Arlo is a leader in smart wireless security devices, covering everything from smart doorbells to floodlight cameras and a range of the best security cameras to suit almost every budget, from the entry-level Arlo Essential (opens in new tab) up to the top-of-the-line Arlo Ultra 2 (opens in new tab).
Arlo is now on the fifth iteration of its popular Arlo Pro line of cameras, these cameras serve as Arlo's cameras for homeowners who want simple to set-up security cameras that also come packed with the latest powerful and easy-to-use features.
For reasons only known to the Arlo marketing team, the latest camera is named the Arlo Pro 5 in the UK and Europe and the Pro 5S 2K in the US, but both seem to be the same camera, evidenced by the Arlo Pro 5S 2K being printed behind the battery in Europe-bound models.
But in an increasingly competitive smart field of smart security cameras (opens in new tab), how does this model stack up against the competition and other Arlo models?
Field of view: 160°
Features: Spotlight, Built-in Siren, Two-Way Audio, Colour Night Vision
Battery: Up to 8 months
Connectivity: WiFi 2.4 & 5 GHz
Cloud storage: Yes (Subscription)
Local storage: No (optional base station)
The Arlo Pro 5S 2K packs in some amazing new features including advanced 2K color video 24/7. That is color recording 24 hours a day, even at night. Arlo claims the Pro 5S can record 68 billion colors, which is over 100 times more than the human eye.
The Pro 5S 2K can record six times the amount of color than its predecessor, the Arlo Pro 4 (opens in new tab). The camera also has advanced night vision features, combined with the 12x digital zoom and 2K quality, the Pro 5S can produce 'mugshots' with much higher clarity, identifying and clearly capturing the faces of anyone caught by the camera for easier identification later by law enforcement.
The Pro 5S has added deterrents including a spotlight and sound to ward off potential burglars. The spotlight can illuminate faces from up to 7m away and the camera's built-in siren can help to scare away intruders.
The Pro 5S offers up to 30% more battery life than the Pro 4, which is a huge win for security cameras that are often put up in hard-to-reach places. A brand new low-power mode will debut on the Pro 5S, which can give up an to 50% battery life by streamlining notifications and video previews. The Pro 5S will also offer for the first time both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi frequencies for wider router compatibility.
The Pro 5S will also debut alongside the new Arlo Secure app, which offers a new streamlined app for monitoring and securing your home, with more options for personalization. With the additional Arlo Secure Subscription, you can unlock even more advanced features like people and car recognition, and video recording can be synced and saved to the cloud for every instance for up to 60 days.
Build & handling
The Arlo Pro 5S 2K is not a big departure from the rest of the Arlo range, especially the styling of its predecessor the Pro 4. The Pro 5S is a small and minimalist white box, while the black oval front houses the camera lens, microphones, speakers, and spotlight. The design is almost reminiscent of the case for the Apple AirPods. The Arlo Pro 5S is sleek and sophisticated looking and is a camera that you mind seeing mounted above your front door when you come home.
The camera is very light, weighing roughly 50g less than the rival Google Nest Cam. The camera comes with a mount that can be screwed into a wall using the included screws and rawl plugs, with a total of three drill holes required. This requires some confidence in knowing exactly where you want the camera to be before you start taking a drill to your brickwork.
The battery compartment is cleverly tucked away inside the case, and although is not immediately obvious how to access it, pressing the little white button on the base offers a satisfying click as the front of the camera comes away. Although you won't need to remove the battery often, with an estimated 6 months of battery life and a magnetic charger on the base of the camera, charging is quick and easy. Although try not to lose the included charging cable, as it is specific to Arlo cameras.
Set-up is all completed via the Arlo Secure app, which has just undergone a bit of a facelift. However, initially connecting the Arlo Pro 5S 2K to the WiFi network was a bit of a nightmare. The Pro 5S requires a 2.4gHz connection on your phone to connect, although the camera is capable of connecting to 5gHz after setup. Sounds simple enough, but I attempted to set the Arlo Pro 5S up using a mesh network with a combined band router, which proved to be too much for the camera.
In the end, to connect the camera I was forced to shut down all my mesh WiFi points, while also walking far enough away from the main router hub with my phone and the camera to be kicked into 2.4gHz bandwidth. After setting up hundreds of devices on my network with no issues or additional steps, this is very strange and dated behavior from Arlo.
The headline feature of the Arlo Pro 5S 2K is its new ability to shoot full-color video at night in 2K resolution, and I can happily say that it is very very good. The spotlight provides a good amount of light to illuminate subjects, not quite the 7m that Arlo claims, when tested outside of my 2-3m test area, my face was not being clearly visible but naturally was much better than with no illumination. The resolution is excellent and would be immediately helpful to authorities in identifying suspects.
The Pro 5S did exceptionally well at recognizing any significant movement both from humans and animals, with it picking up a few adventurous foxes and squirrels that made their way onto my roof. The Arlo app will ping you with a notification when it detects motion and is even smart enough to recognize the source if you pay for the Arlo Secure subscription.
The newly revamped Arlo Secure app, available from the App Store and Google Play is easy enough to use, with the live view from the camera front and center on the app, and the feed of previous recordings easy to access. Notifications are also instantaneous when tested on an Android phone, with a useful little GIF of the activity displayed right in the notification bubble, and a quick action to sound the inbuilt siren or call the emergency services.
Recordings (if you have an active paid Arlo subscription) load from the cloud really quickly, and a little swipe in from the right gives options to share and download. The app also holds numerous options for the video, spotlight, and audio settings, so you can fine-tune the Pro 5S to your specifications.
There is a very useful zoom and track feature, which simulates moving the camera around to follow suspected intruders, all very CSI and more fun to watch back, but you do lose the ability to shoot in 2K as the digital zoom will cut into that pixel count. You can also set 'activity zones', so the Pro 5S will only alert you when it detects motion in particular areas, which is very useful if the field of view meets a busy street.
The only negative I have to the Arlo Pro 5S's performance is that almost all its best features are locked behind a paywall, with any cloud recordings and AI smarts requiring a continued subscription to Arlo secure. I am not opposed to optional subscriptions, but when there is not an easy way to do local recordings (without buying a separate Arlo Hub), it does severely limit the camera for anyone not wanting to spend an additional $3.99 / £2.99 a month.
The Arlo Pro 5S 2K enters as one of the best security cameras available right now, and one of the best looking too. The 2K night vision recordings offer a really high-quality way to monitor and secure your home. With a longer-than-ever battery life that means less battery anxiety and less charging time.
The Pro 5S is compatible with all the major smart home platforms, including the notoriously fussy Apple HomeKit. The revamped Arlo app is very easy to use, with instant security notifications, as well as fine-tuned controls.
The only downside is no board memory forces you into buying an additional costly local hub or cough up every month for Arlo's subscription service.