The Arlo Essential is a smart home security camera system designed to provide homeowners with peace of mind and protection. Like most of Arlo's cameras, it is a budget-friendly option that offers high-quality video footage and advanced features such as color night vision, object and animal detection, and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa integration.
The Essential camera lineup includes the entry-level Arlo Essential Camera with standard night vision, the Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera which comes with an integrated spotlight and color night vision, and the Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera XL which comes with an integrated extra-large (XL) battery.
Benefits of Arlo Essential
Arlo Essential provides homeowners with several benefits, including:
Protection: Arlo Essential is designed to protect your home and family. It provides a 130-degree field of view and 1080p resolution, enabling you to monitor your property and detect any potential threats.
Easy to use: Arlo Essential is easy to install and set up. It comes with an Arlo app that allows you to monitor your home from anywhere, at any time.
Affordable: Arlo Essential is a budget-friendly option that provides high-quality video footage and advanced features at an affordable price.
Advanced features: Arlo Essential offers advanced features such as color night vision, object and animal detection, and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa integration.
The Arlo Essential has a sleek, modern design that blends seamlessly into any home. It is available in white and black, giving the camera a clean and minimalist look that complements any home décor.
The Arlo Essential wireless security camera shares similarities with other outdoor wireless cameras from Arlo but is larger in size. It has a trapezoidal shape with a rounded rear, slightly larger than its flat front. With dimensions of 3.5 inches in length, 3 inches in width, and 2 inches in thickness, it is larger than many other wireless outdoor cameras, such as the Blink Outdoor and some of Arlo's other cameras, making it more noticeable.
To mount the camera, there is a small screw hole at the back that works with the included mounting bracket. There is also a small rubber flap at the bottom that protects the micro USB charging port and power button. Like all outdoor cameras, the Arlo Essential is weatherproof and can withstand harsh weather conditions.
Similar to Arlo's newer security cameras, the Arlo Essential can connect directly to your Wi-Fi (2.4GHz only).
All three Arlo Essential cameras provide high-quality video footage in 1080p HD resolution. This means that the cameras capture clear and crisp images with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
They all have a 130-degree field of view, which is wide enough to cover a large area. The wide-angle lens allows the camera to capture more of the surrounding area, minimizing blind spots and increasing the camera's coverage. The 130-degree field of view is suitable for indoor and outdoor use and is ideal for monitoring large areas like living rooms or backyards.
All three cameras also have 12x digital zoom, allowing you to zoom in on specific areas of the image for a closer look. The digital zoom feature allows you to focus on specific details, such as a person's face or a car's license plate number.
Color Night Vision
The Arlo Essential provides standard night vision with its infrared LEDs that illuminate the area in front of the camera. The infrared LEDs emit a non-visible light that illuminates the area in front of the camera, enabling the camera to capture footage even in complete darkness. The standard night vision provided by the Arlo Essential is suitable for monitoring your property at night or in low-light conditions, such as in a dimly lit room or at dusk or dawn.
Both the Arlo Essential Spotlight and Spotlight XL have a built-in spotlight that illuminates the area in front of the camera when motion is detected. The spotlight is brighter than the Arlo Essential and provides additional lighting for clearer footage. Both cameras have color night vision, providing a more realistic and detailed representation of the scene. This is a useful feature for homeowners who want to capture clear and detailed footage of potential intruders during the night. With the color night vision feature, you can easily identify the color of clothing or vehicles, which can help in identifying potential suspects.
Advanced Object & Animal Detection
To access the Advanced Object & Animal Detection feature in the Arlo Essential, you will need an Arlo Secure subscription.
Arlo Secure is a subscription service offered by Arlo that provides additional features and benefits for their home security cameras, including access to Advanced Object & Animal Detection. With Arlo Secure, the Arlo Essential can differentiate between people, animals, vehicles, and packages, providing tailored alerts based on the type of object detected.
Google Assistant & Amazon Alexa Integration
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa integration is a popular feature of home security cameras that allows you to control your camera and view live footage using voice commands.
With Arlo cameras, including the Arlo Essential, you can use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to control your camera with voice commands. To set up the integration, you will need to link your Arlo account to your Google or Amazon account through the Arlo app. Once your account is linked, you can ask Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to show you live footage from your camera, arm or disarm your camera, and receive alerts and notifications through your smart speaker.
Record Video & Cloud Storage
All three Arlo Essential cameras record at 1080p resolution. A purchase of an Arlo camera comes with a free Arlo Secure trial, which includes a rolling 30-day cloud recording of up to 2K video resolution. The trial allows you to record and stream videos at the maximum resolution your camera is capable of.
After the free trial has ended, you will have the option to either continue with a paid monthly subscription or use your Arlo without a subscription. You can still use your Arlo devices without an Arlo Secure plan, but some of the features and functionalities of your Arlo devices may be limited. For example, without an Arlo Secure plan, you may not be able to store your recorded videos in the cloud, and you may only be able to access live streaming and basic motion detection features.
Rich notifications eliminate the need to access the Arlo app when you receive an alert. These notifications provide a preview of the motion-triggered event, including images captured by the camera. You can view these notifications directly from your lock screen, allowing you to take action quickly without having to log in to the Arlo app.
From the lock screen, you can also activate the siren, call a friend, or use the e911 feature if you have subscribed to an Arlo Secure plan. This allows you to respond to potential security threats more efficiently and effectively, without having to unlock your device and navigate to the Arlo app.
Clear Two-Way Audio
The Arlo Essential offers clear two-way audio, which allows you to communicate with visitors through the camera's built-in speaker and microphone. It can also be used in combination with other features, such as the siren and e911 emergency call service. If you detect a potential security threat, you can use the two-way audio to communicate with the intruder and activate the siren to deter them. If necessary, you can also activate the e911 emergency call service to request assistance from local emergency services.
Installation and Setup
Base Station Requirements
An Arlo SmartHub or base station is optional when using an Arlo Essential wire-free camera. You can just connect the Essential wire-free camera directly to a 2.4GHz WiFi network using an existing WiFi router. However, there are some benefits to using an Arlo SmartHub or base station with your Arlo Essential camera. These devices provide a more secure and stable connection, as well as advanced features such as local storage and extended range.
Local storage allows you to store your recorded videos on an external USB drive connected to your SmartHub or base station, rather than in the cloud. This can come in handy if you have limited cloud storage space or if you want to keep your videos more secure.
Connecting to a base station can also extend the range of your camera's wireless connection, allowing you to place the camera further away from your home without losing connectivity.
For those who use Apple devices, connecting your Arlo cameras to Apple HomeKit is possible through the base station. This enables voice control of your Arlo cameras via Siri, automation creation with your Arlo cameras and other Apple HomeKit devices, and viewing of your Arlo camera on your TV through Apple TV.
Installing the Base Station & Camera
Choose a location for your Arlo Base Station. The Base Station should be placed indoors and within range of your home network's Wi-Fi signal.
Connect the Base Station to your home network using an Ethernet cable. You can also connect the Base Station to your network wirelessly if you have the Arlo SmartHub.
Power on the Base Station and wait for it to initialize. This may take a few minutes.
Download and install the Arlo app on your smartphone or tablet.
Create an Arlo account or sign in to your existing account.
Follow the on-screen instructions in the Arlo app to add your Arlo Camera to the Base Station.
Choose a location for your Arlo Camera. The Camera should be located within the range of the Base Station and within the Camera's operating temperature range.
Install the Camera in the desired location using the mounting hardware provided. Ensure that the Camera is aimed in the direction you want to monitor.
Power on the Camera and wait for it to connect to the Base Station. This may take a few minutes.
Configure your Camera settings, such as motion detection, activity zones, and alerts, through the Arlo app.
Battery Life & Charging
The Arlo Essential and Essential Spotlight both offer up to 6 hours of battery life on one charge under typical use. This can still vary depending on factors such as usage, temperature, and settings. Meanwhile, the Arlo Essential Spotlight XL boasts a one-year battery life.
The battery on the Essential cameras cannot be removed, so you will have to use the included USB charging cable to recharge it. However, the charging cable is for indoor use only, so you will have to dismount the whole camera, bring it indoors, and connect the charging cable to a 5V, 2A power adapter. To know if the battery has been fully charged, look for the solid blue light or verify in the Arlo Secure App.
Must-Have Arlo Essential Accessory
If there's one accessory you need for your camera, it's the Arlo Solar Panel. It allows you to charge your Arlo Essential camera with solar power. This is a sustainable and eco-friendly charging option that eliminates the need for battery replacements and ensures that your camera is always powered and ready to use.