The Arlo Pro 3 smart home security system strikes the perfect balance between image quality, smart features, flexible installation, and price. With 2K video recording or smart pan and zoom, you get better-looking video quality and with totally wireless installation options it’s easy to install.
With wire-free installation options and weatherproof camera design, the Arlo Pro 3 earns a Gotta Be Mobile Editor’s Choice Award. This is one of the best smart home cameras that you can buy in 2020 and even when you factor in the need for a subscription to use the advanced features, it’s a solid choice.
I’m a huge fan of the Arlo Ultra, which records in 4K with spectacular quality and a wide field of view, but that system is about $100 more for a two-camera bundle and $249 for one camera as an add on.
For many buyers, the Arlo Pro 3 is a more approachable option and with local 2K live streaming that is strikingly crisp and the option to record in 2K or to pan and zoom in on subjects, it’s a great choice for smart home options. Here are my favorite Arlo Pro 3 features;
- 2K streaming and saved clips
- Pan and zoom follows subjects
- Smart alerts for people, vehicles, and animals
- Easy to install without running wires
- Spotlight and siren built-in
- Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant
The Arlo Pro 3 is available in a two-camera bundle for $438.99 at Amazon and Best Buy. You can also get it in a four-camera bundle for $799.99 or a six-camera bundle for $1,099.99. You can add additional cameras to the hub later if you want to start with one or two. This system also works with the new Arlo Video Doorbell.
What You Get with the Arlo Pro 3
This system consists of a hub that you plug into your router, two cameras that can record at 2K and are weatherproof and able to handle from -4 to 113 degrees. The camera can zoom in 12x digitally as part of the pan and zoom. There is a motion spotlight that can automatically come on, and you have the ability to easily activate a siren. The field of view is 160 degrees, and you can choose a narrower field of view if that fits your installation better. With the optional Arlo Smart subscription, you can get person, vehicle animal, and even package detection.
Compared to the Arlo Pro 2, you’re getting a better resolution, HDR support, a wider field of view, color night vision, built-in spotlight, and smart alerts. The Arlo Pro 3 is the clear winner compared to the Arlo Pro 2.
Setup is Super Simple
Once you set up the SmartHub, you pair the camera to it with the app, then you can mount on your wall with the included mounts. There is a single screw mount option with a magnetic attachment and there is a three screw mount that is nice if you need to get the camera out farther from the wall. Either way, you can mount and place the camera in about 10 minutes, most of that time is spent positioning your ladder and screwing the mount into place. Both mounting options offer a ton of flexibility to get the angle just right.
The Arlo Pro 3 cameras are battery-powered and send video wirelessly to the hub. That means you don’t need to run any cables for them. You can install a solar charger or run a power cable to a camera if you don’t want to change the battery. With the Arlo Pro 3, I tested the solar charger on my side camera and ran a power cord up the edge of my siding to the driveway camera. This is an optional step, but I didn’t want to change the battery during snow and cold during the winter. If you opt for just battery power, a spare battery is a good idea, so you can charge it up and then swap it out. Switching a battery takes about 10 seconds.
On battery power, the cameras last three to six months. That’s with 5 minutes of recording a day. My main drive camera is set up to record the edge of my street, so it uses batteries faster than that, but a backyard or side camera can easily last months. It all depends on where you set the motion zones and how much traffic is in that area.
The SmartHub includes a USB port so that you can plug in an external drive to save video locally. You can also store this in the cloud.
Arlo Pro 3 Video Quality
The Arlo Pro 3 video quality is very good with crisp 2k recordings, good color and contrast during the day and you still get good quality even when you start to zoom in. The zoom is best up to 3-4X, after which the quality starts to drop.
You can turn on an Auto Zoom and Tracking option that will zoom in on cars or people to keep them in the frame and offer a closer view, but this only records in 1080P, because it is digitally zooming in. This is a cool feature that you can turn on and off depending on what you prefer.
At night the video quality is still good, and the sharpness is better than most competitors, but you do get more noise in both the color night mode with spotlight and the monochrome night vision.
Overall I am very happy with the quality of the Arlo Pro 3, and even with switching out the Alro Ultra for one of these, find the image quality is quite good. I like having a clear view of my drive and seeing some of the birds that come to check out the cameras.
Arlo Pro 3 Smart Features Stand Out
The features that stand out for me on the Arlo Pro 3 are the smart features. You’ll need a subscription to get all of Arlo Smart features and to record in 2K. Arlo Smart is $2.99 a month for one camera and $9.99 a month for up to five cameras. With this, you get up to 2K cloud recording, 30 days of video history, smart detection and other features.
I like the smart detection so that when I look at the notification on my phone or watch, I can easily tell if it is for a vehicle, person or animal. If it is a person I’m immediately more interested in seeing the footage. The snapshot that shows with the enhanced notifications lets me see part of what is happening and then I can tap to see the current view. Due to the placement of my cameras, I don’t often use the package detection, but it is a nice feature.
The integration with Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant is handy. I use this most often with the Lenovo Smart Display, which uses Google. I can say, “OK Google Show me the Drive camera.”, and then I can see and hear a live view of my drive. It’s handy when you’re waiting for a delivery.
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