Arlo Smart subscription required for cloud recording and to enable many of its best features
Requires Arlo Pro Smart Hub to record video locally
No Apple HomeKit support
The Arlo Pro 5S 2K keeps the Arlo Pro series of camera near the top of the home security camera market. Just be sure to factor in the cost of an Arlo Secure subscription to get the most utility from this camera. And Apple HomeKit fans might want to look elsewhere.
The Arlo Pro has long been one of the most popular home security cameras on the market, prized for its balance of cutting-edge features and simple setup. Understanding this, Arlo has resisted the urge to over-tinker with the camera, keeping updates minimal with each new iteration. The Arlo Pro 5S 2K (Arlo model number VMC4060P) continues this trend, making just a few modest additions to improve setup, connectivity, and battery life.
For the first time, the camera offers dual-band Wi-Fi support, meaning it can operate on either a dual-band router’s 2.4GHz frequency band, which typically provides longer range but can be crowded, or a router’s shorter-range, but less-crowded 5GHz network.
The camera also introduces a new low-power mode that extends battery life by 30 percent by taking snapshots of detected activity instead of full video clips. Lastly, the Arlo Pro 5S supports Arlo SecureLink technology, which provides a more secure connection to protect your data while further optimizing battery life.
For the most part, though, the Pro 5S 2K leverages the technology and features of the award-winning Arlo Pro 4. The integrated spotlight with color night vision, 2K HDR video, 160-degree field of view, integrated siren, 12x digital zoom, and auto-tracking have all been ported over to the new camera.
Setup is performed with the revamped Arlo Secure app. It prompts you through the steps to connect the camera to your Wi-Fi network—it initially requires a 2.4GHz connection but can switch to your 5GHz network after setup is completed—and highlights app features such as a new customizable dashboard, activity feed, and emergency features. The whole process took just 3 or 4 minutes, including the time needed for app and firmware updates.
Performance (and caveats)
Unsurprisingly, the 2K video I captured with the Pro 5S 2K was excellent in both daytime and color night-vision modes. Colors are vibrant and accurate enough to provide solid forensic details, such as the color of a person’s clothes or their vehicle in the event of a crime. Color night vision can be toggled off in favor of black-and-white night vision, which provides strong illumination and contrast.
As with previous Arlo Pro cameras, you’ll need a subscription to Arlo’s cloud service to unlock most of its capabilities, including the ability to record 2K video and save it to the cloud. (To record 2K clips to local storage, you need an Arlo Pro smart Hub, which is sold separately for $100 / £109.99.)
Arlo Secure (previously Arlo Smart) plans add 30-day video history and cloud storage; intelligent person, vehicle, and package detection; audio detection; video object detection and tracking; activity zones; and more. Plans start at $4.99/ £3.49 a month for a single camera and $12.99/ £9.99 for unlimited cameras, with more capabilities enabled with each higher tier.
You get a 30-day trial of Arlo Secure with the purchase of the Pro 5S, so I was able to try out most of these features. Armed with intelligent detection, the camera did a great job of distinguishing between human, animal, and vehicle movement, and made it easy to customize detection to the types I was most concerned with.
With the camera monitoring my driveway, I was notified each time a vehicle entered, and the auto-zoom and tracking allowed me to get a closer look at the driver and other details like the license plate number. Notifications were instantaneous and identified the type of object detected and included a thumbnail preview of the recorded activity.
As part of the Arlo Secure app makeover, the camera’s operational modes have been expanded and updated. Arm Away mode, previously called Arm Mode, offers the highest level of security by activating all your connected Arlo cameras with motion triggers.
A new mode called Arm Home is designed to dial down security while you’re still on the premises, arming only those devices you select. Standby mode, formerly called Disarm All Devices, is meant to be used when you want to minimize or disable monitoring. Each mode comes with preset rules, but all can be customized with additional rules to tailor them to your specific use cases.
All three of these modes can be activated with a tap from the Arlo Secure dashboard, which is also home to the camera’s live feed and controls. Event-triggered video clips are accessed from the Feed tab (previously called the Library); these load quickly and play instantaneously. Swiping left on a clip thumbnail enables options to share or download the video.
Should you buy the Arlo Pro 5S 2K?
The Arlo Pro 5S 2K’s official asking price is $249.99, but it’s been street-priced at $199.99 for a good long time; that’s the same price as its predecessors in the Arlo Pro line. But as with those cameras, you need to factor in the additional cost of an Arlo Secure subscription; virtually all the Pro 5S’s most important features are inaccessible without one.
Note that even if you decide to purchase an Arlo Pro Smart Hub to store its video recordings locally, you’ll still need an Arlo Secure subscription to activate most of the camera’s smart features. Even all those costs tallied up, however, you’re still getting one of the best home security cameras you can buy—unless you also want compatibility with Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem.
If the Arlo Pro 5S 2K doesn’t fit the bill, have a look at our round-up of the best security cameras – all tested and reviewed – to find the one that’s right for you.
This article was first published on TechHive.
Indoor or outdoor: Both
Network compatibility: Dual-band Wi-Fi
Max video resolution: 2K (2560 x 1440 pixels)
HDR support: Yes
Max field of view: 160 degrees (diagonal)
Integrated lighting: LED spotlight
Night vision: B&W; color with spotlight
Two-way audio: Yes
Built-in siren: Yes
Power source: Rechargeable battery (removable, with magnetic charging cable); optional outdoor AC power cord; optional solar panel
Mounting: Threaded mount included, optional magnetic mount; optional anti-theft mount
Arlo base station options: Arlo VMB4000, VMB4500, VMB4540, or VMB5000
Compatible with Arlo SmartHome Security System: Yes
Third-party smart home integrations: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT