Home security is a concern for many people these days. Fortunately, there are many security cameras on the market right now with some pretty advanced features.
Having a security camera in your premises works both as deterrent and as a pro-active measure against possible intruders. Especially if such a surveillance camera includes also a strong siren, that’s even better.
The Netgear Arlo camera series has been a leader in the specific security market for many years. It is considered by many customers as one of the most reliable and effective products when it comes to protecting your house property.
The Netgear Arlo Pro 2, Pro 3, and Arlo Ultra are the latest three models in the product series. So how do they stack up in terms of features and comparisons? This is what this article will elaborate on so keep reading for all details.
Brief Review of Netgear Arlo Pro 2
The Arlo Pro 2 was a huge step ahead from the previous models and has been embraced by thousands of customers.
As with many of the best security cameras around today, the Pro 2 is a wireless device working with WiFi connectivity (just like the other models in this article).
This means that it can connect to your local WiFi network in order to communicate with the Netgear Arlo cloud service for management, alerting, video storage purposes etc.
The Arlo 2 can also run off a rechargeable lithium battery but many people will simply prefer to have it plugged in for long-term use.
Also, if the device is plugged in AC power it can also operate its CVR feature (continuous video recording) something that is not available on battery power.
Here are the major specifications of Arlo Pro 2:
- 1080p HD recording
- Free cloud storage that will keep up to seven days worth of video and audio material.
- Weather-resistant design so that it can be used outdoors (in addition to indoor operation).
- Night vision mode for recording video at night. This is black & white however.
- Rechargeable lithium battery or wired power operation.
- Motion detection and motion triggered recordings.
- Ability to record up to three seconds of video and audio before a triggered event.
- Very loud 100-decibel siren that will alarm when the user triggers it or when there is sound or motion detected. The Siren is integrated on the Hub base station.
Some people may not like the fact that the night vision mode only records in black and white but this is not at all uncommon for middle-tier security cameras.
The Arlo 2 does feature detection activity zones if you really want to set up trigger areas. Up to 3 activity zones can be configured. This means that you can configure the camera to focus its motion detection on specific areas on its field of view.
The Arlo 2 is a neat step up from the previous basic Arlo models, featuring better higher definition video, slightly wider field of view, two-way audio, and a smart siren that can be user-triggered or event-triggered.
Overall, the Arlo 2 is a great buy and it won’t break the bank either. Especially now that newer Arlo models are out on the market, its price point has been reduced and provides a value-for-money option compared to the features it offers.
Moreover, the feature that many people like a lot is the very loud siren (100 db) on the Hub base station. This is also one of the main advantages of this model compared to Pro 3 and Ultra models that we compare in this article.
The Pro 3 and Ultra include a security siren on the camera device itself (not on the hub) and many people are complaining that the in-camera siren is not loud enough.
Brief Review of Netgear Arlo Pro 3
The Netgear Arlo Pro 3 is another step up from the Arlo 2 and the price certainly does reflect this.
What’s really neat about the new generation of smart security cameras such as the Arlo is just how easy and simple they are to install on your own.
The Arlo 3 takes only a few minutes to install, which makes it a compelling design in our books. The magnetic method of mounting the camera helps in this respect as well.
One other excellent feature is that it has night vision in full color. While most cheaper models only feature black-and-white vision in this mode, having color means that it’s much easier to see what’s happening in your yard or home.
This is an indication of more advanced video too. The 2K resolution helps a lot in recording even small details.
One other feature to like about the Netgear Arlo 3 is the inclusion of an integrated LED spotlight. This can easily be switched on and off by the user, allows for easier spotting of intruders, and may come in handy when deterring trespassers.
The whole package is rounded off by a three-month trial subscription to Netgear’s Arlo Smart plan. This allows for a nice trial run of the use of detection zones in or around the home or office.
Brief Review of Netgear Arlo Ultra
With a field of view of a full 180 degrees, the Netgear Arlo Ultra is the top model of this line but also the most expensive one.
This field of view alone allows you to see just about everything you could want when it comes to your home or office security and means that you can record any intruders more easily.
While many lower-tier models offer 1080p or even lowly 720p video capture, the Arlo Ultra goes all the way and features a full 4K high-definition video capture. This makes for crisp, clear images with great frame rates.
The quality of the camera of Arlo Ultra is its most powerful characteristic. Using HDR (High Dynamic Range) and with 4K UHD resolution, it can record videos in crisp quality.
Night vision mode is also included which is in full color as well. As with the Arlo Pro 3, having access to full color in night vision mode means that it’s easier to see what’s happening around your home, especially if you access the real-time or cloud-based footage from your smartphone and need to see everything on a smaller screen.
However, if you want to invest in the Ultra, you will also need to buy its SmartHub base station since the cameras work only with that specific base station. This is going to set you back several hundred dollars but it may be worth it for some people.
The package is rounded off by a full one-year subscription to the Arlo Smart plan. This allows for easy set up of detection zones and even has AI that will be able to identify common objects such as pets or even persons. This feature alone means that it can function as a smart security system without too much intervention on the part of the user.
Comparison of Arlo Pro 2 vs. Pro 3
Notable Advantages of Arlo Pro 2 Vs Pro 3
- Siren on the Hub station is much louder.
- Free 7-day cloud storage (for life). For Pro 3, cloud storage needs paid subscription.
Notable Advantages of Arlo Pro 3 Vs Pro 2
- Color night vision
- Better video quality (2K vs 1080p)
- Spotlight to enhance view
- Better two-way audio communication
Netgear has produced two excellent models in the Arlo 2 and the Arlo 3. For many people, the biggest driver for their purchase will be the price point.
The Arlo 2 is certainly the cheaper option but whether the Arlo 3’s extra features make it worthwhile is going to be a purely personal decision.
Though both cameras are quite excellent in terms of clarity, the Arlo 3 features 2K resolution as compared to the 1080p of the Arlo 2.
That may not matter to many people but it will make a difference if you want to identify small details further away from your home (e.g car plates from the street etc).
The other difference in terms of video capability is the inclusion of color night vision mode on the Arlo 3. The Arlo 2 only has a black-and-white night vision mode, which is in line with many lower-end and mid-tier models. This may or may not make much difference to you.
If you want to set up an extra camera and price is a concern, the extra cameras for the Arlo 2 can be had at cheaper prices than the Arlo 3.
Additionally, the Arlo 3 features a slightly wider field of view of 160 degrees as compared to 130 degrees. This is enough of a boost to make it worth considering for many people.
The Arlo 3 does have an integrated LED spotlight where the Arlo 2 model doesn’t. This is useful if you want to manually switch it on to deter intruders or just to light up an area to deter any trespassers.
The biggest advantage of Arlo Pro 2 compared to Pro 3 is that the siren included on the Hub station is much louder than the siren included on the camera itself of the Arlo 3.
Many people complain that the camera-integrated siren on Arlo 3 and Ultra models are not loud enough to deter intruders. On the other hand, the loud 100 decibel siren on the Hub of Arlo 2 is one of its strong features.
Another feature included on the Pro 2 is its free 7-day cloud storage of video recordings. This is not available on Pro 3. On the latter you get a trial period of 3-months of Arlo Smart cloud service (which includes storage) but after the trial period expires you will need to pay for subscription.
Comparison of Arlo Pro 3 vs. Ultra
Notable Advantages of Arlo Pro 3 Vs Ultra
- Cameras are backwards compatible with older Hub base stations.
Notable Advantages of Ultra Vs Arlo Pro 3
- Better video quality (4K vs 2K)
- 1-year trial period of Arlo Smart service (instead of 3-months)
- 5 activity zones instead of 3.
- 180 degrees view compared to 160 degrees.
The Arlo Ultra is yet another step up from the Arlo 3 and this is going to generate a lot of interest in people looking for a premium-quality home or office security solution that’s easy and quick to install.
One of the biggest differences is the fact that the Ultra offers native 4K video resolution. This is effectively double the video resolution of the Arlo 3 and this feature alone will draw a lot of attention.
Both cameras have smart sirens (integrated on the camera units) that can be activated by the user or triggered by an event as well as full-color night vision mode.
However, the Ultra model offers a full 180-degree field of view compared to 160 degrees on the Arlo 3. This allows for wider capture of video footage.
If you want to go all the way and explore the Arlo Smart and AI features, the Ultra is the model to get here.
It offers a full one-year trial subscription whereas the Arlo 3 only features a three-month trial. This will certainly give most people enough time to check out the extra features and whether they are worth the extra monthly cost.
The Ultra cameras must be purchased with the SmartHub unit. They don’t work with older hub units. On the other hand, the Pro 3 cameras are compatible with older Hub units as explained in the article here.
Conclusion – Recommendations
Home security has really stepped up in recent years and Netgear has produced three excellent models at different price points in the Arlo 2, Arlo 3, and Ultra.
When deciding which model to buy, it’s worth asking yourself some pertinent questions so as to get a much better idea of what features will be worth it for you:
- What is my home security budget?
- Do I need to invest in any extra security cameras?
- Do I need 4K resolution or will lower video resolutions be good enough?
- Do I need to have color night recording or black-and-white will be enough?
- Is free cloud storage for video recordings important?
For people with lower budget who don’t care about color night vision or higher video resolutions, I’d definitely recommend the Netgear Arlo Pro 2. It is still a great security camera system on a budget-friendly price tag.
Moreover, this model includes free 7-day cloud storage (to check your video footage remotely) something that you need to pay on the Pro 3 and Ultra models.
The 100 db siren integrated on the base station Hub unit is also another advantage of Pro 2 compared to the other two models.
If you have a higher budget and you want to get a camera system with crisp video quality and color night vision, then Arlo Pro 3 or Ultra are the way to go.
Moreover, if you don’t mind paying the Arlo Smart subscription plan, this service offers some excellent features, including cloud storage, AI-powered smart detection of common objects such as pets, cars, people, and other objects etc. This plan makes the entire system much smarter and less prone to false alarms.
Of course, the extra features must be weighted against price. These features don’t come cheaply and if 4K video resolution is required as well as the Arlo Smart plan, the investment is going to get hefty pretty quickly.
In the end, though, security needs are a purely personal decision. Some people will feel much more secure if they pay for higher-end systems and this may be all the motivation required.