Arlo is one of the options to consider when looking for spotlight security cameras to watch your property in rich detail day and night. In this Arlo Essential spotlight camera review, we’ll be looking at what the system has to offer to see if it’s worth it or not.
The series is kind of the cheapest home security camera from the local brand you can use indoors or outdoors. But the low price point has much to do with the fact the Arlo cam can pair directly to the WiFi without a Homebase station.
Verdict: 5 Best Features of Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera
- The Arlo Essential camera is relatively cheaper than its sisters
- The Arlo Essential camera can work without a Homebase Hub
- Arlo Essential camera captures decent, 1080p FHD videos
- The Arlo Essential camera continues to record in color at night
- The Arlo Essential camera is natively compatible with all automation systems
Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera Review: A Summary of the Color Night Vision Camera
The following chart outlines some of the key features of the Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera. We’ll place it side by side with the Eufy spotlight Cam to see how they would compare.
Even before we jump to our detailed Arlo Essential Spotlight camera review, you can see in the chart it has quite lovable features and perks. The first obvious one is the integrated spotlight, which makes it possible to watch your compound in color even at night.
Of course, the white light from the camera is not as great as when working with the Eufy Floodlight Cam 2 Pro. But it’s enough to identify a face of a person at 10 feet and identify colors up to 25 feet at night.
As mentioned earlier, Arlo innovated the Essential Spotlight camera such that you can set it up with WiFi directly. You won’t require the Hub Station as the old Arlo Pro or Arlo Pro 2 and the latest Ultra series.
However, you’ll still need the Hub station to make the most of your CCTV system. One benefit of the Hub is that it extends the wireless range a little farther than when without. And as a battery-powered security camera, it does extend the battery life by a day or several.
Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera Review: Features & Performance of the Color Night Vision Security Camera
There are quite a lot of things to talk about on the Arlo Essential spotlight camera. But in our review, we’re only going to stick with the most crucial aspects, starting with what many of us look.
- How’s the Pricing
Arlo is always notorious when it comes to the pricing of its products. The Arlo Essential spotlight camera is one of the few cheaper options available, with a regular price of $130 in most outlets. But the brand has been having the system at a promotional price of $80 for a while now.
You can also get the Essential Spotlight system as a two-camera pack at $232 and $350 for the three-camera package, saving you $28-$40. But the price is still $80/ piece during the promotional deals.
- How’s the Video Quality?
Arlo Essential camera features a 2MP sensor that records in the standard 1080p Full HD resolution. The video quality isn’t the sharpest, unfortunately. But it’s pretty decent and usable for most applications, including reading license plates at 10-15 feet.
If you’ve been around security camera systems for a long time, you’ll notice the video quality isn’t as clear as the 1080p Lorex or Amcrest bullet cameras. But the reason for this is for these devices usually have narrow-angle lenses/ smaller field of view (<90°).
The Arlo Essential spotlight camera has an extra-wide 130° field of view that captures a large scene. But since we will be having the same amount of pixels (2MP) on a wider frame, the picture will be slightly less on details.
- How’s the Night Vision?
Arlo Essential Spotlight Cam is a decent piece if looking for a color night vision security camera for your compound. And as mentioned earlier, the built-in white light is sufficient enough to make out faces within 10 feet. But for just color, the system can distinguish them from up to 25-30 feet.
You’ll want to leave your outdoor security lights on if you want the camera to identify faces farther (up to 20 feet).
- How’s the Audio Quality?
Arlo has innovated the Essential spotlight camera with a built-in microphone and speaker. You will not only get video recordings you can listen to, which are more entertaining than the muted clips. But the device also supports two-way audio, where you can talk with your guests while even away.
The two-way audio is full duplex, which means both parties can speak simultaneously, unlike the half-duplex (walkie-talkie). It’s also clear enough to hear what the other person is saying, thanks to the integrated echo and noise cancellation.
- How’s the Active Deterrence
Similar to the pricier Arlo Pro 4 and Ultra 2, the Essential spotlight camera delivers multiple ways to deter burglars. The first feature is two-way talk, whereby you can scream or shout warnings in real-time.
Secondly, the Arlo security camera has a built-in siren that you can activate manually from the app or automatically by movements. The loudness level of the alarm peaks around 100 decibels, enough to scare away most intruders.
Thirdly, the spotlight built into the Arlo cam is also a nice deterrent for opportunistic burglars. You actually have the option to set the light in consistent, flashing, or pulse mode.
- How’s the Smart AI Detection?
Arlo Essential Spotlight Cam could be a great option if looking for an intelligent motion sensor security camera with minimal false alerts. The first feature is its PIR sensor which detects only movements from warm bodies, such as people, animals, and pets.
You can also set the wireless security camera to get alerts when the sensor captures a humanoid shape or package. Then it has the option to set up to five zones you’d like the camera to focus on, which is handy when mounting at a high-traffic area.
Furthermore, you can set the Arlo WiFi security camera to send alerts when it detects noise from smoke/ carbon alarms.
However, Arlo has pushed all the advanced AI detection features behind a paywall. If you opt to use the Essential spotlight camera without a plan, you will get all motion alerts without customization.
- How’s the Storage Option?
Unfortunately, the Arlo Pro 2 was kind of the last security camera without a subscription from the brand. It and the earlier models would have free cloud storage you can save activity clips for up to seven days.
As for the Arlo Essential spotlight camera, you will need to have a cloud subscription plan to save (short activity) video clips. The plans cost $4.99/per camera and $12.99 to $24.99/ unlimited device per month. But you can add the camera to a Hub station and take advantage of local recording to a USB stick drive or MicroSD card.
Another point worth noting is Arlo Essential spotlight camera doesn’t support the add-on continuous video recording mode. You only have alert recording mode.
- How’s the Smart Home Integration?
Last but not least, Arlo designed the Essential spotlight camera natively compatible with all smart home automation systems. You can easily pair it with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, IFTTT, and Apple Homekit.
Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera Review: Summary Drawbacks
The following is a highlight of the drawbacks to expect with the Arlo spotlight security camera:
- Arlo Essential spotlight camera lacks the free 7-day cloud storage
- Arlo Essential spotlight camera battery is pretty tricky to remove
- Arlo Essential spotlight camera has no built-in local storage
- Arlo Essential spotlight camera cannot work without WiFi/ internet
- Arlo Essential spotlight camera doesn’t support continuous video recording mode
Top Competitors of the Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera
|Spotlight Security Camera||Maximum Resolution||Field of View||Power Supply|
|EufyCam 2C Wire-Free Security Camera||1080p Full HD||135°||Battery-Powered|
|Ring Spotlight Cam Wired Camera||1080p Full HD||140°||Plugged-in|
|Wyze Cam V3 Security Camera||1080p Full HD||130°||Plugged-in|
|Dzees CG6 Solar Wireless Camera||1080p Full HD||120°||Battery & Solar|
|SOLIOM S600 Pan Tilt Security Camera||1080p Full HD||90°||Battery & Solar|
|Arlo Ultra 2 Ultra-HD Security Camera Kit||4K Ultra-HD||180°||Battery-Powered|
Common Related Question
Basically, how long the Arlo Essential spotlight camera last varies from one user to another. But if we’re talking about the built-in battery, it often starts to degrade after about three years.
Similar to others from the brand, the Arlo Essential spotlight camera does record footage to the cloud with a subscription plan. You can also add it to a Homebase hub to record for free to a USB stick drive or MicroSD card.
As mentioned earlier, the Arlo Pro 2 was the last to have the free 7-day cloud recording. The only way you can use the Arlo Essential spotlight camera without a subscription will be to pair it with a Homebase hub and record to a USB drive or MicroSD card.
Arlo Essential is available as an indoor and outdoor camera model. The outdoor camera has a decent design that works indoors without being intrusive. Then the wired Essential indoor cam has the option to disable the 850nm night vision LED to watch outdoors behind the window.
Well, the major difference between Arlo Pro and Arlo Essential is that the former has free 7-day cloud recording. However, the Essential camera captures clearer (1080p Full HD) videos vs 720p HD. Then you can pair directly to the WiFi without a Homebase Hub.
If you’re one of the people who prefer local brands, the Arlo Essential spotlight camera is a pretty decent color night vision security camera. It would have been a better idea if the creator used a narrow lens (smaller fields of view). But the videos are still usable, considering you can read stationary license plates at 20 feet.
Nonetheless, we should mention the battery of the Arlo outdoor camera isn’t removable. And since you can’t use the camera plugged into the wall outlet, you’ll also miss out on the continuous video recording mode.