Arlo Essential Outdoor 2nd Generation

Arlo delivers a cheaper camera that almost requires a subscription, but undermines the more expensive alternatives.

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Arlo has become something of a go-to for relatively easy-to-use surveillance, and with good reason. Sure, the glossy white plastic shell is getting a bit boring to look at, but thanks to an innovative, well-functioning software platform and solid hardware, many people are now familiar with the brand and unaware of some of its competitors.

Arlo has repeatedly tried to reach an even wider audience by offering cheaper alternatives to their rather expensive Pro and Ultra models, and that's exactly what we're dealing with today.

This is the Essential Outdoor Camera, and more specifically the second generation of these more budget-friendly outdoor cameras that offer seamless integration into the Arlo ecosystem, 2K video and colour Night Vision. And what's more, they're wireless.

Arlo Essential Outdoor 2nd Generation

While local prices may be a little hard to find at the time of writing, you can get three Essential 2nd Gen cameras for just over half the price of one Ultra, so just over $189 via the US website versus $299. That's pretty crazy, and the compromises aren't nearly as big as you might think.

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First of all, the Essential Outdoor 2nd Gen is completely wireless, and Arlo promises four months of battery life on a single charge. Of course, this is a truth with modifications, as it depends on the activity zones you set and how often the camera needs to actively focus, record and store. That said, two months of battery life is nothing to sneeze at, and when it really isn't a hassle to charge it every now and then, we'll take that as a win. There's also a siren, a microphone, it works on 2.4GHz WI-FI but is set up via Bluetooth and comes with a Wall Mount.

In other words, you're not missing any specific features here, there's even a built-in speaker for 2-way audio and a 6200K spotlight. The lens itself is a 1/2.7" sensor that can shoot at 130 degrees with 4 megapixels. There's up to 12x digital zoom, as well as built-in PIR Motion Detection, which works, if you ask me, just as well as the more expensive Pros.

You can record in up to 2560x1440, which is 2K, and if you switch to Night Vision it's presented in colour, which does wonders for overall clarity. Overall, this is just a win all round.

Arlo Essential Outdoor 2nd Generation
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And yet not, because there are a few compromises to get rid of here. First of all, there is no local storage, so everything that is recorded must be bounced directly to the cloud. This is problematic if it's sitting on the edge of a WI-FI network, and even more regrettable since it pretty much makes the Arlo Secure subscription necessary. Yes, you get a small trial, but it's Secure that makes actual storage of clips in the cloud possible.

However, that doesn't mean this isn't a good deal for an Arlo camera, and if you already have Secure, the Essential series is so good that you can easily skip the Pro and Ultra series.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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