Arlo Pro 3 review: Add a security camera system to your home in less than 5 mins
OPINION: Here's how to add a security camera system to your home with a phone.
Arlo Pro 3 review
2K picture and 160-degree field of view
Easy to set up
30-day battery life
Alerts on smartphone
Siren built into the camera
Smart notifications require subscription.
It's rare that a product comes along, and it makes total sense. That's exactly what has happened with the Arlo Pro 3. It's price, feature set and ease-of-use make it the perfect go-to security camera system (for most people).
Arlo, once a side project of Netgear, has carved out a sought-after niche for itself. It's found a market in security-conscious people, like you and me, who want to make use of our ever-increasingly connected world.
Best of all, you won't need any help setting it up. Providing you can use a screwdriver and know what an Ethernet cable is, you'll be able to install a high-end security camera system at your home in less than five minutes. It's that easy.
This is all made possible by Arlo's decision to manufacture battery-powered devices. But, unlike your smartphone, you won't have to charge these batteries every day as the Arlo Pro 3 is designed to last 30-days on a single charge.
How easy is charging the batteries? Very. It takes less than 10 seconds to unmount an Arlo Pro 3 camera. Charging time is reasonable too, with the devices needing less than 3 hours to go from empty to fully charged using the (provided) magnetic charger.
The Pro 3 is Arlo's latest release. Sitting neatly in the middle of its two existing products, the Arlo Pro Ultra ($1,150) and the Arlo Pro 2 ($790).
The biggest difference here is the picture quality. The Pro 3 boasts a decent 2K (2560p) resolution with an ample 160-degree field of view, providing more than enough picture quality to see a face clearly.
This is much improved on the Pro 2's 720p camera and a 110-degree view, but doesn't reach the pin-sharp 4K resolution and 180-degree field of view of the Ultra.
The Pro Ultra is built to withstand weather conditions ranging from -20 to 60 C°, whereas the Pro 3 will only operate in -20 to 45 C° temperatures.
Weather records suggest that New Zealander's shouldn't pay too much attention to this as we have only ever had temperatures colder than -20 C° three times. Each time in Central Otago. While the hottest day we've ever managed was 42.4 °C.
For 99.9 per cent of Kiwis, the device's IP65 weather-resistant rating will be more than enough beat the elements.
Annoyingly, you only get a three-month free trial to Arlo Smart when you buy the system. Once that ends, you need to fork out $3.99 a month for the service. Per camera. Or $13.99/month for the Arlo Smart Premier plan that covers up to 10 Arlo cameras.
Arlo Smart is essentially the device's cloud storage service. It does a few other gimmicky things like use artificial intelligence to add extra information about what's going on in your recordings. Handy if you want the camera to avoid notification if its motion detection is set off by an animal rather than a human, for example.
The good news is that you don't need to pay for this. You will still get motion-detection notifications on the free plan. And you can connect a USB storage device via the Arlo 3's SmartHub - which is essentially Arlo's own wireless router, and it comes free with your kit.
If you don't want to spend a single minute without your Arlo Pro 3 cameras online, you can buy extra (or replacement) batteries cost for roughly $100.
The hands-off nature of the Arlo Pro 3 is what I find most appealing. Since the five minutes I spent physically installing the cameras. And the additional five minutes I spent setting up "Geofencing" on my, and my partner's, phone - a feature that uses my smartphone's GPS to automatically "Arm" the system when I leave my house - I rarely use it.
Apart from the odd occasion when I'm out, and I actively check the system's Livestream for my own peace of mind.
And this is exactly what you want from a security camera system, right? Easy to use, intelligent and unobtrusive. That's the Arlo Pro 3 in a nutshell.