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Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera review: Great camera, price

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera

“Don't waste your money buying several different security devices for your yard. This one has it all.”
  • 160-degree field of view
  • Bright floodlight
  • Smart A.I. for detection
  • Siren is on the quiet side
  • Some video distortion
MSRP $250.00

The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera ($250) packs three big security devices: A floodlight, siren, and a security camera, into one sleek package. It also somehow jams a bunch of useful features into this smart camera that’s just a little bigger than the rearview mirror in your car.

Installation

The installation of this camera couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is follow the steps in the app to connect the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera with your Wi-Fi, then attach the base to your house with three screws, and then you just snap the camera into place. The whole process took about 10 minutes. I don’t think I could ask anything more from a product when it comes to ease of installation.

Installing Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera
Alina Bradford/Digital Trends

You will need a drill, though. You’re probably not going to be able to get the screws into whatever your house is made of without one, and you may need to drill pilot holes if you’re going to use the screw anchors. If you have no idea what any of that means, don’t worry. The app guides you through it all, step-by-step. Overall, it is really easy if you don’t need to drill pilot holes, and a little more advanced if you do, but just about anyone with a drill could do it.

The camera comes with a rechargeable battery that is very easy to access, but if you want something a little more permanent, you can purchase a solar charger for the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera, or an Arlo Outdoor Magnetic Charging Cable. The camera cannot be hardwired into your home’s power supply, though.

Camera

I have very few complaints when it comes to the clarity of this camera. It has a whopping 160-degree field of view, which is much better than most of its competitors, including the Ring Floodlight Camera and the Eufy Smart Floodlight. It also has 2K 2560 x 1440 HDR video resolution and color night vision when the light is on (when the light is off the footage is in black and white). You can also zoom in on objects and people’s faces up to 12 times to get a better view.

The camera isn’t just clear, it’s smart, too. The A.I. allows it to know what it’s looking at and send you specific notifications according to what it sees. It can tell the difference between a human, a package, animals, and vehicles. I found that the A.I. does a pretty good job distinguishing one thing from another, and it seems to learn. For a while, it kept thinking that a waving tree branch was a person, but after two notifications, I didn’t get another notification about the branch, even though the wind was still blowing.

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera security video
Alina Bradford/Digital Trends

Your videos are stored in the cloud at 4K or less (video can be stored in 2K, 1080p, and 720p) for 30 days. The resolution your images are stored as is determined by the plan you choose through Arlo Smart Service, which costs between $3 and $5 per month for one camera. With the Arlo Pro Smart Hub ($100) you can also store footage locally.

The only drawback to this camera is that it has a little distortion around the edges of the images. For example, the edge of my house looks like it curves inward in the videos. Fishbowl lens distortion is pretty common on security cameras, though, and this distortion isn’t nearly as bad as some.

Floodlight

The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera’s light isn’t just bright, it’s close to blinding. It shines with a whopping 2000 to 3000 lumens. I was a bit bummed to find out that you need the Arlo Outdoor Magnetic Charging Cable to get the light to 3000 lumens. This is a sold-separately accessory that costs around $50. Even so, the 2000 lumens when you use just the battery pack as power is very bright.

I’m pretty sure an intruder will feel exposed when this light is triggered.

For comparison, your typical indoor light bulb shines with about 800 to 1600 lumens. I’m pretty sure an intruder will feel exposed when this light is triggered. I set the light so that it would illuminate my carport and the walkway to my front door. It lit up that area and then some. If you find that your light is just too bright, it’s completely adjustable from 5% to 100% brightness.

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera security video at night
Alina Bradford/Digital Trends

The light stays off during the day, but you can manually turn it on at any time. You can also set it to turn on when the camera detects motion.

Siren

The only big downside to the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera is the alarm. When compared to its competitors like the Ring Floodlight Camera or the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera, the 80 decibels (dB) siren is on the quiet side.

Annoying, but it might not wake you up if you’re a heavy sleeper.

That’s not to say that this alarm wouldn’t get someone’s attention. Eighty decibels sounds about as loud as a lawnmower. Annoying, but it might not wake you up if you’re a heavy sleeper. It also might not attract your neighbor’s attention if there’s any significant gap between houses in your neighborhood.

As with the light, you can decide whether to switch it on manually when there’s an emergency, or have it come on automatically when the camera senses motion.

Extra features

The 2-way audio is a nice feature that not every other floodlight camera has. I think it’s a smart addition that can be useful in a lot of different situations. For example, say your family was outside and you needed to ask a question. All you need to do is bring up the app and start chatting. The mic has noise- and echo-cancellation so that you can hear clearly whoever is in your yard.

Multi-user access is also a nice feature. You can give family members, roommates, or house-watchers access to the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera through the app using an email address.

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera app

Like with most outdoor cameras, the Arlo app lets you select where you want the camera to focus on with activity zones. Once you set up a zone, you’ll only get alerts when something happens in the zone. This can be particularly helpful if you want to avoid alerts about a busy street or sidewalk by your home. You can also choose to not record certain areas of your yard. To avoid these areas, the camera will zoom in on the part of your yard you do want to record. This makes the image a little fuzzier since zooming in degrades image quality.

One of the app features I really loved is that you don’t need to go into the Arlo app to view footage. You can see video clips on your phone’s lock screen. If an emergency is in progress, every second counts, and fiddling with your phone can waste precious moments, so this feature is really smart. You can also tap the E-911 service button to get emergency services sent to your home, even if you’re not there.

Unfortunately, the Arlo Smart Service subscription plans I mentioned earlier are needed for most of these features. It doesn’t cost a lot, though, so I would say the subscription plan is definitely worth it.

I found that while using the light to trigger when motion is detected and only at night and when triggered by motion, the battery lasted about a week plus a few days before it needed a recharge. This seems pretty short to me. It takes up to 6.5 hours to charge, too, so that’s somewhat of a pain.

Our take

I’m not surprised that the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera is a great device. Arlo has a great track record when it comes to smart devices as a whole. While the siren isn’t as loud as it could be, the rest of the features more than make up for it. At $250, it costs around the same as its competitors, but offers better performance than most.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes and no. It has a better field of vision and a brighter spotlight than any other major brand. If you want a louder siren, the Ring Floodlight Camera with its 110 dB alarm would be a good alternative in that case.

Will it last?

It will take whatever comes at it. The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera is rated to withstand dust, rain, sun, direct shots with your water hose, and temperatures that range from -4 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit. It comes with a 1-year limited hardware warranty.

Should you buy it?

Yes. It is competitively priced and has better features than most of its competitors.

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