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Arlo Essential Spotlight 1080p camera – focus on quality for a lower price
Name: Arlo Essential Spotlight 1080p camera Price (RRP): $229 (discounts for multi-packs) Manufacturer: Arlo
Class-leading 1080p colour day and night imagesDoes not need a smart hub (only Wi-Fi)Affordable for an Arlo
You need a paid Arlo Security cloud subscription to make the most of itNon-removable battery and unscrew the camera to charge
Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of Use
Design
4.3Overall Score
Reader Rating 0 Votes
Arlo Essential Spotlight 1080p camera – focus on quality for a lower price
4.3Overall Score
Name: Arlo Essential Spotlight 1080p camera
Price (RRP): $229 (discounts for multi-packs)
Manufacturer: Arlo

The Arlo Essential Spotlight 1080p camera is its lowest cost Gen 2 security camera. It is tempting to compare it to other Gen 2 cameras like the Arlo Pro 3 (2K) or Arlo Ultra (4K), but that is not fair.

Why? Because the Arlo Essential Spotlight 1080p camera meets a lower price point of $229 (even less in multiple packs). To do so, it has dropped things that Arlo Gen 2 users expect but are not necessarily what the competition offers at that price either.

Instead, we need to compare it to other 1080p cameras like those from Swann, Uniden, Ring, Nest and indeed the original Arlo Pro 2 (review here 3.6/5)

Let’s call the Arlo Essential Spotlight 1080p camera Gen 1.5 – what are the differences from Gen 2

It is micro-USB (cable supplied) powered but no charger – saving a few dollars. Gone is the Gen 2 innovative and waterproof magnetic mount/cable and charger. That means you can’t use a Gen 2 solar panel – you need an Essential Solar panel.

Arlo Essential Spotlight 1080p camera
Pro 3 (L) showing quick release housing button and magnetic cable. Essential (R) is micro USB.

It has a non-removable, rechargeable battery. That means you have to unscrew it from the mount and take it inside to charge. It also means that when the battery dies, it is a throw-away item. Gen 2 has a fast release, removable and user-replaceable battery.

It is 1080p – 4:3 ratio that means the clarity you get with Gen 2 digital zoom is not as good. Nor is the colour depth. And the FOV is reduced to 130° compared to up to 120-180° (Ultra).

It has dual spotlight LEDs versus four for the Ultra and two for the Pro 3.

It does not need a smart hub either. With the Arlo app, it will work happily as a Wi-Fi only security camera. But you get more features with a hub (local storage, HVEC compression, faster connect times, more reliable connection, etc.).

Existing Arlo Gen 2 users will be taking a step back, and my strongest recommendation is to hunt around to bag a bargain on the Pro 3 (review here 4.6/5) or Ultra (review here 4.4/5).

For everyone else, it’s a cut above the typical offerings.

Australian review: Arlo Essential Spotlight 1080p camera VMC2030-100AUS

  • Website here
  • Price: $229 for one, $429 for two from Arlo retailers in September
  • Warranty: 1-year ACL
  • Elevator Pitch: Lower cost 1080p Arlo quality security camera to attract a new market
  • Country of manufacture: Vietnam
  • Arlo Technologies is a U.S. home automation company making wireless security cameras. It was part of NETGEAR, before its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in August 2018.

We use FAIL, PASS or EXCEED against the various test paradigms. These are relevant to Wi-Fi 1080p cameras.

Setup – EXCEED

Arlo’s hallmark is its extremely easy to use app. Download, set up an account, add a device, and it steps you through it. This worked the first time, updated the firmware and was ready to go in under a minute.

It comes with the Arlo Smart Premier 3-month security cloud trial so you can try out various cloud features such as Activity Zones, cloud storage (30 days), object detection, package detection, phone a friend and more intelligent alerts.

I initially tried to take the low-cost route but found that there was some amazing value in the cloud offerings.

I guess that value buyers will be happy with the free plan.