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Arlo Video Doorbell Review: Nothing fishy about this camera

A person pressing the Arlo Video Doorbell.
Arlo Video Doorbell Review: Nothing fishy about this camera
MSRP $149.99
“Arlo's Video Doorbell is a sleek choice with solid video quality.”
  • No fish-eye look to video
  • Sleek design
  • Intelligent A.I.
  • Works with Alexa
  • Requires wiring for a doorbell
  • Its button doesn't look like a button

The Arlo Video Doorbell is a slim, no-fuss smart video doorbell that covers all of the bases. It has a video camera you can use to catch porch pirates, motion detection, video calling capabilities, night vision, Alexa capabilities, and many other features anyone can appreciate.

Arlo Video Doorbell

Installation: Easy, if you have a doorbell

With a lot of these smart security gadgets, my first concern is simple. How easy is it to install? After all, a great security product is useless if you can’t install it.

The Arlo Video Doorbell passes my installation test. If you already have a doorbell and a chime box, the installation process is simple, and the Arlo app walks you through the process seamlessly. It even has a step-by-step video if you’re still lost.

On the other hand, if you don’t already have a doorbell and a chime box, you’re out of luck. You’ll need to hire a professional to set up the Arlo Video Doorbell, or you’ll need to get a different doorbell that can be set up without preexisting hardware, like the August View or the Ring Video Doorbell 2.

Video quality: Forget the fish-eye effect

Arlo Video Doorbell vs other doorbells

The biggest problem with video doorbells is that they can give a distorted, fish-eye looking video. Nobody wants to see that. Arlo was able to solve the problem with an HD camera that has a 180-degree viewing angle and a 1:1 aspect ratio.

The video has a bit of a rounded look to it, but you get to see much more of the area around your porch and yard, which can give you added peace of mind that there isn’t someone hiding off to the side in the bushes. Folks can’t duck below the doorbell and hope to be unseen, either, since the Arlo captures the area below it as well as in front of it.

Design: Where’s the doorbell button?

Arlo Video Doorbell without light

Though the Arlo Video Doorbell has a lot of great features and I love how slim and sleek it looks, there is one major design problem: the button. If I came up to someone’s home I would not know what to push to sound the doorbell. Other video doorbells, like the Ring or the SkyBell Trim Plus have obvious buttons.

The doorbell button on the Arlo is literally not even button shaped. It’s concave. I’m pretty sure I would think this was a design feature and not a functional button. It is a good thing that the Arlo has motion detection, that way even if your visitors don’t know that this dip in the camera is a button, you’re still alerted to their presence.

App & features: Easy does it

Arlo Video Doorbell app

False notifications can really make you not want to use a security device of any type. To counteract notifications that are less than helpful, Alro designed an artificial intelligence (A.I.) that can detect whether an item on your front step is a pet, a package, or a person. You can set up the app to alert you when these types of things are on your porch. Plus, you can set up activity zones to prevent movement alerts from areas that you don’t care about monitoring, like the sidewalk in front of your house.

See footage right away

While other security apps make you open the app to see footage, Arlo doesn’t. You can see footage right on your lock screen. This feature can be super helpful in an emergency since you can see intruders or package stealers right away so you can take action as it’s happening.

Our take

Overall, the Arlo Video Doorbell is a great addition to any home security lineup. It has terrific video, smart A.I. features to help keep your family safe, and a modern, polished look. It’s also priced lower, at $149.99, than most of the other top-of-the-line video doorbells on the market. The biggest drawback is that you need a pre-existing doorbell system or hire a professional installer to get it set up.

Is there a better alternative?

If you want a doorbell that is super easy to set up and doesn’t need any wiring, I would go with the Ring Video Doorbell 2 instead, though you’ll pay a little more for the Ring.

How long will it last?

The Arlo is nice to look at, but it’s made of thin plastic. I don’t think it would stand up well against an intruder with a brick or a hammer, but it will send you alerts if it’s tampered with. It also comes with a limited warranty.

Should I buy it?

Yes, it has great features and comes from a reliable company.

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