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Arlo Pro 5S 2K review: Great image quality but pricey

Arlo Pro 5S 2K security camera on mount
Our Rating :
£219.99 from
Price when reviewed : £220
inc VAT

The Arlo Pro 5S 2K is a fantastic security camera but it’s pricey to buy and you have to pay a monthly subscription


  • Great day and night image quality
  • Responsive
  • New app is easy to use


  • Siren is quiet
  • Useless without subscription
  • Expensive

Some people believe there isn’t much between one security camera and the next and, to a certain extent, that’s true. Many security cameras deliver mediocre movie and stills quality that can make it tricky to make out faces and other important details. The Arlo Pro 5S 2K, however, stands out from the crowd. 

Not only does it come with improved image quality in daylight conditions compared with its predecessor, the Arlo Pro 4, but also – perhaps more importantly – it has better colour night vision. Considering most burglaries happen at night, it’s surprising more camera manufacturers don’t focus on this particular aspect of image quality. Most cameras at this price deliver drab black and white infrared imagery.

Arlo Pro 5S 2K review: What do you get for the money?

The trouble with the Arlo Pro 5S 2K is that it’s pricey. It costs £220 for one camera, £430 for a two-camera bundle or £570 for three cameras, prices that set the Arlo Pro 5S right at the top of the affordability scale when it comes to smart security cameras. Only exotic 4K cameras such as Arlo’s own Ultra 2 or 2XL sell for significantly more.

Remember, too, that you’ll also need to pay a monthly fee to access cloud video clip storage and the camera’s more advanced features. That’s a minimum of £3.49 per month for a single camera, £9.99 for unlimited cameras and £14.99 if you want to include theft protection.

For that money, the Arlo Pro 5S 2K does deliver an impressively broad suite of features, however. As well as capturing video at a sharp resolution of 2,560 x 1,440, the camera also comes with HDR for balancing extremes of dark and bright areas within a scene, an LED spotlight and a siren.

Arlo Pro 5S 2K security camera

This new version now has dual-band Wi-Fi where the previous model was restricted to just 2.4GHz and it comes with colour night vision, where the majority of security cameras capture monochrome video in low-light conditions. The Arlo Pro 5S 2K also has a longer battery life than the Arlo Pro 4 at six months compared with just four months. That’s handy if you have the camera mounted somewhere awkward and you don’t fancy scaling a ladder more often than you need to.

Alternatives include the Google Nest Cam (outdoor), which costs £180 for one or £320 for two, although the camera doesn’t have an LED light or siren – and battery life is on the short side. You do get some limited video clip storage for free, though, with Google letting you download captured clips three hours into the past, where Arlo offers no such thing.

If don’t want to pay a subscription, though, a better option would be the Eufy SoloCam E40. It costs a mere £100, has better battery life than the Nest Cam and comes with on-camera microSD card storage and remote video access. What’s more, most features, including person recognition, work without needing a subscription.

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Arlo Pro 5S 2K review: What does it do well?

Image quality is the Arlo Pro 5S 2K’s strongest suit. During daylight hours, colours are rich and details are crisp, and overall it’s better than the Arlo Pro 4 and Nest Cam. It’s pretty good at balancing dark areas of a scene with very bright areas, too, without completely overexposing them. In terms of image quality, it’s the pick of the 2K security cameras I’ve reviewed.

It’s at night that the Arlo Pro 5S 2K really comes into its own, however, and the “colour” night vision is, in particular, a major boon. Don’t expect it to reproduce full daylight colours, though. The image still looks a little muddy and soft, but the image is, again, noticeably clearer than the Arlo 4 which, in turn, is better than the Nest Cam’s fairly basic monochrome infrared imagery.

General responsiveness is slightly better than before, too, with images relayed to your phone around a second quicker than the Arlo 4, and audio quality has been given a boost. You can now talk to the person at the other end without having to wait for them to finish, walkie-talkie style and, again, I found there was an impressively low amount of lag, whether I was talking through the camera over local Wi-Fi or, remotely via a 5G connection on my phone. This will, of course, vary depending on the strength of your home Wi-Fi signal and your broadband speed, but with a strong signal I had no problems with it at all.

 The camera offers person and animal detection and I was quite impressed with both. It was able to reliably identify cats and foxes, even when relatively small in the frame in low light, and human detection was extremely solid. It can also do object tracking but I’m not entirely sure what the point of this is when you can simply pinch to zoom on any video to get close in on the action. 

A 30% improvement in battery life, however, is a much more useful upgrade for this camera and it’s the best thing about the Arlo Pro 5S 2K. Security cameras tend to be positioned where you can’t easily reach them and the longer the battery life, the less frequently you’ll have to dig out your ladder.

While I’m on the subject of upgrades, the newly revamped Arlo Secure smartphone app works well. It looks a little cleaner than before and should be a touch easier to navigate for newcomers to the ecosystem. I especially like the way you can set up a custom dashboard with your favourite cameras on it. That’s handy if you have a number of Arlo cameras attached to your account and you’d like to focus on just one, two or three, or you want to filter out the base station.

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Arlo Pro 5S 2K review: What could it do better?

Setup is reasonably straightforward, as you’d expect from a company with many years of experience in the security camera market. However, there are some irritations. Despite supporting both 5GHz and 2.4GHz wireless networks for general connectivity, setup takes place only over 2.4GHz. So if, for some reason, you can’t access the 2.4GHz part of your network on your phone, you may have trouble getting going without delving into your router’s settings.

I wasn’t blown away by the volume of the siren, either, and the camera mount supplied in the box is pretty rudimentary considering the high cost of the product. The plastic collar designed to secure the camera in position is flimsy, and securing everything in place is unnecessarily fiddly.

Arlo Pro 5S 2K security camera internal shot with battery

Recharging, too, is a faff. You have to unscrew the whole thing from the mount if you want to charge it and, while it’s possible to use the quick release button on the bottom of the camera to remove the battery and charge it externally, you have to pay extra for that.

The biggest annoyance, however – and I won’t get tired of saying it every time I review an Arlo camera – is that after the initial 30-day trial you’re effectively forced to pay a subscription if you want to keep using the camera. Some features do work without a subscription: you can live-stream the video feed to your phone, use the two-way live audio and get motion alerts, but that’s about your limit. You won’t be able to access recorded video clips, set up activity zones or use the person or animal recognition features without paying monthly.

Arlo Pro 5S 2K review: Should you buy one?

There are some niggles, then, but if you’re happy with paying a subscription to use a security camera, or you already have a fleet of Arlo cameras and doorbells, then the Arlo Pro 5S 2K is the best we’ve tested and worth the extra expense over the Google Nest Cam. Image quality is excellent, battery life is decent, it’s easy to use and responsive, and the object detection features work well.

If you’re not happy with paying monthly, however, stick with the Eufy SoloCam E40. Although the app isn’t as good and the image quality isn’t up to the same standards of the Arlo, it’s less than half the price and doesn’t require you to pay a monthly fee.

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