Arlo Adds Essential XL Spotlight Camera and Essential Camera to Round Out Your Home Security System

Arlo makes one of the best DIY home security systems that you can buy, and I’m excited that they’ve just announced two new wire-free devices in their Essential Series, the Arlo Essential XL Spotlight and the Arlo Essential. What sets the Essential Series apart from their Pro series is that these devices connect directly to your home’s WiFi, with no need for a SmartHub, and they can act as a standalone security solution or complement your existing Arlo home security system.

Arlo Adds Essential XL Spotlight Camera and Essential Camera to Round Out Your Home Security System

The Arlo Essential Camera; all photos courtesy of Arlo.

I’m a huge fan of Arlo’s products; I use their cameras all around my home, and I appreciate how the brand is always coming up with new devices that integrate flawlessly with my existing system. The Arlo Essential series is a bit different from Arlo’s other offerings, not only because they don’t require a connection to the Arlo SmartHub, but because they are very affordably priced. For less money, you can get more cameras, which means more coverage for everything that you need to keep an eye on.

Let’s take a look at these two new Arlo devices.

Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Camera

Arlo Adds Essential XL Spotlight Camera and Essential Camera to Round Out Your Home Security System

The Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Camera activated.

One of the things you have to get used to when setting up a wireless home security system is keeping an eye on the status of the cameras’ batteries if you haven’t got a way to hardwire them to power, which is often the case. The standout feature of the Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Camera is its crazy battery life — it can last for up to a year! This means you can place it in a high traffic area or harder to reach areas without worrying about recharging as often. As the name implies, the XL Spotlight Camera has an integrated spotlight that you can set to be motion- activated or that you can manually turn on when you want to take a quick look at the area that would otherwise be shrouded in darkness. A built-in siren can be triggered automatically or by you through the app, and the camera also has 2-way audio built-in, so you can speak and hear the reply of your daughter’s boyfriend when you catch him trying to sneak in her window. The camera senses motion, and it will alert you on your phone the moment it is detected.

The high definition camera has a 130º viewing angle, and it captures clear details and records video in 1080p. Even your night time videos will be in color thanks to the integrated spotlight. The cameras are so versatile that they can be used indoors or outside. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that severe weather won’t affect your camera because it is weather-resistant and built to withstand heat, cold, rain, and sun. The camera is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT so that you will have easy interaction, automation, and control.

The Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Camera is available for pre-order now for $149.99.

Arlo Essential Camera

Arlo Adds Essential XL Spotlight Camera and Essential Camera to Round Out Your Home Security System

The Arlo Essential Camera.

Maybe you don’t need the spotlight feature. If that’s the case, then the Arlo Essential Camera would be a great choice; the main trade-off appears to be black and white night vision versus the color provided with the spotlight in the other two Arlo Essential Spotlight Cameras offered. You’ll still get a high definition 130º viewing angle camera with 1080p video recording, 2-way audio, a built-in siren, the same motion detection, and alerts, as well as the compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. The camera has the same excellent weather resistance, and it can also be used inside or outdoors. But, as you may have noticed, there is no XL in the product’s name, so you’ll be able to expect up to six months of battery life versus up to a year. That’s not a terrible trade-off for a small camera that will help keep an eye on your backyard, front porch, or any other area that needs monitoring.

The Arlo Essential Camera will sell for $99.99 at Walmart this holiday season, so keep an eye out for it there.

Both Essential cameras will come with a free three-month trial to Arlo’s excellent subscription-based service, Arlo Smart. With it, you’ll have access to 30 days of your 1080p video recordings. You’ll be able to adjust notification settings and customize your cameras to spot people, vehicles, animals, or packages. You’ll also have the use of Arlo Smart’s e911 feature, which provides access to emergency services local to the camera’s location for quick action in emergencies. Kev and I have a subscription for our cameras, and we think it is well worth it. If you have an existing Arlo system with a SmartHub, you can also link these cameras to it; with one, you can store the recordings locally. Arlo says that using a SmartHub also enhances the camera’s range and battery life.


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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.