In this review I will compare three of the most popular Arlo smart cameras- Arlo Pro vs Arlo Q vs Arlo Q Plus.
How are these cameras similar and how are they different.
What do these cameras do well and what do they do badly?
My comparison includes a detailed video review and an in depth written review.
I have split the comparison up into sections to make it easier to read.
Just click on one of the sections below in order to find out more.
1. Video Review
2. Basic Specifications
Let’s have a look at the Arlo Pro, Q and Q Plus. They’re all made by Arlo which is the home automation arm of NETGEAR.
In terms of when they were first released for sale, the Arlo Pro was first on sale in October 2016. The Arlo Q was launched in November 2015 and the Arlo Q plus was first available in April 2016. And so, the newest one is actually the Arlo Pro.
Now the next section here is all about weight and what we’ve got here is that the Arlo Q plus is the heaviest at 11.2 ounces. Then the Arlo Q is 5.9 ounces and the Pro is 4.8 ounces.
The next part is dimensions. the Arlo Q and the Arlo Q plus are exactly the same size which is 4.5 inches by 6 inches by 4.9 inches whereas the Arlo Pro is 3.1 inches by 1.9 inches by 2.8 inches
3. Security Features
And so if we now move on to section to in which I look at some of the security features of these cameras, we can see that all three of these cameras have night vision. And all of these cameras deliver that by using infrared LEDs.
Infrared is a type of electromagnetic radiation that is emitted by any object which is warm.
Infrared can be detected using a broad spectrum of different wavelengths but one of the most common ones used by smart security cameras is 850 nanometres: which is the wavelength used by these cameras as well.
850nm is known to give a good clarity of image in low light conditions.
Facial Recognition Software
Neither the Arlo Pro the Arlo Q or the Arlo Q Plus use facial recognition software. Facial recognition software, to state the obvious, has the ability to recognise different faces. One of Nest’s latest cameras has the technology, the IQ.
I think that facial recognition technology could be one of the next big things in security cameras. It is the next logical step from motion detection, a feature that all of these cameras have.
Motion detection allows a camera to notify the owner when it detects motion and then if some footage has been recorded the viewer needs to decide if the person in the video is a friend or foe and intruder or a member of the family.
Facial recognition technology, when it is perfected, will automate this process.
Knowing the difference between a familiar and unfamiliar face means that a camera will be able to ignore many more motion detections (because they are from familiar people) and only notify an owner when a person appears whose face the software doesn’t recognise.
Another attractive feature for some smart cameras are sirens.
Only the Arlo Pro has a siren because it is the only camera in this comparison that uses its own base station or smart hub. The Arlo Q and the Arlo Q plus unfortunately don’t have a built in siren.
Pan, Tilt & Zoom
All three of these cameras have pivoting actions so that the lens can be pointed in different directions and angles but this movement needs to be done manually.
Unfortunately none of these cameras have tracking software which would enable the lens to automatically track a moving object across a room or space.
Again, there are other smart security cameras which are appearing on the market that use tracking software, such as the nest IQ.
The Arlo Pro Q and the Q Plus all offer digital pan, tilt and zoom features but this is all done via the app.
When you are looking at some footage on the app, you can swipe around the image to view different parts fit of it as well as zooming in on different sections, using a pinching action.
4. Video & Audio Features
The next section in our comparison focuses on the most important video and audio capabilities of these cameras.
Field of View
The Arlo Pro, Q and Q plus all have the same field of vision, which is 130° .
Field of vision is the amount of area, in front of the camera from the furthest point on the left to the furthest point on the right, that the lens can see at any one point.
130° is a very good field of vision and such a large field of vision is only offered by some of cameras with the top specifications.
As a bit of an aside, the average human has a binocular field of vision of about 110 to 120 degrees. Binocular in this sense means that the field of vision that both eyes can see with.
When we think about the resolution of any footage, it is important to remember that any figure demonstrates the camera’s potential.
It is a figure that can only be achieved if the camera is operating in an almost perfect environment It is not the resolution which will appear in every piece of footage because it is dependent on a number of different factors.
Two of the most important are the speed of your home broadband and the quality of the connection between your smart camera and your Wi-Fi network.
For example, you might have a super fast broadband speed but for one reason or another the connection between your Wi-Fi and your camera is poor. This would most probably lead to footage which is recorded at a much lower resolution than the potential of the camera.
The Arlo Q and the Arlo Q Plus both record footage in full HD, which is 1080P. In terms of pixels, a 1080p image contains 1920 horizontal pixels and 1080 vertical pixels.
The Arlo Pro records footage in a lower resolution, 720p which is HD. Pixel wise a 720p image will contain 1280 horizontal pixels by 720 vertical pixels.
Most smart cameras that are available on the market offer two-way audio. Two-way audio is when a conversation can take place between a person standing next to the camera and another person who is connecting to the camera via the app.
All three of these cameras offer two way audio, which essentially means that the cameras have a built-in microphone and speaker.
Two-way audio is very convenient if you want to have a quick chat with someone who is in the same room as the camera and is being able to look at footage that contains sound is very valuable.
All of these cameras also all offer a live stream feature.
Live stream is a feature that enables a user to remotely connect with the camera live.
Using the Arlo app a user can watch and listen to footage in real time.
Can you imagine the peace of mind this will give you if moments after receiving a motion detection alert, you can connect to the camera live and find out exactly what is going on?
5. Power & Storage
The next section provides an overview about the camera’s power and storage needs.
These three Arlo cameras use three different methods of power: rechargeable battery, 120 volts (power adapter) and Power over Ethernet (PoE.)
There are also some mistakes that I made, in my video, relating to these features that I will try and correct.
The Arlo pro can only be powered by a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery.
It comes with a power cable but this cable is only meant to be used to charge the battery and it is not meant to be constantly plugged in.
The Arlo Pro is not powered by PoE.
The Arlo Q is just powered via the 120 volt power adaptor. It doesn’t have any batteries and it doesn’t use PoE.
The Arlo Q Plus doesn’t use any batteries but it can be powered via a 120 volt adaptor or by plugging in an ethernet cable.
Power over Ethernet
PoE enables a compatible device to link to a computer or broadband network and be powered by an ethernet cable.
One of the potential target markets for the Q Plus are different small and medium sized businesses and so the ability for a smart camera to use PoE is very attractive.
These three Arlo cameras all have slightly different storage features but Arlo would really like as many people as possible to use their cloud storage, which is available for all of these cameras.
There are three different levels of plan for the cloud storage.
Arlo cameras record video to the cloud every time motion or activity is detected and so the storage service keeps a series of video clips.
Arlo plans do not allow for the storage of a continuously stream of footage all day and night.
Other companies such as Nest provide a cloud storage solution that caters for this need.
There are three levels of plan for the home user.
The first level of plan is that any recordings made within the last 7 days from up to 5 different cameras will be stored. This plan is free.
The next level of plan is that any recordings made within the last 30 days from up to 10 different cameras will be stored.
This plan will cost you $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year.
The third plan is that any recordings made within the last 60 days, from up to 15 cameras, will be stored.
This plan will cost you $14.99 a month or $149.99 a year.
The only one of these 3 cameras that uses an SD card is the Q Plus.
It is compatible with any SD card up to 128gb.
The Arlo Pro is the only one of these cameras in this comparison that allows USB storage.
However, don’t get too excited, as the USB storage is very limited: it can only be accessed via your cloud account.
In the next section I look at the different kinds of connections that these cameras use.
All three of these Arlo cameras use a WiFi connection but in slightly different ways.
The Arlo Pro uses a WiFi connection to connect to its base station. It does not use Wi-Fi to connect to your home router.
The Arlo Pro is the only camera that uses a smart hub or base station and it is the smart hub that connects to the home router using an ethernet cable.
The Arlo Q and the Q Plus both can connect to your home wi-fi.
They are compatible with routers which run at the 2.4 gigahertz speed and use the 802.11 protocols, which means that they are compatible with almost every router that is used in our homes!
Because the Q and the Q Plus connect directly to your home Wi-Fi, neither of them has or needs a base station or smart hub.
The Arlo Q cannot connect to your router using an ethernet cable but the Q Plus can.
None of these Arlo cameras use Bluetooth to connect to any other devices.
7. Design & Warranty
My next section looks in a little more detail at the design and warranty of these cameras.
All three of these cameras are only available in white.
I do keep saying this, but it never ceases to amaze me the lack of colour choices available in so many different smart devices.
When so much emphasis is put on their design and how they look, I then find it staggering that so many of them are only available in one colour!
Partly because the Arlo Pro is an outdoor camera, you can buy silicone skins or covers for it. These come in different colours and there is also a camouflage edition.
The Arlo Pro is the only camera in this comparison that is weather proof because it is the only camera designed to be used outside.
It has a standard weatherproofing rating of IP65.
Any electrical device which is to be used outside should ideally have an IP rating.
IP stands for Ingress Protection.
There are two numbers because the rating shows the level of protection against solids (dust) and liquids(water, rain or snow.)
The first number six indicates that the Arlo Pro is totally protected against any dust.
There is no way during ordinary use, that dust can get into the camera or affect it’s performance in anyway.
The second number five indicates that the Arlo Pro is protected against limited amounts of water, such as a light rain or snow shower.
It will not be able to survive in a prolonged heavy rain or snow storm.
The Arlo Pro, Q and Q Plus all have the same range of operating temperatures.
These cameras can operate in temperatures of 14° to 122° F which is -10° to 50° C.
Some of the original higher end smart security cameras were able to measure the quality of the surrounding air. I am thinking about the Netatmo Welcome, for instance.
None of these Arlo cameras can do that and I don’t think it is a feature that ever caught on.
Finally, the Arlo warranty is the same for all of these cameras- it is all one year limited warranty with 90 days free technical support.
8. Home Automation
The next section is all about home automation.
Home automation is the ability of smart devices to interact and respond to each other using different systems.
It is an incredibly important feature for a smart device to have because as more people begin to buy more devices they need to know that they will work with one another
Most of them biggest systems are included in this chart.
IFTTT or If This Then That is an automation app that wants to connect different devices.
It offers lots of flexibility and a huge, huge range of choices but it can be a bit fiddly to use.
Arlo as a company have invested a lot of time in extending the capabilities of these three cameras via IFTTT .
Only the Arlo Pro and the Arlo Q work with Amazon Echo. Amazon Echo is Amazon digital assistant that enables a massive range of smart devices to respond to voice commands via an interactive speaker.
None of these Arlo cameras work with Apple HomeKit or the Z Wave or Zigbee systems.
Z-Wave and Zigbee are two of the oldest and most established names within home automation.
the Arlo Q and the Q Plus both work with the Wink system.
The Wink system is very popular and widely used.
It is also compatible with many Z-Wave and Zigbee devices.
It is unfortunate that the Arlo Pro is not compatible with the Wink system.
However, the Arlo Pro is compatible with SmartThings, which is Samsung’s home automation system.
Unfortunately the Q and Q plus are not compatible with SmartThings.
9. Remote Access
Another necessity for buyers is for smart devices to have remote access.
This is the ability of a device to be controlled without physically touching it.
Remote access allows a person to control a smart device if they are two metres or two thousand miles away from it.
All of these three cameras have the same remote access capabilities.
They can be controlled via apps as well as via a web browser.
Browser access is a real bonus
If you want to control any of these three cameras on your iPad or your iPhone then your device needs to be running version 8 or later.
If you want to connect to your device using an Android phone such as a Samsung Galaxy or an Android tablet such as a Nexus, then your device needs to be using version 4. 1 or later.
Windows 10 Mobile
Arlo has not created an app for Windows 10 mobile probably because there are so few people that have a Windows mobile phone.
However, if you have a Windows laptop or a MacBook then you can access these Arlo cameras using a web browser.
If you would like to use Firefox make sure you are running version 3.5 or later.
If you use Internet explorer make sure it is version 10 or later. I cannot find any specific details for what version of Chrome is compatible with these devices but just make sure that your Chrome browser is up to date.
And finally, if you are using the safari browser make sure it is version 3 or later.
11. Overall Winner
So after all of those comparisons, which of these Arlo smart cameras is the best?
In first place with the gold medal is the Arlo Q.
In second place, with the silver medal is the Arlo Pro.
In third place, with the bronze medal is the Arlo Q Plus.