Following the direction set by Nest Aware and a few others, Arlo has introduced a refresh of their paid cloud plans. Like Nest, Arlo will now be including exclusive features and enhancements into Arlo Smart which is the new name of their cloud plans.
We are big fans of the Arlo Pro HD Security Camera System and Arlo Pro 2 Camera Security System. Besides being well made cameras with a long battery life, Arlo throws in one of the most generous free cloud plans of any of the large manufacturers.
Arlo Smart pricing and capabilities are a little confusing so we’ll look at what they are all about.
Arlo Smart Basic Plan
All the Arlo Smart plans build upon this free plan. It’s included with all the Arlo cameras. Quite simply, this plan provides seven rolling days of video retention meaning it rolls off and cannot be viewed after a week. This plan supports up to five cameras. That’s it. Free storage for seven days worth of motion events. This isn’t continuous storage, it’s simply when motion is detected. If your camera isn’t detecting motion, then nothing is stored in the cloud. No additional features.
Arlo Smart Basic is available for up to five cameras.
Arlo Smart Add-on
Now that you have a basic understanding of Arlo Smart Basic, we can move on to the enhancements and new features. It’s important to note, this is optional meaning you don’t have to subscribe to use your camera. If seven days of retention are good and these features we will describe are of no use, then you’re good to go. No need to subscribe.
The Arlo Smart Add-on enhances the Basic plan with additional features. You get enhanced notifications that provide additional information regarding alerts that take place. The notifications appear on the phone lock screen.
The most significant enhancement of this add-on is the availability of motion zones. We are big fan of this feature. It’s the most effective method to reduce false motion alerts. Motion zones allow the exclusion of areas that you don’t want to monitor. An excellent example would be a room where a dog might set off false motion alerts. Set the motion zone for the upper half of the room above the height of the dog and stop getting motion alerts when your dog walks by.
Lastly, the Arlo Smart Add-on allows you to filter out unwanted motion alerts using facial recognition.
This add-on was priced at $2.99 per camera as of the date of publication.
Arlo Smart Premier and Elite
There are several elevated plans that include the add-on we just discussed and larger video retention thresholds.
The Elite Plan comes at a cost of $9.99 monthly and moves the 7 day retention up to 30 days. This plan supports up to 20 cameras.
The Premier Plan provides 60 days of retention for up to 30 cameras. This plan comes at a cost of $14.99 monthly
A new feature only available with Elite and Premier is called e911. This feature will notify law enforcement, at your prompting.
Ala Cart Continuous Recording
If you have a wired Arlo camera such as the Arlo Q or Arlo Q Plus, you can add a paid feature to record and retain video 24/7. Fourteen days of retention will cost $9.99 monthly or $19.99 for thirty days.
This ability isn’t available for wireless cameras such as the Arlo Pro or Arlo Pro 2.
Is it Worth Paying for Arlo Smart?
While paying for a plan in addition to buying a camera might rub some people the wrong way, the added features available with the Arlo Smart Add-on might make this worth it.
The decision of subscribing to a paid plan depends upon a few factors.
If you plan to exceed the free five camera limit and you have to pay. No choice.
However, if you are at or under the five camera limit, it then comes down to features and data retention. Get a lot of false alerts? Get the add-on. The availability of motion zones will greatly reduce, if not eliminate, false alerts. Seven days not enough? The Premier or Elite is the only way to get more than the default.
We think most owners of an Arlo camera should be able to get by with the basic free plan. A few with a lot of false alerts, or those not satisfied with seven days of retention, will certainly benefit by adding the paid plans onto their current subscription.
All of these articles are written by someone (me) that figured out how to do this stuff the hard way. I have owned and tested dozens of cameras. Manufacturer support varies. There are a few good companies that provide timely answers when you have questions. There are several that sell you the camera and seem to have little interest in post sales support (which leads me to finding out stuff the hard way).