Thinking of getting a battery-powered security camera and stuck between Reolink and Arlo? I know, its a tough choice because each brand has so many different models and it can be difficult to figure out what you need exactly.
Let’s take a close look at the top cameras from each brand and compare them on the important requirements of a good security camera:
- How is the night vision?
- Can it work if there is no Internet connection?
- Can it work properly without a monthly fee?
- Does it have local storage? Or does everything have to go on the cloud?
- Does it integrate with other smart home tech (Alexa etc.)?
Reolink is one of our favourite IP security camera brands. We have been using their cameras for a few years now and have a good deal of experience with them.
Reolink is a popular brand that is only a few years old. But they are not exactly new to the surveillance camera industry. The brand Reolink is owned by Shenzhen Baichuan Security Technology Co., Ltd. who are a manufacturer of security cameras and other surveillance equipment. What’s the source? I simply emailed them and asked. Simple as that.
So Reolink is not a rebranded Hikvision or Dahua as some people have claimed online. Therefore they are not subject to the Federal government ban imposed through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This is a huge positive for Reolink.
Netgear kicked-off the battery powered security camera craze when they launched the Arlo range. Small, cute, battery operated cameras that were weather-proof. A winning combination. Many clones have spawned since, but Arlo remains very popular.
Does Reolink have anything that can challenge the might of Arlo? Let’s find out.
Reolink has upgraded the original Argus which we reviewed with the new and improved Argus 2.
Meanwhile Netgear has the latest Arlo Pro 3 on offer. This is the model that’s closest to the Argus 2.
The Reolink Argus 2 is a 1080p camera (FullHD) whereas the Arlo Pro 3 has a 4MP sensor with a maximum video resolution of 2560×1440. That’s twice as many pixels as the Reolink. Arlo put the extra pixels to good use with a cool feature – cropping the video to 1080p while automatically tracking and zooming moving objects.
So the Arlo Pro 3 can work like a PTZ within its field of view, by zooming in on moving objects like a car or a person.
The Arlo also has a wide 160° field of view, whereas the Argus 2 can do 130°.
However it is important to note that while the Argus 2 is a standalone camera, the Arlo Pro 3 is useless without buying the smart hub also. Thankfully the Arlo Pro 3 cameras can connect to the older Arlo Base Station models VMB4000 and VMB4500. It is also compatible with existing outdoor security mounts. But it isn’t backward compatible with previous generation Arlo batteries or charging cables.
The Arlo battery is rated for 4-6 months of battery life. The Argus 2 uses a 5200mAh battery which is also rated for 4-6 months battery life. Both use rechargeable batteries.
Arlo Pro 3 has an integrated spotlight which no doubt contributes to its colour night vision abilities. Argus 2 also has colour night vision but relies on its Sony Starlight sensor to achieve this.
The Argus 2 is a standalone camera whereas the Arlo requires the Arlo Smart Hub to function. Furthermore, the Arlo is primarily a cloud-camera, whereas the cloud is optional for Reolink cameras. The Arlo 3 is designed by default to stream video to the Smart Hub and then from there to the cloud. These are the biggest differences between the two brands.
With Reolink, local storage is simple: Add an inexpensive microSD card to the Argus and you have local storage. No need to have an Internet connection at all.
Arlo has a very confusing cloud plan structure. With the older Arlo’s you got free local storage: just add a USB storage device to the Arlo Smart Hub.
But with the new Arlo3, Arlo Ultra, and Arlo Doorbell products, Netgear has taken away all of the above. You get just live video streaming to the mobile app and notifications.
Does the Arlo Pro 3 have free cloud storage?
No, the 7-day free cloud storage has been taken away. Now you have to pay for an Arlo Smart plan if you want cloud storage.
Does the Arlo Pro 3 have local storage?
Yes, and you don’t need an Arlo Smart monthly plan for this. But to view the recorded clips, you have to unplug the USB drive from the Smart Hub and then plug it into a computer. This inconvenience seems to be deliberately designed so that you will just give up and pay for a cloud plan.
Motion Detection ability
Both the Argus 2 and Arlo Pro 3 use a PIR motion sensor for motion detection. This is more accurate than software based motion detection.
However, the Arlo Smart cloud plan strikes again. The Arlo Pro 3 requires you to pay if you want to mark motion detection zones or ‘activity zones’. This is a basic feature and shame on Netgear for doing this. Of course the Reolink doesn’t make you pay for this.
Cloud-reliant cameras have one advantage – they can use the cloud for things like Person, Vehicle, & Animal Detection. It can even do package detection. But you have to pay for any of these features. The Argus 2 has optional cloud storage (Reolink Cloud) but it doesn’t have these advanced motion detection methods.
One are where the Argus 2 disappoints is the lack of pre-recording. Without this feature, your motion triggered clips may be missing the few seconds before motion was triggered. Arlo does has this feature in AC power mode.
Smart Home Connectivity
The Arlo Pro 3 is compatible with IFTTT, Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple. The Argus 2 can interface with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Reolink offers a 2 year limited warranty. Netgear offers only a 1 year limited warranty on Arlo products.
The Arlo Pro 3 has the edge in video quality and it has some features like smart motion detection which the Argus 2 doesn’t have. However you have to pay for a monthly Arlo Smart plan to use a lot of these features. Netgear has designed the Arlo Pro 3 to work best with a paid cloud plan. So you are really looking at paying a monthly fee if you want the Arlo.
If you don’t mind this and are also okay with your data being on the cloud, the Arlo might work for you.
But VueVille is a privacy and wallet-conscious blog – we pick the Reolink Argus 2 because it is not crippled without the cloud or an Internet connection. Local storage is also free to use. This coupled with the 2 year warranty puts it miles ahead of the Arlo. And we haven’t even talked about price yet.
Also check out the other recommendations on our best outdoor IP cameras list.
Where to buy
Summary comparison table
Here’s a summary of the full review in a nice and easy table:
|Feature||Reolink Argus 2||Arlo Pro 3|
|Resolution / Video Format||1080p (1920 x 1080), H.264||4MP (2560x1440) / H.264, H.265|
|Motion Detection on battery||PIR sensor, 120° horizontal||PIR sensor, range up to 25 feet|
|Motion Detection plugged in||PIR sensor, 120° horizontal||PIR sensor, range up to 25 feet|
|Pre-recording||No||Yes, 3 seconds lookback feature|
|Smart Hub needed for camera to work||No||Yes|
|Power source||AC Power / Rechargeable battery||AC Power / Rechargeable battery|
|Audio support||2-way audio with speaker and microphone|
|Angle of view||130°||160°|
|Wi-Fi||2.4GHz 802.11n, up to 300 feet range|
|Night Vision||Colour night vision|
IR cut-off filter
|Auto zoom, Tracking||No||Yes|
|Record 24/7||No||Yes with paid subscription, needs AC power|
|Email alerts and push notifications||Yes|
|Audio Alarm Detection||No||Yes (Smoke & CO2)|
|Local Storage||64GB micro SD card||Yes, USB drive can be connected to the smart hub (Local 2K Live Streaming)|
|Smart home compatibility||Alexa, Google Assistant||IFTTT, Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple|
|Solar panel as power source||Optional||Optional|
|Power adaptor cable model||Any 5v/2A charger||VMA4700|
|Operating temperature||-10° to 55° C (14° to 131° F)||-4° to 113° F (-20° C to 45° C)|
|Dimensions & Weight||96 x 58 x 59 mm (3.8 x 2.3 x 2.3 in), 260g||89mm x 52mm x 78.4mm, 316g|
|Warranty||2 years limited warranty||1 year limited warranty|