Arlo Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) review: Simple, yet effective

It has every feature you really need, assuming you're okay paying for it.

Arlo Video Doorbell (2nd Generation)
(Image: © Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Android Central Verdict

Arlo's second-generation Video Doorbell provides installation flexibility by hardwiring it to your home or using the built-in rechargeable battery. There are also two versions with an HD or 2K resolution sensor. While this device isn't going to blow you away with AI features or anything, it does a good job of providing reliable service for your front door. Just know that you'll need to plan on paying for Arlo's cloud service to enable you to use it.


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    Easy installation

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    Solid video resolution

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    Competent features

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    Affordable, upfront cost


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    No local storage options

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    Requires Arlo Secure subscription to use

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Smart video doorbells have become one of the most common security devices people add to their homes. These products are generally easy to install, assuming you get a battery-powered model, and they make knowing who's at your door simple while adding some peace of mind. Arlo may not be the first brand you think of when it comes to video doorbells, but it's making a push to be just that.

The latest Arlo Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) comes in either 2K or 1080p HD resolution versions and an updated design better suited to the rest of Arlo's product line. Oh, and it also can go wireless or hardwired for installation. While this video doorbell isn't packing loads of high-end features, it does have a solid set to deploy. I just wish you weren't required to have an Arlo Secure subscription to use it.

No fluff, just solid front door monitoring

Arlo Video Doorbell (2nd Generation)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Arlo is known for making some of the best wireless security cameras, so it makes sense that, like the first-generation Arlo Video Doorbell, this new model is just as impressive. On the surface, the overall design of the latest video doorbell looks very similar to the previous model. However, some subtle differences help tie the Arlo Video Doorbell (2nd gen) to the rest of the current line of security devices.

It still has a black front, with the rest of the doorbell's body in white. The glossy camera bump has receded some, and the large button is now more of a rounded-off square rather than the circle on the previous model. Arlo added a nice subtle outline around the button that glows when pressed, the doorbell detects motion, or if the device's battery is running low.

While subtle, the design changes to the new Arlo Video Doorbell (2nd gen) are welcomed to modernize the style.

As for installation, Arlo includes everything needed in the box. You'll get both a mounting plate and a wedge so you can angle the video doorbell towards your doorway if you want. It also comes with wire extensions and wire nuts should you want to hardwire the doorbell with your old doorbell's wires.

As with all of Arlo's other devices, like the new Essential Wireless Outdoor cameras, adding the Video Doorbell (2nd gen) is a breeze. When you go to add a device in the Arlo app, you'll get an easy-to-follow walkthrough on how to install the device onto your home. Then, there is a guide for many of the features the device offers.

Arlo Video Doorbell (2nd Generation)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

As for those features, Arlo kept everything great about the original model — all the things that made it one of the best video doorbell options on the market — and gave it some nice improvements. Overall, the device is quicker to pull up video feeds and respond when the button is pressed. There is still solid black-and-white night vision, a built-in siren to spook away lurkers, a motion detection range of ten feet, and up to four months of battery life.

Arlo made improvements to the Video Doorbell (2nd gen) in the audio and the new model with support for 2K resolution video. Every video doorbell from Arlo has supported two-way audio, so you can speak to those on the other side of your door. But now, we have a built-in noise reduction and echo cancellation for clearer conversations. 

The model I've been testing has been the 1080p HD model, and the video quality in the 1:1 aspect ratio has been completely fine. I have had perfectly usable video clips from the night vision features as well as times during normal lighting. Where the 2K resolution might really kick in is when you take advantage of the 12X digital zoom. 

Being able to zoom in on motion in your video can be really helpful to gain further perspective on what's going on. With the zoom basically cropping in on the video rather than physically moving a lens, the larger sensor in the 2K model should handle that crop better than the HD variant. 

Almost was really great

Arlo Video Doorbell (2nd Generation)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

For all that I like about the Arlo Video Doorbell (2nd gen), I have two things that really let me down with this product. Well, it's not so much the video doorbell itself, but more so the choices made by Arlo and how you're allowed, or not allowed, to use it.

The two gripes I have are tied together into a single issue, but it doesn't have to be if Arlo would just loosen its grips just a bit. First, there are no local storage options for the Arlo Video Doorbell (2nd gen). Previous models from Arlo had the ability to connect to the company's Base Station or Smart Hub to act as a local storage option. This new variant does not. 

(Image credit: Android Central)

So, to start off, you can't save your videos unless you pay for Arlo, which has a starting price of $4.99/month for a single device or $12.99/month for unlimited. But it goes up to $17.99 and $24.99 from there, with a small break if you pay annually. If you have multiple Arlo devices already, then the doorbell can share that subscription. However, if you don't, you don't have a choice.

But it isn't just cloud storage that you get with Arlo Secure; it also grants you some additional features for your camera — things like improved object detection, smart activity zones, theft replacement, and more. These can all be helpful features, but some or all may not be valuable to some people, so it would be nice not to tie both cloud storage and features into a subscription that essentially forces users to sign up.

Should you buy the Arlo Video Doorbell (2nd gen)?

I want to start by saying that I do like the Arlo Video Doorbell (2nd gen). While I do miss some of the features that I get with the Google Nest Video Doorbell (2nd gen, wired), such as recognized faces, for many, the fancy AI features in more expensive options aren't worth the cost. This is where good-performing, lower-cost options, like this one from Arlo, really fit in well.

It's just unfortunate that you'll continue to pay the entire time you own the video doorbell. That is if you'd like to save any of the video recordings and, of course, get a few other quality-of-life features, too. The cost of a single device for Arlo Secure isn't overly expensive, but it is something you'll need to keep in mind should you buy this device. Overall, the Arlo Video Doorbell (2nd gen) is a solid all-around performer that should be on your shortlist if you are looking to save money upfront.

Chris Wedel
Smart Home Writer
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, he enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.