The Arlo Pro 2 is stacked with features but it starts pricey and gets even more so
- Battery powered
- Sharp, 1080p footage
- Seven days free clip storage
Some people will tell you that you can’t put a price on security. That’s just as well because Arlo’s latest solution – the Arlo Pro 2 – is going to set you back a pretty penny. Starting at £290 for a single camera and the smart hub, each additional camera will set you back hundreds of pounds more. Amazon currently sells a two-camera kit for £500, a three-camera kit for £725 and a four-camera kit for £840.
For some people, this will be worth the money. For me, where this expensive piece of kit has spent 90% of its day monitoring two sleepy cats in equally sleepy Mitcham, it’s probably overkill.
Arlo Pro 2 review: What you need to know
So what does the Arlo Pro 2 do to justify the price? It’s all about peace of mind. The Arlo Pro 2 is a smart camera that can stream 1080p video live to your smartphone. To save you staring at your screen all day long, it has sound and motion sensors and will send alerts if either is triggered.
Click on a notification and you’ll get a short video showing exactly what triggered it and the option to switch to a live view to find out what’s going on. In the example below, there was no point: I can tell you with absolute certainty that, on Thursday 15 November at 1.37pm, my cat Humphries was using all his upper body strength to open the bathroom door, while his brother from another litter, Hamilton, watched on.
If the idea of getting a notification every time a cat stretches depresses you, you can set the camera to work only between certain hours or to disengage when you’re at home by detecting your location. And you can also set an alarm to go off from the base station when motion is detected. The alarm goes up to 100 decibels, meaning it should scare off a burglar – or at least startle the cats.
The Arlo Pro 2 is a compelling security product and surprisingly versatile. You can keep it in the house or outdoors (the cameras are weather resistant to IP65), it can capture footage in night vision and it lets you mark specific parts of the image for motion detection – just in case there are parts of its line-of-sight you’d rather not monitor.
By default, the footage is only recorded when motion is detected or sharp noises are picked up. This footage is stored in the cloud for seven days with 1GB of cloud storage included and the free service supports up to five Arlo cameras before you have to start paying.
Businesses may want to consider the Premier (£6.49 per month) or Elite (£9.99 per month) subscriptions, though, which bump up the cloud storage to 10GB or 30GB for 30- or 60-days respectively. You can also plug in a USB pen drive to the hub for local recording if that feels too expensive.
You can upgrade to non-stop 24/7 recording (CVR) as well for a cost: currently £6.99 per camera for 14 days, or £12.99 for 30 days. It’ll need to be plugged into the mains for this to work, though.
On that note, there are a number of ways to power the Arlo Pro 2. Yes, you can connect it to the mains if you want, but it’s designed to work wirelessly and does so brilliantly. The Arlo has a battery inside that can be charged via micro-USB cable in the camera housing. To ensure this isn’t too much of a problem, the Arlo ships with a round, half-ball mount that you can either screw to the wall or stick it to a surface with an adhesive pad. The Arlo attaches to this magnetically and can be easily pulled down whenever it needs charging.
In my experience, this won’t be very often. I’ve been using it for 14 days and it’s on 65% charge, so charging will likely be required every six weeks or so. If that still sounds like a drag but you don’t want to attach it to the mains, Arlo sells a solar panel kit for outdoor cameras. That will set you back around £100, though.
Arlo Pro 2 review: Price and competition
There’s no two ways around it: home security cameras are expensive and battery powered units even more so. The Arlo Pro 2 starts at £290 for a single camera and smart hub. The two-camera set comes in at £500, the three-camera version for £725 and the four-camera set for £840. You can buy cameras individually if you already have the hub: they cost £250 each.
For those that don’t need the very latest in tech, the Arlo smart home cameras are cheaper, currently selling for £250 on Amazon. You’ll lose the wide-angle lens, siren, audio alerts, local storage, 24/7 CVR and USB charging, mind. Plus they only record at a maximum of 720p.
Alternatively, there’s the D-Link DCS2802KT, which I’ll be reviewing soon. A twin-pack retails for £442, although this can often be found around the £350 mark. Otherwise, you could opt for the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery, which doesn’t need a separate hub but simply connects to your router. It runs on rechargeable batteries, records at 1080p and doubles as a motion-sensitive security camera. At £199, this is a lot cheaper than the Arlo Pro 2 – just bear in mind that it doesn’t come with any form of free storage.
Arlo Pro 2 review: Verdict
The Arlo Pro 2 is an expensive piece of kit, but it’s hard to think of any missteps it makes along the way. The footage it captures is excellent, the motion and audio detection works well and it’s pleasingly flexible.
For many, the sheer number of features on offer will be overkill and the standard Arlo smart home kit will suffice. But for anyone who wants the extra bells and whistles – literally, given the standard version doesn’t come with a siren – there’s nothing on the market that match the Arlo 2 Pro for all-round flexibility and quality.