Arlo Pro vs Arlo Pro 2 - Differences Explained

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 1 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.

Here’s the bottom line:  The Arlo Pro 2 is for you if you care about higher resolution videos. If you don’t mind 720p videos,  the Arlo Pro is more than enough for use in the typical home. Since it’s a security camera not a photo camera, the lower resolution is more than adequate for most people.

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 (on AC power)
Smart Home Integration Yes Yes
Backward Compatible Yes Yes
Night Vision Yes Yes
3-Second Look Back No Yes (on AC power)
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:

 

If you’re looking for a review of the original Arlo vs the Arlo Pro, click the link to read our detailed comparison.

Comparing Each Feature in Detail

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.

The Arlo Pro 2 upgraded the resolution to 1080p HD recording, and it does make a difference. The video is much clearer in the Arlo Pro 2, and this is one of the main reasons to pick the Arlo Pro 2 over the original Pro.

The Arlo Pro 2’s camera covers a wider area than the Arlo Pro, I like that you can see a wider area but it does have a more pronounced fisheye effect. Not too big of an issue in a security camera.

Bottom Line: The 1080p resolution of the Arlo Pro 2 is the clear winner.

2. Geofencing

Geofencing 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 some background lighting, like the ambient light from surrounding houses or streetlamps. This makes sense since there has to be photons for the camera sensors to capture in order to form an image.

The Arlo Pro 2’s night vision produces somewhat brighter videos than that of the Arlo Pro.

Bottom Line: Night vision works in both models, but the Arlo Pro 2 does produce slightly brighter videos.

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 access the CVR feature, you have to pay for a monthly plan for the service, which negates the best part of owning an Arlo–the free seven-day cloud storage! I guess cloud storage is expensive and Netgear has to charge for running a cloud platform, but for most people the main reason for buying a smart security cam like this is so you don’t have to pay monthly fees to security companies. If you fall into that category, you might as well ignore this feature. Without a paid plan, there is no CVR.

Another drawback for this feature is that  the camera must be plugged into an AC power supply to run this mode. You can’t activate it if it is running on battery power.

Yet another drawback is that CVR videos can only be viewed on the cloud and cannot be downloaded.

Until someone invents better batteries and super cheap cloud storage, Netgear will have to charge for this service (and make you plug it into AC power), so CVR will not be a very practical feature for most normal households.

Bottom Line: A feature I can live without, especially for requiring a paid service. The Pro 2 only gets the win if continuous video recording is a must for you.

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. As pointed out by our astute reader Steve, this feature only works when the Arlo Pro 2 is running on AC power. It does not work when running on batteries, which diminishes its usefulness.

Bottom Line: The Arlo Pro 2 addressed an issue with the prior model. However, the feature only works on AC power. A qualified 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.

Note that this feature also only works on AC power.

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: Can I get Arlo Pro 2 cameras if I already have an Arlo or Arlo Pro base station?

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: Are you sure, absolutely sure, that the Arlo Pro 2 cameras are compatible with the Arlo Pro base station AND the original Arlo (non-pro) base station?

Yes, in fact all 3 base stations are all compatible with any of the cameras. If you don’t believe me (what?!), here is the official word from Arlo.

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. The cheapest plan costs $9.99 per month or $99 if you pay annually and comes with 14 days of 24/7 storage.

Q: How difficult is the setup?

The setup is actually easier than it was for you to type that question. Seriously, it is all done through the app on your cell phone and takes less than five minutes. Next comes the mounting. After mounting the camera easily snaps to the base via magnets. It’s pretty fun to play with. I love magnets.

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 is covered in another article I wrote.

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.

Q: Do the continuous video recording, activity zone and 3 second look back features work while powered by solar panel?

No, all three features require the Arlo Pro 2 to be plugged into AC power. Note that the solar panel is an optional separate purchase.

Q: Can I turn off the camera when it’s not needed (e.g. when I’m home)? 

Yes, you can manually set your camera to “Armed” or “Disarmed” through the Arlo app. Disarmed means that motion won’t trigger the Arlo to turn on. There are many reasons why one might do this, one example is if you need to do some lawn maintenance and don’t want constantly trigger the motion sensors.

You can also set the camera to automatically arm or disarm itself during certain times using the “schedule” option in the app.

Finally, geofencing is supposed to automatically arm and disarm the camera based on whether you’re home or not. It’s not always reliable though, so scheduling is probably best.

Q: How far away can I place my camera from its base station?

The maximum distance you can place any Arlo camera from its base station is 300 feet. But that is the line-of-sight maximum, meaning there isn’t anything blocking the line of sight from the base station to the camera.

In practical use, walls and ceilings will reduce the effective range of the cameras. Try placing the base station at the center of your house if you have a large house with multiple cameras.

 

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. The upgraded features for the Arlo Pro 2 do justify the cost increase, with a few caveats.

The main improvement is the video resolution bump to 1080p. However, other new features such as (1)continuous recording, (2) 3 second look back, and (3) customized activity zones all require the camera to be connected to AC power. Connecting to the optional solar panel does not allow for these features.

If you like high resolution security videos and the option to use the above features when connected to AC power, the Arlo Pro 2 is the way to go.

If you don’t need high resolution videos, the Arlo Pro will work just fine. No need to spend extra money for features that require AC power, partially defeating the purpose of a wireless camera.

 

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