Arlo Pro vs Arlo Pro 2: Should You Upgrade? [Updated May 2019]

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In this post, I compare the Arlo Pro and the Arlo Pro 2.

These are the nearly identical Arlo twins that were “born” a year apart.

The Arlo Pro was launched in late 2016, the Pro 2 late 2017.

To look at, these two cameras are very nearly identical.

But the real differences are hidden and in this post I explain what these differences are and whether they are good enough to buy a Pro 2 instead of a Pro.

Arlo Pro 2 vs Arlo Pro: Differences

Arlo Pro - Add-on Camera | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor, HD Video, 2-Way Audio, Wall Mount | Cloud Storage Included | Works with Arlo Pro Base Station (VMC4030)
Arlo Pro 2 – (1) Add-on Camera | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor, HD Video 1080p, Two-Way Talk, Wall Mount | Cloud Storage Included | Works with Arlo Pro Base Station (VMC4030P)
Model
Arlo Pro
Arlo Pro 2
Resolution
720p
1080p
Power
Solar Panel | Battery
AC Adapter | Solar Panel | Battery
Look Back
When plugged in
Continuous Video Recording
When plugged in
Night Vision
Price
$147.13
$145.95
Arlo Pro - Add-on Camera | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor, HD Video, 2-Way Audio, Wall Mount | Cloud Storage Included | Works with Arlo Pro Base Station (VMC4030)
Model
Arlo Pro
Resolution
720p
Power
Solar Panel | Battery
Look Back
Continuous Video Recording
Night Vision
Price
$147.13
Arlo Pro 2 – (1) Add-on Camera | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor, HD Video 1080p, Two-Way Talk, Wall Mount | Cloud Storage Included | Works with Arlo Pro Base Station (VMC4030P)
Model
Arlo Pro 2
Resolution
1080p
Power
AC Adapter | Solar Panel | Battery
Look Back
When plugged in
Continuous Video Recording
When plugged in
Night Vision
Price
$145.95

The Arlo Pro 2 is different from the original in 5 key ways;

[1] Resolution

Whilst the Arlo Pro 2 records footage at 1080p, the Arlo Pro records it at 720p.

Resolution is one of the most important features on a smart security camera.

And the simple reason for this is that the picture is clearer and there are more details in it.

There are loads of reasons why this is important and I think that the main one is that in a situation where camera footage is used by the local police to solve crime, higher quality images will make their job easier.

Important details such as faces and car number plates will be clearer.

As an example, look at the image below to see the difference in clarity between 1080p and 720p.

Is the upgrade worth it?

Is the 1080p much better in practice than 720p?

And is it worth spending much more money on?!

The 1080p provides more vibrant, deeper and more life like colors to any image.

And the details are better- facial features are more defined, individual leaves on trees, bricks in walls and collars on dogs can also be seen with greater clarity.

But let’s not forget that both of these cameras work best when objects are close (within about 10 feet or so) and when there is a lot of light (but no direct sun.)

In such conditions, the quality of the 1080p will be good enough to recognise a stranger’s face.

Bottom Line 

The difference in quality between the two cameras is big enough to justify buying the Arlo Pro 2.

[2] Power

The Pro 2 can be powered by battery, AC adapter or solar panel.

In contrast, the Pro can only be powered by a battery or a solar panel.

It’s AC adapter can only be used to recharge the battery.

Is the upgrade worth it?

This is a huge upgrade because an Arlo Pro 2 that is plugged in can do more than a Pro 2 running on batteries- just look below.

The next three essential features are only on the Arlo Pro 2 and only when it is plugged in.

[3] Look Back

“Look Back records the three seconds before motion is detected by your Arlo Pro 2 camera”.

The three seconds are included in the motion detected clip.

Is the upgrade worth it?

Motion detection clips can be pretty limited if your video only starts just as the motion is detected because the clip might not show enough information.

If the main reason that you are thinking of buying a security camera is to detect and deter crime, then you will need this level of sophistication.

[4] Continuous Video Recording (CVR)

CVR is when your camera never stops recording footage. The Pro 2 has this feature, but the Pro doesn’t. 

But, remember CVR incurs a recurring monthly cost depending on how long you want to store your footage for.

There are two CVR plans- 14 days and 30 days.

The 14 day plan will cost $9.99 per month or $99 per year.

Each additional camera is $5 per month or $50 per year.

The 30 day plan costs $19.99 per month or $199 per year.

Each additional camera is $10 per month or $100 per year.

CVR is a very powerful tool because you don’t miss a thing- everything is recorded.

Potential disadvantages of this constant monitoring include the fact that you need to pay for a cloud storage plan to store all of this data.

And it means that there is so much more footage for someone to look at when they are checking on what the camera has recorded. 

Is the upgrade worth it?

See my answer above!

If you need a camera to deter and detect high levels of crime, then opt for the Arlo Pro 2 because you need the Arlo Pro 2.

[5] Night Vision

As mentioned earlier, these two cameras use the same night vision technology.

Both of them have 8 infrared LEDs.

And with the better resolution, the contrast are better between the blacks and the white in an image.

The difference in people’s faces is that with the Arlo Pro 2 individual features such as the nose and eyes are defined, whereas with the Arlo Pro faces just seemed to be a featureless blur.

Arlo Pro 2 vs Arlo Pro: Similarities

So that is the differences between the Pro and the Pro 2 done with.

Let’s move onto the features that these two cameras have in common.

Arlo Pro - Add-on Camera | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor, HD Video, 2-Way Audio, Wall Mount | Cloud Storage Included | Works with Arlo Pro Base Station (VMC4030)
Arlo Pro 2 – (1) Add-on Camera | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor, HD Video 1080p, Two-Way Talk, Wall Mount | Cloud Storage Included | Works with Arlo Pro Base Station (VMC4030P)
Model
Arlo Pro
Arlo Pro 2
Base Station
Backwards Compatible
Backwards Compatible
Weatherproof
IP65 | 14° to 122° F
IP65 | 14° to 122° F
Field of View
130°
130°
Siren
105 dB
105 dB
Cloud Storage
7 days free | 2 paid plans | No CVR
7 days free | 2 paid plans | CVR
Activity Zones
Home Automation
Alexa | IFTTT | SmartThings | Stringify
Alexa | IFTTT | Stringify
Remote Access
iOS 9 | Android 4.1 | Browser Access
iOS 9 | Android 4.1 | Browser Access
Geofencing
USB BackUp
Arlo Pro - Add-on Camera | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor, HD Video, 2-Way Audio, Wall Mount | Cloud Storage Included | Works with Arlo Pro Base Station (VMC4030)
Model
Arlo Pro
Base Station
Backwards Compatible
Weatherproof
IP65 | 14° to 122° F
Field of View
130°
Siren
105 dB
Cloud Storage
7 days free | 2 paid plans | No CVR
Activity Zones
Home Automation
Alexa | IFTTT | SmartThings | Stringify
Remote Access
iOS 9 | Android 4.1 | Browser Access
Geofencing
USB BackUp
Arlo Pro 2 – (1) Add-on Camera | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor, HD Video 1080p, Two-Way Talk, Wall Mount | Cloud Storage Included | Works with Arlo Pro Base Station (VMC4030P)
Model
Arlo Pro 2
Base Station
Backwards Compatible
Weatherproof
IP65 | 14° to 122° F
Field of View
130°
Siren
105 dB
Cloud Storage
7 days free | 2 paid plans | CVR
Activity Zones
Home Automation
Alexa | IFTTT | Stringify
Remote Access
iOS 9 | Android 4.1 | Browser Access
Geofencing
USB BackUp

And because they are nearly identical twins, there are too many similar features to include them all.

Yes, as premium cameras, the Arlo twins have 2 way audio, live stream and other standard features but so do many other wi-fi cameras.

And so, I am sticking to the essential features- the features that make these security cameras stand out from the crowd.

[1] Night Vision

As mentioned earlier, these two cameras use the same night vision technology.

Both of them have 8 infrared LEDs.

And with the better resolution, the contrast are better between the blacks and the white in an image.

The difference in people’s faces is that with the Arlo Pro 2 individual features such as the nose and eyes are defined, whereas with the Arlo Pro faces just seemed to be a featureless blur.

[2] Base Station

Both cameras connect to a base station and the base stations are compatible with the Pro and the Pro 2.

Why is this important?

This flexibility is very useful for a person who already owns some Arlo Pros but wants to buy some more Pro 2’s to use on the same system.

The base station provides these cameras with three advantages;

  • Extending battery life- which makes it such a great outdoor camera.
  • Built in siren- but more on that later
  • Easing the pressure on your home Wi-Fi

[3] Weatherproof

Like many electrical devices, these Arlo cameras have a minimum and maximum temperature that they operate best within.

And the range is 14° to 122° F.

But on top of that these two cameras have an IP rating, which only the very best outdoor products have.

IP stands for Ingress Protection and it is an industry wide standard.

The two numbers show how dust and water resistant a gadget is.

65 means that these cameras are highly resistant to dust and water.

Remember the Pro 2 currently does not have an AC adapter that is suitable for use outside.

Why is this important?

The difference between an outdoor device having just a suggested temperature range and having an IP rating is huge.

An IP rating gives a device a whole new level of guarantee about its performance when it is hot and cold and wet!

[4] Field of View

These two Arlo devices have a 130° (horizontal) field of view.

This is a very large field of view by wi-fi camera standards.

Why is this important?

Large field of views are important for cameras that have no mechanical pan, tilt and zoom capabilities because the cameras are static and the larger your field of view, the more that can be “seen”.

[5] Siren

The base station has a built in siren, which can be accessed by both cameras.

This is a very useful security feature that can be activated automatically in response to a sound or motion alert.

But be careful, it is loud enough to almost burst your ear drums.

[6] Arlo Smart: Cloud Storage

Both the Arlo Pro and the Arlo Pro 2 have access to the same cloud storage plans- apart from the two CVR options

Now re-branded as Arlo Smart, the cloud service has an incredible range of plans which will appeal to a huge range of users.

Firstly, all users will have free access to motion detection clips that have been recorded in the last 7 days.

The next tier of storage is 30 days.

In order to have all your footage stored for the past 30 days, you can either pay $2.99 per camera per month or $9.99 for up to ten cameras.

However, if you want greater storage, there is a 60 day option which will store footage from up to 20 cameras for 60 days.

And if you want to view your footage in 4K, you can pay an extra $1.99 per camera per month.

Obviously, the main part of each plan is the length of the storage.

But each of these plans comes with four additional features;

  1. A.I. Detection
  2. Custom Activity Zones
  3. Lock Screen Notifications
  4. e911 Emergency Call Out

A.I. Detection

Arlo, like many other security camera manufacturers, has come a long way from the days when cameras could just detect motion but nothing more.

These days, users want more details about what exactly is triggering the motion.

And most manufacturers are bundling these features into plans that require a monthly subscription.

So Arlo Smart has four different types of objects that it can detect;

  • Person detection
  • Vehicle detection
  • Animal detection and
  • Package detection

Custom Activity Zones

This feature allows a user to split the field of view into different sections.

After all, most of our Arlo cameras have areas within the field of view that are not as important as others.

With a camera that is monitoring your front porch, you can create a zone that includes the area just in front of the front door, instead of monitoring the area four feet either side of it.

Zones will reduce the number of alerts that you receive and allows you to focus on the most important areas inside and outside of your home.

Lock Screen Notifications

Any notifications that your camera sends to your phone can be viewed and “acted upon” without unlocking your phone.

This includes activating the siren.

e911 Emergency Call Service

If you receive a notification that needs to be dealt with immediately by emergency professionals, Arlo Smart enables you to call 911 and send them straight to your home.

[7] Home Automation

Arlo cameras are compatible with some of the biggest smart home systems in the world.

And this compatibility is very important because of the way that it allows devices to work together.

Amazon

These two cameras will work with Amazon’s interactive Echo devices and their digital assistant, Alexa.

With Alexa, your Arlos can be voice controlled and live feeds from your cameras will be displayed on Echo devices (such as Echo Show and Echo Spot) and Amazon Fire products (such as Fire TV, Fire TV Sticks and Fire tablets.)

Examples of the types of voice commands that you use include;

  • “Alexa show the (name of camera)”
  • “Alexa, hide the (name of camera)”

At the moment that is about the limit of it’s capabilities.

Arlo users are demanding more and would like to be able to arm or disarm an Arlo camera via Alexa.

Verdict

Voice commands offer lots of fascinating and useful potential but the technology is really still in it’s infancy.

Alexa has definitely grabbed people’s attention but there is a lot of user frustration about the pace of development.

If you have an Echo device, then you should certain link it to your Arlo cameras.

But, don’t go out and buy an Echo device just to use with your Arlo cameras because you will be disappointed.

SmartThings

Looking at the documentation, only the original Pro can work with SmartThings, Samsung’s smart home system.

It doesn’t look as if the Pro 2 is supported.

After connecting an Arlo Pro to your SmartThings hub, you can view live footage on any Smart TVs that are part of your SmartThings network or you can view live footage and get motion clips on a special SmartThings app, Smart Home Monitor.

Verdict

If you have a SmartThings hub, by all means connect your Arlo Pro to it.

But, don’t go out and buy a SmartThings hub just because you have a few Arlo cameras.

IFTTT (If This Then That)

IFTTT is a free app that allows us to connect different smart devices together.

Both the Pro and the Pro 2 are compatible with this system.

It is an incredibly powerful technology because

  • It is far more flexible than other smart home systems (because of how many devices can use it)
  • and by connecting devices, we can save time and our devices can do more.

Devices are connected together via applets, which are tiny sets of instructions.

Arlo has created 12 of its own applets.

But, if none of those tickle your fancy, read my article in which I have listed the best applets for Arlo cameras!

Verdict

Start using this terrific app! You have nothing to lose (apart from loads of time) as it is free and intriguing.

Its usefulness goes way beyond Arlo cameras and smart homes.

Intrigued? Read my beginner’s guide.

[8] Remote Access

Remote Access is the ability of a device to be controlled without being physically touched.

It is at the very heart of smart gadgets.

The two Arlo devices are both controlled by the same app.

The dull bits are that in order for the app to run successfully on an;

  • iPhone or iPad will need to be running iOS 9 or later.
  • Android phones will need to be running 4.1 or later.

A big bonus is that you can also access your Arlo cameras via a web browser.

Verdict

Not all apps for smart cameras are created equally.

Arlo have created a phenomenal app in my opinion- they have “hit this one out of the park”.

The app provides incredible levels of control with a beautiful and easy to use design.

Anyway, I will explain the app in much more detail below….

Arlo App Overview

The app that Arlo have built to control these cameras is a very powerful beast.

Fortunately it comes with a great design and so it is fairly easy to use.

It is also very reliable.

This great video offers a clear and easy to understand overview of the Arlo App.

It walks you through the main features of the Arlo app from a web browser and so it has an extra section (“Settings”) that isn’t on the app as seen on your iOS or Android device.

The main highlights from the video are;

There are 3 main sections

  1. Devices- shows a thumbnail of each camera
  2. Library- This shows you all of your stored video clips. These clips can be shared, favourite, downloaded or deleted.
  3. Modes- There are 4 modes; arm, disarm, schedule and geofencing.

Once you tap on a camera to select it, you will have a huge range of options.

These include;

  • watching a live feed
  • taking a photo
  • zooming in
  • adjusting the brightness
  • starting a chat and
  • muting the speaker

Each camera also has a settings menu in which you can

  • turn it on or off
  • adjust the video settings (including night vision)
  • adjust the audio settings

[9] Geofencing

Both Arlos can use geofencing.

Geofencing uses the location of a smartphone to turn a wi-fi camera on and off by tracking it on a virtual map.

The user creates a boundary on the map and when a phone crosses the boundary, a camera is turned on or off.

Verdict

Geofencing is a very clever concept that I think in real terms offers very little apart from the ability to turn a device on or off.

I think that it is more useful when it is used with smart thermostats.

makes a lot of sense to be used This is a very useful feature especially for those of use who are forgetful and don’t remember to turn devices on or off.

[10] USB Backup

The Pro and the Pro 2 (via the base station) can create a backup of video footage.

But this feature has a big drawback!

It will only work if you subscribe to one of the cloud storage plans.

This is ideal for a person who only ever needs 7 day cloud storage because that option is free.

For everyone, this feature is less than useless!

What is the point of making a back up of cloud storage?

Pros & Cons- Who Should Buy These Cameras

Arlo Pro 2 – (1) Add-on Camera | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor, HD Video 1080p, Two-Way Talk, Wall Mount | Cloud Storage Included | Works with Arlo Pro Base Station (VMC4030P)
Arlo Pro - Add-on Camera | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor, HD Video, 2-Way Audio, Wall Mount | Cloud Storage Included | Works with Arlo Pro Base Station (VMC4030)
Model
Arlo Pro 2
Arlo Pro
Pros
Indoor/ outdoor camera with 3 sources of power | 1080p resolution with vibrant colors and fine details | Advanced motion detection settings
Solid and reliable | Weatherproof | Decent battery life
Cons
Advanced features need it to be plugged in | Cannot use AC adapter to power it outdoors | Expensive
720p resolution | Basic motion detection capabilities | Needs a base station
Verdict
The Pro 2 is a real work in progress. At the moment it falls way short of its promising potential. Buy only if you can't live without 1080p!
This is the perfect camera for the person who needs a weatherproof, battery operated camera above all else and who can live with a simpler resolution and motion detection functions.
$145.95
$147.13
Arlo Pro 2 – (1) Add-on Camera | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor, HD Video 1080p, Two-Way Talk, Wall Mount | Cloud Storage Included | Works with Arlo Pro Base Station (VMC4030P)
Model
Arlo Pro 2
Pros
Indoor/ outdoor camera with 3 sources of power | 1080p resolution with vibrant colors and fine details | Advanced motion detection settings
Cons
Advanced features need it to be plugged in | Cannot use AC adapter to power it outdoors | Expensive
Verdict
The Pro 2 is a real work in progress. At the moment it falls way short of its promising potential. Buy only if you can't live without 1080p!
$145.95
Arlo Pro - Add-on Camera | Rechargeable, Night vision, Indoor/Outdoor, HD Video, 2-Way Audio, Wall Mount | Cloud Storage Included | Works with Arlo Pro Base Station (VMC4030)
Model
Arlo Pro
Pros
Solid and reliable | Weatherproof | Decent battery life
Cons
720p resolution | Basic motion detection capabilities | Needs a base station
Verdict
This is the perfect camera for the person who needs a weatherproof, battery operated camera above all else and who can live with a simpler resolution and motion detection functions.
$147.13