Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Specifications
Cut: 3.5 x 2.0 x 3.0 inch
Video resolution: 1080p / 30 fps
Battery Life: Up to 6 months
Walk with: Alexa, Google Home, HomeKit
Arlo home security cameras are known for their video quality, but they are also known for their high price tag compared to other cameras. The $ 129 Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera seeks to capture consumers looking for something more affordable and easier to install.
The Arlo Essential largely achieves this, delivering a crisp, crisp image, and it has a bright projector that can brighten things up on the darkest nights. However, there are a few tradeoffs at this price. Read the rest of our Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera review to find out if this is the best outdoor security camera for you.
- Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Pricing and Availability
- Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Design
- Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Video Quality
- Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Battery Life
- Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Smart Home Compatibility
- Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Cloud Storage Fee
- Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Verdict
Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Pricing and Availability
On the Arlo site, the Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera is priced at $ 129, although you can often find it for sale at other retailers. Arlo also offers discounts if you buy three cameras at the same time ($ 349).
The Arlo Essential XL ($ 149) is the same camera, but with a bigger battery that the company says will last up to a year before needing to be recharged. Both versions are available with a white or black housing.
Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Design
The Arlo Essential looks like Arlo’s other outdoor wireless cameras, only larger. It has a trapezoidal shape with the rounded rear slightly larger than the flat front. Measuring 3.5 inches long by 3 inches wide and 2 inches thick, it is much larger than many other wireless outdoor cameras, such as the Flashing in the open air and even some of Arlo’s other cameras. It is certainly more noticeable.
On the back of the Arlo Essential is a small screw hole that you can use to secure the camera to the included mounting bracket. At the bottom is a small rubber flap that protects the microUSB charging port as well as a small power button.
As it should be with all outdoor cameras, the Arlo Essential is weather resistant. He has withstood many adverse conditions outside my home.
Like most of Arlo’s newer security cameras, the Arlo Essential can connect directly to your Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz only).
As part of the installation process, Arlo requires all users to configure two-step authentication to prevent hackers from accessing your camera.
Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Video Quality
Like the company’s other home security cameras, the Arlo Essential’s camera recorded fairly crisp video, day or night. I mounted the camera near my front door and could easily distinguish the characteristics of visitors from a distance of 5 to 10 feet.
At night, the Essential’s spotlight was particularly effective, lighting up a subject about 10 feet away. Not only were the reds and yellows of his shirt precise, but so were surrounding elements such as trees.
Even without a projector, the Arlo Essential’s infrared camera was able to capture enough detail at night to recognize people in front of the camera.
Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Battery Life
Arlo says the essential wireless security camera’s battery should last up to six months without needing to be recharged, but that depends a lot on how often the camera and its LED indicator light up.
I put mine up in an area in my yard that gets a lot of furry traffic at night. The Arlo’s battery drained in a matter of weeks, while the Blink (which doesn’t have an LED light) continued to run with very little impact on its battery. Unlike the company’s top-of-the-line Arlo Pro 4, which has a removable battery, the Arlo Essential’s battery is built-in, so you have to disassemble the entire unit to charge it.
If you like the Arlo but don’t like the idea of having to take it apart to charge it all the time, you have two options. The Arlo Essential XL Wireless Security Camera ($ 149) is the same size but offers double battery life. Alternatively, you can purchase a compatible solar panel ($ 49) that will keep the camera battery topped up.
Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Smart Home Compatibility
A good thing about Arlo cameras in general is that they not only work with Alexa and Google Assistant, but they are also HomeKit compatible so fans of Apple’s smart home ecosystem are not left behind. However, for an Arlo to work with HomeKit (as well as SmartThings), you will also need the Arlo base station ($ 99, sold separately).
This means that you can not only control the cameras using the smart assistant of your choice, but also if you have a smart display (like Amazon Echo Show or Google Nest Hub Max) or a smart device. streaming like Apple TV, Fire Stick, or Chromecast with Android, you can view a camera feed on these devices.
Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Cloud Storage Fee
As is the case with many security cameras, if you want to use all the features of Arlo Essential (such as customizable motion detection zones, people, parcel and vehicle detection, smoke / CO alarm and e911) as well as recording the video in the cloud, you will need to purchase one of the Arlo plans.
Arlo Secure costs $ 2.99 / month for a single camera and $ 10 / month for an unlimited number of cameras. There is no reduction if you opt for an annual subscription.
Arlo Secure Plus costs $ 14.99 / month for an unlimited number of cameras (there is no single camera option). This plan gives you everything with Arlo Secure, but also lets you store up to 30 days of 4K recordings.
Plus, you get an emergency response, which connects you to a professional call center and lets you contact fire and police at the push of a button. Unless you have Arlo Ultra or Arlo Ultra 2, this plan wouldn’t make sense to an Arlo Essential owner unless you wanted the emergency response feature.
Arlo’s plans are competitive with cloud storage plans from other security cameras; Blink and Ring’s plans, for example, start at $ 3 / month for a single camera and include 60 days of rolling cloud storage. For $ 10 / month, you get unlimited cameras in one place. However, Nest offers three hours of storage, as well as free detection of people, packages, and animals.
Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera: Verdict
The Arlo Essential Wireless Security Camera is a good option for those looking for an outdoor security camera under $ 100 with a built-in projector. It has excellent video quality and full application.
However, due to its projector, the Arlo Essential is much larger and has a much shorter battery life than other outdoor security cameras such as the Blink Outdoor. And, to charge the Arlo Essential, you have to remove the entire camera from its perch, which can be a pain. But the Arlo has a projector – something the Blink can’t match.