Arlo Pro 3 Installed OutdoorsSource: Christopher Close / iMore

When it comes to the world of completely wireless cameras, the brand most often associated with category is Arlo, and for good reason. Prior to Arlo's first battery powered smart camera system, the dream of having a range of cameras that could be installed without wires around the home, was just that: a dream.

Although the first few years of wireless freedom were a little rough around the edges, Arlo has continued to refine their line with battery life improvements and of course, higher quality visuals. Arlo's line has also grown considerably since the original wireless system, with the company having a form factor for all sorts of applications — seven in total as of today.

Introduced in late 2019, the Arlo Pro 3 is the company's latest prosumer model which packs in a staggering amount of features, including 2K resolution with HDR. I have been testing the two-camera Arlo Pro 3 system over the past month and found that it delivers on all of the essentials. Wireless freedom, great image quality, and extras like an integrated spotlight and siren make it one to consider, although it does come with some large catches.

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Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Security Camera System

Bottom line: The Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Security Camera System offers it all, 2K HDR image quality, integrated spotlight, siren, and support for all of the major smart home platforms. If you can afford it, the Pro 3 is a solid choice, just make sure that you factor in a subscription to go along with it.

The Good

  • 2K HDR Image quality
  • Integrated spotlight
  • Built-in siren
  • Removable rechargeable battery
  • Works with HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant

The Bad

  • Expensive
  • Doesn't support HomeKit Secure Video
  • Activity zones and cloud recording require subscription


Fully-loaded

Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Security Camera System: The features

Arlo Pro 3 Side Mount ViewSource: Christopher Close / iMore

As previously mentioned, the Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Security Camera System that I tested included two cameras along with the Arlo SmartHub. Arlo's SmartHub connects to home routers via an included ethernet cable, allowing it to manage the wireless cameras in a way that reduces traffic on the local network. The SmartHub can reach cameras up to 300 feet away with a direct line of sight over a 2.4ghz radio signal. Around the back of the SmartHub is a single USB port, which allows the hub to work with hard-drives for local storage, but after set up, interactions with the hub will be scarce.

Moving over the actual cameras, the 4 megapixel Pro 3's are capable of producing a maximum resolution of 2560x1440 with a wide 160-degree Field of View. In addition to 2K, the Pro 3's can stream and record video in 1080p and 720p HD resolution, and they sport infrared LEDs with Cut Filter for black and white night vision. The Pro 3 can also produce color visuals at night thanks to an adjustable integrated spotlight that can reach up to 42 lux of brightness at its highest setting. The spotlight can be toggled on manually, while the camera is streaming, or with motion events.

Arlo Pro 3 Base StationSource: Christopher Close / iMore

Since the cameras are completely wireless, they each rely on a removable, rechargeable lithium polymer battery. Battery capacity is listed as 4800mAh, which Arlo states should last between three to six months with typical usage. The batteries can be charged while in the camera's housing, through an included magnetic charging cable, or since they are removable, they can be set into charging dock accessories for greater convenience. Charging a battery takes around three and a half hours via the cable, and around 3 hours with an accessory.

Other hardware highlights include an integrated siren, microphone, and speaker for 2-way audio. Being built primarily for the outdoors, the Arlo Pro 3 cameras are weather resistant, capable of withstanding typical conditions such as wind, rain, and snow in temperatures ranging from -4 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The cameras can be wall mounted indoors and out with two included options: one with a magnetic base and one with a more traditional adjustable arm.

Arlo Pro 3 App SetupSource: iMore

The Arlo Pro 3 cameras work in conjunction with the Arlo app, as well as with platforms including Apple's HomeKit, Amazon's Alexa, and the Google Assistant. Through the Arlo app, a live feed from the cameras can be summoned on demand, recorded footage can be reviewed, and notifications can be set up to be delivered directly to your devices when motion is detected. Arlo offers advanced features such as cloud recording through a subscription service, Arlo Smart, which starts at $2.99 a month for a single camera. The basic Arlo Smart plan includes a rolling 30-day video history, and supports up to 2K resolution. Arlo includes a three month trial to the service with purchase, and while highly recommended, the cameras can be used without a subscription if desired (more on that later).

Batteries done right

Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Security Camera System: What I like

Arlo Pro 3 Magnetic Charging CableSource: Christopher Close / iMore

Even with a separate Smart Hub required for set up, getting the Arlo Pro 3 cameras up and running was a relatively pain-free experience. To sum it all up, you plug in the Smart Hub to a free ethernet port on your router, add it to your account, and then pair the included cameras, which happens pretty much automatically. While there are a lot of prompts to go through in the app, I do like how everything is covered, complete with handy visuals.

Since the Pro 3 cameras are my first from Arlo, I was surprised to see actual removable batteries, a rarity for the wireless camera category. Sure, additional batteries do come with a cost, but I love that Arlo actually provides the ability to purchase extras so that there is always one ready to go. I was also pleasantly surprised by the charging process in general, with an elegant magnetic cable that snaps right into place on a camera to top it off.

Arlo Pro 3 App SetupSource: iMore

Sure, additional batteries do come with a cost, but I love that Arlo actually provides the ability to purchase extras so that there is always one ready to go.

Of course, with other wireless cameras around the outside of my home currently, I was excited to see how the performance of the Pro 3 system compared. While it was not all roses, the two Arlo Pro 3 cameras installed on opposite sides of my home worked pretty much as expected, each having a solid enough signal to relay their visuals on demand. Pulling up a live feed via the Arlo app, and Apple's Home app, took around five seconds on most occasions, with a few random bouts taking upwards of eight to ten seconds.

Arlo Pro 3 Night Vision IndoorsSource: Christopher Close / iMore

Image quality also met my expectations, although I can't quite say whether or not the camera actually meets its 2K claims. When I tested the cameras indoors, image quality was fantastic with easy to discern details, and little noise. The same extended to night vision with the traditional black and white infrared imagery producing a clear and crisp view in the dark. Firing up the integrated spotlight added a splash of color to the same view, which was great to see in such a low light scenario.

Arlo Pro 3 Color Night Vision IndoorsSource: Christopher Close / iMore

Things were a little different though once the cameras were installed outdoors. I immediately saw a reduction of quality from both of the Pro 3 cameras, especially at night, and despite the app indicating that I was watching a 2K stream. That is not to say that the visuals were terrible by any means, they were brought down to a level that matches other cameras that I have tested, even with the spotlight turned on. As with all wireless cameras, performance will vary depending on placement and distance, but for the lengths where mine are installed, I am certainly fine with the results.

Pricey+

Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Security Camera System: What I don't like

Arlo Pro 3 Arlo SmartSource: iMore

Despite the premium price tag and the whole host of hardware features, the Arlo Pro 3 locks several smart security staples behind a subscription. One of which is cloud storage for recorded footage, which is understandable considering that storage and servers almost certainly require some kind of cost on Arlo's side. The lack of cloud storage is also negated by the ability to attach a hard drive to the Arlo SmartHub so it isn't the biggest of deals, but I would have liked to seen at least 24 hours of cloud storage included for free.

Arlo Pro 3 Color Night Vision OutdoorsSource: Christopher Close / iMore

What is a big deal though, is activity zones, which require the Arlo Smart service. Without Arlo Smart, owners of the Pro 3 will receive notifications for everything that happens within the camera's view, which could be maddening depending on where it is installed. Many of Arlo's competitors, including more affordable options from brands like eufy, provide activity zones and image analysis completely free, and are processed locally on device.

This makes Arlo's subscription essentially required which will be hard for some to swallow after shelling out around $500 for a two camera system. During my review of Arlo's Video Doorbell just a couple of months ago, I noted that the lack of zones as a standard feature was indeed something to consider. I was able to look past the subscription requirement for my particular installation location, so I was fully aware that this would extend to the company's cameras, but it still stings having to pay for the feature.

Arlo Pro 3 Day Outdoor ViewSource: Christopher Close / iMore

While the Arlo Pro 3 cameras support Apple's HomeKit, they are missing some key features. Yes, you can view a live stream from the Home app, and you can create motion based automations with it, but that is about it. The integrated spotlight is nowhere to be found, as well as support for HomeKit Secure Video, which is disappointing to say the least. I would love to see the Pro 3 work with my iCloud storage subscription, and I would certainly love to see it work with Apple's activity zone features that are coming in iOS 14. Sure, HomeKit Secure Video could be added in a future update, but I am not counting on it, as Arlo seems to want to forge ahead with its own service offerings.

Premium picture, premium price

Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Security Camera System: The Bottom Line

3.5 out of 5

At the end of the day, the Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Security Camera System has all of the makings of a fantastic security solution that can meet almost anyones needs. Top-notch build quality, completely wireless design, and high definition visuals, along with extras like an integrated spotlight and siren put it at the top of the charts, at least on paper.

However, the Pro 3 becomes harder to recommend once you factor in price and software features. The expensive cost of entry, plus a subscription fee for activity zones and cloud storage potentially puts the Arlo Pro 3 out of reach for many, which is a shame considering just how good the hardware is. If you just want a solid camera with great imagery and can afford it plus the subscription, then go with the Pro 3, its great. If price is an issue though, then you most certainly will need to look elsewhere.

Pay-per-view

Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Security Camera System

Bottom line: The Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Security Camera System offers it all, 2K HDR image quality, integrated spotlight, siren, and support for all of the major smart home platforms. If you can afford it, the Pro 3 is a solid choice, just make sure that you factor in a subscription to go along with it.

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