Arlo Floodlight/Doorbell Cam Review: Package detection + 3,000-lumen security

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arlo pro 3 floodlight camera review

Recently, Arlo launched the Pro 3 Floodlight Camera, making them one of the few companies to produce a security cam built into a floodlight that can tie into a larger ecosystem of products. With the ability to function wirelessly, off solar, or through constant power, the Pro 3 Floodlight Cam provides the ability to be mounted anywhere around your house, something that Ring’s Floodlight Cam just can’t deliver. Plus, with HomeKit support in tow, the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Cam could be the perfect addition to your smart home. On the flip side, the Arlo Video Doorbell doesn’t offer HomeKit compatibility, but you’ll find several other great features that tie into the Arlo ecosystem well, like smart notifications, a wide field-of-view, and much more. So, without further ado, here’s our hands-on review of the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight and Doorbell cameras.

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Cam

Arlo’s Pro 3 Floodlight Camera offers quite a few amazing features, like up to 3,000-lumens of brightness, 2K video recording, package detection, and the ability to function wirelessly, on solar power, or through a dedicated plug. All of this combined makes it a compelling option for securing your home. HomeKit support is in tow and set up happens within minutes, making it a great choice for any smart home.

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera sets up in minutes

The set up of Arlo’s Pro 3 Floodlight Camera is super simple. In the box, you’ll find the housing, camera, battery, and mount. The battery charges via microUSB when inserted into the camera (or it can be charged in the camera when mounted outside if you have the solar or constant power kits.)

Once charged, you’ll be brought through a simple set up procedure within the app, which walks you through each and every step, including install. I will give Arlo props for how smooth the set up process is, though if you need to pair your device with a new Wi-Fi network or switch from wireless to Smart Hub, the set up process becomes redundant as it repeats all steps without the ability to skip steps you’ve already done.

Arlo’s Smart Hub adds HomeKit support, local storage, more

While the Pro 3 Floodlight Cam can function by itself with just a Wi-Fi connection, using the Arlo Smart Hub is the best way to take advantage of all of the features that Arlo delivers.

For the first few weeks, I used the Pro 3 Floodlight Camera connected just to Wi-Fi, which let it function quite well. Occasionally, I’ll had delays in bringing up a live feed after a notification triggered, but I worked with Arlo to help reduce this lag, and now, more often than not, the live feed pulls up incident-free. Though on a rare occasion, I’ll still experience a delay in opening up a live feed, so I just close the app and relaunch it and that normally fixes the issue.

When it comes to recording with Arlo, you’re given two choices: record to Arlo’s cloud for a monthly cost, or plug storage into the Smart Hub and enjoy local recordings. Of course, local recording is only possible if you have the Smart Hub to begin with, so if you just have the Floodlight Cam then you’ll be stuck to only live view and notifications without a subscription.

Should you have the Smart Hub, however, setting up local recording is quite simple. Just plug in a drive (at least 32GB, but less than 2TB), format it within the app, and you’ll be ready to go. The set up here is simple and only has a few options, all of which I turned on. I also enabled port forwarding and opened the port on my router, but that’s not a necessary feature (and can open you up to potential network issues, so only do this part if you know what you’re doing).

Another huge benefit of having the Smart Hub is HomeKit compatibility for supported cameras. While you’ll find both Alexa and Assistant compatibility out of the box with a Wi-Fi connection, adding the Smart Hub to your setup will deliver the ability to see and use your cameras within Apple’s Home app on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. This is a killer feature if you already leverage the Home app for your smart home usage, and it is even more reliable than the Arlo app itself in my testing. Just know that this isn’t using HomeKit Secure Video, and is just using the video streaming API for HomeKit, so no storage or settings are managed by Apple this time around.

Light up your yard or patio with up to 3,000-lumens of brightness

The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera offers some insane brightness, delivering up to 3,000-lumens to your patio or driveway. There is one caveat here, as the camera only packs 2,000-lumens when on battery-power and reaches 3,000 only when plugged-in via solar or constant power because of how much more battery it takes to run.

I’ve found that keeping the light runtime at around 2- to 5-minutes after motion is detected is the best way to achieve usability (with ample light) and longevity of a charge. I tried the 10- to 15-minute setting and had to recharge the camera after a week. After changing it to the 2- to 5-minute mark, I’ve been able to achieve over a month of charge so far and only just recently hit 20% on the battery.

As stated in the set up portion, charging is simple and you just remove the camera from the housing and plug it in via microUSB inside for a few hours before returning it to the housing outside. If you’re worried about downtime in camera coverage, Arlo sells spare batteries and chargers that you can use to always have one ready-to-go, or you could look into either solar or wired power options.

Motion detection works great

A key feature of any smart camera is the notifications it provides, and Arlo sure delivers here. While you can only have one camera detect packages (more on that in the next section), the rest of the notification options work quite well with the Pro 3 Floodlight Camera. In the app, you’re given a few options of which types of notifications you want to receive, as long as you have an Arlo Smart subscription live. Options include people, vehicles, animals, and “all other motion.” Select cameras also have smoke/CO alarm and “all other audio” notification options, so you are pinged if your camera hears specific sounds.

I’ve found the notifications to be fairly spot-on, though my cameras can mistake many things for “animals”, including cars, people, and other similarly-sized objects. Other than that, the notifications are generally spot-on, and, on iOS at least, you can even long-press a notification and see the area in which motion was detected highlighted within the image. A simple press of the notification from the pop-out brings up a live feed that opens pretty reliably.

2K video offers ample quality to see everything with ease

The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera offers up to 2K recording, which delivers higher-quality than normal 1080p HD cameras. This offers the ability to zoom in on areas so you can get a better view of what’s going on in specific parts of the image. This has allowed us to see things like animals crawling around on the patio (cute squirrels!) or check on the grill and other things that wouldn’t be entirely possible without zooming into a higher-resolution image.

Arlo Video Doorbell

While the Floodlight Cam is a fantastic option for covering areas of your home that you can plug-in constant power, or just that you want to cover from the side, there’s nothing like a doorbell camera to ensure your home is safe from porch pirates. In my time with the Arlo Video Doorbell, I’ve been more impressed than anything with its audio clarity, night vision, and field-of-view.

Enjoy a wider field-of-view than competing cameras provide

Speaking of field-of-view, Arlo went with a larger build on its Video Doorbell to gain ample room in its view. Most cameras shoot 16:9 as you’d expect, but that doesn’t offer enough vertical height to view everything on your porch. To combat this, Arlo packs a 180-degree field-of-view in its Video Doorbell with a 1:1 aspect ratio, allowing you to see everything in front of your door at one shot.

This has really come in handy when I want to know if a package is delivered at my front door or not, as I can see the floor in front of the door with ease. The wider 1:1 180-degree field-of-view also helps with notifications, as part of Arlo’s smart notification system is package detection, so it can see if you have a box on the porch.

Great microphones allow you to easily hear what guests are saying

The microphone is another killer feature on the Arlo Video Doorbell, as it packs the ability to hear every little thing that happens outside. I’ve been able to hear cars pull up at the end of the driveway, which is something I never thought I’d be able to do. Whether I have a guest standing right in front of the door or at the bottom of the stairs, I can hear them quite well either way, which makes it easy to hold a conversation in any scenario. All-in-all, the microphone on Arlo’s Video Doorbell makes it a joy to use.

No HomeKit support is a bummer, but not a dealbreaker

The biggest downside to Arlo’s Video Doorbell is a lack of HomeKit support, though you’ll find it works with Alexa and Assistant out of the box. Sadly, HomeKit isn’t available here, even if you have the Smart Hub.

I’ve spoken with Arlo about this, and they said that they would like to bring HomeKit support to all cameras, but there is no ETA, or even promise of it coming to the Video Doorbell. But, honestly, this isn’t a huge drawback in my book. HomeKit support is nice, but the Arlo app itself is fairly well laid out, so it’s not a huge deal to navigate to the Arlo app. Plus, things like package detection and other features just wouldn’t be available in HomeKit just yet, so I don’t mind using first-party software here.

9to5Toys’ take

If you want the ability to tie into a robust ecosystem, Arlo is an obvious choice for smart home security. Our hands-on review of the Pro 3 cameras found them to offer “robust features and sharp video.” The Pro 3 Floodlight Camera follows that up with a similar feature set and killer video quality paired with a super-bright 2,000- to 3,000-lumen light.

Plus, the Arlo Video Doorbell offers the ability to see packages, have a greater field-of-view, and killer mics to give you ample visibility at your front door to know when guests arrive, packages are ready for pickup, and just general security checkups.

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