When I sat down to start researching outdoor home security cameras, I assumed I’d be overwhelmed with good options and struggle to choose between them. But instead, I found myself drudging through negative reviews and complicated installation manuals. My friends gave me glowing recommendations of several different systems but none of them seemed to meet all of my requirements. On one hand, I know I’m a very picky shopper. On the other hand, with all of the options on the market I thought I shouldn’t have to settle.
Rather than base my decision on what works for everyone else, I made my own checklist of requirements and started comparison shopping. My two main requirements were simple: there was no required monthly subscription (I’m trying to cut back on my monthly bills) and it had wireless (no holes in the wall in a rental). Technical specs aside I wanted to make a smart investment in a system that I could expand or upgrade if my living situation changed.
The Arlo Pro 3 is the only option that checks all the boxes. You can opt in to a subscription service for upgraded features such as advanced detection of packages, people and cars, and e911 calling capabilities. But without a subscription you can still store up to 7 days worth of videos locally on the Smart Hub and the videos are stored even if your internet goes down, which is a valuable feature I hadn't considered (you can get even more storage with an optional external harddrive up to 2TB). The cameras have 2K video resolution with 160 degree field of view, night vision, 2-way audio, and integrated lights and sirens. It has all the bells and whistles, but without all the wires. The system can even be expanded to include additional cameras, lights and a doorbell. The large line of accessories include a solar charger and colored silicone skins (to match your paint).
I didn’t bother to check the price until I was totally convinced that this was the right solution, and when I saw it was almost $400 I closed the tab and moved on. I figured that a much cheaper camera that required a monthly subscription would end up costing far less even after years of use. I considered the Nest outdoor cam which would have been about half the price but it has to be plugged in outside (which seems like a security risk, not to mention the plethora of actual security risks the brand has been dealing with lately), or you have to drill a large hole through your house. I also considered the Canary Flex system which can be wired or wireless but to access full length videos, as opposed to short clips, you have to sign up for a 2 year subscription plan.
Initially the only thing keeping me from buying the Arlo system was the price but after an exhausting amount of research I felt it was worth it. The entire system was set up in about an hour but it took a bit of troubleshooting to get the field of view and motion detecting working just right. Within a week I had multiple videos of raccoons and I monitored a Craig’s List pick up remotely. Ideally this camera will only be for novelty uses but should a package ever go missing or if I need video for insurance purposes, I’ll be thankful that I upgraded when it mattered.
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