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Arlo just introduced a security camera that's actually affordable

The Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera is $130.

2 min read

It looks exactly like the other Arlo cams, but it costs way less.


I really like Arlo's line of outdoor cameras. The Arlo Pro 3 is even our current favorite home security camera. But they have one major drawback: Arlo cameras are expensive. The brand's latest model, however -- the Essential Spotlight Camera -- is priced at $130. No, 130 bucks isn't cheap, but it's a pretty significant improvement over Arlo's higher-end options.

Here's an overview of the Essential Spotlight Camera:

  • Weatherproof
  • Battery-powered
  • 1080p HD resolution
  • Night vision
  • Motion alerts
  • Two-way audio
  • Built-in siren
  • Built-in spotlight
  • Supports Alexa and Google Assistant 
  • Available in black or white

Essential Spotlight Camera customers have the option to sign up for the Arlo Smart cloud service, starting at $3 a month. Arlo Smart offers 30 days of saved video clips, advanced motion alerts that differentiate among people, animals, vehicles and packages, activity zones and more. 

Unlike other battery-powered indoor/outdoor Arlo security cameras, the Essential Spotlight Camera doesn't require a base station to operate. To me, its ability to connect straight to Wi-Fi is a huge bonus -- and likely what accounts for its lower price. Still, you have the option to connect select Arlo base stations, if you already have one. It's specifically compatible with Arlo SmartHub base stations, with model numbers VMB4000, VMB4540, VMB4500 and VMB5000.

Also different from other Arlo cams, this model doesn't have a removable battery. Instead, you have to carry the whole thing inside to charge. 

Arlo has long claimed that its base stations extend the range and improve the battery life of its cameras, so it will be interesting to test the Essential Spotlight Camera alongside Arlo cameras that require the base station. Arlo tells me the Essential cam should last for up to five months before needing to be charged, whereas base station models are supposed to last for six months. 

You can preorder the Essential Spotlight Camera on Arlo's online store. It's expected to ship starting July 13.

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