Arlo Pro 4 vs. Arlo Pro 3: What's the difference and which should you buy?

Comparing the Arlo Pro 4 vs. Pro 3 is a bit like trying to tell two identical twins apart. They're literally the same size and weight, and match one another in resolution, field of view, night vision, and virtually every other home security category. However, there's one key difference between them, which will make it simple for you to decide which is the best Arlo camera for you. 

Arlo Pro 4 vs. Pro 3 Specs

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We won't hold you in suspense: you won't find many differences between the two models in the Arlo Pro spec table below. The quality of the footage, day or night, won't change. Both come with a wall mount, magnetic charging cable and replaceable battery pack, and have the weather resistance to be mounted either outdoors or indoors. They both work with most smart homes, but also require a paid Arlo Smart subscription to get cloud storage and advanced AI detection. You can see all the similarities below, and we bolded any category with differences.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Arlo Pro 4Arlo Pro 3
Dimensions316g; 89mm x 52mm x 78.4mm316g; 89mm x 52mm x 78.4mm
Smart hub requiredNo; can connect camera directly to routerYes
Max Resolution2560x14402560x1440
Video Modes2K1080p720p2K (only with Pro 3 Smarthub or Ultra Smarthub)1080p720p
Lens FOV160 degrees diagonal160 degrees diagonal
Motion Detection FOV130 degrees diagonal130 degrees diagonal
Night VisionColor; 850nm infrared detectionColor; 850nm infrared detection
Spotlight6500K, 42Lux @1M6500K, 42Lux @1M
Digital Zoom12X12X
Sound DetectionYesYes
2-way AudioYes; uses single mic with noise and echo cancellationYes; uses single mic with noise and echo cancellation
Built-in SirenYesYes
Battery3-6 months3–6 months
Operating Conditions-20–45 degrees Celsius (-4–113 degrees Fahrenheit)Water resistant-20–45 degrees Celsius (-4–113 degrees Fahrenheit)Water resistant
Smart Home CompatibilityAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, IFTTTAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT
AI Features with SubscriptionPeople, package, animal or vehicle detectionPeople, package, animal or vehicle detection
Upload Data Usage2-4Mbps2-4Mbps
StorageCloud storage requires subscriptionLocal storage requires smart hub and USB 2.0-compatible driveCloud storage requires subscriptionLocal storage: connect USB 2.0-compatible drive to smart hub

Arlo Pro 4 vs. Pro 3 Smart hubs and storage

Arlo Pro 3 Rain

(Image credit: Source: Arlo)

You need an Arlo base station or smart hub in order to use the Arlo Pro 3, whereas the Arlo Pro 4 is compatible with them but can also sync up to your Wi-Fi network directly. You can buy an individual Pro 3 for cheaper than a Pro 4, but it's just a paperweight unless you already own a compatible hub: a VMB4540 or VMB5000.

While we appreciate that the Pro 4 lets you skip the smart hub, some people should seriously consider getting a hub regardless. Older Arlo Pro models gave you seven days of cloud storage by default, but the Arlo Pro 3 and Pro 4 have no free cloud storage, meaning you must either pay monthly for the cloud or store locally by connecting a USB flash drive to the Arlo smart hub.

The Arlo Pro 4 versus Pro 3 comes down to whether you want cloud storage, local storage or both.

Arlo claims that its smart hub has other benefits besides enabling local storage. While the Pro 4 can link up directly to your network and upload footage to the cloud, the smart hub can "protect your footage by adding a secure, personal network to your router." Plus, using a hub can reportedly improve your camera's battery life. They're supposed to last six months per charge, but may fall short of that under the wrong conditions. You'll have to pay upfront for a hub and storage drive, but then won't have to pay monthly for cloud storage.

On the other hand, you could make a case to ignore the local storage option and invest in an Arlo subscription instead. Along with 30 days of video history, an Arlo Premiere Plan makes your Pro 3 or Pro 4 smarter. You'll get intelligent alerts saying if the detected motion is coming from a person, vehicle, or pet, and it can recognize packages and notify you if one has been dropped off on your porch. Plus, it's the only way to set activity zones, ensuring that it only detects motion in your driveway and doesn't get a bunch of false positives from the street or sidewalk.

If you're going to pay monthly anyway to make your Arlo Pro 4 smarter, a smart hub with local storage may not be necessary. So, considering both cameras are functionally the same, your decision should focus entirely on price.

Arlo Pro 4 vs. Pro 3 Which should you buy?

Arlo Pro 4 Mounted

(Image credit: Source: Arlo)

Are you looking for a single camera or a surveillance system? If you just want one camera, the Arlo Pro 4 is the obvious choice because it can work independently without making you waste an outlet on a smart hub. If you need a family of security cams, the question is more complicated.

Single-camera shoppers should go with the Arlo Pro 4, while multi-camera buyers should focus entirely on whichever package is cheaper.

You should make your choice entirely based off of what deals you can find online. If the pricing is the same, you can choose the Arlo Pro 3 for more storage options, but we wouldn't recommend paying extra for the privilege.

Of course, both the Arlo Pro 4 and Pro 3 can be fairly expensive when bought in bulk. Anyone seeking total home security at a lower price may want to look into one of the best budget home security systems instead. The best home security systems with cameras can give you both camera- and sensor-based protection.

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.