The Arlo Pro 2 is one of an eight-strong line of smart security cameras by Netgear, including the recently announced Arlo Pro 3, the 4K Arlo Ultra and the company’s smart baby monitor, Arlo Baby.
The kit we tested comes in a pack with two cameras as standard, so it’s a great choice if you have more than one room you want to keep an eye on. You can also buy larger kits, or add individual cameras as and when you require them.
Unlike the Nest Cam IQ Indoor, the cameras are wireless, but its features are arguably not quite as extensive.
At around £460 it’s a considerable investment too, but not wildly out of the price range for a premium smart security setup.
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What is the Arlo Pro 2?
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The Arlo Pro 2 is a full HD wireless smart security camera setup, that comes with two cameras and a hub that connects to your router via ethernet for a more stable performance.
The hub is about the same size as your router, and stands upright. It’s not the smallest thing to tuck away, but it does give your cameras the flexibility of being wireless so you can place them wherever suits, without worrying about plug sockets.
The cameras themselves are nice and compact too, and stand upright on their own, or they also come with wall brackets that they connect to magnetically. Like the Nest IQ Cam Indoor, the focus is fixed, so there’s no remote panning around, but the wide-angle lens should you have most rooms covered.
Arlo reckons their built-in battery will last six months, but we’d be surprised if they make it quite that long. It’ll depend on how much you check in to them remotely as to how quickly they’ll drain, but after a month of usage, our cameras had dropped around 20–25% of their charge.
Thankfully they only take two hours to charge from flat, so it’s something you can do relatively quickly, and you’ll only need to think about it a couple of times a year.
For slotting into an existing smart home, the Arlo Pro 2 works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s HomeKit, so no matter what smart home ecosystem you’ve bought into, this camera setup should work with it.
How easy is it to set up?
Pretty easy indeed. You can set up the Arlo Pro 2 using your laptop and browser or by downloading the Arlo app, and we’d thoroughly recommend the latter.
It’ll walk you through the setup step by step, first getting your hub online, which needs to be hardwired to your router via ethernet, then adding your cameras, one by one.
This is done by pressing the sync button on the top of the camera and then the same button on the top of the hub – three green lights will show on the hub when it’s been synced successfully, and you do that for each camera you want to add. It only took us a couple of minutes to get our two-camera system up and running.
Once you’re set up, you’ll see both feeds on your main app screen, and you can click into each video stream to watch live. From there you can record, take a picture or speak through the microphone. Unlike the Nest Cam IQ Indoor, there is no indication light to let people know they’re being filmed.
Who will the Arlo Pro 2 suit?
The Arlo Pro 2 will suit anyone with a decent budget looking to keep an eye on their home when they’re out and about. It’s a particularly good package for those with larger homes, with more than one room they’d like to monitor, as it’s all here in one box. Adding extra cameras is easy too, and you can add up to five to your Arlo account free of charge.
It’s compact size means the Arlo Pro 2 is easy to tuck away out of sight, so anyone who doesn’t want obvious bits of tech sitting around in their home might prefer this to the Google Nest Cam IQ Indoors. It also helps that there are no plug sockets to worry about, so there is no restriction as to where they need to be placed (and no wires running up walls either).
It’s certainly not the cheapest way to keep an eye on your home, but it does offer a great quality picture, is reliable and offers a pretty good feature set without needing to sign up to the subscription service.
How does the Arlo Pro 2 perform?
Bold, punchy video quality
The picture quality on the Arlo 2 is great. The colours are bright and vivid for the day time shots, and while it’s not quite as natural a picture as the Nest Cam IQ Indoor’s picture, it is clear, sharp and pleasing on the eye.
Night vision fares just as well, and it’s easy to make out people and animals, even when there is no light at all. If you need to get a closer look at something in the footage, you can just pinch to zoom on your smartphone.
As we’ve already mentioned, the fact the cameras are wireless, not to mention nice and compact, makes them really easy to install in your house. They’re one of the smallest smart security cameras we’ve tested, alongside the Moobox Pro XT.
Generous cloud storage
Arlo is more generous than many when it comes to its free cloud storage, saving footage of any suspicious movement or sound for seven days, compared to Nest’s three hours and Hive’s 24 hours.
There is a subscription offering, which will stretch this cloud storage to a month or longer, as well as give you a few more features too.
These include more specific and customisable alerts (such as if it’s spotted a person, vehicle or animal) and the ability to set activity zones for the camera to keep an eye on or ignore to reduce unnecessary notifications.
The subscription starts from £1.99/month per camera, which is half the price of Nest’s lowest priced subscription and should cover the majority of households.
If you see something you don’t like the look of, you can remotely start the alarm on the hub, which rings at 100+ decibels – one of the great things about having the larger device.
You can also choose to call-a-friend, if you’re away from home and you want someone to go and check in on what’s going on. This feature simply stores three emergency contacts within the Arlo app, and allows you to dial one directly from the app to save time.
The Arlo Pro 2 is IP65 rated, which means it should withstand the rain, cold and – when we get it – heat and sunshine, and since there are no wires required, having it mounted in your garden shouldn’t be too much of a problem at all.
Other brands offer outdoor versions of their cameras, but this package could happily cover both indoors and outdoors in one fell swoop.
It knows when you’re out
To reduce the amount of notifications you get, you can choose to have Arlo in Geofencing mode, which will switch the camera on and off automatically when you’re in or out of the house. It does this based on the location of your phone.
If you’d rather not have location settings turned on on your phone, there is also the option to set a timer for the times you’re at work, for example.
There’s a small built-in speaker on the Arlo Pro 2. While it doesn’t include smart speaker functionality like the Nest IQ Cam Indoor has, it does serve as a way of speaking to intruders from your smartphone… or just for having a chat with your dog.
To do so, you simply press the microphone icon within the app, and speak through your room of choice, which comes through loud and clear.
Tailor your alerts
As well as telling your camera when you’d like it to record, with timers or geolocation, you can also tailor the alerts you receive. If you pay for the Arlo Smart subscription, it can tell the difference between people, vehicles and animals, and send you specific alerts based on the motion it detects.
I have two dogs, so decided to turn off animal notifications to prevent my phone buzzing every two minutes.
Any motion that triggers an alert is saved as a video clip and stored in your library, where you can then download, forward or delete it – or even “donate” it to Arlo to help them improve their alerts.
What did I like?
The wireless, compact convenience of the Arlo Pro 2 is brilliant, and the picture quality is fantastic, in both day and night. If you need to call on this for security footage, you won’t be piecing pixels together to make out the features of a suspect.
The app is really well featured, and if you can make do with more generic notifications, there’s a lot you can do without needing to subscribe to Arlo Smart.
Having the built-in siren is a fantastic way of upping this from smart security system to fully fledged burglar alarm, which should send any intruders packing quick sharp.
What didn't I like?
It’s not quite as clever or accurate as some smart security cameras we have tested. It doesn’t have the ability to recognise specific faces like the Nest Cam IQ Indoor, for example, which was great for reducing unnecessary alerts.
I also found it would occasionally send me false alarms, letting me know it had spotted a person in the house, which when I checked, turned out (thankfully) not to be the case. I didn’t experience as much of this with the Nest Cam IQ Indoors.
The Geofencing could be a bit erratic too, and sometimes I would be sitting in the house and it would say it had switched into 'Away' mode. It required me to open to app for it to correct itself and switch back to 'Home'.
Real Homes verdict
The Arlo Pro 2 is a fantastic smart security setup, with great picture quality and wireless convenience. It’s not quite as smart as something like the Nest Cam IQ Indoor, but it’s a bit cheaper too, particularly when you consider the cost of their accompanying subscription services.
Even better, you could probably do without buying into Arlo Smart if you didn’t want to. Your notifications would be a bit more generic, but the seven days of cloud storage is hugely generous for free. You couldn’t say the same for Nest, which feels more reliant on its subscription service for all its good bits.
Overall, the Arlo Pro 2 is a brilliant performing smart security system for the more premium end of the market. The Nest Cam IQ Indoor might pip it for out and out performance, but there’s plenty to love here.
About our reviewer: Verity Burns
Verity Burns is our smart home tech expert. She has been writing about technology for over a decade, and spends a lot of time tinkering with the latest in smart home tech for The Hub section of Realhomes.com. You may even spot her chatting about smart home best buys and top tips on The Real Homes Show.
When she's not writing, reviewing or offering tech support to various members of her family, she's a mum of three – one real baby and two furry ones. You’ll always find her in the living room, or recalibrating terrible TV settings at parties.