The Arlo Pro 3 is my new favorite outdoor home security camera. Its performance, design, features and overall value add up to a solid product worth strong consideration. Here are the highlights that make the Arlo Pro 3 worthy of CNET's Editors' Choice Award:
- Excellent 2K livestreaming and recorded, saved clips
- Smart alerts that (mostly) correctly differentiate among different types of motion
- A siren built into the camera
- A USB drive in the hub for local storage
- Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri support
Yes, at $500 for a camera two-pack, plus the requisite hub, you're going to spend a lot of money on the Arlo Pro 3 (I really wish Arlo sold a one-camera kit with a hub). But if you have the money and you're looking for a great outdoor home security camera, the Arlo Pro 3 is a great bet. And, if you already own a hub from a previous Arlo purchase, you can buy Arlo Pro 3s as standalone cameras for $200 each.
A whole new Arlo
The Arlo Pro 3 sits somewhere between the $600 Arlo Ultra and the $400 Arlo Pro 2 two-camera kits in terms of its specs, features and price. Here's a more in-depth overview of the Pro 3's specs and features versus other Arlo cams:
Comparing Arlo cameras
|Arlo Pro 3||Arlo Ultra||Arlo Pro 2|
|Weatherproof||-4 to 113 degrees||-4 to 140 degrees||-4 to 113 degrees|
|Night vision||Color||Color||Black and white|
|Alerts||Motion and sound. Person, vehicle, animal and package with Arlo Smart subscription||Motion and sound. Person, vehicle, animal and package with Arlo Smart subscription||Motion and sound|
|Local storage||USB port in hub||MicroSD card slot in hub||USB port in hub|
|Cloud plan||Optional Arlo Smart subscription starting at $3 per month||Optional Arlo Smart subscription starting at $3 per month||Free 7-day activity-based cloud storage|
|Field of view||160 degrees||180 degrees||130 degrees|
|Zones||Yes, with Arlo Smart||Yes, with Arlo Smart||Yes, with Arlo Smart|
|Siren||Built into camera||Built into camera||Built into hub|
|Voice support||Alexa and Google Assistant. Siri forthcoming||Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri||Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri|
The Arlo Pro 2, my previous pick for best home security camera, has a narrower field of view than the Pro 3, lower resolution and a siren built into the hub rather than the camera (having the siren inside the house isn't helpful if you want to scare away a potential intruder your camera spots outside). The Pro 2 is also missing a built-in spotlight, has black and white night vision (rather than color) and an 8x zoom (rather than 12x).
The older Pro 2 has other limitations: no HDR, no autotracking or zooming and no person-, vehicle-, animal- and package-detecting "smart alerts." It does still have the free seven-day cloud storage option that Arlo sadly ditched with the Ultra and Pro 3 cameras.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Arlo Ultra has all of the same advanced features as the Pro 3, plus higher resolution, a larger field of view and a microSD slot in the hub (which is better than the Pro 3's USB port). Ultra customers get one year of Arlo Smart Premier free. Arlo Smart Premier is Arlo's midrange $10 per month subscription tier that includes e911, a feature that makes it possible to call local law enforcement from the Arlo app.
The Pro 3, in contrast, only comes with three months of Arlo Smart Premier, but it has virtually identical features as the Ultra at $100 less up front.
The Arlo SmartHub helps to protect your footage by adding a secure, personal network to your router. SmartHub also helps to regulate WiFi traffic, improves battery life, and comes with local storage.
Getting to know the Pro 3
Just like previous Arlo cams, the Pro 3 is easy to set up. Follow the simple steps in the app to connect the hub to your router and set up the cameras. Out of the box, the cameras come with two stands, two batteries (these batteries are interchangeable with Ultra cameras only) and one charger. I set up one camera in the front yard and the other at the side of the house near the garage.
Arlo also sent me a 25-foot outdoor extension cord adapter for $50 and a solar panel accessory for $80 (both sold separately). I set up the solar panel accessory with the Garage camera and the battery is holding steady around the full charge line after five days of active use. The Front Door camera is hovering lower at 25% battery remaining, although it wasn't fully charged when I first set it up.
The cameras are supposed to last for three to six months, depending on usage.
The Pro 3 has excellent, crisp 2K streaming and saved clips. I was able to easily make out details, like people's faces, types of cars coming and going -- and even three different cats that wandered near the cameras.
As far as the smart alerts go, the Pro 3 did pretty well. It correctly identified a person roughly 80% of the time and it did decently well with animals. It identified the three cats as animals in all but one of the clips, although it misidentified a neighbor's dog as a person. Unfortunately, it didn't do as well at vehicle detection. Despite dozens of cars coming and going over the five days I tested this camera, it only ID'd a vehicle correctly once. Otherwise, it just classified it as a generic "motion" event.
Package detection was hit-or-miss, too. This feature can only be applied to one camera, so I assigned it to the Front Door camera and it regularly sent me a person alert as someone walked up with a package, but never a package alert.
Like Nest's IQ cams and the Arlo Ultra, the Pro 3 has an autotracking/zooming feature you can opt into. With this feature, the camera will focus on the specific activity and track it within the field of view for a close-up view. I found this feature worked well, but was somewhat unnecessary for me since I could easily see the person, animal or other miscellaneous motion even without the zoom/track feature.
Arlo Smart includes motion detection zones, which also worked well for me during testing. I created a "Driveway" zone for the Garage camera and it successfully sent me alerts only within that zone, ignoring everything else.
The Pro 3's built-in spotlight also successfully illuminated when it detected motion, making it even easier to see what was happening. This doubles as a security feature, since it could scare away a potential intruder just like any motion-activated spotlight.
The Pro 3 works with Alexa and Google Assistant. View your camera's live feed on Alexa- and Google-Assistant-enabled smart displays. Siri support is forthcoming. With HomeKit , you should be able to view the live feed in the Home app for iOS. Apple hasn't yet released HomeKit Secure Video, an upcoming feature that's supposed to analyze your security camera's video footage locally on your Apple TV, iPad or HomePod and store 10 days of video clips. Logitech, Netatmo and Eufy are the initial partners for HomeKit Secure Video, but I wouldn't be surprised if Arlo ended up joining in at some point.
The $500 Arlo Pro 3 is an excellent outdoor security camera with solid performance and strong features. It's similar to the Ultra, but a bit more affordable, striking a good balance if you don't want to spend $600. And you aren't really missing out with the Pro 3 since you get roughly the same things as the Arlo Ultra for 100 bucks less.
The Pro 3 is my new top pick for home security cameras , although I do miss Arlo's previous seven-day free event-based cloud storage option. If Arlo brought that back with basic features, the Pro 3 would be pretty close to perfect.
Want to read more about home security cameras? Here's an overview of our favorite security cameras for 2019 by category.