Arlo Essential Outdoor Camera 2K Review scaled

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I have previously reviewed the excellent Arlo Essential and Essential XL outdoor wireless security cameras.

Arlo has now released a second generation of its Essential range with four new products, including a second-generation version of the two Essential outdoor cameras, a 2K Essential Video Doorbell, and an Essential indoor camera.

The Arlo Essential Outdoor Camera (2nd Generation) offers 2K video resolution, colour night vision, a built-in spotlight, and a variety of other features designed to provide comprehensive outdoor security coverage.

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Arlo Essential Outdoor Camera 2K (2nd Gen) Specification

The Arlo Essential Outdoor Camera 2K boasts an impressive set of specifications:

  • 2K video resolution (2560×1440)
  • 130-degree diagonal field of view
  • Colour night vision using spotlight
  • Integrated spotlight
  • 2-way audio with noise cancellation
  • Built-in siren
  • Weather-resistant design (IP65 rated)
  • Advanced motion detection with Arlo Secure (People/Pets/Cars)
  • Rechargeable battery (4 – 6 months on a single charge)
  • Wi-Fi connectivity (2.4GHz)
  • Bluetooth for easy setup
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings and IFTTT

Arlo Essential Outdoor 2K Camera vs Essential XL vs Arlo Pro 5

The Arlo Essential Outdoor Camera 2K sits in the middle of Arlo’s outdoor camera lineup, between the Essential XL and the Arlo Pro 5.

The Essential XL offers features similar to those of the Essential 2K but with an extended battery life of up to 12 months. However, it has a lower 1080p video resolution.

The Arlo Pro 5, on the other hand, is a more advanced camera with 2K resolution, a 180-degree field of view, and advanced object detection. It also supports 5GHz Wi-Fi and has a removable rechargeable battery, but it is more expensive.

The Arlo Essential 2K balances features and affordability well, making it an attractive option for many users.

Unboxing / Design

The Essential 2K is sold in a two or three-pack and includes two wall mounts with a screw kit.

The cameras look similar to most other security cameras. They are taller but less deep than the Pro range, and I don’t think they will be comfortable with the magnetic mounts that Arlo sells.

The big difference between the Essential cameras and the Pro range is that the battery is integrated, and they charge via USB-C. I personally prefer USB-C charging as I don’t have to worry about losing the cable. Still, the replaceable battery of the Pro range is a big selling point as it allows you to quickly swap out a battery or replace the battery if the battery life starts to degrade over time.


I rarely experience difficulties setting up IoT devices nowadays, so having a set-up section is somewhat moot.

There are typically three ways to pair devices:

  • Bluetooth
  • Connect to the device’s open WiFi SSID
  • For cameras/speakers with a microphone, either pass the credentials with a QR code or audio beeps

Bluetooth pairing is always the easiest, and this is what Arlo uses. Just press the sync button on the top of the camera and provide your credentials. I prefer this method as it avoids me needing to connect to my 2.4GHz SSID, which I use solely for IoT.

Arlo will even remember the SSID credentials to help with the quicker onboarding of future cameras.

Arlo Secure Subscription Costs

Similar to Ring and Nest, if you use Arlo, you basically have to have an Arlo secure subscription. Without one, the camera will work, but you are limited to live video streaming up to HD and basic motion notifications. There is no cloud recording and no object detection without the subscription.

The subscription fee is:

  • £4.49 PCM for a single camera up to 2K with 30 days of storage.
  • £10.99 PCM for four cameras up to 2K with 30 days of storage.
  • £14.99 PCM for unlimited cameras with 4K resolution with 60 days recording.

I am not opposed to subscription fees, especially if you go all in with a brand like Arlo and take advantage of the unlimited cameras. But looking back at my previous reviews, I see that the subscription fee has been increasing. It used to be £8.99 for unlimited cameras up to 2K or £12.99 for the 4K 60-day plan. The price rise for the top plan doesn’t seem unreasonable, but dropping the middle plan from unlimited to four cameras AND increasing the price is a bit ridiculous.

Arlo doesn’t list the Arlo Essential Outdoor Camera 2K as being compatible with the Smart Hub, but I assume it will be, as the old Essential range is compatible. This can give you local recordings if you are determined to avoid subscription fees.

App Settings

The Arlo app provides a user-friendly interface for managing your camera. From the app, you can view the live camera feed, adjust settings, and review recorded footage.

Key settings include adjusting video quality, enabling/disabling the spotlight and siren, setting up motion detection zones, and configuring smart notifications.

Under power management, you can tweak the settings to favour a longer battery or superior video quality and within the default mode settings, you can define the recording length to either a fixed time from 10 seconds to 120 seconds or set it until the activity stops.

You can also use the app to grant access to other users, allowing them to view the camera feed or receive notifications.

Motion Detection

The Arlo uses a combination of PIR (passive infrared) and video motion detection to detect movement in its field of view. When motion is detected, the camera can notify your phone and start recording video.

In the app, you can adjust the sensitivity of the motion detection and set up specific activity zones to reduce false alerts.

The camera’s person detection feature can also help distinguish between human motion and other types of movement, such as animal or vehicle motion. To avoid unnecessary notifications, I recommend disabling all other motion alerts within the smart alert settings.

I have found advanced motion detection to be accurate and quick to respond to. Arlo seems to be more responsive to mobile alerts than the Eufy camera I installed next to it.

It is worth noting that Arlo does not have facial recognition. Eufy has rolled this out with cameras that are linked to the HomeBase 3, and Aqara supports it on their doorbell.

Day Time Footage

The 2K video resolution of the Arlo Essential 2K produces sharp, detailed footage during the day. The colours are accurate, and the wide field of view captures a large area around the camera.

The 130-degree field of view captures a wide area while retaining more detail than the wider FOV from the Pro range.

Night Time Footage

The camera’s night vision performance is impressive, thanks to the 850nm infrared LED and colour night vision technology.

Like most/all other wire-free security cameras, the camera sensor is only capable of B&W footage at night but can achieve colour recordings with the help of the built-in spotlight. The up-and-coming Reolink Argus 4 Pro may be the first camera to achieve true colour night footage thanks to their ColorX technology.

Depending on your settings, when motion is detected, the spotlight will activate, and the camera will quickly switch from B&W to colour.

In B&W, the footage is decent enough; you can make out details of anything on your property easily enough.

With the colour footage, the overall quality improves significantly, and it makes it much easier to identify the features of anyone entering your property.

Battery Life

The Arlo Essential 2K battery life is listed as lasting between 4 and 6 months, and this can be extended with the Arlo Essential Solar Panel (2nd Generation).

No camera lasts as long as advertised, and this is dependent on the events triggered per day and the quality and clip length settings.

Based on my usage, with the default settings for everything and 10-15 events per day, the camera has been losing around 1%pt per day. This should mean the camera lasts around 3 months.

That should have around the same battery life as the original Arlo Essential, and it also matches my eufyCam 3C, though that records at 4K.

Price and Alternative Options

The Arlo Essential 2K Outdoor Camera is available in a 2-camera kit for £200 or a 3-camera kit for £260.

Arlo has not yet listed the 2nd gen Essential XL on the UK website.

The older Arlo Essential XL is listed at £150 for a single camera and is available on Amazon for £138.

The Arlo Pro 5 is available for £220 for a single camera or £283 for a 2-pack.

For competing options, you have:

  • Eufy
    • Eufy Security SoloCam E40 2K Security Camera for £100
    • Eufy Security S230 SoloCam (SoloCam S40) Solar 2K Security Camera for £126
    • Eufy Security eufyCam 2C Pro (2K) 2 camera kit for £170
    • Eufy Security Camera S330 eufyCam 3 2-Cam Kit (4K) for £360
  • Ring Spotlight Cam (1080P) Plus Battery for £120
  • Reolink Argus 3 Ultra (4K) with Solar Panel for £120


The Arlo Essential Outdoor Camera 2K is an excellent outdoor wire-free security camera. I think it complements the existing range well, giving Arlo users an affordable option to expand their system over the Arlo Pro 5.

It is also a viable alternative to the growing number of alternatives. In terms of cameras, Arlo is comfortably ahead of Ring and Google Nest. Eufy and Reolink have been churning out increasingly good cameras that don’t require an expensive monthly subscription, and the Arlo Essential Outdoor Camera 2K at least offers a competitive price point.

While I am a big fan of Reolink, and the Argus range is better value for money, I prefer the Arlo app and its features. Similarly, I love Eufy cameras, but I think they excel with the more expensive eufyCam range that requires a HomeBase.

The main consideration with Arlo is the monthly subscription fee. The recent significant price rise highlights one of the big flaws of being locked into subscription services.

Overall, though, the Arlo Essential Outdoor Camera 2K is great and well worth considering if you have already invested in Arlo.

Arlo Essential Outdoor Camera 2K (2nd Generation) Review


The Arlo Essential Outdoor Camera 2K is great wire free security camera and well worth considering if you have already invested in Arlo.

  • Overall - 80%


  • Up front cost is good value for money for a 2K camera
  • Good battery life
  • Excellent motion notifications and features


  • Requires a subscription fee (which has had significant price rises recently)

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