Netgear updates its smart home camera line with the Arlo Pro 2

Netgear Arlo Pro 2

Riding a wave of growth in the home security market, Netgear on October 10 announced the Arlo Pro 2, the latest iteration of its indoor/outdoor smart home camera. More a refinement than a reinvention, the Arlo Pro 2 shares its design with the original Arlo Pro, which allows for compatibility with existing accessories, including batteries and mounts.

New to the Arlo Pro 2 is a 1080p image sensor (up from 720p in the previous version), yet Netgear is sticking with the same seven days of free cloud storage, despite the larger file sizes resulting from the increased resolution. This remains one of the best included cloud plans of any smart home camera.

Like the original Arlo Pro, the new model is weather sealed and includes a rechargeable battery that can power the camera for up to six months. Two-way audio, motion detection, and infrared night vision all return. The Arlo Pro 2 also gains Amazon Fire TV  support, allowing users to bring up a live feed on their television.

While Netgear said the majority of growth in the home security market is toward wire-free cameras, the Arlo Pro 2 gains important functionality when used as a wired camera. For example, users who want continuous video recording (CVR) can now do so by plugging the camera in and subscribing to Netgear’s CVR cloud storage plan. In this mode, the Arlo Pro 2 behaves more like a traditional security camera.

Plug-in power is also required for another new feature, called Look Back. Look Back constantly pre-records three seconds of footage, creating a buffer before a recording is triggered. If camera detects motion and begins recording, those three seconds prior to the event are saved with the video clip.

The Arlo Pro 2 still requires a base station, which is one of the things that differentiates Netgear’s approach from many of its competitors, such as the Canary Flex. While this increases the cost, the base station is the reason Arlo cameras have such good battery life, as they monitor Wi-Fi traffic and only ping the camera when necessary. They also add a 100-plus decibel siren and optional local backup via USB.

The Arlo Pro 2 is also backward compatible with the existing Arlo Pro system, so current users can continue to use their same base station and older cameras alongside the new model. Those customers can purchase a solo Arlo Pro 2 camera for $220, while new users will have to opt for a two-camera bundle (which includes a base station) for $480. Netgear said its single-camera bundle for the Arlo Pro simply wasn’t popular, as the company discovered its customers overwhelmingly wanted a more robust, multi-camera setup. The Arlo Pro 2 plays to the needs of such users, and Netgear also offers a four-camera package for $800.