Arlo’s Video Doorbell offers excellent camera quality and a whole suite of features.
Having never installed a doorbell at our property, we have always relied on the dog or a firm rap of knuckles on the front door to alert us of a visitor. The system had a 90 per cent successful strike rate (the dog is good) but, annoyingly, we have missed parcel deliveries in the past and then had the hassle of trying to reschedule them.
Until I received the Arlo Video Doorbell to review, I hadn’t paid much attention to the concept beyond sitting through a presentation with Ring last year and thinking it was a neat idea. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to have one – cold callers trying to sell electricity plans are regulars in the area and I’ve been ambushed on more than one occasion when swinging open the front door.
The Arlo system relies on an existing hard-wired doorbell and installation is a relatively easy proposition that doesn’t require an electrician (but remember to turn off the power first!). Clear instructions indicate that the job should take little more than ten minutes.
However, I had a conundrum: I didn’t have an existing doorbell and there’s precious little on the internet revealing how to make it work in this situation. Loath to give up on finding a way to install the Arlo video doorbell, I recruited the services of an electrician. After examining all possibilities, the budget decision was made to wire in a new doorbell system, hiding the unsightly chime box up in the roof space. It worked a treat and I’m glad I persisted because the Arlo video doorbell is a pandora’s box, delivering a diverse range of features to fit all needs.
The slim, minimalistic design incorporates a camera, speakers, microphone and the doorbell button. First and foremost is the excellent video quality, with an impressive 1536 x 1536 resolution. Ditching the traditional 16.9 frame adopted by many video doorbells, the Arlo has an unbeatable 180-degree field of view with a square aspect ratio captured through a fisheye lens, so it catches whoever is at the door from head to toe. For further scrutiny, there’s an option to zoom in x 12 digitally.
The camera comes complete with HDR and this balances the external light to deliver a consistent picture whether it’s sunny outside or overcast. But consistent video clarity isn’t just reserved for daylight hours – a nighttime mode utilises infrared technology to reveal who is standing at the door.
Another advantage of the Arlo system is the method employed to notify you when the doorbell is pressed. Rather than route through the app, the direct notification comes via a phone call to your smartphone, alleviating the potential for lag.
You can then see who’s at the door and commence a two-way audio conversation. There are a number of pre-programmed responses you can select if you decide not to engage with the visitor, and the option to record your own replies (you can have some real fun here – I certainly have).
Like most video doorbells, the Arlo requires a subscription (you get three months free on purchase) which unlocks a bevy of features beyond the standard operation including 30 days of cloud storage, and 2K or 4K recordings depending on the plan you choose. Then there is ‘advance detection’, enabling you to distinguish between people, cars, pets and even parcels dropped at the door. Motion sensing zones can also be established so the camera doesn’t pick up every passing car, walker, wind chimes or the branches of a plant.
There’s also a built-in siren for deterring any unwanted visitors whether you’re at home or away. This siren is also activated if somebody tries to tamper or remove the unit. And the unit can also double as an answering machine, allowing a message to be left by the caller if you don’t answer.
Currently, the Arlo Video Camera is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for voice support, with Apple HomeKit on the way.
I’ve had Arlo cameras for six years now – beginning with the first generation models through to the Arlo 3 system I bought before Christmas – and have never experienced any issues, despite integrating the different technologies. The cameras are top of the class for the price point and you come to expect that level of quality in any Arlo product you invest in.
And it’s no different with the Arlo Video Doorbell. It delivers high-quality video and has been designed with a wide range of customisable features to fit in with any requirements. Functional and aesthetically pleasing, it provides a gamut of solutions to keep you – and your property – safe. I’ve only had it installed for a week and I’m already wondering how I lived without one.