Arlo Pro vs Arlo Pro 2 – Differences Explained

For those who have been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that I am a stickler when it comes to protecting my home, valuables, and family.

Recently I was asked to compare the Netgear Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2 to see which one was the better option.

On paper, both of the systems appear to be great, but we all know how things look on paper. I made the comparison, and I am now reporting my findings to you.

If you would like to read the entire article to get a full rundown of the side by side look, then be my guest.

If you just want to know what I think: the Arlo Pro is probably still the better bet than the Arlo Pro 2 in terms of their price to value ratios. If your choice is between these two, I would recommend you go with the Arlo Pro.

 

The Differences Between the Models

  • The Arlo Pro records in 720p while the Arlo Pro 2 records in 1080p resolution.
  • The Arlo Pro 2 offers continuous recording with a monthly subscription. The Arlo Pro records only when it detects motion and for up to 8 minutes.
  • The Arlo Pro may miss the first few seconds of recording after motion. The Arlo Pro 2 addresses this issue with “3-second look-back”.
  • The Arlo Pro 2 can record on motion or in specific zones. The Arlo Pro will only record on motion.
  • The Arlo Pro battery life is up to six months long. The Arlo Pro 2 battery life is shorter at only three months long.

The Similarities Of Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2

  • Both cameras work with all of the Arlo base systems. You don’t need to upgrade the base unit to add newer model cameras.
  • Both the Arlo Pro and the Arlo Pro 2 have two-way communication with speaker and microphone built-in.
  • Each of the models I am looking at are weather-resistant so you can safely mount them outdoors.
  • They both have the ability to sound a siren from the base station from motion activation or manual activation.
  • The Arlo cameras both have night vision capabilities.
  • USB backup at the base station is available for both models in the event the network goes down.
  • Seven days of cloud storage is available for free (Unless you opt for the paid continuous recording option of the Arlo Pro 2).
  • Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2 cameras are compatible with all of the smart home systems: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings, Wink, IFTTT, etc.
  • Included with each of the units is an outdoor mount, which is advised to use instead of the indoor magnetic mount.
  • You can schedule (geofencing) to automatically arm the cameras when you leave home.
  • You can have each of the cameras send you a notification for triggered sound and motion events.
  • External camera dimensions are identical. You can use the various skins to change the look of either camera.

Comparison Chart

 

Arlo Pro Arlo Pro 2
Resolution 720p 1080p
Battery Life Up to 6 months Up to 3 months
Outdoor Mount Included Included
2-way Communication Yes Yes
Continuous Video Recording No Yes
Smart Home Integration Yes Yes
Backward Compatible Yes Yes
Night Vision Yes Yes
3-Second Look Back No Yes
Cloud Storage 7 Days Free 7 Days Free
USB Back Up Yes Yes
Motion Zones No Yes
Scheduling Yes Yes
Price Check on Amazon

Check on Amazon

Here’s a video review of Arlo Pro:

Features Options and Dimensions

I would like to take the time now to point out the details of all of the important features of these two models. I think it is important for you to have knowledge of what these details mean to you.

1. Resolution

When I first looked at the image quality of the Arlo Pro, I was fairly impressed. Recording at 720p in high definition is becoming more standard in home security cameras, and it was nice to see it offered here. The problem is playing the videos back seems to have lost a bit of the high definition in the compression. It isn’t a horrible drop, but it is noticeable.

When I saw that the Arlo Pro 2 upgraded the resolution to 1080p HD recording, I may have peed a little. It was all for naught, though. The upgrade isn’t visible in the cameras or the playback unless the lighting is perfect. Even then, it leaves a bit to be desired.

I am not sure if this is due to the backward compatibility or just the compression of the video for storage and playback. Either way, I was left wanting.

Bottom Line: The 1080p resolution of the Arlo Pro 2 is lacking due to compression, so the Arlo Pro with 720p wins this round.

2. Geofencing

Geofencing was a new vocabulary word for me. I had to do a bit of studying to learn what it actually was. It turns out, it is a pretty nice addition to the system; when it works.

In essence, geofencing uses your mobile phone via an app, as well as your WiFi and GPS information to determine where you are in the world. If you happen to be within a predetermined radius of your device, it will automatically trigger an event.

Most people tie their cell phone to the system for Geofencing to arm the system when they leave the radius and disarm it when they return to the radius.

The problem I have found with this is that it’s not always very accurate. If you are in a sparse area population-wise, you may find that the radius will need to be set very large. Which means it may include the corner store you are running to, and the system will never arm.

Likewise, if you are in a heavily populated area and off ground level (a high rise apartment, for example), The GPS may never put you exactly in the zone, which means the system stays armed when you are home and walking around.

I think the idea is good here and it is something you should try to implement as a part of your smart home design, just don’t be disappointed if it isn’t dead on accurate.

Bottom Line: Since both models offer this feature there isn’t a need for a winner, but the Geofencing needs to be upgraded a little bit to win me over.

3. Night Vision

Night vision is an absolute must for security cameras. It has been my experience that rarely do intrusions happen during the day. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that both models have night vision capabilities. So I had to test them.

What I discovered was that I could see well enough but only if there was proper background lighting. Yellowed street lights for the outdoor mount didn’t offer enough contrast, but the newer LED style lights did.

The Arlo Pro 2, however, let me down a little when looking at the playback. The infrared light from the cameras gave off a distinctive shadow on the recording and dropped the ambient light down to hardly visible.

Bottom Line: Night vision works, you just have to be conscious of where you point the cameras for the proper back lighting.

4. Continuous Video Recording

The Arlo Pro 2 has the ability to run in CVR mode. CVR is Continuous Video Recording. The Arlo Pro doesn’t offer this feature, and will instead go into “sleep” mode to conserve battery life and spring into recording when there is motion or audio alerts.

The CVR made me ponder the possibilities of camera mounts and how many cameras I may need to run continuously. Unfortunately, my answer was zero. Your answer may be different. However, because it isn’t a feature I need, I was more skeptical of it.

The main issue I have is that to run in CVR mode, the camera must be plugged into an AC power supply. You can’t activate the mode if it is running on battery power. Secondly, you must also purchase a recurring monthly plan for the service, which negates the free seven-day cloud storage.

Bottom Line: A feature I can live without, especially for requiring a paid service. The Arlo Pro can be run without ever needing to have storage paid for, so it gets the win.

5. Three Second Look Back

One issue I found with the Arlo Pro was the ease at which it could miss some recording time. For example, I had someone walk up to the front door and ring the bell. The Arlo Pro sprang into action, but only after the doorbell was rung. The delay in beginning recording has been noted for some time with the Arlo Pro.

The Arlo Pro 2 has solved this issue by offering a three-second look back. Utilizing this allows you to view the recording and revert back three seconds before the recording event (such as motion) is triggered.

Bottom Line: The Arlo Pro 2 addressed an issue with the prior model and actually solved it. A win for the Pro 2.

6. Battery Life

When you think about wireless cameras, batteries are important. The cameras need to be powered, and that power comes from 3V CR123A rechargeable batteries.

Under optimal conditions, the batteries will last about six months in the Arlo Pro cameras. With their sleep mode activated the battery drain is very minimal. The Arlo Pro 2, on the other hand, offers a three-month lifespan for their batteries.

This is mainly due to the higher definition resolution of the Arlo Pro 2 and the lack of sleep mode that the Arlo Pro offers.

Bottom Line: The Arlo Pro has better battery life, and in the end, that is what you are looking for. Arlo Pro wins this round.

7. Motion Activity Zones

The Arlo Pro has one major disadvantage with its PIR (Passive Infrared Sensor): You can’t control the area it monitors. The Infrared sensor covers the entire front portion of the lens. You do have the ability to zoom into a specific area; however, you cannot zoom the PIR focus point.

Any time movement activates the PIR the camera will begin recording. However, if you have the lens zoomed in you may not see the motion that activated it. For example, if you have a camera on your driveway and zoom in so the street is not in view, you may still get recordings when a car passes by.

The Arlo Pro 2 solves this problem by allowing you to set activity zones. These zones will only activate the siren or recording when motion is detected within the boundaries. Anything outside the boundary, even in the field of vision, will not activate the camera.

Bottom Line: The Arlo Pro 2 addresses another issue the Arlo Pro presented with active zones. The Win goes to the Arlo Pro 2.

Frequently Asked Questions

You have a lot of questions about these cameras, allow me to answer them here:

Q: How does the CVR upgrade work?

When you first get your camera, you will be given cloud storage for your video recordings. Netgear will give you seven days’ worth of storage free. You also have the option for a monthly fee service for more storage, if you need it.

The seven days free isn’t just one week a month, it is a cycle, every seven days the storage is overwritten, you will still have storage all month long, but only seven days at a time.

When you upgrade to the Continuous Video Recording, you must upgrade to a paid service plan.

Q: How Difficult is the setup?

The setup is actually easier than it was for you to log in and type that question. Seriously it is all done through an app on your cell phone and takes less than five minutes. The difficult part comes in the mounting. It has a magnetic base that you have to stick together. A very difficult procedure: making magnets stick together.

Q: Do the cameras offer Power over Ethernet?

PoE is not an option with the Arlo Pro or Arlo Pro 2 cameras. These cameras are wireless and designed to connect as such. The home base connects to the computer through an Ethernet cable and receives the signal from the cameras over your home network WiFi connection.

If you are looking for a PoE option, there is the Arlo Q, which isn’t covered in this article.

Q: Can I get Arlo Pro 2 cameras if I already have an Arlo Pro set up?

Netgear offers full back compatibility with their entire Arlo line up. This means that you can use any Arlo camera with any Arlo base system.

The Arlo Pro 2 cameras will work just fine on an Arlo Pro system, as such the Arlo Pro will work on an Arlo Pro 2 system.

Q: Can I manually activate the siren?

Yes, you can. If you happen to be watching your feed from your smartphone, you can use the app to activate the alarm manually.

This feature is a good one and works well. Even if you have the siren disabled, you can quickly enable it and activate the siren from your phone.

Q: Will this work with Satellite Internet?

I have some bad news for you: It will work with satellite internet, but only if you meet the requirements:

First, the internet must be always on (this means you do not log in to the service, it is just always there). Second, you must have a minimum of 1Mbs upstream capabilities. A lot of satellite internet options will charge extra to maintain this speed. Lastly, Satellite Internet charges for bandwidth use over your allotted plan.

Video recording uploads will take a lot of data and bandwidth. If you pay by the gigabyte for data, you can expect a very large bill once you add the cameras on.

So, yes, you can use satellite internet, just be wary of the costs you may incur.

Here’s a video review of Arlo Pro 2:

In Conclusion

Overall I will admit I was impressed with both the Arlo Pro and the Arlo Pro 2. However, for me, the upgraded features for the Arlo Pro 2 just weren’t quite enough to justify the cost increase.

If you are looking for a system that can continuously record, is fully wireless and allows you to set activity zones for activation and monitoring, then you may look closer at the Arlo Pro 2.

However, if you are like me and just need a system that does what it says and has wireless recordings, allows for external mounting and has a free storage option, the Arlo Pro is the choice you want to investigate further.

For the money, the features and the resolution, the Arlo Pro is my choice for the overall winner of this versus article. But the cost to feature ratio is really what it comes down to: if there’s a sale on the Arlo Pro 2 and the abovementioned improvements are important to you, go with the Arlo Pro 2.

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