arlo doorbell cam

The Arlo doorbell cam is a welcome addition to the video doorbell market. Arlo already has a best seller with their very good security camera system. And I was excited to see if their video doorbell was just as good.

Even though Arlo has been a major player in the security camera sector for a few years they waited until now to put out a video doorbell camera. And I have been very impressed with this offering.

The first thing that I noticed is that it looks like the newer generation of video doorbells, such as Remobell or SkyBell Trim Plusslim and compact with a doorbell button and camera. It’s not big, square and clunky like the Ring Doorbell or August Door Cam.

Another thing right from the beginning that I like it that it comes with a flat mounting plate and an angled mounting plate. The angled mounting plate is very helpful when you need a better camera angle to capture what’s in front of your door. Usually with other doorbell cameras you have to buy an angled mount separate.

The temperature operating range on this Arlo Doorbell Cam is about average for doorbell cameras. Arlo says the range is -4F to 113F. While that does include a lot of North America it will leave out the most extreme northern and southern climates. It will probably still operate outside of that range but prolonged exposure to those temperatures is probably not a good idea.

Overview of the Arlo Video Doorbell

  • Must be hard wired for power to home’s existing doorbell wiring
  • Comes with 3 free months of Arlo Smart which includes intelligent camera detection
  • 2-way audio, motion detection, night vision, 180 degree view angle
  • 7 days of free cloud storage of your videos – no subscription required
  • Built in siren – that you can set off remotely if you see someone up to no good
  • Can work through Alexa with voice commands
  • Does not work with Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit at this time
  • Priced at $149 currently. A good deal considering Arlo’s features rival Ring’s and is $50 less than Ring Video Doorbell 2

Last update on 2020-03-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Installation

This doorbell camera has to be wired to your existing doorbell wiring for power. Which should not be difficult for most people. Renters would need to check with their landlord if they would be permitted to install this because you do have to remove your existing doorbell.

I didn’t have a problem installing the Arlo doorbell. And they have a really handy and helpful installation guide that is easily downloaded to your phone on their Arlo app. And, as shown in the video, it was pretty straightforward. As long as the power to the doorbell wiring is off the installation should be simple.

The hardest part, in my opinion, was probably installing it to the wall where your existing doorbell is. And that is only because you have to drill new holes in the wall, which is not even that much trouble if you have the right equipment.

Arlo does recommend, and I recommend it as well, that you hire a professional to install it if you do not feel comfortable messing with electricity.

Arlo is better where it matters

Like I said earlier, this Arlo doorbell cam has the same features that most higher end video doorbells have. It has 2-way audio, night vision, on demand live video, motion detection and real time push notifications to your smartphone.

The video picture you get from Arlo is much better than Ring or some other competitor. Arlo’s camera has a full 1:1 aspect ratio and not the standard 16:9 ratio. What this means to you is there is a clearer, larger picture and with a 180 degree field of view and 12 times digital zoom you can see more of what’s outside your front door.

The left picture is Arlo’s instant video monitoring from a phone. The right is other video doorbell pictures. So you can see the difference of having a 1:1 ratio on your doorbell camera.

The daylight picture is really good, possibly the best among video doorbells. But the night vision is just as good. It has 20 LEDs in lieu of needing to keep a porch light on.

App Functionality

arlo doorbell cam app log

This doorbell camera is not completely wireless. It has to be connected to the same wiring that your existing doorbell is wired to. But it connects directly to your home’s WiFi network without the use of a hub.

When the doorbell is pressed it will actually call your phone. This is a different method of notification than most other doorbell cameras that send push notifications. Depending on how good service is in your area, this seems to be a better option than relying on data.

It also has the standard settings found on most doorbell camera apps like motion detection zones and a video history.

A feature not found on other video doorbells is a built-in siren and the ability to call 911 directly from your app. When you get notified that someone has triggered the doorbell you can do a live view and see who it is. If you think they’re spending too much time at your front door, you can set off the siren to scare them off. And if they don’t leave or they look like they want to break in you can call 911 from the app.

So what is this Arlo Smart?

The Arlo Doorbell Cam comes with 3 months of Arlo Smart Service. Arlo Smart is the cloud storage and feature rich subscription service that Arlo offers for buyers of their security cameras and video doorbells.

It only costs $2.99 a month, which is really affordable compared to other video cloud services, especially when you consider the features you get with that:

  • Access to 30 days of video history
  • Advanced object detection – camera differentiates between people, cars and animals
  • Person, pet & package detection capability
  • You can set the doorbell camera to monitor specific areas of the viewing area
  • Push notifications when motion is detected. Then you can either set off the doorbell’s siren alarm or can call 911 directly from the app

It does cost $2.99 a month but these are all great features and really give you access to the full capabilities of the Arlo doorbell cam. I think it is a small amount to pay for the features you can get.

Person & Package Detection

The feature on Arlo Smart that really stands out to me is the person, pet & package detection. Motion detection on some video doorbells can be hit or miss. Sometimes they set off too late or too early or get activated when every car goes by. Arlo has perfected their motion detection so that you can set it to only be activated when a person is there – no more false notifications due to a passing car or stray cat.

Where I live “porch pirates” are a problem. So the package detection setting on the Arlo Doorbell Cam is especially helpful. I get alerts when packages are delivered to my door. So when I am alerted about a package being delivered I nicely ask the delivery person to put the package inside my front door after I unlock it remotely using my WiFi capable smart lock. Then I can lock it again after they shut the door. It is a pretty handy feature.

Should you get the Arlo Doorbell Cam?

Yes, if you want a doorbell camera, I think you should. The Arlo Doorbell Cam is less expensive, works just as good and with some features is even better than other video doorbells.

However, do not waste your time if you do not plan on paying the $2.99 a month or $36 a year for the Arlo Smart subscription. You won’t have the benefit of the full features of this doorbell camera that lets me recommend it. The doorbell cam will still work and you will still get motion notifications and access to the live feed but that’s about it.

That is really the only complaint I have about the Arlo Video Doorbell. And it is not a deal breaker for me, other video doorbells like Ring have cloud based video subscriptions that cost more in addition to their video doorbell costs more out of the box.

Ring and Nest are going to have to go back to the drawing board because of the Arlo Doorbell Cam. Arlo has made a very good competitor to those doorbell cameras and at a cheaper cost. If you are not concerned about integration with IFTTT or Google Assistant you cannot go wrong with this camera.

Arlo Video Doorbell

9.2

Operation

9.0/10

Installation

9.5/10

How Does It Look

9.5/10

Features

9.5/10

Warranty

8.5/10

Customer Service

9.0/10

Pros

  • 180 degree viewing angle
  • 3 months of Arlo Smart are included free
  • Has a remote activated built-in siren and directly call 911 from the app
  • High quality and clarity of video
  • The price

Cons

  • Must pay a subscription to get the best usage
  • Temperature operating range is not impressive
  • No local storage method
  • No IFTTT or Google Assistant support
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5 Comments

Baraka · March 8, 2020 at 4:43 pm

Dear Bill

I agree with you that Arlo Door bell Cam is one of the best door bel cams in the market right now. Before I even saw this review, a friend of mine already told me about the great quality of Arlo Door Bell Cam since he has installed arlo door bell cam on his new house. Arlo Door bell Cam has high quality video picture. It is indeed a great product at a reasonable price. Thank you for sharing this great information. Thanks

Baraka

Hori W · March 8, 2020 at 4:23 pm

A good review of a genuinely good item. Our system is very poor and there is no way to de-activate it for cats or passerbys’. Unlike the Arlo, we need to keep the light on at night so I thought the night vision on the Arlo was a good feature. Been hooked up to the house wiring though means it doesn’t work if the power is out, right? Some of the cheap and nasties have a rechargeable battery system which I think is great; does this one have a similar feature? Thanks.

    Bill Kiser · March 8, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    There is a rechargeable battery in the video doorbell but it is there to help with low power fluctuations and not as a prolonged use battery. 

robertmccarty · March 8, 2020 at 4:15 pm

I have a Ring doorbell and the quality of the video feed and live view is fair at best.  The other issue even with the subscription is that Ring automatically deletes any video over 30 days out of storage.  It sounds like Arlo’s video might be a lot better.  Do you have any experience with Arlo’s video quality compared to Ring?  The othe potential issue is the power aspect. Does Arlo have a re-chrgeable battery powered model?  I am not sure i can run a wired connection to that area, there isn’t a doorbell built in.  Thanks!

    Bill Kiser · March 9, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    Arlo Smart is a subscription service that keeps 30 days of video. It’s a rolling video service which means newest video is recorded over the last. However, you are able to download the videos to your phone or a PC within that 30 days. 

    Arlo’s video clarity is better and you can see more of an area with their camera.

    Unfortunately they do not have a rechargeable battery video doorbell but they do have a really good rechargeable battery security camera system, Arlo Pro 2, that you can use to monitor your front door.

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