Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wire-Free
“A great software experience is pulled off by cheap-looking hardware that doesn’t match the price.”
Great software with lots of options
Good quality videos, day and night
Cheap looking hardware
Major fish-eye effect
Package delivery is happening fast these days. On the day it was written, I received two separate deliveries at my door. Arlo recognizes this and wants to help. Its latest doorbell, the Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell, has 180-degree view and package detection, and does not require any wires if you don’t want them or already have them. Arlo’s successes are deeply rooted in the line of home security cameras, such as the powerful Arlo Pro 4. Does its new video offer the chance to remain a relevant player in the doorbell space?
This doorbell is all about choice
You can install the necessary wireless bell with or without wires. If you have a wired doorbell, the essential button will play your internal chime. Otherwise, you can mount this battery powered doorbell anywhere, wire-free. Arlo claims that this doorbell will last six months on one charge. My test indicates something close to two or three, but in fairness, it has gone crazy outside of the cold, which can affect battery functionality. All the same, it is good to put a bell that you can have just about any place you need it.
When you are setting up the application, you need a Doorbell Scan QR Code to obtain Wi-Fi credentials. I only mention this because this process works very well, which is unusual in my experience. Well played on that one, Arlo. During the setup process, you are asked which type of membership plan you want to sign up for, which was a bit off.
There’s no other way to say it: it’s too big
The Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell is a large part of a doorbell. This is the largest doorbell ever tested. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if your door invites a more sizzling prasad, it is important to keep this in mind. The doorbell is 47 mm x 143 mm x 37 mm, which is very large. In comparison, the NetMamo Doorbell reviewed a few weeks ago is also much larger, but smaller than this doorbell in every dimension of 45mm x 135mm x 29mm.
Doorbell is a combination of hardware matte and shiny polycarbonate that feels solid and strong but experiences a cheap aesthetic. The camera extends slightly above the bell, lending its 180-degree diagonal area. At the bottom is a round button with a ring of LEDs that light up when you approach. LEDs are not bright enough to illuminate the field; They are simply there to indicate where to push. The 6,500 mAh battery resides inside the plastic casing. The included pin, similar to the SIM tray pin found with most phones, allows you to separate the doorbell from the mounting plate, remove the battery, and plug it into a micro USB cable to recharge.
The video feed (1536 x 1536 resolution) is very good during the day and at night, although there is a very noticeable fishe effect around the perimeter of the feed. When the camera transmits audio and video, there is often a noticeable delay of up to three seconds. This can make conversation difficult, but not impossible.
On the software side, the application is very comprehensive. You get common options like activity area, notification configuration and the like. What impresses me about Arlo’s software is the heap of options you give. Doorbells can detect people, animals, vehicles, speed and even package delivery. That last option is limited to a single Arlo camera at a time for some reason. You can’t have your own front door camera and both doorbells detect a package, which seems like a strange limitation.
You can also set E911 notification and phone-a-friend options. When an intruder appears on your door, you may be in contact with the door to emergency services. If the package appears while you are on vacation, the app can dial a predetermined contact for you. You can also activate a built-in mermaid. The siren is not particularly loud, but it is ear piercing. Passengers will hear it on the sidewalk in front of their house. You may or may not have neighbors.
Arlo Essential Video Doorbell works with Alexa, Google Assistant and even Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT. Silent mode bypasses app notifications and / or physical chime. It is valuable when you sleep with small children. There are call settings, video settings, motion-detection sensitivity settings, and more. Overall, I am impressed with the software experience as it has a ton of features.
While software is some of my favorite software, hardware leaves a lot to be desired.
This can also be a weakness, as the app has two settings areas. There is one for device-specific settings and one for overall general settings for Arlo. It takes a little time to wrap your head around all of them, but it also ensures that you can actually make this door your own.
Overall, this doorbell provides an excellent software experience with superb video capabilities, but with less-than-impressive hardware. The software is where this doorbell actually stands out. While the lag on audio and video isn’t great, it’s not terrible either. But the full wealth of settings and features makes this bell very compelling to offer. It is also $ 200. The last two doorbells I reviewed were $ 30 and $ 60 respectively, and this doorbell feels like it’s going against the grain in that regard.
Is there a better option?
The 180 degree diagonal field of view is great, but the Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro has a vertical and horizontal area of 180 degrees, making it longer and wider. Also, the Arlo Essential Wireless Doorbell is just plain huge and will have trouble fitting next to some doors. While software is some of my favorite software, hardware leaves a lot to be desired.
Will it work
The Arlo Essential video doorbell is supported by a 30-day return policy and a one-year limited warranty. The construction is durable and solid. The operating temperature range is from -4 to 113 ° F, which is good. If you die with the original time, you can also replace the battery (for another $ 50).
Should i buy it
No, video doorbell prices are running down, and this doorbell is considered retail for $ 199 and requires a subscription. For that price, I want a premium look, feel and software experience. In this case, I only get one of those three. The upcoming Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 adds radar sensors and a bird’s eye view a bit more. The more frugal ring video doorbell wired also gives you a premium software experience and costs less than half the price of this one. The software experience here is great, but the hardware really takes it down.