“The Arlo Pro 4 dispenses with the hub and delivers the same great performance as its predecessor at a lower startup cost.”
Sharp looking footage
Additional details with colored night vision
No hub is required for setup
Smart security with Arlo Smart Service
The technical data are similar to those of the predecessor
Headlights required for color night vision
Security camera maker Arlo may have been quiet in the first six months of 2020, but the company was certainly busy in the second half of the year. After the introduction of the new Essential series of cameras, the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight camera saved the best for last. This model replaces the more expensive Arlo Pro 3, which is noteworthy for realizing what it means to be the best camera out there.
Whenever a device makes a numerical leap, it is expected to drive things forward in a dramatic way. Let’s find out if this is the case with the Arlo Pro 4 spotlight camera.
Drop the hub
There’s no denying the fact that the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera spec sheet is drooling, but what is often overlooked is how the system works. What’s special about this camera compared to its predecessor is that it digs up the hub – so it’s now a truly wireless proposition.
John Velasco / Digital Trends
Arlo Pro 3 required users to set up the Arlo SmartHub base station in order for it to work. Nothing is more annoying than having to connect another hub or bridge to your network. In most cases, they will need to be connected directly to your home WiFi router. This gets worse when the ethernet connections are scarce. It also means something that has to be plugged into a socket – also in short supply in my apartment.
That’s why I’m thrilled that the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight camera is now connected directly to my router. Therefore, it is easier to set up. For smaller rooms like my apartment, this direct Wi-Fi implementation works because everything is in close proximity to the router. I would imagine, however, that the SmartHub would be a benefit for larger households, as it manages the connection much better – while also extending battery life.
The camera performance of the Arlo Pro 4 is just as good as before.
Speaking of the battery, the Arlo Pro 4 has a removable battery that is designed to last for six months of juice. Since placing it in a high traffic area, the battery life has decreased an average of 3% every day. That won’t get me anywhere near that six month range, of course, but it will be enough to last a full month before a top-up is required. It comes with a magnetic charging cable that can be used to charge it at the same time.
Predictably sharp looking video
When we transitioned from Arlo Pro 2 to Pro 3, the camera’s resolution increased dramatically from 1080p to 2K (2560 x 1440). Instead of doing another upgrade, the Arlo Pro 4’s camera stays at 2K resolution. It’s not bad, but it would have been nice to maybe jump to 4K – much like the ultra security cameras. On the other hand, that’s what distinguishes the two camera lines.
The rest of the technical data shows that it is essentially the same hardware as before: A 4-megapixel ⅓-inch camera sensor with a wide field of view of 160 degrees. This is impressive coverage, but most effective when strategically placed in corners. The functions are rounded off by HDR, automatic track and zoom, powerful infrared LEDs with blocking filters and a 12x digital zoom. This is no different from the Arlo Pro 3, which is surprising.
Despite the lack of changes, the Arlo Pro 4’s camera performance is just as great as it was before – it creates crisp clips with lots of detail, sharpness, and accurate-looking colors. When there is ample light, the dynamic range is handled well throughout the scene to achieve even exposure. Highlights don’t look exaggerated, which preserves details that might otherwise be lost. In poor lighting conditions, however, artifact elements tend to appear in shadow. It’s not terrible, but it does soften the quality a little.
John Velasco / Digital Trends
When it’s night I guess the night vision kicks in color. In order for this to happen the spotlight is turned on to bring some light into the scene, which makes the colors stand out better. Now I should point out that the headlight will turn on whenever motion is detected, but I wish there was some way to force the camera to shoot in color in night vision without it being on. While there is an option to turn off the spotlight through the settings in the app, the default night vision in black and white is used by default.
Smarter security behind a subscription
You will immediately receive a free three-month trial of Arlo Smart – the company’s leading security company. Without it, the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight camera is limited to seven days of cloud recording at 1080p, versus 30 days of 2K footage. Another benefit of Arlo Smart is that it gives you advanced features such as parcel, people, animal, vehicle and smoke / CO2 alarm detection. Arlo Smart offers a smart security solution that can help avoid false positives, but which is behind a subscription.
But, you know what? The $ 3 monthly plan for a single camera is well worth the cost for those who simply want more security. It’s hard enough to juggle all the notifications on your phone. As a result, the Arlo Pro 4 can intelligently tell the difference between a stranger walking in the frame and the passing cat from the neighborhood.
I also appreciate that you can set up a geofence to tell the camera when to turn on or off. This is especially useful if you are using the Arlo Pro 4 spotlight camera indoors as you can set it to turn off at home. So you don’t feel like you’re being watched all the time.
In all fairness, I expected the Arlo Pro 4 spotlight camera to raise the bar. In reality, however, it shares many similarities with its predecessor. Still, I’m glad it didn’t cost an arm or a leg to pick it up, which has made the Arlo Pro 3 a tougher consideration for those on a tighter budget. At $ 200 for just a single Arlo Pro 4 spotlight camera, this is a much smaller investment than the $ 500 start-up cost of the Arlo Pro 3’s base 2-kit system. The lower cost combined with its direct Wi-Fi. Fi connectivity still makes it an attractive option for anyone wanting smarter security.
How long it will take?
With its weatherproof construction, it is able to withstand a temperature range of 4 ° F to 113 ° F. It’s unlikely to fail, but if it does, it’s backed by a one-year limited warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship.
Is there a better alternative?
The Arlo Essential XL is an ideal alternative if you want to save more, but still need a smart security camera to monitor your home. All you have to do is spend more than $ 150 on it, which will save you $ 50. The only downside is that it is limited to 1080p recording and doesn’t offer HDR video.
Another comparable camera is the Ring Spotlight Camera, which benefits from Ring’s extensive smart home ecosystem. If you’re really looking for a bargain, check out the Wyze Cam Outdoor, which has local storage, sharp footage, and offline mode for $ 60.
Should you buy it?
Yes, despite the strong similarities with its predecessor.