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Review: Arlo Essential Indoor Camera – Mediocre resolution, just basic features

Unbiased review of Arlo Essential Indoor Camera’s features, performance, and value for money... Read more

Review of Arlo Essential Indoor Camera - VMC2040

Table of Contents

Test of Arlo Essential Indoor Camera – VMC2040

4.1/5 - (1769 votes)

Cena: $51.46


  • Privacy shield adds an extra layer of protection
  • Compatible with various smart home integrations
  • Provides a comprehensive field of view
  • Two-way talk and built-in siren feature
  • Free 30-day trial for Arlo Smart


  • Overpriced compared to competitive offerings
  • Subscription needed for additional features
  • Only offers 1080p camera quality
  • App interface needs improvement
  • Poor customer service reviews
  • Noticeable delay in live view

“After thorough usage and dissection of its features, I find that the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera fails to justify its hefty price tag, especially considering the superior offerings in the same market segment. The mediocre 1080p resolution, basic features, and the need to subscribe to Arlo’s SmartPlan to unlock its smart capabilities adds to my skepticism. While the privacy shield is a commendable feature, it is not enough to catapult this camera ahead of its more affordable and equally if not more capable rivals. Therefore, unless you’re an Arlo-enthusiast, I believe much better value can be found elsewhere.”

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Recommended Uses For Product nanny cam, Home Security, Baby Monitoring, Pet Monitoring, Indoor Security
Brand Arlo
Model Name Arlo Essential Indoor
Connectivity Technology Wired
Special Feature Night Vision, Motion Sensor


Unveiling the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera: First Impressions

Let me introduce you to the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera, a product that immediately caught my eye due to its unique and innovative feature – the privacy shield. Now, this immediately sets it apart, a nifty little detail that says “if you’re not using me, I won’t be watching you”. A sentiment I found refreshing in an industry often criticized for its intrusive nature. However, an initial browse led me to question why Arlo decided to price this particular model at $99. A decision that feels somewhat steep in comparison to other similar products.

Decoding the Privacy Shield Feature: A Protection Upfront

The Privacy Shield feature stands as an interesting addition to an indoor camera. Potentially, it adds an extra layer of security and peace of mind. But, let’s be honest here – How unique is this feature? Is it something that justifies the hefty price? Simplisafe’s indoor camera has had a similar feature for years, so it seems Arlo’s late to the party. Considering the vast range of options in the market today, from $20 to $50, it’s apparent that Arlo needs to offer something truly revolutionary to justify its price tag. So, the big question here is, has it done enough?

The notion of a privacy shield is commendable, yes, but in what appears to be an oversaturated market, does it bring enough value to the table? That’s what we’ll explore by delving into a comprehensive review of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera.

Overview of Arlo Essential Indoor Camera - VMC2040

Setting the Scene

  • WiFi security camera market is highly competitive
  • Arlo’s pricing raises questions due to its steepness
  • Unique selling propositions are key for market domination

Now, let’s lay down the backdrop against which we are assessing the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera. It’s key to understand exactly what we are dealing with, especially for those who are potentially going to be sinking their resources into this.

Established WiFi Security Market: A Competitive Overview

Step into the realm of WiFi security cameras, and you will notice an extremely competitive market. The likes of YI and Blink flood this ecosystem, with highly affordable and feature-packed solutions that seldom cross the 50 bucks mark. And the maximum these devices can stretch in terms of pricing is typically around a mere 50 dollars, offering a huge repository of features that provide value for every cent.

Why Arlo’s Pricing Raises Eyebrows

Now, picture this – you’re considering the purchase of a home security camera, and you stumble upon the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera, marking a steep price line at 99 dollars. Naturally, questions arise. You might wonder what sets it apart, what justifies nearly doubling the price of a regular indoor WiFi Security camera. It seems Arlo might have a different perspective of the market, indeed a bold move.

Unraveling the A-Game for Market Domination

If you aim to stand out in the saturated WiFi security camera market, you really need to bring your A-game. There has to be something that sets you apart – ultra-high resolution, unique features, unparalleled user experience, exceptional customer service, or all of them.

But does Arlo bring something ground-breaking to the table? It’s hard to say. Venturing into this market without a unique selling proposition may seem like a dubious proposition, on the surface at least. Do they justify their opulent pricing? Well, the answers are yet to unfold.

Analysis of Arlo Essential Indoor Camera - VMC2040

Digging Deeper

  • Arlo Essential Indoor Camera priced higher at $99
  • Doesn’t offer beyond conventional 1080p resolution
  • Questionable value and market suitability

It’s time to roll up our sleeves and take a deeper dive into the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera. As unbiased reviewers, our aim is to evaluate the product’s merit by comparing it to its counterparts.

Pitting Arlo’s Offering Against Top WiFi Security Cameras

When analyzing this product, it’s important to consider the current market scenario. The WiFi security market is replete with cameras that offer similar features for a fraction of the price. Brands like Wyze have even successfully managed to dominate the lower price range, effectively narrowing down the competitive field.

Let’s not beat around the bush – the Arlo Essential Indoor camera falls in a higher price category, hitting the $99 mark. This raises some key questions: Does it offer exceptional value to justify this price, or is it an example of overpricing in a competitive market? Is there anything extraordinary that sets it apart from the crowd?

Questioning Arlo’s Progress: A Stagnant 1080p Resolution

With the advent of 2K and 4K video quality creeping into the mainstream, the camera’s resolution is one of the foremost aspects up for examination. Disappointingly, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera sticks to the conventional 1080p resolution, obliviously disregarding the customer’s escalating preference for more refined video quality.

Given the price bracket, this realization was a blow. Lower priced options in the market have already integrated superior quality offerings. It’s perplexing why Arlo decided to hold back on a feature so essential in the current climate.

To be frank, ignoring this prominent consumer need indicates either complacency on Arlo’s part, or, on a more sinister note, a deliberate reluctance to cater to market requirements.

Consequently, the major question we need to address is: Do these drawbacks overshadow the potential merits of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera, or is there more to this camera than it lets on? Upcoming sections aim to demystify this query.

Analysis of Arlo Essential Indoor Camera - VMC2040

Features Analysis

  • Arlo’s Privacy Shield feature lacks novelty
  • Arlo’s Smartplan subscription is mandatory for essential features
  • Subscription costs may exceed user’s expectations

Let’s dive right into a critical analysis of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera’s feature set. With most WiFi security cameras being chock-full of features these days, it’s crucial to discern what distinct features Arlo brings to the table and if they truly add value for the user.

Critiquing Arlo’s Privacy Shield Against Simplisafe’s Legacy

Arlo seems to tout its Privacy Shield as a unique selling proposition, but I find it necessary to evaluate this critically. As it turns out, this isn’t such a noteworthy innovation. SimpliSafe’s indoor camera had this very feature years ago. Privacy is of paramount importance, no doubt, but there isn’t commendable novelty in Arlo’s accessibility to this feature. If anything, Arlo’s execution of the Privacy Shield feature feels recycled.

Zooming into Arlo’s Smartplan Subscription: A Necessary Evil?

One of the crucial requirements for the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera is the brand’s Smartplan subscription. If you’re expecting to gain access to cloud recordings and smart detection without this subscription, prepare for disappointment. Beyond just checking and testing this camera, if you’re planning on long-term use, being subscribed to their Smartplan seems mandated.

Although the plan starts from three dollars a month per camera and ten bucks a month for up to five cameras under their premiere plan, I’m skeptical about its real value. Given that this indoor camera still records only in 1080p, subscription costs could add up to give a larger hit on the users’ pocket than anticipated. The Elite plan doesn’t add much value for this specific 1080p camera.


The camera can connect directly to your Wi-Fi, but additional compatibility with Arlo base-station equipped cameras may sway potential buyers.

To summarize, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera seems to possess both mediocre and commendable features. However, their effectiveness, utility, and value for money will only stand clear after an exhaustive in-field testing. This goes to our next step as we further investigate and explore this indoor camera’s readiness to safeguard your indoors.

Observation of Arlo Essential Indoor Camera - VMC2040

Insider’s Look: Unboxing the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera

  • Arlo Essential Indoor Camera includes power adapter, USB cable.
  • Camera lacks local storage, relying purely on cloud storage.
  • Placement limited due to no wireless mounting options.

There’s always something exciting about unboxing a new product, especially when it’s a new piece of tech like the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera. With the box now open, it’s time to delve into all that Arlo packs in.

Inventory Breakdown: Every Bit Counts

First up, I noticed the power adapter. Arlo provides a standard 5 volts and 2 amps adapter that seemed sturdy and reliable.

Next came the micro USB cable. Measuring at about 6 and a half feet or 2 meters, it gives some flexibility with positioning the camera. However, remember – it’s a wired camera, so the placement will still be limited by proximity to a power outlet.

The box also contains mounting screws and plastic anchors for wall or ceiling installation, reflecting the flexibility of placement Arlo aims to offer. Still, the absence of a wireless option can limit its versatility.

Delving into the Hardware

And then, of course, there’s the camera itself. It comes neatly packed with a wall mount plate. The exterior design is sleek and inconspicuous, while the camera lens, status light, light sensor, and infrared LED are all positioned on the front, surrounded by the microphone.

Turning it around, there’s a speaker and a micro USB port on the back. One noticeable drawback here, there’s no slot for a micro SD card. Thus, the device relies entirely on cloud storage. This detail might be a major letdown for those who favor local storage due to privacy concerns or subscription costs.

Final Thoughts on the Initial Setup

Unboxing and setting up the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera is a fairly straight forward process. All the essentials are provided, and the initial hardware overview, while having a few downsides, generally evokes a sense of reliability.

Yet, considering its prohibitive pricing, a few of the shortcomings – primarily, the lack of local storage options – are somewhat disappointing. Now, it’s time to take this camera for a spin and see how it fares in the actual tasks it’s expected to perform, from image quality to smart home integration.

Critique of Arlo Essential Indoor Camera - VMC2040

An Encounter with the Camera Quality

  • Arlo’s camera provides only standard 1080p resolution
  • Privacy Shield’s effectiveness requires further assessment
  • Night Vision feature lacks precision and clarity
In this segment, we delve into the critical examination of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera’s video quality. As an experienced reviewer, I believe that excellent image and video resolution is paramount to a superior surveillance experience. So naturally, my expectations were high, and being a premium-priced product, I was eagerly anticipating my experience with the actual picture quality.

Arlo’s Mediocre 1080p Resolution: A Reality Check

The Arlo Essential Indoor camera did fall short when it came to impressive resolution values. Now, the 1080p resolution isn’t necessarily a bad aspect; it’s just that, given the competitive nature of the market, with products boasting 2k and 4k resolutions, 1080p might seem outdated. When compared with other cameras in a similar or even lower price range, the reality of Arlo being stuck at 1080p was a tad disappointing. While the video was clear in good lighting, the ‘wow’ factor associated with crisp footage was missing. The video quality was standard, not exceptional.

A Close Look into Arlo’s Privacy Shield: As Impressive as Proposed?

On to the next essential feature – the Privacy Shield . It promised to reassure users that they weren’t being watched when the camera was disarmed. While the premise did seem impressive, its implementation was quite ordinary. When in disarmed mode, the shield did close as advertised but whether it could effectively render the camera non-operational is disputable and something only extensive use could confirm. On a positive note, the Privacy Shield did offer a psychological comfort that your privacy is being respected.

Assessing the Night Vision Feature

Finally, it was time for the the Night Vision test. I have to say, this feature left me quite unconvinced. Whilst the camera could illuminate and capture fairly well in low light situations, the picture seemed overexposed and washed out when the subject was too close. For a product in this price range, I expected more precision and clarity, especially during night vision as it is most critical to have a clear view in low light conditions.

Overall, if you’re keen on higher resolution and superior night vision, you could explore other options. But, if you are looking for a rather nice blend of acceptable video quality with an emphasis on privacy, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera could still be a consideration.

Thoughts on Arlo Essential Indoor Camera - VMC2040

Synching with Smart Home Integrations

  • Arlo Essential Indoor Camera integrates well with Amazon Alexa
  • Integration with Google Home experienced latency issues
  • Good compatibility with SmartThings and IFTTT

Smart integrations are at the heart of any modern security system; they significantly enhance the user experience and interface. Let’s explore how well the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera works with some of the most common smart home devices.

Arlo’s Compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Home: An Advantage?

I decided to test out the compatibility of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera with two of the dominant smart home ecosystems – Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

The setup process with Amazon Alexa was swift and painless. As soon as the Arlo Camera was named on the Arlo app, it automatically got integrated with the connected Alexa app. A clear advantage for those already within the Amazon ecosystem.

However, Google Home integration was not as seamless; there was a noticeable delay while streaming the camera on Google hub. This latency could potentially lead to crucial information being missed in a security situation.

Testing Out Arlo’s Connection with Smart Things and IFTTT

On the brighter side, I also examined Arlo’s integration with SmartThings and IFTTT (If This, Then That); it worked relatively well. The Indoor Camera offers promising scope for advanced automations and intricate security setups that include a combination of different devices.

Overall, Arlo has shown comprehensive smart home integrations . Yet, its performance showed some hiccups, especially with Google Home. This performance may not be an insurmountable obstacle, but it certainly is an important consideration for consumers heavily invested in Google’s smart ecosystem and relies heavily on real-time streaming.

Segment Conclusion: Arlo Essential Indoor Camera demonstrates a strong affinity for interoperability across leading smart home ecosystems, although with some room for improvement.

Breakdown of Arlo Essential Indoor Camera - VMC2040

Testing Phase

  • Arlo Essential Indoor Camera has average video quality
  • Significant delay in motion alert notifications
  • Inconsistent audio quality and functional delay

In the intriguing world of WiFi home security, testing is an integral part of understanding a product’s real-world performance. Switching gears to my hands-on experience with the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera, I dived deep into every practical aspect of the device.

Unveiling the Live Action: Day and Night Quality Test

Starting with the video quality evaluation, it was important for me to comprehend the performance of its touted 1080p resolution. Throughout the day, I perceived the footage to be average. There was nothing outstanding regarding the video clarity. The color representation was acceptable. As the lighting diminished, the camera automatically switched itself to night mode. The solitary infrared LED was activated, and the performance was, unfortunately, substandard. A wash-out effect was observed when anything came within a few feet of the camera, leaving much to be desired in terms of its night-vision capacity.

Assessment of the Motion Alert Notification Speed

Moving on to the motion alert notification speed, this is a key aspect given how quickly one would require an alert in times of a security breach. During the test, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera presented a considerable delay. With an LTE connection, it took roughly four seconds to receive motion alert notifications, which could be crucial in real-world situations.

Testing Audio Quality: A Sound Investment?

From the perspective of voice clarity, the two-way talk feature was mediocre. The spoken language from the microphone was understandable but lacked depth and clarity. On the receiving end, the speaker’s voice came out fairly muffled. Even at different volumes, there were significant audio quality inconsistencies.

Empirical Analysis: Testing the Siren and Live-View Delay

While observing the practical functionality of the activated siren, I encountered another pause. Firing up the siren from the app was followed by a disappointing delay before actual activation, pulling the overall experience down. Moreover, there was a delay transitioning to the live view after pressing the notification alert. A long waiting period for jumping from notifications to live view isn’t a favorable feature by any standards today.

To sum up, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera falters on several testing parameters that are significant for a premium security camera. From delivering mediocre video quality to delayed alerts and sluggish functionality, the real-world performance of this camera appears to misalign with its promising specifications.

Perspective: Arlo Essential Indoor Camera - VMC2040

Consequences of Pricing and Performance

  • Arlo’s Indoor Camera price not justified by performance
  • Competitive brands offer more economical alternatives
  • Mediocre video capture quality
  • Customer dissatisfaction with Arlo’s services

As we all know, the financial worth of any gadget manifests in its performance over time. That said, the price of a product becomes rather secondary if matched with exceptional functionality. Does Arlo’s expensive Indoor Camera truly offer its optimum capability? Let’s dive in.

Is Arlo’s Indoor Camera Worth It?: Balancing Features, Quality, and Cost

I was quite intrigued by the sticker price of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera. The splurge got me curious – does this security device genuinely offer superior conveniences? However, my experience thus far has not entirely justified its $99 asking price. Given the abundance of more affordable cameras in the market that offer similar or even better specs, buying this camera doesn’t seem to be a smart investment, even if your budget allows.

Arlo’s Indoor Camera’s key selling point is undoubtedly the Privacy Shield. But remember, the concept is not novel enough to warrant the high price . SimpliSafe, for instance, pioneered this years ago, dispelling the uniqueness of the feature.

The Downside of a High Price Tag: Addressing Customer’s Gripes

One ought not to forget the competitive edge of the rivals. Their inside cameras, marked at $25 to $35, offer high-definition recording and free local microSD card storage, presenting a more economical alternative.

While some might argue the superior aesthetic appeal of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera, it is noteworthy to add that aesthetics do not compensate for an underperforming device. To add icing to the cake, the need for subscription-based plans to unlock fundamental features like cloud storage access is a touch unsettling! As a reviewer, these are things I must bring to your attention.

Talking about my first-hand experience with Arlo’s video and nighttime quality, I noticed the resolution becomes rather washed out when the subject is close to the camera. Considering a 1080p resolution and my interactions with the camera thus far, the video capture can be deemed mediocre at best .

A meticulous comparison reveals that the service, performance, and feature deliverance that Arlo offers, largely, adds up to the overall higher price than its rivals, however, it does not quite prove to be good value for the spend. The pricing thus feels somewhat over-ambitious, with many potential customers likely to explore more affordable, feature-rich, and reliable alternatives.

The customer reviews and social media echo my observations, reflecting dissatisfaction among some users, particularly concerning customer service and the interface responsiveness of Arlo’s application. We’ll delve into that shortly in the final section!

Weighing Arlo Essential Indoor Camera - VMC2040


In wrapping up this exhaustive exploration of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera, a few critical aspects surfaced that buyers should consider carefully.

Final Verdict: Weighing the Pros and Cons of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera

On the positive side, the camera offers a privacy shield feature, an innovative addition designed to provide extra peace of mind for users. The integration with smart home systems like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, and compatibility with other smart things and IFTTT, are commendable efforts towards crafting a connected ecosystem.

However, critical examination reveals that the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera falls short in a number of areas. Most noticeable is the 1080p camera resolution in a market where customers are increasingly seeking 2K or 4K quality footage.

In an advanced and competitive WiFi security market, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera’s high price tag is a surprising approach. Especially considering the wide array of more affordable alternatives, many of which offer similar or even superior features.

Another downside, and one that could be a potential deal breaker for some, is the obligation to subscribe to Arlo’s SmartPlan for access to cloud recording and smart detections.

Is the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera a Wise Choice for Indoor Surveillance?

The camera’s mediocre night vision quality might be another stumbling block for those seeking top-end security features. The footage is prone to becoming washed out when subjects are too close, negating the high price tag’s value, for which quality is an expected tradeoff.

The considerable delay in live view access, a significant factor for security cameras, further hampers the overall user experience. This issue is an area where quicker, more reliable alternatives exist

In conclusion, while the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera brings certain appealing elements to the table, customers should weigh these against its flaws and high-end pricing. As it stands, it appears there’s room for improvement for Arlo in delivering a competitive product that promises valuable, technologically-advanced indoor surveillance solutions.

Should you buy the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera – VMC2040?

Buy it if…

You’re an Arlo Enthusiast

If you’re already using Arlo’s other products and are satisfied with their features and performance, you may wish to expand your existing setup with the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera.

You Prioritize Privacy

The Arlo Essential Indoor camera comes with a physical privacy shield that guarantees no recording when disarmed, which could be an attractive feature for the privacy-conscious user.

You Want Seamless Integration

Given that Arlo Essential Indoor Camera integrates smoothly with Alexa, Google Home, and Smart Things, it’s a good choice if this capability is on top of your requirement list.

Don’t buy it if…

You’re Budget Conscious

With a price tag of $99, Arlo Essential Indoor Camera might not be the best choice for those seeking budget-friendly surveillance solutions given the availability of cheaper alternatives in the market.

You Crave High Definition

If you are after 2K or 4K video quality, this 1080p camera might not meet your expectations.

You Prefer Local Storage

If you favor cameras that offer local micro SD card recording and dislike the idea of monthly subscription plans for cloud storage, this camera might not be the best fit for you.


Is the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera a good value for money?
Considering the price point and features, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera might not offer the best value. Similar cameras on the market offer better resolution and lower prices.
What is the video quality of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera?
The Arlo Essential Indoor Camera only offers a 1080p resolution, which is somewhat mediocre in today’s competitive market.
Does the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera require a subscription plan to access all its features?
To access features such as cloud recordings, smart detection, and rich notifications, you will need to subscribe to Arlo’s Smartplans.
What is the privacy shield feature of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera?
The privacy shield is a feature that allows the camera to close itself when disarmed, ensuring the camera is not recording or watching you when it’s not necessary.
How does the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera compare to other wifi cameras on the market?
The Arlo Essential Indoor Camera is priced higher than other similar wifi cameras on the market. Many of these other cameras offer better video quality and at a lower price point.
What are some issues that users may face with the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera?
Users have reported issues regarding latency in going to live view, mediocre video quality, lack of customer service, and a high price tag for what it offers.
Does the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera have night vision?
Yes, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera has night vision. However, the quality of its night vision may appear washed out if the subject is within few feet of the camera.
What smart home systems is the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera compatible with?
The Arlo Essential Indoor Camera can integrate with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Smart Things and IFTTT.
What is the motion alert notification speed of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera?
The review mentions a delay in motion alert notifications, with the actual speed not specified.
Is there any chance for viewing recorded footage without a monthly plan?
No, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera only records to the cloud, which requires a subscription. It does not have a slot for local micro SD card recording.

About Madeline King

Madeline KingMadeline’s dual passions for technology and humanities give her reviews depth and breadth. She approaches each product with curiosity and commitment.

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