Arlo Essential 2K security cameras – Outdoor, Indoor and Video Doorbell (review)

The Arlo Essential 2K security cameras – Outdoor, Indoor, and Video Doorbell all use new 2K sensors. They are for a new value purchaser who wants Arlo quality and reliability at a lower cost.

We have been testing these for a few weeks now. While I am an Ultra/Pro user (with a base station), these Wi-Fi security cameras perform exceptionally well and you can mix and match with existing cameras.

Why Arlo?

I have been using Arlo for several years and figured out why I continue using the brand. Back in 2017, I set up a system at my seaside home. These Ultra and Pro, 2 and 4K cameras connect to an Arlo base station. It is the best, most reliable way because it a) extends the camera reach over Wi-Fi, b) keeps Arlo video traffic off the home Wi-Fi network, c) allows for local video storage and d) is unaffected by Wi-Fi or Internet outages.

Six years later, neither the cameras (with solar panels and in a saltwater air environment) nor the base station has missed a beat. Its Arlo Secure subscription plans and Privacy as A Pledge suits my rolling storage and privacy needs. That is why I use Arlo.

To be fair, there are good lower-cost Wi-Fi and base station options from Swann, Uniden, Eufy, TP-Link Tapo and more. You would be happy with any of these brands.

Why Arlo Essential 2K security cameras?

Gen 1K launched in mid-2021 and has been working well since. The upgrade to 2K sensors, USB-C charging, and later tech improves an already good device. You can add Gen 2 to a Gen 1 install.

This is a mini-review (like the price).

Arlo Essential 2K security cameras

Outdoor Gen 2
Indoor Gen 2
Video Doorbell Gen 2
PriceOutdoor $159 (VMC3050-100AUS) Indoor $129 (VMC3060-100AUS) Video Doorbell $229 (AVD4001-100AUS) Also available in 2 and 4 packs with bundle pricing
FromArlo online, Optus (customers only), Harvey Norman, Joyce Mayne, JB Hi-Fi, Good Guys, Bing Lee, Retravision, Videopro, Bunnings
Warranty1-year ACL swap
Made inVietnam
CompanyArlo is an American company that makes wireless surveillance cameras. Before an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange in August 2018, Arlo was a brand of such products by Netgear (Wiki)
MoreCyberShack Arlo news and reviews

We use Fail (below expectations), Passable (meets low expectations), Pass (meets expectations), Pass+ (near Exceed but not class-leading) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. You can click on most images for an enlargement.

First Impression – svelte

The Gen 2 range has a smaller, softer form factor in part due to its built-in batteries (Outdoor and Doorbell), and the Indoor is mains powered.

You may be hesitant about built-in batteries, but these have at least 300 full recharge cycles and last up to four months (we have not had them that long to test this). That is 55 years of life at three charges a year – it won’t be an issue.

  • Outdoor: The only issue is the rear ¼” tripod mount has a fixed angle.
  • Indoor: It has an integrated bottom desktop or wall mount and a rear ¼” tripod mount. Many people use this as a baby cot monitor, so you may need an angled mount.
  • Doorbell: Has a mounting kit.

The Arlo quality is evident.

Arlo Essential 2K security cameras comparison

Note that 2K is in livestream mode, but recording and storage require an Arlo Secure subscription.

Arlo Essential 2K OutdoorArlo Essential 2K IndoorArlo Essential 2K Video Doorbell
2K (2560 x 1440), 4MP, 16:9, 2.24um, F, 2.0, Fixed focus, up to 12X digital zoomSame2K (1944 x 1944), 2MP, 1:1, 2.2um, F/2.0, Fixed focus, up to 12X digital zoom.
2Mbps fall back to 1080p and 720p 15fpsSame2Mbps fall back to 1536/1080
No Privacy ShieldPrivacy ShieldNo
130° viewing angleSame180° with in-sensor cropping for fish-eye reduction.
Wi-Fi 2.4Ghz for up to 100m line of sight or 30m inside a home.SameSame
Colour night vision via Dual 850nm LEDs up to 10mMono Night vision via single IR 850nm LEDSame
PIR motion detection to 3mSameSame
Full duplex audio, noise cancellingSameSame
Integrated Siren, Manual or automatic triggerSameSame
Weather ResistantNoWeather resistant
Non-removable battery for up to four months (typical use) USB-C 5V/2A/10W charger (not included)5V/2A/10W USB-C charger (not PD/PPS)Non-removable battery for up to four months (typical use) USB-C 5V/2A/10W charge (not included) – must remove doorbell from mount. Can operate 8-24VAC hardwired
DIY installation – tripod mountSame – integrated desk and wall mountFlat or Right/Left angled wedge door mount
$159 includes wall mount and charging cable (no charger)$129 includes charger.$229 includes a mount kit and USB-A to USB-C cable.

Setup – Pass+

Download the Arlo Secure App for Android or iOS and follow the prompts. It is pretty foolproof. Details here, Placement tips here.


99% of any issues you may experience (with any brand and model of router or Wi-Fi camera) are due to Wi-Fi. If you have a low-cost router supplied by your ISP, it likely won’t have the signal strength to go 100m line-of-sight or 30m through a few layers of plasterboard, brick, etc.

We tested with Telstra Gen 2 Wi-Fi 5 AC, and it could not reach the Doorbell about 15m away through three internal and an exterior wall. We occasionally got a 1-bar poor signal and 10 seconds of video/audio lag. See Crappy NBN FTTN Modem – here are a few better ones.

We also tested with a Netgear Orbi RBKE963 Quad-band Wi-Fi 6E AX 11000 mesh (currently the most powerful Wi-Fi 6E router). Using the main router only (in the exact location as the Telstra Gen 2), the signal was two bars (good), and video/audio lag was about 5 seconds.

Enabling an Orbi mesh satellite (about two metres away from the doorbell passing through one internal and external wall), the signal was full strength and reduced lag to <2 seconds.

Similarly, the Outdoor camera at a 15-metre line of sight (through glass doors) has a full-strength signal. We got to over 50m away before the signal was poor.

Mounting – Pass


It has a ¼” tripod mount hole on the back. There is a basic, non-angle adjustable, circular wall mount supplied with screws and wall plugs. We recommend getting the $19.95 Adjustable short mount or the $22.95 Adjustable long mount if you need an angle.

Most people make the mistake of mounting too high. The right place is chest height, so you don’t see the top of people’s heads. It is easier to recharge using a USB-C power bank or charger (use inside for charge only).


Ditto for too high. There are also privacy provisions you need to observe. The Auto shutter is a nice feature, and it closes when disarmed. Depending on placement, it may catch your naked body running to the toilet or a midnight raid on the fridge. Apart from baby monitor use, we strongly suggest you place it close to and facing an outside window or door where a thief may gain access. It has an integrated desktop or wall mount.


It can be mounted on either side of the door frame (left or right wedge mount) or the door itself. It has 180° vision, and the ideal height is 1.22m off the ground. If you have existing doorbell wiring, you can use that BUT:

It requires 240V AC to 8-24V AC 10VA power (Right image – as do its competitors like Nest or Ring). Wired power means continuity of service and enables higher resolution day and night vision.

Your existing wiring is most likely connected to an 8V/1A/8W DC power (Left image) to run its wired ‘ding-dong’ Friedland/Honeywell doorbells (no electrician required as it is DC and usually has a plug pack).

That means neither the power transformer nor the ding-dong bell is compatible. The solution is to buy a suitable transformer (you may need an electrician to fit it as it is illegal to hard wire AC) and a $79 Arlo Chime 2 (240V plugs into a power socket in the house). In any case, you can also set up notifications to your smart phone or Google Assistant speakers. You will know when someone is at the front door. It is not a compatible mount with the Essential Video Doorbell Gen 1 and Wired Doorbell.

Night vision – Pass

  • Outdoor: has dual 850nm LEDs for colour night vision. These can be set for flash or constant.
  • Indoor: Has a single 850nm IR LED for mono night vision.
  • Doorbell: Has a single 850nm IR LED for mono night vision. Our experience is that you are better off having a security light to enable colour and higher-definition images.

We will add more Night vision shots soon.

Motion detection – Pass

All three have PIR (Passive Infrared) motion detection of about 3m. You can adjust the sensitivity.

Unless you have a Secure Plan, it can only live stream, and you have no Activity zone exclusions.

Two-way full duplex voice – Passable

Depending on the Wi-Fi signal strength, you may have a 2 (typical) to 10-second lag for both video and audio. That is not critical for Outdoor and Indoor cameras, but the lag could make the doorbell communications tricky. It gets significantly worse when answering a doorbell on your mobile, as this adds a further 40-200ms lag.

We notice superior noise cancelling compared to Gen 1.

Battery (Optimised settings)

It is too early to tell, but Arlo’s four-month battery life is based on an undisclosed number of activations, etc and may not reflect real-life use.

  • Outdoor camera seems to need about 5% per day, but in this test, it is facing over the water and can be set off by birds, boats and more. A $79 Solar Panel is a good investment or a $59 Essential Outdoor Cable (7.6m).
  • Video doorbell uses about 3% daily, averaging about 20 triggers daily.
  • Indoor camera is mains powered.

Image quality and digital zoom – Pass

Overall, the 2K images appear brighter than an Ultra 2K.

Arlo Secure

Many people buy security cameras and don’t realise that some valuable features are only part of a paid subscription. Or that you may need to buy microSD cards for local storage. Arlo is no different.

If you want to record in 2K and save to the Arlo Secure cloud, you need a basic secure plan costing (annual price) $47.88 for a single camera plan or $119.88 for unlimited cameras. There are 4K plans for other Arlo cameras.

For this, you get 2K recording and a 30-day library, smart interactive notifications, animated preview notifications, AI Video Object detection (person/animal/package/vehicle), Smart Activity Zones (narrow down detection areas to reduce false positives – for mains power camera only), Priority car and support and Arlo discounts.

My experience – A 30-day rolling library is critical to go back and investigate, especially if you have a break-in. And while you can have 2K Live video, you cannot store it on your phone. Bottom line – you need the plan.

CyberShack’s view – Arlo Essential 2K security cameras are a worthy ‘downgrade’

If you want to save money, there is no downside with these 2K Wi-Fi cameras. Ensure you are prepared to enter the Arlo ecosystem and commit to a paid Arlo Secure subscription.

We were impressed with the image quality (day and night), the new V4.0 app adds extra (sometimes paid) functionality, and we expect the build quality to give at least five years of use – even by the sea.

Arlo Essential 2K security cameras rating

  • Features: 85 – Lower cost with few compromises (in-built battery mainly), but several features depend on the Alro Secure subscription plan.
  • Value: 90 – Wi-Fi camera, well made, Arlo quality at not much more than generic cameras.
  • Performance: 90 – no issues at all, provided you have decent Wi-Fi
  • Ease of Use: 90 – Foolproof. The default app settings are fine. If you want to delve deeper you can customise settings to suit.
  • Design: 85 – Nice design but built-in battery and the need to demount and charge (except Indoor) can be a bother.

Arlo Essential Gen 2 security cameras - Outdoor, Indoor and Video Doorbell

Outdoor/Indoor/Video Doorbell $159/129/229







Ease of Use





  • Wi-Fi N 2.4GHz - ensure you have a decent router and coverage.
  • Video (colour/brightness/detail) is vastly better than 1080p Gen 1.
  • Sound quality and noise cancellation have improved.
  • Arlo secure subscription adds 2K, 30-day rolling storage and other useful features.


  • Not as useful without the Arlo Secure subscription
  • Doorbell and Outdoor require charging (optional Outdoor solar panel)
  • 2K live view but can’t save it (unless you have an Arlo Secure Plan)
  • Even with strong Wi-Fi, fallback to 1080p seemed the norm.