Arlo Essential 2K Outdoor Security Camera

The Arlo Essential 2K Outdoor Security Camera (2nd Gen) is Arlos’s more affordable home security camera, enhanced with the ability to connect directly to your home WiFi (no base station required) and 2K video resolution.

This is a cost-effective option for someone looking for a home security camera; however, its reliance on the Arlo Secure Subscription for full functionality and the frustration of slow notification responses reveal its limitations. 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • No hub needed
  • 2K resolution
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • Subscription needed for full features
  • Slow notifications can miss events
  • False motion alerts common

Price 

The Arlo Essential 2K Outdoor Security Camera (2nd Gen) costs $140. This is a great price. It’s more affordable than Arlo’s Pro or Ultra cameras, which cost $369 and $429, respectively. And it’s cheaper than Arlo’s main competitor, the Google Nest Camera, which costs $349. 

So, what’s new?  

The 2nd Generation Essential camera isn’t an innovative release from Arlo; it’s more iterative, introducing welcome improvements. Most importantly, it no longer requires an Arlo Hub; it simply connects directly to your home WiFi.  

The only other major differences are it now has colour night vision and films in 2K resolution. Everything else is the same as its predecessor.

Arlo Essential 2K Outdoor Security Camera

Specs 

The Arlo Essential Outdoor Camera 2K (2nd Gen) boasts 2K video resolution with zoom capabilities and a 130° field of view, phone notifications for motion detection, colour night vision, noise-cancelling audio, an integrated spotlight, and a siren. It’s weather-resistant, has a rechargeable battery, and connects directly to WiFi. 

The 2K resolution is the highlight here, allowing finer details like number plates or faces to be seen more easily than in the older 1080p version.  

Setup 

Setting up the Arlo Essentials Outdoor Camera is easy. The process involves downloading the Arlo Secure App, setting up an account, and following the app’s guided steps to add the device.  

As mentioned, you don’t need a separate hub as it connects directly to your home’s WiFi. But it’s important to know that the installation will probably require basic tools like a screwdriver and/or drill for wall mounting.   

When setting up the camera, you can see what the camera is seeing on your phone. This allows you to easily position it where you want. It also comes with a mount that enables easy angling of the camera to cover the area you need.  

Arlo Essential 2K Outdoor Security Camera

Arlo Secure Subscription 

To get the most out of the camera, you’ll need an Arlo Secure Subscription. Without one, the camera only recognises motion. There are no video recording, facial recognition or activity zone options. 

This is poor compared to Google’s offering, in which you get intelligent motion detection, animal detection, activity zones and person-seen alerts for free. You also have access to up to 3 hours of event video history.  

The Arlo Secure subscription is priced at $14.99/month for unlimited devices, with an alternative option of $4.99/month for a single camera. This plan offers video recording at a resolution of up to 2K, rolling for 30 days. It includes smart interactive notifications, animated preview notifications, video object detection, audio detection, smart activity zones, and priority care & support.  

Security/Performance 

The Essential offers good clarity and the wide field of view allows it to cover a lot of ground. The 2K resolution is a significant improvement allowing identification of smaller details and the zoom capabilities are also good.

But, without an Arlo subscription, the camera doesn’t offer much. The motion detection quickly became annoying as I was constantly alerted when birds flew past, when the wind blew a tree, and I would receive ten-plus notifications when someone was driving out of my driveway, even though it was the same car. 

The load times between receiving a notification and viewing it on your phone are also poor. They’re so long that by the time it opened, the cause of the motion was no longer in the shot. This can be troublesome for someone who is security conscious and wants or needs to see what’s happening instantly. I have an internet speed of over 900Mbps, so it wasn’t my internet that caused the delays. 

With the subscription active, the notifications were better; they were more specific, but the accuracy wasn’t great. On numerous occasions, I would get alerted that there was a person in my driveway, only to find out it was a sparrow perched in front of the camera. This happened many, many times.  

App/Battery

The app is easy to use; it will alert you when the camera needs charging, and if you have an Arlo Secure subscription, you can easily view past videos and recordings. You can also easily access your camera’s live feed as well.

The battery is also decent, offering six months’ worth of life off a single charge. This will vary based on how many notifications you receive, though.

Arlo Essential 2K Outdoor Security Camera

Verdict 

The Arlo Essential 2K Outdoor Security Camera (2nd Gen) offers great value for its price, providing quality features like 2K resolution and colour night vision at a fraction of the cost of its higher-end counterparts and competitors like the Google Nest Camera.  

Its direct WiFi connectivity and user-friendly setup are welcome improvements however, the camera’s effectiveness is notably diminished without the additional Arlo Secure Subscription, which is almost a necessity for accessing its full potential.  

This requirement, along with the annoyance of excessive notifications, poor accuracy and slow load times for viewing the camera live, detracts from its overall appeal. 

While it’s an affordable entry point into home security, be prepared to deal with some frustrating limitations or consider the ongoing cost of a subscription for a more satisfactory experience. 

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Price
Innovation
Performance
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Yes, Patch is my (real) name and reviewing tech is my game. Get in touch at patch.bowen@thebit.nz
arlo-essential-2k-outdoor-security-camera-2nd-gen-review The Arlo Essential 2K Outdoor Security Camera (2nd Gen) is Arlos's more affordable home security camera, enhanced with the ability to connect directly to your home WiFi (no base station required) and 2K video resolution. This is a cost-effective option for someone looking for a...