Netgear has been doing well for a while with the Arlo brand. Will Arlo Pro 3 change that or will the line of excellent cameras continue? The Pro 3 falls nicely in the middle of the Arlo Pro 2 and Arlo Ultra, both in terms of price and features. Is this the security camera you should buy this year?
Arlo’s cameras almost always have an excellent price-quality ratio if you look at the list of specifications and options. Fortunately, the Arlo Pro 3 is no different. The price of the Pro 3 camera systems, including the Smarthub, starts at 599 euros for the system with two cameras. The system with three cameras costs 799 euros and the system with four cameras costs 999 euros. The Add-on Pro 3 cameras (the models that you can buy separately) are available for 299 euros.
Each camera includes the following functions:
- Video resolution of 2k with HDR support
- The cameras can be used wirelessly and have a built-in battery
- Spot light and siren are integrated
- Images with night vision are in color
- If you want, you can also use the cameras with a plug
- Two-way audio with noise and noise suppression
- Wide angle lens
- They are waterproof
- You can receive notifications when motion or sound is detected
Arlo Pro 3 – design and installation
In this review we look at the package of two cameras and the base station. That package immediately contains everything you need to get started. Arlo also supplies screws, a LAN cable and a mounting kit with which you can neatly install and hang the camera. So you don’t have to think about anything afterwards. Do you not want to hang the cameras, but just put them down? No problem, the design lends itself to multiple user scenarios. This immediately gives a good first impression of the system.
We don’t find any exciting elements in terms of design. It is the same camera as the Arlo Pro 2 and Arlo Ultra , which were previously released. The plastic shell is white (hopefully you don’t smoke), while the front of the camera is black. At the bottom of the camera is a flat surface for the camera to rest on, as well as a push button with which you remove the back. This is necessary when you insert the battery for the first time or when you change the battery. The system is accessible and quite simple, thankfully.
In addition to the above-mentioned specifications, the Arlo Pro 3 also has a 4 megapixel sensor with support for high dynamic range. Videos are recorded in 2k, or 2560 by 1440 pixels. There is also a 12x optical zoom, as well as a viewing angle of 160 degrees. With the two infrared LEDs it is also possible to record in the dark. The built-in spot light can be used for night vision with color, so you can also see what is happening on images taken in the evening.
When you use the cameras, you need the included Smarthub. If you have older Arlo cameras at home, you can use them with the new hub. However, you cannot link your new Arlo Pro 3 to the previously listed Smarthub for sale. The hub is quite large and therefore may not be easy to hide. On the back is a USB connection, to which you can, for example, connect a hard drive (up to 2 TB). So you are not obliged to store your images in the cloud; that is also possible locally.
Installing the system is quite easy. When you have unpacked everything, you can download the free app from Google Play or the App Store. You log in with an existing account, or immediately create an account and indicate that you want to add new cameras. The app will then guide you through the installation process, which can be done within minutes. You do well to first charge the batteries before you actually start, because then you can immediately install them in the place you want.
Image quality Arlo Pro 3
When you place the Arlo Pro 3 next to the Arlo Pro 2, the difference in image quality is immediately noticeable. The difference with the first system is of course also remarkable, which can handle images from 720p. The visuals don’t exactly share the purity of Arlo Ultra or the Nest Cam IQ, but that’s not to say it’s bad. Due to the high resolution of the system, it is possible to zoom in up to twelve times; usually images then become a digital mess. But not with the Arlo Pro 3, as you can still clearly see what’s happening.
Keep in mind that the quality generally deteriorates when you go past the 3x zoom, but that is still to be expected. In any case, you cannot do nothing with the images. The colors are generally good and the sharpness is high quality (when not zooming in), so that’s fine. The Arlo Pro 3 has Auto Zoom and Tracking features that help keep your home secure. Nice functions, but they only work when the image quality is set to 1080p (and not 2k).
The camera performs best during the day. Then the color reproduction is at its best and the contrast is at its highest. The automatic hdr mode ensures that overexposure is prevented in many cases. The Arlo Pro 3 is one of the few systems currently that can do that. Sometimes you can also see what is happening outside when the camera is aimed at the window. And with a viewing angle of up to 160 degrees, you can visualize the majority of Dutch living rooms; image distortion is also minimal.
In the evening you can choose from two modes: night mode with and without color. If you choose with, the built-in spotlight is activated. The displayed images then look a lot more natural than cameras without such means, but keep in mind that images can sometimes be a bit blurry and grainy. It can sometimes be better than the standard black and white images, which can also look a bit grainy. Despite this, the spaces are still perfectly visible and the recordings look pretty clean.
Built-in alarm and light
What is very nice about the Arlo Pro 3 is the fact that you also immediately get a spotlight and an alarm at home. You do not have to invest extra for that (although you can say that you spend more than enough money of course). You can set the alarm to go off when motion is detected when the system does not expect it. Previously, this alarm was in Arlo’s smart home hub, but now it is directly in the camera. Great, because this way you also have an alarm at your disposal at any location where a camera is mounted.
And that alarm produces a pretty annoying and shrill sound. Just as well, because probably people who shouldn’t be there think so and hopefully they will run away soon. If the spotlight also comes on, then you can be sure that burglars will be terrified. Because then they know for sure that they look beautiful on screen. It is also nice that you can set the alarm system with a schedule, so you no longer have to worry about it. There is also support for IFTTT, with which you can assemble a safe and helpful system yourself.
Updated application for Arlo Pro 3
Although the Arlo Pro 3 still uses the same application as the other Arlo cameras, it has since been given a new coat of paint. When you open the app, you will see the overview of cameras, divided into blocks. You also immediately see the most recent activity. If you press one of the cameras, you open the stream. For example, you can talk to someone, activate the spotlight and switch on the alarm. You can also switch off the sound here. With the gear icon you can set other things.
The interface of the camera and the settings are clear. It’s nice that the most prominent functions are immediately available. It would have been nice if the on and off button had also been available immediately. Sometimes you don’t want the camera to be on and now you have to dive into the menu. Although the camera does not record everything and only does that when there is unexpected movement or sound, there are situations where it is nice to turn off the camera very quickly. You will also find the button for recorded videos at the bottom.
The Arlo Pro 3 offers support for a variety of voice assistants and smart home systems, including Google Assistant , Siri and Amazon Alexa . For example, if you have a Nest Hub (or another smart home hub with a screen), you can request the live feed and view it on that device. You can also include the system in your IFTTT network and there is support for HomeKit , but no HomeKit Secure Video yet . So there are enough integrations with regard to smart home and otherwise you can arrange that yourself.
Subscription required for Arlo Pro 3
But to really make good use of the system, you need to subscribe to Arlo Smart. For example, the system can send notifications containing information about what exactly triggered the motion sensor: a person, animal or car. You can also set the camera to watch for packages that are placed in front of the door (this is a new feature). With a subscription, starting at 2.99 euros, you also have access to the cloud storage service. The recorded images can then be viewed in the cloud for up to thirty days.
Arlo Pro 3 – conclusion
We will remain honest. Despite being less expensive than the Arlo Ultra, the Arlo Pro 3 is still an expensive home or office security camera system. But you do get a lot in return: nice image quality, HDR support and a system that can track objects that trigger a notification. In addition, there are many possibilities in the field of smart home integrations and the system is quite flexible when it comes to placing cameras (thanks to the built-in battery).
Then we have not even talked about the easy installation, the extensive night vision and the integrated functions so that you do not have to install a separate spotlight or alarm. Of course there are also some drawbacks. The price is a big drawback because the system is not cheap. In addition, it is unfortunate that some functions are behind a paywall and that zoomed images quickly suffer quality loss. But at the bottom of the line, this is one of the best and most comprehensive security camera systems at the moment.
- Image quality generally very good
- Lots of smart home options
- Flexible and easy to install
- Quite a smart system
- Not cheap
- Subscription required for useful functions
- Quality loss when zooming in