Arlo Essential vs Arlo Pro 3: Which Should You Buy? (2023)

Arlo Essential vs Arlo Pro 3: Which Should You Buy? (1)

Arlo Pro 3

Arlo Essential vs Arlo Pro 3: Which Should You Buy? (2)

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The Arlo Pro 3 is designed to capture a wider range of high-quality images, as well as alert you to worrisome sounds while the Arlo Essential knocks you out. The higher price makes it less attractive to buy in quantity, and you'll probably want to buy a backup battery as well, but you'll probably feel more secure protecting your home.

Arlo Pro 3

See and hear threats more clearly

2K video resolution

Wider lens FOV and motion FOV

Supports sound detection

Removable battery for faster recharging

High quality image sensor

shorter battery life

More expensive

Higher resolution requires more bandwidth

Arlo Essential

Arlo Essential vs Arlo Pro 3: Which Should You Buy? (3)

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Anyone looking to build a network of affordable Arlo cameras should seriously consider Arlo Essential, which may not have Pro 3-level specs, but it does support Arlo features like remote local storage, smart home connectivity, and AI detection. It even matches the Pro 3 in night vision and beats it in battery life.

Arlo Essential

6 month battery life

a higher battery time

more affordable price

colorful night vision

Same storage capacities and artificial intelligence

Only 1080p resolution and smaller FOV

No sound detection

Built-in battery makes recharging more arduous

two ofbest arlo camerastoday, the Arlo Essential and Arlo Pro 3 are also two of the more affordable models in a relatively expensive lineup. For all your security "essentials," like AI detection and color night vision, the Arlo Essential will serve you well and save you money. If you're willing to spend a little more for 2K resolution, a wider field of view (FOV), and other improvements, the Arlo Pro 3 might be your best bet. Your choice will depend in part on your budget and the number of cameras you plan to buy, but we'll give you as many specific details and differences as we can to make your choice easier.

Arlo Essential vs Arlo Pro 3: The essentials for a reliable security camera

As you'd expect for two cameras made by the same company, both the Arlo Essential and Pro 3 share many features and capabilities. Before we dive into their differences, let's explore what you'll get out of your Arlo Cam, no matter which one you buy.

Both cameras are weather resistant and work in a wide range of temperatures. Each supports two-way audio thanks to a single microphone with noise and echo cancellation (whereas Arlo Ultra cameras have dual microphones). Both are wireless, connecting directly to your Wi-Fi network without the need for a hub, and wireless, relying on a rechargeable battery that should last for months.

Essential and Pro 3 support color night vision thanks to an optional built-in spotlight that you can activate in response to motion. While the Pro 3 has better lens and camera resolution, both have 850nm infrared LEDs, meaning they can detect motion over equally long distances. Both also feature digital zoom instead of optical zoom, achieving 12X magnification.

These two Arlo cameras share features like color night vision, AI detection, IFTTT technology, voice commands, and long battery life.

Unfortunately, Arlo doesn't include AI detection, activity zones, or continuous video recording (CVR) on its cameras by default. But you can sign up for an Arlo Smart plan to$2.99/mes(opens in a new tab)per camera to unlock people, pet, package, and vehicle detection on any Arlo camera, plus Activity Zones. As for the CVR, you'll need to pay $19.99/month to unlock it for cloud storage, or buy a compatible smart hub and USB flash drive to store it. Whichever Arlo camera you buy, you'll get exactly as many smart features you're willing to pay for.

Ultimately, both cameras benefit from Arlo's extensive compatibility with various smart homes, specifically Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, along with IFTTT support. You can remotely arm your cameras with a voice command or app, or activate your smart bulbs or switches in response to detected motion. Whichever smart home ecosystem you prefer, your Arlo camera will work with it.

Arlo Essential vs Arlo Pro 3: Spotting Their Spec Differences

Arlo Essential vs Arlo Pro 3: Which Should You Buy? (4)

Despite all these shared traits and features, you will find many differences between these two cameras once you dive into the details. Specifically, the Pro 3 has a wider look, a 2K resolution option (with some major caveats), and sound detection, while the Essential has more consistent battery life. You can see the breakdown in the specs table below.

Swipe to scroll horizontally

Cell Header - Column 0Arlo Pro 3Arlo Essential
Maximum Resolution2560x14401920x1080
video modes2K, 1080p, 720p1080p, 720p
lens FOV160 degree diagonal130 degree diagonal
FOV motion detection130 degrees horizontal110 degrees horizontal
expansion12X digitales12X digitales
Auto track and zoomSimSim
Night visionheart; 850nmheart; 850nm
integrated focusSimSim
Power sourceremovable batteryintegrated battery
battery durationabout 3-6 monthsabout 6 months
Operating temperature-4° F a 113° F (-20° C a 45° C)-4° F a 113° F (-20° C a 45° C)
two-way audioYes: Single microphone with noise and echo cancellationYes: Single microphone with noise and echo cancellation
sound detectionSimNo
Arlo Smart hub compatibilityVMB5000; VMB4540; VMB4000; VMB4500VMB5000; VMB4540; VMB4000; VMB4500
local storageYes, up to 2TB via Smart HubYes, up to 2TB via Smart Hub
cloud storage30 days of subscription clips30 days of subscription clips
smart home connectivityAmazon Alexa, Asistente de Google, Apple HomeKit, IFTTTAmazon Alexa, Asistente de Google, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT
Subscription AI CapabilitiesDetection of people, packages, animals or vehiclesDetection of people, packages, animals or vehicles

This chart is missing some key details about the Pro 3 because Arlo was a little coy about its Essential camera specs in a few areas. For example, we know the Pro 3 has a 4MP, 1/3" image sensor; 6500K focus; 128-bit SSL, AES-128, and TSL encryption; 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4GHz, and HDR, H.264 and H. 265 encoding. While we know the Arlo Essential has a CMOS sensor and reflector, and only works in the 2.4GHz band, we don't know how it specifically offthe lack of detail means the Pro 3 handles these areas better, but we can't say for sure.

Arlo Essential vs Arlo Pro 3: Is it worth upgrading to 2K?

Arlo Essential vs Arlo Pro 3: Which Should You Buy? (5)

The caveat we mentioned with 2K video on the Arlo Pro 3 is that the camera can't shoot at that resolution by default. You can only unlock it by paying for an Arlo Smart subscription or by purchasing an Arlo smart hub and uploading your footage to a local USB drive. We suspect that most Arlo buyers will pay for a subscription anyway and it won't be too complicated, but we still want to take note of that.

Arlo Pro 3 only unlocks 2K resolution recordings with a cloud storage subscription and requires a better internet connection.

Another factor to consider is that 2K video, whether recorded or streamed, is a bigger load on your router and internet plan than 1080p video. Arlo notes that you need an upload speed of 2-4 Mbps to support two simultaneous 2K video streams; so before you buy a pair of Arlo Pro 3s, make sure your plan supports it. If not, you may want to stick with Essential, which requires less bandwidth.

We can't say for sure if the 2K resolution is worth the extra cost. If you primarily want the camera to alert you to an intruder, the sensors will detect motion regardless of resolution, and if someone is in your yard, you don't need them to glow to tell you're out of place. Only if you're hoping to get clear images of someone as recorded evidence does resolution really matter.

Arlo Essential versus Arlo Pro 3: sad battery

Arlo Essential vs Arlo Pro 3: Which Should You Buy? (6)

Arlo estimates that the Pro 3 will last three to six months on a full charge, while the Arlo Essential has a firmer estimate of six months. But if you wonder how longArlo Essential battery life actuallyFinally, our linked guide explains that the answer is not so clear.

Both estimates are based on the idea that camera usage is "4,000 seconds per month, 30 seconds per stream, and day/night events split 2:1," according to Arlo. That translates to about 67 minutes a month, or about four 30-second clips a day. If your camera records more frequently, your battery will drain faster. The same applies if your camera shoots in 2K or even 1080p - Arlo apparently used 720p footage when making this estimate.

Both cameras basically require an additional battery accessory to help you avoid charging headaches.

With that in mind, you should be prepared to recharge your battery on a regular basis. For the Pro 3, which has a removable battery, that means you can buy one$50 replacement battery(opens in a new tab)and change the new one so that your camera is not off for a long time. For the Essential, with its built-in battery, you'll need to take it inside, recharge it, and put it back together. An easier solution would be to buy a$50 Arlo solar panel(opens in a new tab), which keeps your camera charged at all times, but also draws attention to your Camera Essential.

We will notice that Arlo sells orEssential XL Focus Camera(opens in a new tab), which boasts an estimated twelve-month battery life, while also matching the essential entry-level camera in other respects. This model also costs more, making it harder to justify as a budget option compared to the Pro 3.

Arlo Essential vs. Arlo Pro 3: Which should you buy?

We can't definitively answer that question, but we're big fans of the Pro 3. Whether or not you need 2K resolution, you'll appreciate the ultra-wide field of view; And we think sound detection is a must for security cameras, so its absence on the Arlo Essential is unforgivable. We also assume that most people won't want to bother with a solar panel, but will be reluctant to buy a battery backup unless they have to climb a ladder to remove the camera and wait a few hours for it to recharge.

If you plan to buy multiple Arlo cameras, the price difference between the two individual composites makes the Essential even more tempting. But you would need a solar panel for each camera, or you would be forced to recharge each camera over and over again. With a series of Pro 3s, you can only buy a backup battery: every time an Arlo dies, it swaps the backup, recharges the original battery in a few hours, and waits for your next Pro 3 to run out of power.

Yes, the Pro 3 is more expensive, but we still totally recommend the Pro 3 if you can afford it.

Arlo Essential vs Arlo Pro 3: Which Should You Buy? (7)See and hear threats more clearly

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Arlo Pro 3

Simplifies battery charging
With its 2K resolution, 160º FOV, bright focus, AI detection, smart home compatibility, and weather resistance, the Arlo Pro 3 is undoubtedly one of the best wireless outdoor cameras available today.

Arlo Essential vs Arlo Pro 3: Which Should You Buy? (8)6 month battery life

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Arlo Essential

Save money with a reliable camera
Color vision, AI people and package detection, IFTTT compatibility, reliable night vision, affordable cloud storage, and long battery life make the Arlo Essential a great range wireless outdoor camera. half.

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Arlo Essential vs Arlo Pro 3: Which Should You Buy? (9)

Michael L Hicks

Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech subject under the sun before settling onrealcool stuff: virtual reality, wearable fitness devices, gaming, and how technology intersects with our world. He is a semi-retired Apple Android user who loves racing, D&D and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at@Michael_L_Hicks.


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