A wired home security camera that puts privacy at the fore
two minute review
Since its launch in 2014, Arlo has consistently produced some of the best home security cameras on the market—though they’re also some of the most expensive models you can buy. The Essential range, which Arlo launched in 2020 with the Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera, is designed to bring Arlo’s home security camera expertise to more affordable devices.
Arlo Essential is the latest camera to be added to the indoor camera range. It’s a compact, wired security camera that will notify your smartphone if it detects activity, so you can login and see what’s happening in real time. It can also store video of an event, so you can review it at any time within the next 30 days through the Arlo Smart plan. The camera plan comes with a three-month free trial, but you’ll need to subscribe after it expires to continue using the feature.
Arlo Smart Subscriptions bring more to the table than just video storage; It also offers a lot of useful features that reduce unwanted alerts. You can select areas in the camera’s field of view where activity detection is enabled and use AI to identify the source of motion – for example a person, animal, vehicle or other source.
The Essential Indoor Camera records in Full HD, which doesn’t quite match the 2K and 4K resolutions of the Arlo Pro 3 and Arlo Ultra, respectively, but footage is detailed enough to clearly see what’s happening inside most homes. Will be The camera has a 130-degree field of view and comes with a microphone and speaker, so you can talk to anyone in your home through the app. Like all cameras in the Essential range, there’s no need for a base station connecting the camera to the Internet. Instead, the Essentials Indoor Camera connects directly to your home Wi-Fi network.
The big highlight of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera over other Arlo home security cameras is the inclusion of an automatic privacy shutter. This covers the camera lens and reduces the power of the microphone and camera, preventing it from recording. It can be activated at any time from the app, and should allay any fears about being constantly watched in your home.
The camera integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can view the camera’s feed on a compatible smart display, and ensures the unit can be used in home automation routines as well. However, unlike other Arlo home security cameras, it doesn’t offer HomeKit support.
At $99.99 / £119.99 / AU$159.99, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera is one of Arlo’s more affordable home security cameras, striking a fine balance between clear video, handy privacy features, and price.
Arlo Essential Indoor Camera Price and Availability
- List Price: $99.99 / £119.99 / AU$159.99
The Arlo Essential Indoor Camera is priced at $99.99 / £119.99 / AU$159.99 and is available worldwide through Arlo’s website and other online retailers including Amazon.
As we’ve already mentioned, the camera comes with a three-month free trial of Arlo Smart, so you can safely store video captured by the camera online and features to minimize unwanted alerts. be able to reach After the trial ends, Arlo Smart costs $2.99 / £2.49 / AU$4.49 per month.
- mains driven
- Can be freestanding or attached to the wall
- compact design
The Arlo Essential Indoor Camera is similar in design to Arlo’s battery-powered home security cameras. Round in shape, it also comes with the same glossy white plastic cover. The freestanding unit with ball and socket joint sits on a 1.8-inch/4.5-cm-high stand with a circular base plate, making it easy to position at the right angle in your home. If you want to mount the security camera to a wall or ceiling, a mounting kit is also included.
Measuring 2.0 x 1.9 x 4.5 inches / 5.2 x 4.9 x 11.32 cm, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera is one of the most compact indoor home security cameras on the market. There is a sensor on the front of the device, which is capable of recording footage in Full HD through its 130-degree lens. On the back of the unit you’ll find speakers and a micro-USB socket for the mains power cable. As we have already mentioned, the unit also comes with an automatic white plastic privacy shutter. When activated, it covers the camera lens, turns off motion detection and audio, and cuts power to the microphone.
Like other Arlo home security cameras, the Essential Indoor Camera is easy to set up. Download the Arlo app, set up a free account, and then follow the steps to add the camera to your account. You may need to press the sync button on the bottom of the camera to complete set-up. It’s a super-simple process that will have your camera up and running in a matter of minutes.
- Full HD footage is clear
- The 130-degree field of view is narrower than other Arlo cameras
- automatic privacy shutter
Once the Essentials Indoor Camera is set up, you can leave it to watch over your home; If motion is detected, it will be quick to send an alert. Upon testing, we found that Full HD video recorded during the day and night was clear, with details easy to pick up. Note, however, that any video recorded in the dark is in black and white rather than color, as the camera uses infrared instead of a spotlight to illuminate the footage.
Video isn’t as crisp as footage captured with some of Arlo’s more expensive devices, such as the Arlo Pro 3, which records in 2K, and the Arlo Ultra, which has 4K resolution. As such, those who require more detailed footage should consider these models instead.
The Essential Indoor Camera has a 130-degree field of view, which is significantly less than the 160-degree field of view on the Arlo Pro 3. Even so, it should still be sufficient for most situations – but if you need the camera to cover a wide area, it may not be suitable.
To use Privacy Shield, you need to go to the Modes tab in the app; Select Arm to open Privacy Shield and start camera monitoring, or select Disarm to turn off Privacy Shield. We found the shield to be very responsive, and within seconds of choosing to arm or disarm in the app, the shield would either slide up or down. There’s also a geofence option that sees the privacy shutter raise automatically and the camera starts recording whenever you leave your property.
Note, however, that activating the Privacy Shield proved to be hypothetical if the security camera is attached to the Arlo base station, as it requires all equipment attached to the base station to be armed or disarmed simultaneously. While you may be happy with your indoor security camera being disarmed while at home, you may still want to keep your outdoor cameras armed. In this example, you’ll need to create a custom mode that arms and deactivates the camera you want, or you’ll have to manually turn the camera on and off.
- easy to navigate
- Integration with Amazon Alex and Google Assistant
- Activate geofence or create a recording schedule
Like all other Arlo home security cameras, the Essential Indoor Camera uses the Arlo app, which is easy to use and gives you as much or as little control over your cameras as you want.
Launch the app and you’ll be presented with a list containing any Arlo cameras installed in your home, and a snapshot of the last recorded motion. From here you can easily view the status of the cameras and access frequently used settings. The Library tab, selected from the bottom of the screen, displays past footage in chronological order, while the Mode tab allows you to control how the camera behaves when you’re home or away. There is also a more detailed Settings section.
Integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant is also supported, ensuring you don’t have to use your smartphone to review camera footage; You can also use a compatible smart display. This means you can use the camera in some home automation as well, although Arlo doesn’t currently support HomeKit.
As mentioned, video storage and AI features like object detection will require you to pay a monthly subscription. However, the camera comes with a three-month free trial, after which you’ll pay $2.99 / £2.49 / AU$4.49 per month. That’s pretty reasonable compared to some other security camera plans.
Should I buy the Arlo Essential indoor camera?
Buy it if…
You take privacy seriously
If ensuring a home security camera isn’t watching your every move when you’re on property is a high priority, then the ability to cover the camera lens and use the privacy shutter to stop recording it is a must-have for the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera. Manufactures – buy.
You already have an Arlo device
If you already have other Arlo security products in your home, or anticipate buying them, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera is an affordable addition to your home security setup.
The Smart Features You Want Arlo to Offer
Arlo cameras offer accurate object detection and lots of useful features that reduce the number of unwanted alerts, ensuring that your home security camera won’t be constantly annoyed with false positive alerts.
Don’t buy it if…
your budget is low
While the Essential Indoor Camera is one of Arlo’s more affordable home security cameras, it certainly isn’t the cheapest on the market. If you’re on a tight budget, consider brands like Ring, Wyze, and TP Link, which offer more affordable models.
You don’t want to pay for storage
With a hub not included, the ability to store footage locally on a microSD card as you might with other Arlo cameras isn’t an option. Unless you buy a hub for the camera, which drives up the cost significantly, you’ll need to subscribe to Arlo Smart to store the video.
You want a flexible security camera
Unlike Arlo’s other home security cameras, the Essential Indoor Camera isn’t battery operated; It uses main power. As such it…