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Why set up an Arlo home? (includes Arlo Pro 3 camera mini-review).
4.6Overall Score
Name: Arlo Pro 3
Price (RRP): $419 single camera
Manufacturer: Arlo

Over the last two years, we have tested a lot of excellent Wi-Fi-based security systems. But our conclusion is that, while expensive and with ongoing subscriptions, an Arlo home works best.

Why an Arlo home? Well because it is a fundamentally different system to Wi-Fi-based security cameras, doorbells/chimes, security lights and more.

An Arlo home is one of the most complete ecosystems, and there is one little secret to its success – it works first time, every time. Why?

Arlo Home

Enter the Arlo home hub – the secret sauce (Arlo calls it a Base Station).

At the core of every Arlo home system is a hub – it can be one of three types or multiple hubs placed for best efficiency.

Depending on the model, the hub serves several purposes.

First, it communicates with Arlo devices using its own radiofrequency. That means all the traffic is kept off the Wi-Fi home network.  I repeat no traffic at all over Wi-Fi and not subject to its vagaries, dropouts, slowness and congestion.

Second, few Wi-Fi routers have the power or reach to stream video or reasonably lag-free two-way conversation. For example, if you are streaming video or music, there may be little Wi-Fi bandwidth available for others to use. That is why so few Wi-Fi security cameras can live stream above 720p and often at 10-15 frames a second.

Third, the hub communicates with the router via an Ethernet cable at speeds typically of 1Gbps (125MBps).

Fourth, the hub compresses security camera video into H.264, or H.265 (much smaller) streams so that smaller signal goes straight through the router via its internet connection to the Arlo cloud where it is stored for a time depending on your needs and the appropriate cost.

Some hubs have USB or micro-SD local storage, especially useful if the internet is down, sirens etc

In summary, we have found the hub maintains a rock-solid link to Arlo devices, it does not suffer from the vagaries and unreliability of Wi-Fi and internet and is always available for remote viewing (if the internet is up).

Different hubs

You don’t go and buy a hub then buy cameras (although you can). Arlo works on supplying the right hub in starter packs with cameras – these are more economical.

While the hubs are backwards camera compatible, e.g. an Ultra Base Station can run Arlo Pro (720), Pro 2 (1080), Pro 3  (2K) and Ultra (4K) but a Pro base station can only run cameras at 720p – they are not so much forward compatible.

Our best advice is to start with the Ultra hub and attach a mix of Pro 2, Pro 3 and Ultra cameras according to need.

Arlo base stations

Item Arlo
No longer sold
VMB3000 and VMB3500
Arlo Pro
VMB4000 and VMB4500
Arlo Pro 3
Smart Hub
VMB 4540  
Arlo Ultra Hub
VMB5000
Cameras 720 Arlo Pro
720 Pro 2
Doorbell/chime

720 Arlo Pro
1080 Pro 2
2K Pro 3
Doorbell/chime
4K with Ultra
2K Pro 3
1080 Pro 2
Doorbell/chime
4K HDR with Ultra
2K Pro 3
1080 Pro 2
Doorbell/chime
Ports WAN to router, USB WAN to router
2 x USB
WAN
USB
WAN
Micro SD
Wireless range 90m line of sight Same Wi-Fi Link Wi-Fi Link using multi-stream antenna
Siren No Yes   No
Cameras 5 camera streams
Supports up to 20 cameras

Same

Same
Supports up to 10 cameras
Same
2 X 4K streams or 5 x 1080p streams
Supports up to 10 cameras
Dimensions 215.9 x 57.15 x 165.1 mm x 110g 58.6 x 174.5 x 126.5 mm x 316g    

Arlo Cameras

Type Pro 2 Pro 3 (uses Ultra tech) Ultra
AC Adapter Output  5V/1A 5V 2A Same
Audio  Half-duplex Full Duplex 2-way Audio same
Battery Life Depends on use 3-6 months depending on usage and uses Ultra Battery Same
Charge Time to Full (via camera/charger) TBC 3.5/2.9 hrs Same
Digital Zoom 8x 12x same
Dimensions and Weight  79.3 x 48.6 x 70.5 mm x 136g 89mm x 52mm x 78.4mm x 331g same
Indoor/Outdoor Weather-resistant Outdoor UV and weather-resistant Same
Lens Field of View 130° 160° diagonal  180°
Maximum Video Resolution 1920×1080 2560×1440
1/3 ”
3840×2160
½”
Microphone
Speakers
Single microphone
1 speaker
Single microphone
1 speaker
Siren
Dual with noise cancellation
1 speaker
Siren
Minimum upload speed per camera 2Mbps 2 Mbps 4Mpbs for 4K
2Mbps for 2K
Motion Detection Single Motion Detectors, 130° 
PIR to 6m
Single Motion Detectors, 130° 
PIR to 6m
Dual motion detectors, 150°
PIR to 6m
Networking To Base Station 2.4Ghz
Claim 90m but closer to 30m
Wi-Fi Link
Better
Same
Better
Night Vision 850 nm LEDs: illuminates up to 8m with IR cut-off filter   High powered Infrared LEDs (850nm) with IR Cut Filter same
Operating Temperature -20 to 45° -20 to 45° -20-60°
Spotlight No 6500K, 42Lux @1M same
Status Lights LED 2x LEDs (blue and amber) same
Video Features H.264 Auto Zoom and Tracking, HDR, H.264 and H.265 Encoding same
Video Modes [email protected], 720p 2k, 1080p, 720p 4k, 2K, 1080p, 720p
Warranty 1-year warranty same same
Single price (approx.) $287 $418 $450
GadgetGuy Review This article Review

As you can see, the subtle differences are in resolution (1080 vs 2K vs 4K), mics (single/dual) and a slightly wider Field-of-View. But the Pro 2 is older technology, and a lot of its features are only available when using the power source or via the cloud.