A rock-solid security camera with a mile-long list of features: Is it worth the cost?
I’ll say this right off the bat: I’m always excited when I get to review Arlo products. Arlo is one of the best security camera manufacturers in the industry and a personal favorite of mine. So when the Arlo Pro 4 showed up on my doorstep, I was ready to check out all of its features and see if it was on par with Arlo’s other high-quality security offerings.
I do have a pretty high bar when I’m testing Arlo equipment. For one, the company has a really strong reputation, so its products better live up to it. And second, these cameras aren’t cheap. The Arlo Pro 4 retails for $199.99, so I’d better be getting my money’s worth.
Pro Tip: If you’re interested in picking up an Arlo Pro 4, now might be a good time to buy. It’s currently on sale for $159.99.
So what’s the verdict? Is it worth dropping $200 to pick up a Pro 4? Do you really need this much camera to protect you from burglars? Don’t worry. I’m going to unpack this camera, literally and figuratively, and provide you with all of the information you’ll need to make an informed decision.
Before we get going, though, let’s take a look at a few pros and cons to get our bearings.
So now that you have a bit of an idea of what this camera has to offer and a few of its drawbacks, let’s dive in.
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So right out of the box, the first thing that caught my attention was the size of the Arlo Pro 4. More specifically, it’s a lot smaller than I was expecting it to be. I’ve seen images of this camera online, but they don’t really give you a sense of scale. For the number of features this thing boasts, it’s pretty tiny.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for smaller cameras, you might also want to check out our review of Blink. These distinct cameras are all pretty discreet, and they won’t cost an arm and a leg.
Now I can’t definitively put that in the Pros or the Cons column. Some folks might like a smaller, sleeker, more discreet camera like the Pro 4 so as to not diminish their home’s curb appeal. Others might want a heftier camera that would-be intruders are going to be more likely to notice. You know how the best alarm systems provide you with a sign to stick in your yard to make thieves think twice? While exactly how conspicuous you want to be is a matter of preference, we recommend installing cameras that will catch the eye without being eyesores. That said, here’s a shot that gives you some sense of scale:
I will say that, despite its size, the camera doesn’t feel unsubstantial or cheaply made. It definitely has that satisfying weight you’re looking for when you purchase a home security product, or anything electronic.
So those were my immediate impressions of the camera itself. Now let’s talk about what else you’ll find in the box. The short answer? Not much.
The Arlo Pro 4 comes with a charger, a screw with a drywall anchor, a magnetic mount, a battery, and a sticker that’ll let your neighbors know you’re keeping an eye on them. I’m kidding. But it is important to display something that’ll let folks know they’re being recorded — especially if you’re planning on capturing audio. Consent laws can be tricky, and if you’re not fully above board, you might find that your recordings aren’t admissible as evidence in court. Kinda defeats the purpose of having a security camera, right?
But I digress. Once you get everything unpacked, it’s time to set it up.
These days, a lot of higher-end consumer-grade security cameras will walk you through their setup using an app, and Arlo is no different. To set up the Pro 4, you start by heading over to the app store on your phone.
Now I already have an Arlo account from when we reviewed the Arlo Video Doorbell, so I didn’t have to create a new account. If this is your first Arlo product, you will. Don’t worry, though. It’s as simple as typing in your email address and selecting a password.
You’ll need the app to connect the camera to Wi-Fi. This is one major upgrade to the Arlo Pro 4 compared to older versions. The Arlo Pro 4 connects directly to Wi-Fi, whereas the Arlo Pro, Arlo Pro 2, and Arlo Pro 3 all need a SmartHub – kind of like a base station that bridges their Wi-Fi connection.
Pro Tip: When you’re setting up your Wi-Fi network, make sure you connect your camera to the 2.4 GHz band. While it might be a little slower, it penetrates walls better and will make your connection more reliable.
Once the camera is connected to Wi-Fi and synced with the app, you’ll be shown how to insert the battery back into the camera’s body. I thought this was pretty clever. This is the first battery-operated camera I’ve reviewed where you could easily get the battery in and out. The reason for this? If you have a few Arlo cameras protecting your property, you can invest in additional batteries ($49.99 each) and a charging station (also $49.99) so that you can hot-swap fully charged batteries. No more downtime!
Keep in mind that once you do this, you’re going to need to charge the camera a little. I like to leave my cameras charging overnight to make sure they’re fully juiced up, but a few hours should be enough to get you going.
After the charged battery is in the camera, you’ll sync it to your app using a QR code. Mine didn’t want to connect — probably because I did these steps a little out of order and charged the camera first — so I had to open up the camera again and hold the tiny sync button on the underside of the interior battery housing. Not a big deal, though. Once I did that, I was back in business.
With the camera charged and synced, it was time to set it up so that it could keep an eye on things. While the Arlo Pro 4 can be used indoors, given its features — like the floodlight, AI detections, and color night vision — I’d classify it as a primarily outdoor camera. I figured I’d put it by my gate to make sure no one was sneaking in and taking a dip in the pool.
Now here’s my first gripe with Arlo. The mounting hardware provided is pretty flimsy. There’s one screw and a magnetic mount that slips over it. That means the mount itself can spin, and the camera itself just doesn’t feel very secure in place. During my testing period, I didn’t have any problems with the camera moving around or anything, but it did give me pause. It would be really easy for a thief to knock the camera down if they wanted to.
Pro Tip: If your camera is stolen, Arlo offers equipment replacement with a subscription to its cloud service.
To be fair, this problem isn’t exclusive to Arlo. A lot of camera manufacturers are using magnetic mounts. Just make sure you read our guide to security camera placement to make sure you’re not sticking yours somewhere an intruder could easily tamper with it.
So that’s that. When everything was said and done, my Arlo Pro 4 was out of the box, synced, installed, and watching over my property in less than 20 minutes — not counting that initial charge time. I’ve tested tons of these cameras, and this one is definitely on the easier end of the spectrum when it comes to setup. Setting up Lorex digital IP cameras, for instance, can take hours, given how much wiring is needed to connect them to a DVR. With Arlo, that’s rarely an issue since most of their cameras are wire-free.
And now that I’ve got the Arlo Pro 4 installed, it’s time to move on to the fun stuff.
One of the primary appeals of the Arlo Pro 4 is its mile-long list of features. The best way to do this is to talk about them individually as well as my experiences with each during my testing period. Let’s start with the nuts and bolts.
You might think the difference between 2K resolution and the industry-standard 1080p is not all that noticeable, but let me assure you, it is. Simply put, the Arlo Pro 4 captures a ton of detail. And while you might not think that’s hugely important in the day-to-day, it certainly could be when you take the footage to the police so you can make out the license plate number on the car that the burglar just hopped into. When 2K is an option, I always recommend it.
Additionally, it has HDR, something that makes the Arlo Pro 4 stand out even among other 2K cameras. HDR balances the lighting in the footage, so that even with glare and shadowy areas, everything remains crystal clear. I especially recommend this feature if you’re using the Arlo Pro 4 as an outdoor camera, as outdoor lighting can be crazy sometimes.
Not only does the Arlo Pro 4 record in incredible detail, but it also captures a pretty significant amount of action with its substantial 160-degree field of vision. As you can see, I’m picking up almost all of the space between my neighbor’s house and my fence and even out to the street. The Pro 4 doesn’t have the widest field of video available — I’ve seen some cameras with 180 degrees or more — but it’s about as good as you can get without having major fisheye distortions.
This is another feature that comes in handy if you’re using the Arlo Pro 4 outdoors. Because of its wide viewing angle, you’ll need fewer cameras to cover every key area of your property. For reference, typical outdoor cameras have a 130-degree or lower FOV – sometimes as low as 90 degrees – so you’ll get your money’s worth with the Arlo Pro 4 when it comes to its coverage.
When the lights go down, that’s when you really want to make sure you’re picking up as much detail as possible. The Arlo Pro 4’s Color Night Vision functionality will help you do exactly that. I will say I’m not always a fan of this function — I find it makes the image too grainy and difficult to make out fine detail compared to traditional IR night vision — but I was impressed with the color night vision on the Arlo 4. It was detailed, and the colors weren’t totally washed out.
If you’re looking for a security camera that will also actively deter unwanted activity, the Arlo Pro 4’s integrated spotlight is what you need. It’s motion-activated, so when your camera detects something creeping in the night, it’ll hit them with the spotlight to send them packing. In my tests of this feature, I thought it functioned really well. It never missed me when I tried to sneak by, and the light was bright enough that it would startle anyone who wasn’t expecting it. Just make sure you don’t point it directly into your neighbor’s bedroom, otherwise you’ll likely run into a bad neighbor situation. Sorry, Chris.
I’m usually really underwhelmed by this standard functionality. When it comes to Wi-Fi cameras, more often than not, there’s too much of a delay for two-way audio to be useful, or the speaker is so lousy it sounds like your voice is coming out of a rusty coffee can. Not so with the Arlo Pro 4, though. There was still a bit of latency there, but the speaker quality was great. In my tests, I could clearly make out what my wife was saying, and she could clearly hear me. I wouldn’t recommend trying to hold a full-blown conversation through the Pro 4, but it’s certainly good enough to tell the delivery guy where to leave your food.
And speaking of the delivery guy, the Arlo Pro 4 is going to be able to tell the difference between the UPS guy coming up the path and a stick blowing in the breeze in the frame. That’s a really nice functionality to have, and the app allows you to easily search back through the footage the camera has captured, filtered by which type of movement it detected. If you’re ever bored, filter by animals and see which nighttime critters are visiting your property in the early-morning hours.
One thing I did notice throughout my testing period is that this camera is sensitive. It’s a little silly to complain about that — after all, you don’t want your security camera missing anything — but it can get a little annoying when your phone is buzzing every 20 seconds because leaves are blowing across the lawn. To help with this, you can set up Smart Activity Zones, which essentially tell the camera to pay attention to certain areas of the frame and ignore others. This is really handy if you live in a high-traffic area or want to exclude a busy street from your captured footage. You can even create multiple zones if your camera is watching, say, a footpath and your driveway.
Want to make sure you’re zeroing in on the most important activity? The Auto Zoom and Tracking feature will do just that. As something comes into the frame — like this four-legged intruder for instance — the camera focuses on that object and tracks its movement. This can be helpful for not missing important actions, but keep in mind that when this feature is enabled, the camera won’t record in 2K resolution. It will automatically adjust the detector and record in the highest resolution available, usually about 1080p. Personally, I didn’t keep this feature on for long.
Phew. That’s a lot of features. But they’re all worth talking about in their own right. Overall, I feel like the Arlo Pro 4 delivered on everything it promised. None of the features felt like they weren’t up to snuff. So with all of these functions in mind, let’s tie it all together and talk about the overall experience of using this camera.
That was definitely a long list of features, which is what’s great about the Arlo Pro 4. It may seem simple and small from the outside, but it delivers in a big way in terms of functionality. It also meets – and even exceeds – our high standards when it comes to camera features. It has great image quality, it delivers security-enhancing features (like motion detection, AI detection, activity zones), and the hardware build is exceptional.
But the Arlo Pro 4 is not without downsides, like the flimsy magnetic mount I mentioned earlier and if you’re budget-conscious, its almost $200 price tag. That said, it certainly has the right features to justify the price.
The Arlo Pro 4 is definitely the type of camera you can set up and trust to do its job. At no point did I feel like it wasn’t capturing activity, and I didn’t experience any significant malfunctions or interruptions. It just worked. And in this industry, that is exactly what you want to hear.
Obviously, the place where you’re going to be interacting with the camera the most is in the app, which is well-designed and extremely easy to use. There are a ton of setting options you can toggle and adjust to tweak your camera to your liking, your video history is easy to manage, and everything is about where you’d expect it to be. In that way, the app is extremely intuitive, and even though I hadn’t used it in years, it took me only a few minutes to feel like I knew what I was doing.
The only drawbacks I uncovered in my test period are ones I’ve already touched on, but I’ll review them here. I wasn’t a huge fan of the design of the mount, there was detectable latency in the two-way audio, and it was a little too sensitive for my liking when I first set it up. The size of the camera might be an issue for folks looking to install a camera as a deterrent, but the integrated spotlight sort of makes up for that. In all, all of these shortcomings are more than forgivable, especially when you consider the features this camera gets right.
Pro Tip: Looking to save on Arlo cameras? Check out our guide to the best Arlo deals of the year.
In my opinion, the biggest consideration you’ll need to take with this camera is the steep price tag. Before we talk about that specifically, let’s talk about the subscription. It’s going to add to your overall cost, so it needs to be thought through before you make your decision.
To get the most out of your security camera, you’re going to need a subscription to Arlo Secure. With this subscription, you’ll be able to view, share, and save up to 30 days’ worth of recordings and have access to one-tap alerts, AI detections, Smart Activity Zones, and interactive notifications. There are three tiers to this plan, so here’s the breakdown:
|Features||Secure||Secure Plus||Safe & Secure Pro|
|Smart interactive notifications||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Smart Activity Zones||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Video verification and escalation||No||No||Yes|
|Alerts to emergency contacts||No||No||Yes|
|Family safety monitoring||No||No||Yes|
|Cost||Single camera: $4.99 per month
Unlimited cameras: $12.99 per month
|$17.99 per month||$24.99 per month|
All Arlo cameras come with a free three-month subscription to Arlo Secure so you can test things out before you commit. We definitely recommend purchasing a subscription, though. Otherwise, you’re not going to be getting the most out of your camera, which you paid quite a bit for.
Which brings us to the ultimate question: Is the Arlo Pro 4 worth the cost?
Well, it’s difficult to say. Two hundred dollars is a lot of money to some people, and for others, it’s a reasonable expense when you’re talking about the security of your property. And when you consider that you’re going to need to pay a monthly subscription and likely have to purchase more than one camera to adequately cover everything, the cost can be a little high.
Pro Tip: Want to see how Arlo stacks up against another big name in the home security camera industry? Check out our head-to-head comparison of Arlo vs. Ring.
That said, if you’re looking for a camera that packs in all of these features — that is, smart detections, Color Night Vision, integrated spotlight, and 2K resolution — you’re going to be spending at least $150 to $200. There are plenty of cameras south of that price point available without these features, or maybe they’ll offer one or two, but if you’re looking for the total package, you’re going to have to pay for it. In that sense, the Arlo Pro 4 is worth every penny. Not only does this camera offer all of these top-shelf features, but it does them really well.
So, if you’re looking for a high-end camera with all of the bells and whistles, you’ve found one that’ll fit the bill. But, if you’re thinking the Arlo Pro 4 might be more camera than you need and will cost more than you’re looking to spend, you should check out our guide to this year’s best affordable security cameras. The pieces of equipment on that list will definitely get the job done and then some while stretching your dollar a little further.
We spend countless hours putting security cameras through a battery of hands-on tests, but the process actually starts before the camera is installed. We conduct exhaustive research on manufacturers to make sure they’re up to our standards.
Once we’re confident in a particular camera’s abilities, we install them in our own homes to see what it’s like living with them day-to-day. The reason for this is twofold. First, it gives us a chance to see how smoothly the installation process is. We understand DIY means different things to different people, so we want to make sure we alert you of any potential pain points to watch out for.
From there, we assess how each camera performs under a variety of conditions. During this phase of testing, we examine each feature to make sure it really adds a concrete security benefit. Once we know what it’s like living with the product, only then do we offer our rating and recommendation.
The Arlo Pro 4 is a great camera for people looking to balance performance with cost.
The Arlo Pro 4 retails for $199.99.
Yes. All of Arlo’s cameras are battery-powered, save for the indoor Arlo Essentials camera.
The Arlo Pro 4 records in 2K resolution and has a 160-degree field of vision.
Arlo is one of the top security camera manufacturers in the industry today.