Revel in it or hate it; smart devices are taking over the world – and our homes! Amongst these options, the Arlo Pro 3 is undoubtedly one of the best smart security cameras, garnering thousands of glowing reviews from customers all over the country.
But as we know, just because others think a gadget is good doesn’t mean it’s perfect for you. At around the price of a laptop, top-end headphones, or a smart TV, this home camera is not light on the wallet. So before you make a major purchase this month, dive into this review to ensure the device is ideal for your smart home needs.
In this post, we will give our honest opinion of what we like (and dislike) about the Arlo Pro 3. We’ll discuss its main features and capabilities, such as smart capabilities, video quality, setup, and price. And at the end of it all, if it’s not the perfect fit for you, we’ve also included recommendations of affordable alternatives.
What we like about it
Above all else, the first thing that catches our eye is the sleek look of the Arlo Pro 3. The system, which comes in either black or white, is modern and streamlined. Each camera is about the size of a palm, and therefore is small enough to fit discreetly into a corner of your home. Conveniently, you can also mount the camera on vertical or horizontal surfaces (ceilings, tables, or walls) using its flexible multi-position mount.
Unlike some other gadgets which just look futuristic, the Arlo Pro 3 actually has tons of smart capabilities built-in, too. This smart camera is voice-assistant-compatible and AI-powered, giving you the high-quality visuals you need to keep an eye on your home 24/7.
What we don’t like
As we move forward into the future, more and more devices are offloading its services onto the web and the Cloud. Smart security cameras, including the Arlo Pro 3, are no different, providing video quality as high as 2K and 4K. And while Cloud services are very convenient, there are limitations to cloud-dependent devices as they rely heavily on the internet and the Cloud in order to function to its fullest. As such, we can’t recommend it if you experience regular issues with internet connectivity or electricity.
Additionally, most of its nifty, futuristic features and add-ins are only available to app subscribers, meaning your pricey camera purchase won’t be the end of your spending. You’ll need to spend extra cash each month on the Arlo Pro app subscription, storage, continuous recording, and other additional features, too.
- High-res 2K video
- Colour night-vision
- Alexa and Google Assistant compatible
- Built-in camera siren
- Three months of Arlo Smart Premier app free
- No MicroSD card slot
- 30° narrower field of view than the Arlo Ultra
- Pricey security camera
- No one-camera kit with hub available
- Limited capabilities without t
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The Arlo Pro 3’s video quality is undoubtedly a feature that makes it one of the best smart security cameras on the market! With a higher-than-average 2K HDR video quality, you won’t be left squinting at people, objects, and vehicles that look like Rorschach inkblots. Its high resolution video makes for an especially important feature. Of course, you hope that you’ll never be in the situation where you’d need to identify a number plate, face, or anything else. But, we have to remember that recording this information is precisely what security cameras are for.
Night vision is, of course, another vital feature that any decent home security camera should have. Not only does the Arlo Pro 3 boast black and white night vision, but it also has optional colour night vision.
Aside from colour night vision, you can also zoom in or fire up the cameras’ integrated spotlight. So, you won’t be left in the dark (literally) as to what’s going on inside or outside your home.
The Arlo Pro 3 doesn’t have the best audio quality around – but it doesn’t really need to. Though the unit does boast two-way audio to communicate with guests, postal employees or anyone near the camera, it’s not its central feature.
As far as making noises of its own, the Arlo Pro 3 is very good at alerting you and others of intruders thanks to its in-built alarm siren. Unlike the Arlo Pro 2, the Arlo Pro 3 does have the siren built into the cameras, not the hub. So, it will, thankfully, actually frighten away burglars while simultaneously alerting you to their presence.
One of the biggest draws of the Arlo Pro 3 is its smart features. As a fully-functioning smart speaker, it boasts voice-assistant capabilities, a dedicated app, and more. The unit supports both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, making it ideal for integrating into your voice-controlled smart home. At what point the Arlo Pro 3 will be able to support Siri in the future is still in the air. Although, it is currently compatible with the Apple HomeKit.
Overall, it’s not hard to see that the Pro 3 has been designed with smart homes in mind. The kit is packed full of high-tech security features. However, most of these are only available through the Arlo app. So, you’ll need a subscription to enjoy these – luckily, the set does come with a free three months of Arlo Smart services. You’ll also need a solid internet connection with a designated 2 Mbps upload speed per connected camera to operate the system.
One of the less obvious high-tech features of the Arlo Pro 3 is its rechargeable battery, which quick-charges via a magnetic, clip-on charge cable in around three hours or so.
As mentioned before, the Arlo app is vital for using the Arlo Pro 3. Without it, you’re very limited with what you can do.
Luckily, you get your first three months of Arlo Smart Premier free with your purchase. After that period, for one camera, you’ll need to pay £2.49 per month. If you want to add more cameras (up to five in total), you’ll have to upgrade to the multi-camera plan for £7.99 a month. Every additional camera is half the price of a single camera thereafter. As a value add, the E911 Emergency Call Service is included with this more expensive multi-camera plan, too.
An important note: The smallest Arlo Pro 3 set with a hub comes with a minimum of two cameras. So, if you want to keep both of these running, you’ll need to upgrade later on once your subscription runs out.
The Arlo Pro 3 cameras are compatible with older hubs (VMB5000, VMB4540, VMB4000, and VMB4500) – if you have one. However, it’s important to note these older hubs may not support 2K video.
The Arlo Pro 3 is not complicated to set up, especially if you already have a network of smart devices or Arlo cameras. The greatest difficulty may come in when trying to install the Pro 3 cameras using older smartphones, operating systems, or hubs. Luckily, you can contact customer support for help setting up your devices or if you have any major issues.
First off, plug your hub into the power outlet and connect it to the internet via an ethernet cable. Make sure your cameras are fully charged before setup, too. Then, you’ll need to install the Arlo Smart app on a compatible device. The app will guide you through the installation process, including connecting the cameras step by step.
The Arlo Smart app is compatible with Apple and Android devices running either Android 5.0 or higher or iOS 11 or higher. There is also a web portal, which is accessible with either a Mac (macOS) or Windows PC via Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge browsers.
Though a top contender, it is no budget option. The two-camera Pro 3 set alone will set you back a few hundred, larger sets are even more, and a single camera just under a couple of hundred pounds. Aside from this, you also need to factor in your monthly subscription fees and optional CVR subscription fees to your budget.
You see, the Arlo Smart Premier app does include up to 30 days worth of cloud history storage for your recorded videos. However, you’ll have to pay extra per month for the additional 24/7 CVR (continuous video recording) recording and storage plan. You can only save select clips with your Arlo Smart subscription plan.
Going subscription-free is not your best option, either. In this case, we would suggest finding a cheaper, lower quality video camera.
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Is it worth the money?
As far as top-notch smart home security cameras go, the Arlo Pro 3 is a solid buy. The high-quality video and extra features really tick all the boxes. With additional smart home options, such as voice assistant capabilities, it integrates well within a smart home, too.
However, if you’re looking for an affordable or low-maintenance system, this is not it. Handling such high-res video results in a demand for additional Cloud services and storage that are above average, thus costly and high-maintenance.
It’s convenient to be able to offload all the work to the cloud and the Arlo Smart app, but you will be paying for the service on a continuous basis. Additional cameras, even higher-quality video, and video storage add up, too. If you’re more than happy to pay for the service, it is well worth the money.
Are there any other cheaper alternatives on the market?
Seeing that the Arlo Pro 3 camera is so pricey, there are a few more affordable alternatives to consider. However, in terms of quality, build, and features, it’s still one of the best smart security cameras on the market.
First off**,* the older Arlo Pro 2* is an excellent alternative, if you can find it.** Though it has a lower 1080p video quality, no colour night vision, and a narrower 130° view, it still features a lot of the same other capabilities, including zoom, night vision, voice-assistant capabilities (incl Siri, which the Pro 3 doesn’t support), and alerts. One downfall of the Arlo Pro 2 is that the cameras don’t have a built-in siren.
Second up, both Google’s waterproof Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest Cam IQ Outdoor cameras are also fierce competitors, featuring 1080P HD video quality, email and phone alerts, two-way talk, and up to a 130° field of view. The Nest Cam Outdoor is much cheaper than the IQ, though the IQ is much more sturdy for use outdoors.
The Alexa-compatible Ring Spotlight Cam is another affordable option, featuring much of the same capabilities as the Nest Cam and Arlo Pro 2.
Prices updated on 28/04/2021. We are not responsible for any changes on the prices mentioned above.