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Arlo's flagship Pro 5S camera is $90 off, available for only $160 on Amazon even today, after the company's Cyber Monday sale.
Why this deal is ZDNET-recommended
The Arlo Pro 5S 2K is a completely wireless security camera that can be placed to surveil indoors or outdoors. It's sleek, compact, and reliable -- all qualities you'd expect from a new Arlo camera. But some things left me wanting, though I can't say for certain if it's because of Arlo or me.
I love a great security system; it's one of the few things I don't forget to switch on every night, and, as a diagnosed OCD sufferer, it helps me sleep at night. I have a Eufy Security system in my home because it doesn't require any subscription or monthly fees, though the startup cost isn't cheap.
Arlo cameras are more expensive than the Eufy Security ones throughout my home and still require a subscription after purchasing. I could go on an endless rant on why I dislike security camera subscriptions, but I'll say this: if I buy the camera, I want to own the images. You don't buy a photography camera to pay the manufacturer for each photo or video you take.
The Arlo Pro 5S 2K camera isn't meant to be a standalone product. While it is sold and can be used as one, it's meant to work best when linked with other Arlo Home Security devices. Users can buy a separate Arlo Ultra SmartHub to elevate their security system and enable local storage. The SmartHub can record onto a micro SD card that's sold separately.
Once set up, users can only access the camera recordings when they are in the same network as the SmartHub, as the system works locally. This gives some users a much-needed sense of privacy and others a headache.
Arlo consumers can bypass this setup and remotely access the video recordings saved in the SmartHub using port forwarding or a VPN.
Arlo offers different types of Arlo Secure subscriptions to enable cloud storage of up to 30 days, smart interactive and animated notifications, audio detection of alarms, smart activity zones, theft replacement, critical alerts, 24/7 emergency response, and certain AI-powered features.
The Arlo Secure subscriptions range from $4.99 a month for a single camera up to $25 a month for an unlimited amount of cameras, plus 24/7 professional monitoring services, video verification, Family Safety monitoring for check-ins and location alerts, and crash detection and response via the Arlo Safe App.
Monthly fees aside, I've found the Arlo Pro 5S 2K to be extremely reliable and responsive -- the motion alerts come in immediately; as soon as there's movement on the Arlo's side of the yard, my phone lets me know.
The battery life has been outstanding. The Arlo Pro 5S has a removable and rechargeable battery that lasts up to eight months on a single charge. I've only been testing the Pro 5S for a couple of months, but the battery is still going strong, with no low-battery alerts.
The image captured by the camera wasn't great. I'm unsure what is happening with my camera or if my backyard isn't pretty enough, but I was left waiting for the high-quality image from the Arlo Pro 5S. Instead, I was met with overexposed patches of grass in my feed that overpowered much of the rest of the image and made it hard to identify people when they walked by that area.
I'll admit my backyard gets a lot of sunlight, and overexposure was the only issue I experienced with the Arlo Pro 5S. Through this experience, I determined the Pro 5S is better suited to surveil either the front or side of my home.
ZDNET's buying advice
Is the Arlo Pro 5S 2K worth buying? The way I see it is it's the perfect camera for someone with an existing Arlo subscription or setup or someone interested in it -- as long as they don't mind the monthly fees. It's an exceptional camera, that's for sure, but it's one that doesn't live up to its full potential without a subscription or as part of a bigger Arlo setup.
I don't believe I'd get the SmartHub to enable local storage, as viewing it remotely seems troublesome, but I can see why people do. If I were to add to my Arlo network, I'd probably get a monthly subscription. But since I'm on the cost-savings side of things, the Pro 5S 2K will be the only Arlo in my home for the time being.