Arlo essential security camera reviewThe Arlo Essential security camera bundle is a great security system option for quite a few reasons. The Arlo Essential cameras are wireless, weatherproof, stream crystal clear video, and have great features like colour night vision. Even better? It’s not complicated to set up or use. It’s also one of the most budget-friendly security camera systems I’ve seen. Here’s a look at what you get with the Arlo Essential Security Bundle, how to set it up, and what you can expect when you use an Arlo Essential camera.

Features of Arlo Essential security camera bundle

Arlo essential security bundle reviewThe Arlo Essential security  camera bundle is packaged with 4 Arlo Essential cameras, 4 camera mounts, one Arlo security sign, a USB charge cable, and screws to attach the mounts. Arlo Essential cameras are the same size and shape as other Arlo cameras like the Ultra 2 and Pro 4, but Arlo Essential cameras don’t open up to remove the battery. You’ll charge them by plugging the cable into the camera itself. You can also connect them to the Arlo Essential Solar Panel.

  • Captures video and snapshots in Full HD 1080p
  • IP65 weather resistant in heat and cold up from -20°C to 45°C
  • 2-way audio so you can talk to and hear anyone in front of your camera
  • 130-degree field of view and motion detection range of 110º
  • Black and white or colour night vision
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors
  • Multi-directional mount so you can adjust the angle your camera is pointing at
  • Motion detection up to 23 feet and notifications identify a person, vehicles, animals, and packages
  • LED spotlight can turn on when motion is detected
  • Siren you can turn on if an intruder is detected
  • Connects to your 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network
  • 30-day free trial of Arlo Secure cloud storage subscription

Setting up the Arlo Essential security bundle

Arlo essential bundleI’ve always found Arlo cameras are easy to set up, and the Arlo Essential security bundle is no exception. First, you’ll need to plug your Arlo Essential cameras into the USB cable so they can charge. It takes about 4 hours to charge one camera, and the charge will last up to 6 months. Just keep in mind if you have your camera in a high-traffic area and it’s continually triggering motion, your battery will drain faster.

Adding Arlo Essential cameras to the Arlo app

When the battery is charged you can add your camera to the Arlo app. You’ll press the pairing button on the bottom of the camera and a blue light will begin to flash to indicate it’s ready to pair. You’ll point the camera at a QR code on your phone and it will pair with your Arlo app. Once it’s connected you’ll see the camera on the main screen of your app.

If you have trouble pairing the camera you should make sure you’re trying to connect to a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network. These cameras won’t pair to a 5GHz network. I also like to pair my cameras inside near my router so I know I have a solid connection before I mount them outside.

Mounting Arlo Essential cameras

Arlo essential mountTo set up Arlo Essential cameras you’ll use the included mount. The mount needs to be attached to your home, fence, or wherever you’d like it, and you’ll use the included screws. Once you’ve attached it to the location you’d like, you will attach the Arlo Essential to the mount by twisting it on and using the adjustments to find the perfect position.

Testing Arlo Essential cameras

I like to buy security cameras in bundles of four like this set because then you have enough cameras to cover every corner of your yard. I placed my Arlo Essential cameras about 50 feet from my router, but they will work up to 300 feet away.

Exceptional 1080p video quality day or night

Arlo app settings Arlo app essential camera Arlo app

I’ve tested out 4K Arlo Ultra 2 cameras and 2K Arlo Pro 4 cameras, so I thought the Full HD 1080p video quality of the Arlo Essential wouldn’t be as high quality. I’m happy to admit I was wrong. All of the videos the camera captured were very crisp and detailed. Colours are very bright and you can zoom in for more detail if you’d like to. I like the wide field of view because you can see more of what’s going on around the camera. Day video was obviously much clearer and more detailed than night video, but I thought the quality was great no matter when the clips were captured.

You can tap the app screen to record a video manually or take a photo if you’d like one. I never had an issue connecting to the camera when I wanted to see a live view. The connection was strong and the library was updated with video clips within seconds whenever motion was detected.

Arlo Secure storage service identifies what triggered motion

Arlo Essential camera review
Daytime image captured with Arlo Essential camera

With your Arlo Essential security camera bundle you’ll get a 30 day subscription to Arlo Secure. Arlo Secure is a cloud storage service and it will store your video clips for up to 30 days. It will also customize your motion notifications by identifying what triggered the motion sensor. You’ll immediatley know the motion was a person, animal, vehicle, or package, and that information will be available in your library of video clips.

I’ve always used Arlo Secure with my Arlo cameras and I find it useful and very accurate. It’s nice to store your video clips if you’d like to go back and look at them again. Without Arlo Secure you can see a live view and receive motion notifications, but the camera itself won’t store video clips. Arlo Secure starts at $4.00 per month.

Two way audio and colour night vision

Night image captured with Arlo Essential camera

You can choose black and white night vision or colour night vision. Colour night vision is helpful if you’re in a very dark location because it can help you pick up detail you wouldn’t see in black and white video. I have lights all over my yard so I turned colour night vision off and the video still showed a colour image.

Arlo Essential cameras have two-way talk if you’d like to speak to whoever is in front of your camera. Your voice comes through clearly and you can very clearly hear whoever is there. I’ve used this feature on other Arlo cameras if I received a motion notification for a person or animal, so it’s nice to know you can turn them on and listen if you think something or someone is near. The audio pickup on these cameras is very good. In the review video, my husband walked past the camera in the yard and you can hear the sound of his sandals as he walked away. Having decent camera audio means you can always hear things on your video clips like glass breaking or other noises that might indicate someone is in your yard.

LED spotlight and siren on Arlo Essential cameras

There are two features on Arlo Essential cameras that are favourites of mine. They have an LED spotlight that can be set to turn on when motion is detected. You can set the light to turn on and strobe, flash, or just remain steady, and it’s very bright. It easily lights up the area in front of the camera. The siren on the camera is also a nice security feature. You can turn it on in the app and the siren will sound from the camera. It’s a pretty loud siren. While it’s not ear-splitting, it’s definitely enough to get someone’s attention.

Comparing Arlo Essential with Arlo Ultra 2 and Arlo Pro 4

Arlo essential camera bundleI’ve done reviews for Arlo Ultra 2 cameras, Arlo Pro 4 cameras, and now Arlo Essential cameras. All three cameras are available in security bundles, and they are all great choices for protecting your home and yard. I like the high-resolution footage of the Arlo Ultra 2 and Arlo Pro 4, but the Arlo Essential 1080p footage was pretty amazing too.

For my yard, the only drawback to Arlo Essential cameras is that you have to bring them in to charge. I really liked the quick charging battery station you get with Arlo Ultra 2 and Arlo Pro 4. It charges two batteries at one time. That being said, Arlo batteries do last a long time (about 6 months), and you can also attach them to a solar charger if you’d like to.

If you’re not worried about higher resolution video and you don’t mind bringing your cameras inside to charge occasionally, the Arlo Essential bundle is a perfect choice. You aren’t going to miss a detail or lack video quality, Arlo Secure lets you know who is in front of the camera (if you continue the subscription after the trial), and you can’t beat the price point for four weatherproof, wire-free cameras.

You can find the Arlo Essential security camera bundle at Best Buy right now.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag