I have always been a take-my-chances, camera-free kind of guy. The main reason being that I couldn’t really be bothered with all the wires running around the house and the idea of having hours and hours of footage to continually back up and replace. When I was invited to the launch of the Arlo Pro 3, it seemed there might be a solution out there that will give my family and I some peace of mind without having to call in the cable guy.
Unboxing the stylishly packaged 2-camera system put me in mind of opening an Apple product. Minimalist, pristine white packaging, the sound and smell of peeling back the protective film is satisfying and there's a distinct lack of cables and instructions. The cameras come in a decor-friendly white casing to avoid looking too techy in the home but there is also a black casing option available. The cameras were two sleek palm-sized units with no hard edges and mercifully they are wireless, working from a central SmartHub which connects to your internet.
Set up is incredibly easy. There were minimal instructions and I could see why. It was simply a case of connecting the Smarthub, boosting the charge in the cameras and then downloading the Arlo app on my smartphone. In 5-10 minutes, I was checking out the camera footage via my iPhone. With no cables, the camera could simply be positioned using a magnetic mount. I chose to place one above the front door and another within our main living area. Thanks to the 160-degree diagonal viewing angle I could see a broad sweep of our living space with the busy family hub of the kitchen table in the centre.
- The 2K camera has 79 per cent more pixels than Arlo’s previous version and a 23 per cent wider view.
- The units are completely weather-proof.
- For the first time the night vision is in full colour. Especially useful if you wanted to keep an eye on a dark ally. You’ll be able to drastically improve your description of an intruder by adding details of coloured garments.
- There is 2-way audio so you can chat through the camera via your smart phone from anywhere. For example, when the delivery guy comes you can chat to him in real time and tell him where you’d like him to leave it.
- You can even control a spotlight (and it’s intensity) from your phone using a dimmer bar - perfect for scaring off an unwanted visitor in the night.
- The purchase comes with three months trial to Arlo Smart, where footage is held in a cloud and can be accessed from anywhere. So you can even check in on your home from overseas.
- The sleek minimalist design won’t clutter your home.
- Crisp 2K footage with high dynamic range.
- Incredible colour clarity to the night vision.
- Long battery life. A three and a half hour charge can last you four to six months.
- You can get notified whenever there is movement detection.
- Lack of wires mean you are set up in minutes.
- Sweeping 160-degree views.
- The unit’s movement detection can sometimes struggle to differentiate between people and animals.
- The battery will drain far quicker than the manufacturer estimates if the cameras are turned on all the time. Best to be selective.
The Final Verdict
As well as the sense of security this system has given me, I discovered there were many other positive uses with it’s ability for two-way conversations. I have three teenage boys and, of course, they initially hated the fact that my wife and I could check in on them from anywhere. During the first week I could see my 13 year old playing basketball in the house when he got in from school. I cut in through the microphone with a few choice words. He hasn’t been caught doing it again since! Whilst I was in South America recently, I was having a tough time missing the family. When I logged into the Arlo Pro 3, I saw them all having dinner around the kitchen table so it brought great delight (and raised eyebrows) when I was able to chat to them all on the mic from the comfort of a lodge in the Amazonian rainforest. After a couple of months of use, it is hard to see how I could get by without this impressive system in my home.