Arlo Essential Video Doorbell 2K review

The Arlo Essential Video Doorbell 2K offers affordability with upgraded 2K resolution filming for clearer details, and it no longer requires an Arlo Hub, enhancing ease of use.   

While these are welcome improvements, Arlo needed to go further as some glaring problems remain. The absence of anti-theft features, slow loading of notifications and the necessity for an Arlo Secure subscription to unlock full capabilities present significant drawbacks.   

Despite its attractive price, and its compatibility with existing Arlo systems, these limitations are difficult to overlook.  

Pros

  • Affordable
  • 2K resolution
  • No Arlo Hub needed

Cons

  • No theft protection
  • Slow notification loading
  • Subscription required for full features

Price 

The Arlo Essential Video Doorbell 2K costs $200. As a comparison, the Google Nest Doorbell costs $345, and the Ring Video Doorbell costs $200. It’s well priced  

Specs  

The Arlo Essential Video Doorbell 2K (2nd Gen) features 2K HDR video recording, two-way audio, pre-recorded messages, night vision, a wide 180° viewing angle, an integrated siren, multiple powering options, weather resistance, smart notifications, visitor messaging, and Wi-Fi connectivity.   

The key improvements here are the 2K resolution, up from the 1080p 1st generation doorbell and the Wi-Fi connectivity, no more Arlo Hub required.  

Setup  

Compatible with both wireless and wired setups, installing the Arlo Video Doorbell 2K is straightforward. Using the Arlo Secure App, all you have to do is enable Bluetooth and connect the device to your phone, and the app provides step-by-step guidance. You can see what the camera sees on your phone, which allows for accurate placement.   

As mentioned earlier, there’s no need for an Arlo Hub this time around; you can connect the doorbell directly to your home Wi-Fi, which is a great improvement.  

In the box, there’s also an angled bracket that allows for adjusting the viewing angle, which is a nice touch.   

The setup is designed to be user-friendly, and while I did end up having to use a screwdriver and a drill, it’s easy.  

One huge issue with the Video Doorbell is it lacks theft protection. It requires a release pin to take it off the mount, but it’s easy to take off with just a pin or paper clip. Some of Arlo’s more advanced cameras are compatible with Anti-Theft mounts; however, this is not the case with the Video Doorbell.   

Additionally, Arlo in New Zealand does not support the Arlo Theft Replacement (ATR) program, which states that “original purchasers of certain Arlo devices connected to paid Arlo subscription plans qualify for replacements in the event that they are stolen.” And frustratingly only the wired doorbells from Arlo have tamper alarms in which it will alert you if the device has been unplugged.  

This leads to real concerns about the doorbell being stolen. Without any guarantees or an anti-theft mount, it would be easy for someone to take the doorbell from your door.   

Arlo Essential Video Doorbell 2K review

Performance  

The Arlo Video Doorbell 2K boasts a decent 180° wide viewing angle, which allows you to see people from head to toe. It also supports 2K resolution filming, which makes the footage much clearer, and it’s better for capturing fine details like number plates or faces.  

It’s compatible with other Arlo cameras in that you can easily add it to your security ecosystem. It supports black-and-white night vision imagery, which is a bit of a shame, seeing as the Essential Outdoor Camera 2K supports colour night vision and is weatherproof, ensuring durability in various climates.   

The doorbell supports two-way communication, meaning you can talk to someone through your phone and vice versa. This is very good. It’s clear and accurate, with very little delay.     

And as expected, the doorbell will notify you when it picks up movement. However, its performance is marred by slow notification speeds for motion alerts; often, by the time I was able to open the notification on my phone, the person, animal or vehicle that was causing the motion was no longer there or had moved on. This got frustrating, as every time I received an alert, I would open the app, wait for it to load, realise it didn’t load in time and would then have to go back into the previous footage. Not ideal.  

Arlo Secure Subscription  

Frustratingly, Arlo doesn’t offer very much if you don’t opt for an Arlo Secure subscription. Of course, you get all the benefits of the new hardware. However, when it comes to notifications, the doorbell only recognises motion. This means it will alert you if a bird flies past if the winds are blowing, or if there’s a person or a car; it isn’t categorised. I ended up with a lot of notifications that I didn’t want.   

Compare this to Google’s “free” offerings in which you get intelligent motion detection, animal detection, activity zones and person-seen alerts for free. You also have access to up to 3 hours of event video history. And Arlo is behind the competition in this regard.  

An Arlo Secure subscription costs $14.99/month for unlimited devices and $4.99/month for a single camera. This gives you features like video recording at a resolution of up to 2K, which will be stored for up to 30 days. It includes smart interactive notifications, animated preview notifications, video object detection, audio detection, smart activity zones, and priority care & support.    

I was able to trial the Arlo Secure subscription, and it’s much better. I found the doorbell to be more useful, and I didn’t get frustrated with it. It alerted me when a courier had left a package at the door, when a car was pulling into the driveway and when my dog had got out of the house.  

Arlo Essential Video Doorbell 2K review

Battery  

The video doorbell will last around six months on a single charge. This is standard in the industry; however, this does fluctuate based on how many notifications it’s recording. If you’re using it for two-way calls often and it’s constantly picking up movement, the battery will decrease.   

If you’re using it wirelessly, you will have to take it off the wall fully to charge, and it takes just under two hours to get from 0% to 100%.   

Verdict  

The Arlo Video Doorbell 2K offers clear 2K video resolution at an affordable price.   

No longer requiring an Arlo Hub, the Video Doorbell is easy to set up, and it has a decent battery. However, it’s marred by the absence of theft protection, slow loading notifcations and a heavy reliance on an Arlo Secure subscription for optimal functionality.   

These drawbacks, particularly for users concerned about security and additional costs, diminish its appeal despite the high-quality video and easy setup. 

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Price
Security
Performance
Battery
Innovation
Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.
arlo-essential-video-doorbell-2k-review The Arlo Essential Video Doorbell 2K offers affordability with upgraded 2K resolution filming for clearer details, and it no longer requires an Arlo Hub, enhancing ease of use.    While these are welcome improvements, Arlo needed to go further as some glaring problems remain. The absence...

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