Let’s face it: when it comes to security cameras, most of us think of function over aesthetic. The standard CCTVs we see are mostly either the dark half-sphere attached to the ceiling, or the standard protruding camera on a moveable arm. Either way, they’re not designed to look pretty – which is why many a style-conscious homeowner will hesitate when installing a security camera at the front of their house.
Enter the Arlo Pro 3. Launched in late 2019, the Pro 3 is a step up from its predecessor Pro 2 in terms of video quality (2k, compared to the Pro 2’s 1080p) and wider viewing angle. It also offers many options that were previously only available for the Arlo Ultra, such as colour night vision, a built-in siren, and LED spotlight.
Here’s our review of the Pro 3, from a Singaporean homeowner’s point of view.
The Pro 3 dual-system set comes with two cameras, different kinds of mounts (including a magnetic one), and an Arlo Smart Hub which links up the camera to Wi-Fi. It also comes with a charger, which magnetically snaps on to the charging port at the bottom of the camera.
I have to admit, I was pretty impressed by the looks of the Arlo Pro 3. Sleek and white with rounded corners, it reminds me of the futuristic robot Eve from Pixar’s Wall-E – anyone remember that show? – and has no awkward protruding bits. Instead, it’s attached to the mount magnetically. It’s pretty compact, too, fitting comfortably in my hand with its dimensions of 89mm x 52mm x 78.4mm.
The Smart Hub is equally minimalist. It looks like a router, but with a clean white profile and a single light indicator to let you know if it’s working. The unit blends in perfectly with the white-and-oak Scandinavian interior of my home, and looks so unobtrusive that guests barely even notice its presence on my TV console.
Apart from its design, another thing that attracted me to the Pro 3 was its wireless setup. Since I had no intention of trailing any cables from outside my front door all the way to the nearest electrical outlet in my entryway, I was thrilled to find out that the Pro 3 was powered by a battery that can last one or two months between charges.
Now, in accordance with HDB rules, we’re not allowed to install security cameras in the corridor without a permit. They can be placed for a temporary period of up to six months if there is a specific purpose, like resolving a dispute, but have to be removed afterwards. The camera also shouldn’t be facing directly into a neighbour’s home.
I placed mine on my planter rack outside the house, so no drilling was involved. The magnetic mount allowed me to tilt the camera so that whomever was standing outside my front door and the immediate area would be visible. The Pro 3 has a very wide angle of 160 degrees, so I had peace of mind that it would be able to capture everything in the area outside my flat. For homeowners who need a wider field of vision, like the entire porch, this viewing angle is more than sufficient.
Connecting it to the app is simple. After charging and positioning the camera and Smart Hub, you’ll need to download the Arlo app and follow the instructions to set them up. From here, you can tweak the settings, such as having the built-in light switch on automatically after dusk, or setting the camera to alert you when it detects motion.
Ease of Use
I loved that I was able to see whatever was happening outside my flat via my phone. The app also captures video recordings and saves them in the cloud for 7 rolling days, so I can easily check whatever I’ve missed out earlier in the day. It’s also waterproof, so it has no problems getting wet from the rain that occasionally gets blown into the corridor on stormy days.
Having this camera has been a lifesaver over the last few months. Since I shop a lot online, I’ve been able to monitor when deliveries arrive at my house, and check that they actually leave the package at my front door.
There was even an incident where I had a food delivery driver claim that he had left my order at my house, when I had been home the whole time and the doorbell never rang. I checked the Arlo app, and guess what? He never showed up in that time frame! When I presented this proof to the food delivery service, they gave me a refund – which they might not have done if it had just been my word for it.
When I went overseas, it was a relief knowing that I would be able to monitor the security of my home and be able to speak directly to anyone at my door (or sound the siren!) if need be. The 2K video quality and colour night vision made sure I would be able to see anyone, even in low lighting conditions. The Pro 3 also comes with its own light that you can activate, in case you live somewhere that can get really dark after sunset.
My only gripe with the Pro 3 is that there’s a bit of a lag — everything seems to be behind by about 3-5 seconds. It still captures everything though, with no compromise in quality, so I’m not too bothered by it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the more recorded activity there is, the faster your battery will drain. For those of us who live in a HDB flat with plenty of people passing in the corridor, the battery life will last only about a month compared to 2-3 months for someone whose house doesn’t encounter that much activity.
Overall, this is one of the best cameras out there, both in terms of design and function.The biggest perks for me were the sleek minimalist look, the wirelessness, and being able to view clips easily from my phone. Since it’s so unobtrusive, I can see this being used as a baby monitor or pet monitor as well. Although the price is higher compared to most models on the market, it does offer plenty of convenience and all the functions you could want in one package, making it a worthy investment. After all, you can’t put a price on peace of mind.
The Arlo Pro 3 dual-camera system retails for $899 at Harvey Norman, Challenger, and the official Lazada store.