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Arlo Essential XL 2nd Gen vs. Arlo Pro 4: Which is the better security camera?

Offering impressive video capture, easy installation processes, and an intuitive smartphone app, Arlo stands out as one of the best manufacturers of security cameras. Its catalog has grown a bit larger recently with the launch of its Arlo Essential XL 2nd Gen — but how does this new arrival stack up to the iconic Arlo Pro 4?

Here’s a look at the Arlo Essential XL 2nd Gen and Arlo Pro 4 to help you determine which is best for your security system.

Pricing and monthly fees

The Arlo Pro 4 home security camera installed outdoors.

The Arlo Essential XL 2nd Gen costs $100 for the HD version and $150 for the 2K version. The Arlo Pro 4 is only offered in one format — a 2K camera for $200. That price is often slashed by $50 during big shopping holidays, and it’s not impossible to find it for less than $150 if you’re patient.

Both products are supported by the monthly subscription service Arlo Secure. Without a plan, you won’t get a video history on the Arlo Smart Cloud and will only receive the most basic notifications when motion is detected. Several different versions of Arlo Secure are available — though the basic plan for $5 per month offers smart notifications, access to cloud saves, smart activity zones, and other useful features.

Design and installation

The Arlo XL 2nd Gen with waterdrops on its chassis.

Both security cameras look incredibly premium. Featuring a rounded design with a black front and white surrounding chassis, they’re arguably two of the best-looking security cameras on the market. The Arlo Pro 4 looks a bit more streamlined, and it uses a magnetic mount to make installation a breeze. Installation is also rather simple for the XL, but there’s no denying the magnetic mount of the Arlo Pro 4 is a cool feature.

The general installation process is largely the same for both products. This includes downloading the Arlo app to your smartphone, creating an account, then installing the mounting bracket on your property. From there, the camera can be easily attached when charged and removed when it needs to be refueled.

Resolution and night vision

The Arlo XL 2nd Gen installed on a wall.

As noted above, the XL is available in two formats — HD and 2K. The Pro 4 is only offered as a 2K product. Both also feature color night vision, making it easy to capture footage on your property regardless of the time of day.

Features and spec list

Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera casing
John Velasco / Digital Trends

The main attraction of the Essential XL is its battery life, which lasts up to 16 months. Compared to the six months of the Arlo Pro 4, that’s an incredible improvement. Beyond that advantage, the XL shares many of the same specs as the Arlo Pro 4. This includes 12x optical zoom, two-way audio, an integrated spotlight, and a built-in siren.

The advantage of the Arlo Pro 4 is that it offers a 160-degree viewing angle compared to 130 degrees for the XL. It also uses dual motion sensors instead of the single motion sensor found on the XL and uses wind cancellation to improve audio from its two-way microphones.

Which is the better security camera?

Both the Arlo Pro 4 and Arlo Essential XL are remarkable security cameras. And when you compare the 2K XL camera to the Arlo Pro 4, they both carry similar price tags. Essentially, the big difference between the two is battery life and field of view.

If you love the idea of your camera running for more than a year before needing a recharge, then pick the XL. If you need something to capture a wide 160-degree portion of your property, then the Arlo Pro 4 is the way to go. If you just want a reliable camera, pick whichever one is on sale for a lower price. You truly can’t go wrong with either device, and both are likely to treat you well for years to come.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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