sure to read the descriptions of the product carefully to see what you will receive, and what isn’t featured.

There are No Wires, None.

Installing an Arlo Solar Panel
A lot of the home security camera systems claim that they are wire free systems. But what they mean is that they connect to your internet wirelessly. However, they still require low voltage wire runs to power them. This is NOT wire free.

The Arlo cameras are battery operated. So they are indeed 100% wire free and no wires need to be routed to the cameras in any way.

In addition, I purchased the Arlo solar panels from Amazon to go with our cameras. These aren’t required; but since they are completely wireless and battery operated this eliminates the need to bring the cameras down to recharge the batteries every six months are so.

Arlo Camera Features – What I Like

  • 100% wireless. No wires for power, no wires for internet connection
  • Active movement notifications to your smart phone
  • Live video on your phone
  • 2-way speaker system
  • Motion sensitivity adjustment
  • Camera Brightness adjustment
  • Follow movement option (camera will pan and zoom to follow the moving object)
  • Snap-in magnetic mounting
  • Solar panel recharging option

Arlo Camera Features – What I Don’t Like

  • Arlo’s newer security camera systems require a subscription to view recorded video from anywhere
  • Requires a subscription to use the camera zone feature (define a sensitivity zone)

What’s in the box?

The box comes with a hub that simply plugs into your router to your network. The cameras communicate to your network through this hub.

There are a select number of cameras in the box.  They come with a rechargeable battery pack, which is easy to remove and put in. To recharge the batteries, you simply remove the camera from the mount and snap on the magnetic charging cable supplied with the system to the exterior of the camera. You don’t even take the battery out!

Magnetic Camera Mounting Bracket

The new mounting brackets for the outdoor security cameras take just one screw to install and are magnetic so the camera simply “snaps” on. No screwdriver is needed. The battery should last around 6 months between charges.

But as I said, I like easy.  So I opted for the purchase of the optional camera solar panel chargers from Amazon, which can be installed near the cameras in a sunny location, eliminating the need to ever have to bring them inside.

Setting up the System

The security camera installation instructions couldn’t be any easier. They are (in their entirety):

  1. Plug in the Hub
  2. Install the App
  3. Follow the prompts.

That’s it.

During the actual set up process, I found the Arlo app prompts extremely intuitive, and setup went remarkably fast. The longest part of the initial camera setup was updating the firmware and software for the camera system.

Arlo App Camera Pairing
In the next step the app pairs the cameras to the app. This went flawlessly as well.

I recommend doing all of the initial camera setup in your home before installing the cameras; that way, you know everything is functioning before the actual install.

The Aro Pro Home Security Cameras come with a motion activated spotlight. If someone enters at night, this light will turn on to indicate they’ve been spotted.  The home security cameras also have 2-way audio so you can talk to the people you see.  There’s an emergency audible siren, as well.

After updating the firmware and setting up the features, you’re ready to install.

How to Install Arlo Outdoor Security Cameras

Arlo camera and solar panel installation.
This part really couldn’t be easier.  The mounting brackets for the camera hang from a single screw in a wall.  They just snap onto this screw.

And with the newer mounts, the cameras hold in place with magnets.  Adjust the camera angle as needed, and you are done. Older style camera mounting brackets may have a 3-screw mount, which is only slightly more difficult.

The solar panels I installed were 3-screw mounted. The installation of the entire home security wireless camera system took about an hour and a half, most of that time was securing the cable from the solar panel to the camera so it looked neat and tidy.

If you do subscribe to Arlo’s monthly cloud storage, you can create zones from within the app for each camera. The zone excludes areas in the field of view which you do not want motion detection to set off, like public sidewalks.

Summary – Recommended w/ Reservations

Since installing the Arlo Home Security Camera System, I’ve been impressed by them.  It really could not be made simpler nor more intuitive.

About the only thing I don’t like is the limited access to the USB recordings unless you have a paid subscription. I don’t like paid subscriptions, as I want to make a purchase and be done, rather than tied to a monthly or yearly commitment.

So, for this reason, I don’t recommend the newer system overall, but the Arlo Pro 2 found on Amazon still offers free 7-day storage and that will solve this issue and that is the system I would recommend.

If you don’t mind paying a monthly fee for cloud storage or the additional zone features, this system is fantastic.

 





Disclosure: As an eBay / Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.