The Arlo Pro 5S 2K Spotlight Camera is one of the best home security cameras for consumers. It sports all the features you'd want in these devices, such as smart, motion- and audio-activated alerts, crisp 2K HDR video, and built-in spotlight and siren. And they all work great as usual. But the new model also improves the battery life, adds dual-band Wi-Fi support, and uses a revamped app.
- 2K video with HDR and 160-degree (diagonal) field of view
- Weather resistant
- Dual-band Wi-Fi support
- 8 months battery life (average)
One of the improvements in the new Arlo Pro 5S is up to 30% longer battery life. A new low-power battery mode extends uptime by taking snapshots instead of the usual short video clips. Arlo says you may only need to charge the battery after 8 months instead of 6 months. Your actual experience will vary, depending on the camera location, the camera settings, and how often it's triggered by incidents like deliveries, or pets running outside your home. But the smartphone alerts from the Arlo Secure app still came promptly upon detecting motion or audio, even in this power-saving mode. Video quality is excellent, with HDR giving colours more pop. And you can get colour at night with the built-in spotlight.
Design-wise, the Arlo Pro 5S has the same sleek and glossy appearance as previous models. It comes with a removable battery, and is built to withstand the elements. However, the included mount is now a screw type, and not the magnetic mount. The latter is convenient to install, but also easy for would-be intruders to knock the camera off the mount with a broom or stick. The Arlo Pro 5S still works with the magnetic mount, so you can reuse your existing mounts. If you're placing it indoors, you don't necessarily need to mount the camera to the ceiling or wall. You can place it at the top of a bookshelf, for example. The camera's wide 160-degree field of view can usually capture almost the entire room.
New, too, is support for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi channels. While the former lets devices connect over longer distances, the 5GHz channel offers better speeds. More importantly, having dual Wi-Fi support helps with the setup process because it can sometimes be finicky with older cameras when connecting to the router via 2.4GHz. As it is, I had no issues with the setup process. Simply point the Arlo camera at a QR code from the Arlo Secure app to start. The app itself has been reworked, with a new, more customisable Dashboard with widgets for each Arlo device. It's now easier to change the mode e.g. arm the cameras since these modes are more prominent. But getting to the Device Settings, which lets you adjust settings like HDR, activity zones or power management modes, still took more taps than expected.
Getting the best out of the Arlo Pro 5S 2K requires a subscription (S$4.99 a month), but you can now pay less via an annual plan (S$47.88 a year or S$3.99 a month). Cloud storage (30 days of recordings) is the main benefit from the Arlo Secure subscription, though videos can be stored locally if you have an Arlo Pro SmartHub. However, features like smart notifications and customisable activity zones are part of the subscription, and in my opinion, they are essential. You get a one-month trial to help you decide. At launch, the Arlo Pro 5S (S$329 for one) costs less than the Arlo Pro 4 (S$399). But it's still a pricey home security camera, since you'll likely require a subscription, too. However, the features, ease of use, and video quality may be worth the premium. It's available now from Lazada, Shopee, and Amazon SG.
Note: Review unit provided by Arlo.
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