When I previously reviewed the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wire-free a few weeks back, I liked it enough (despite some issues) that I asked the good people at Arlo if they’d be willing to send us more stuff to review! Lo and behold, here’s the new Arlo Essential Indoor Camera!
Unlike the door bell, this one’s meant to be used in your home. Arlo does make some outdoor cameras but this one’s pretty delicate and I doubt it’d stand up for usage outdoors even if you were so inclined to use it that way.
What is the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera?
The Arlo Essential Indoor Camera is an indoor, wired 1080p, night vision equipped video camera. It has a built in WiFi and also a privacy screen in case you don’t want to be broadcasting 24/7, and comes with a trial of Arlo Smart (which lets you save your videos to the cloud).
The camera’s going for SG$199.
There’s really no issue to setting up the camera physically. You just peel off the stickers, and then insert the micro USB cable (bundled with the camera so no worries) into its power slot at the base of the camera.
Then you just plug in the power.
I particularly love the modular design of the plug. It’s nothing major but it’s a cool feature which allows you to pick your plug style.
Like other Arlo hardware, usage of the camera requires you to install the Arlo app on your smartphone. Since I already had mine from the time I used the door bell, all I had to do was boot it up to start.
Apart from setting up on the app, all you need to do get the camera recognized is simply to connect to your WiFi and then let it scan a QR code from your smartphone.
Quick, easy and very painless.
You can have it up and running in under 5 mins, fresh out of the box.
Arlo also gives you a mounting plate you can use to drill into your wall. It’s certainly appreciated, but since it’s an indoor camera, I was a bit disappointed that the base isn’t magnetized for extra security.
Once it’s running, all you need to do is look at the Arlo app and adjust the placement and sightlines. There’ll be a bit of a lag (which is honestly rather annoying) but nothing patience won’t solve. Unfortunately, there is NO way to rotate or move the camera on its own, which is a major oversight in my opinion.
There are cheaper cameras with the ability to rotate and not having that ability sorely curtails its security capabilities. It’s great if you just want a static view, but I’d have preferred an option to move the camera around even if a static view’s all I still wanted.
Options never hurt anybody, right?
There’s an upside though.
Since there’s no rotating mechanism built-in, the camera is VERY maneuverable.
The ball-joint that the camera sits on top of can easily be adjusted, so that with tweaking (lots and lots of it), you’ll be able to get optimal angles no matter where you put the Arlo Essential Indoor camera.
Once the camera is up and running, you’ll find that it does pretty much everything it says on the box without any problem.
Since the picture’s in HD, you can zoom in the image a bit before it loses detail. It’s not spectacular, but should help make out finer details.
Night Vision and the motion sensing mode works as advertised as well. I regularly got alerts in the middle of the night when my cat walks around in the camera’s sightline. I love that the recorded clips are broken into categories (Animal, Person and Movement) when you review them in the cloud save.
Incidentally, when I see the movement tag, I get a bit scared. I don’t want to see the camera catching any ghosts or whatever in my house! Thankfully, every single time it’s just my shadow (or the missus’) or even the cat walking in the distance. I don’t know what I’d have done if it caught a ghost!
The Bottom Line.
The Arlo Essential Indoor Camera is a capable entry in Arlo’s Essential line. It integrates easily with the app and works great. It’s not a perfect indoor camera by any means (no magnetic stand, no movement and a high price) but that doesn’t detract from how capable it still is.
However, unless you’re particularly fond of the Arlo brand and how its products look, there are other cheaper alternatives with the same features, or even a bit more.
A bit pricey but a capable no-frills camera nonetheless.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Works well.
- Sleek looks.
- Can’t move by remote.
- No magnetic base.