The blinding light that’s perfect for keeping an eye on your yard
I’ve been a fan of Arlo products since they were first launched in 2014 as a division of Netgear. Since that time, I have had the opportunity to work with Arlo’s wireless security cameras to help protect my home and business. The cameras and the system that runs them have always exceeded my expectations so when I was presented with the opportunity to review the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight, I thought it was the perfect complement to the rest of our Arlo security system.
The Pro 3 Floodlight is “security at its brightest.” It’s an award-winning product (CES 2020 Innovation Award) and is 100% wire-free. The unit provides 2K HDR video from its built-in Arlo Pro 3 cameras and shines up to 3000 lumens of light. There is a built-in smart siren that can be triggered remotely and color night vision. The Pro 3 Floodlight has a 160º viewing angle and it allows you to communicate with others near the camera with the 2-way audio. The unit is weather-resistant and built to withstand heat, cold, rain, or sun. The app provides users with custom controls for users to be able to easily adjust brightness, video, and audio settings. The Pro 3 Floodlight has an internal, removable rechargeable battery that recharges using Micro USB or a magnetic charger that comes with Arlo Pro 3 cameras (not included with the Floodlight). Arlo Pro 3 Floodlights have multiple power options including the rechargeable battery or a Solar Panel (not included) to be able to provide a truly wireless experience. A 3-month Arlo Smart trial is included with the Pro 3 Floodlight with the option to add the upgrade at the conclusion of the trial.
|Max Video Resolution: 2560×1440 resolution|
|Image Sensor: 4 megapixels|
|Video Modes: 2K, 1080P, 720P|
|Video Features: Auto Track and Zoom, HDR, H.264, and H.265 Encoding|
|Lens Field of View: 160-degree diagonal|
|Sensor Size: 1/3″|
|Light Type: Floodlight|
|Light Color Temperature: 4000K|
|Efficacy/Brightness: 2000-3000* lumens (Outdoor Magnetic Charging Cable required for 3000 lumens)|
|Light Modes: Constant and pulsate|
|Motion Detection: Single Motion Detector, 130-degree horizontal|
|Night Vision – Color: Yes|
|Night Vision – Black and White: 2 High Powered Infrared|
|AC Adapter Output: 5V 2A|
|AC Adapter Input: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz|
|Indoor/Outdoor: Both – outdoor UV and weather-resistant|
|Digital Zoom: 12x|
|Microphone: Single Microphone with noise and echo cancellation|
|Audio: Full Duplex 2-way Audio|
|Status Light: Dual-colored LED|
|Networking: 802.11 b/g/n|
|Compliant Standards: 128-bit SSL, AES-128, TSL, 2-factor authentication|
|Battery Type: rechargeable|
|Charge Time to Full (via camera): 6.5 hours|
|Charge time to Full (via charger accessory): 5 hrs|
|Operating Temperature: -20 to 45 degree Celsius|
|Connectivity: Wi-Fi Connection. Working broadband connection with at least 2Mbps upload speed|
|USB requirements: N/A|
|Minimum upload speed: 2-4Mbps|
A few years ago my daughter came to live with me. She had been in a horrific domestic situation living with her mother and step-father and when I got legal custody of her, security around our home became a top priority. Situations like this are not abnormal, but it’s not always something people plan for either. Arlo camera systems are great for this type of situation. They can be added into any home or business environment without too much disruption of existing technology systems. I’ve installed other outdoor surveillance systems (wired with a DVR) for a family friend before and I know how complicated that process can be.
Arlo’s system has an incredibly simple set-up and it really only requires three steps:
- Plug the SmartHub into your existing network.
- Download the app.
- Connect the cameras to the app and follow the set-up instructions within the app.
It’s that simple to get started (you can read the full set-up process in our recent review of the Arlo Pro 3 cameras). So, given my past experience with wired/DVR-based surveillance systems, the idea of having a working outdoor security camera that I didn’t have to hardwire was exciting to me. Our system actually includes 4 Arlo Pro 3 cameras, 2 Arlo Pro 2 cameras, the Arlo Video Doorbell, and now, the Pro 3 Floodlight. Because I already have the app installed and actively in use, adding the Floodlight was incredibly easy. On the main screen of the Arlo app, in the Devices menu, there is an “Add New Device” option. When you tap that, you will have the opportunity to select “Light” which is where you will find the Floodlight. After selecting the Floodlight, you will be given a set of instructions in the app for items you might need during installation along with an installation video.
Installation of the Floodlight was a little different than the Pro 3 Cameras simply because you have to mount the Floodlight. The cameras can potentially just be placed on flat surfaces to monitor areas of your home or business, but the Floodlight needs to be securely attached to a building or other sturdy fixture. When I thought about where I wanted to install my Pro 3 Spotlight Camera I knew It would have to be somewhere that I would get real use out of the light. I also wanted to make sure it was not too high as I wasn’t really wanting to climb to the top of my house every time it needed to be charged. And of course, the overall view from the camera needed to be solid coverage of an area that wasn’t already monitored. This led me to my yard barn.
The yard barn is located on the back corner of our property. It is full of personal items and various lawn care items. It’s pretty full and not well protected by our existing cameras. Plus, because it’s in the back corner, we get a back view of the house and both side yards and the light can provide illumination for the yard. Location is key when installing any of the Arlo cameras. So, plan placement carefully. One part of that planning needs to include your WiFi connection. Arlo has a step built into the set-up process where you test your internet signal and camera angle. Be sure to take advantage of that step so you don’t drill unnecessary holes into a location only to find that you don’t have a signal. This was actually the biggest problem I ran into when installing the Floodlight.
The first time we attempted to install the Floodlight we had a terrible signal. It would record motion events and send notifications, but when we tried to connect to the camera, we were met with either an image with digital interference, or it wouldn’t connect at all. Fortunately, we have an Orbi Whole Home WiFi system by Netgear in our home so we moved the satellite unit of that system into a different location of our home that could push out the signal better to the back yard. After a firmware update of that system, the Floodlight connected just fine. If you don’t already have a mesh WiFi system in your home, I would recommend at least adding an extender to your existing network so that any cameras from the Arlo system that are outdoors have an easier time connecting.
Once the network problem was addressed, I set to mounting the Floodlight on the yard barn. We selected a place on the front of the shed that would not only be out of reach for someone trying to remove the camera unless they had a ladder, but it would also be somewhat protected from environmental elements thanks to the overhang of the shed. Now, it’s important to note here how robust of a device the Pro 3 Floodlight is. Arlo designs them to be weather-resistant and able to withstand extreme temperatures. What it isn’t protected against is falls. While I was in the process of installing the mount for the unit, the Floodlight tragically fell off the tray on my ladder and hit the brick tiles below. This was approximately a 6-foot fall. I thought for sure that the camera and light would be inoperable after a fall like that. As it turns out, there were a few very small scratches, but the camera and light were both still full functional. This is a testament to how well the device is built.
Once the mount was secured to the exterior wall of the shed, I installed the Floodlight onto the mount and tightened the security screw. The Floodlight is very solid in its location and with the exception of the network connectivity, installation, and app set-up took less than 30 minutes. The picture from the video feed is not perfect, but it’s a solid 7 out of 10. Sometimes the feed breaks up a little, but I think that’s based on the signal from the back of the yard into the house and not the device itself. Aside from that we now have an “eye-in-the-sky” view of our yard thanks to the camera, we also have an extremely bright LED Floodlight that lights up the yard really well. We actually have a Floodlight attached to our house that points from the house to the yard, but it only reaches the edge of our patio. Now we also have the Arlo Floodlight that point toward the house from the yard. It’s perfect for late night trips to the yard with our dog and for my daughter who likes to jump on the trampoline after dark. With the Floodlight, we can see where our little dog is wandering and catch him before he gets into trouble and my daughter can see where she is landing as she jumps.
Over the years the team at Arlo has upgraded every part of their video security system. From adding HomeKit compatibility to including a Doorbell camera, and now the amazingly bright Pro 3 Floodlight camera, the team at Arlo has been creating a robust, user-friendly security system that anyone can understand. The Pro 3 Floodlight is an amazing device. It shines a light in dark places and fits seamlessly into the Arlo system. The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera is solid. Like the other gear from Arlo I don’t hesitate to recommend to friends and family.
UPDATE: As of July 24, 2020, the Pro 3 Floodlight Camera supports Apple HomeKit for an expanded wire-free, hands-free experience. To enable HomeKit, users must ensure their Pro 3 Floodlight is connected to the same WIFI network as the compatible Arlo SmartHub or base station.