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Arlo Essential 4 camera kit + bonus solar panel review

Arlo Essential 4 camera kit + bonus solar panel review

Does Arlo Essential 4 camera kit +come with bonus solar panel?  You can receive notifications for people, vehicles, and packages so you can take quick action such as sound the siren, call a friend or dial emergency services, with the included, Arlo Secure trial. Even you can hear and speak to visitors at your door with clear, two-way audio. Get details in Arlo Essential 4 camera kit + bonus solar panel review.

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Pros & Cons


  • Color night vision
  • Sharp 1080p video
  • Intelligent motion alerts
  • Arlo app is simple to use
  • Voice control
  • Spotlight works well
  • SmartHub not required
  • Simple to set up and use
  • Supports IFTTT app


  • 1080p only
  • Spotlight has limited range
  • Battery can’t be removed
  • Smaller field of view than other Arlo cameras

Specs – Arlo Essential 4 camera kit + bonus solar panel

  • SmartHub/Base Station: Optional, connects directly to Wi-Fi
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Both
  • Video Quality: 1080p
  • Max Field of View: 130°
  • 2 Way Audio: Yes
  • Weather Resistant: Yes
  • Local Storage: When paired with SmartHub/Base Station
  • Siren: Built-in to Camera
  • Dimensions: 3.5 x 2.0 x 3.0 in (89 x 52 x 78.4 mm)
  • Integration Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT
  • Night Vision: Illuminates up to 25 feet Dual 850nm LEDs
  • Integrated Spotlight: Yes
  • Zoom: 12x
  • Noise Cancelling Audio: Noise & Echo Cancelling
  • Wire-free/Camera type: Wire-Free
  • Operating Temperature: 4° F to 113° F (-20° to 45° Celsius)
  • Weight: .72lb (331g)


Arlo Essential 4 camera kit + bonus solar panel price varies from $299.

But when you consider that a single Arlo Pro 3 camera costs $200, the Essential cam is a pretty good deal. This model had a lot of the stuff that makes other Arlo cameras great — HD livestreaming and tons of options via Arlo Smart.

You can buy it in multi-camera bundles and there’s also an optional solar panel that keeps the battery topped up. 


A Basic plan goes for $2.99 per month for a single camera and $9.99 per month for up to five cameras. It gives you access to 30 days of rolling video storage, as well as as Advanced Motion Detection (which knows the difference between people, animals, and vehicles), Package Detection, custom Activity Zones, and Rich Notifications.

Arlo Essential 4 camera kit + bonus solar panel review


The weather-resistant camera has the same white plastic body and black front as the rest of Arlo’s security camera lineup, and at first glance you probably wouldn’t be able to tell which model is which. Above the lens on the front of the camera is an LED light. On the back there’s a screw mount for fixing the camera.


The Essential Spotlight Camera looks just like most other Arlo outdoor cameras and all of the Arlo Pro cameras. It measures 3.0 by 2.0 by 3.5 inches (HWD) and has a glossy white IP65 weather-resistant enclosure with a glossy black faceplate.


The back of the camera has a threaded hole for mounting it to the included swivel mount, but it lacks the round magnetic mounting option that you get with previous Arlo camera models that makes it much easier to remove the camera for charging. 

Field view

The 1080p camera has a 130º viewing angle with 12x digital zoom, motion detection with a range of up to 23 feet and a detection field of 110º, and the ability to see things at a distance of up to 300 feet.

Battery life

The Essential camera is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery rated to last up to six months between charges. Instead of a removable battery, you have to bring the whole camera inside to charge it and the USB charging cable Arlo provides is comically short. Instead of a button on the bottom of the camera you press to remove the battery, there’s a tab you open to access the Micro-USB charging port.

Image quality

The Essential is a solid performer. It provides crisp, colorful 1080p video during the day and sharp black-and-white video at night when illuminated by the infrared LEDs. When illuminated by the spotlight, nighttime video appears in color, but as we observed with the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera, night color quality isn’t quite as bright as what you get during the day (though it’s still better than black and white).

Motion sensor in Arlo Essential 4 camera kit + bonus solar panel

The motion sensor worked well in testing, and the Advanced Motion Detection feature did a good job of identifying events from animals, people, and other motion. Push alerts arrived instantly, and Rich Notification functions worked like a charm. Two-way audio came through loud and clear, and I had no problem getting video to stream on an Amazon Echo Show using Alexa voice commands. Additionally, the siren is more than loud enough to let unwanted visitors know that they are being observed.

2-way audio

I tested out the camera’s two-way talk feature and it was remarkably clear. There was a one- or two-second delay and we occasionally talked over each other because of it, but I was surprised how clearly I could hear him, both talking to him through my phone and through the camera itself from the back deck. 


The Essential Spotlight Camera also has a built-in spotlight. If the spotlight is enabled in the app, it will flash or pulse light when motion is detected at night. 


You can set the siren to activate automatically, or you can activate it manually from the app. The siren comes with a warning that it’s “extremely loud,” but it didn’t sound very loud to us. The Essential siren doesn’t hold up next to the Arlo Ultra siren; we’re not sure you’d be able to hear it unless you’re close by.

Smart Home

The Essential is unusual in that it doesn’t require Arlo’s SmartHub, although you can connect to it if you have one. It’s also compatible with Apple HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT. However if you don’t connect the Essential to a SmartHub there’s no option to store video locally via microSD – it’ll be cloud only.

Arlo apps

The camera uses the same Arlo mobile app for Android and iOS devices as every other Arlo camera. The app opens to a Devices screen with tabs for all of your installed Arlo cameras. Each tab displays the camera name and a still image of the last captured motion activity, and has a play arrow that opens a live stream. In the upper right corner of the live stream are two arrows that flip the image horizontally for full-screen viewing, and along the bottom edge of the screen are speaker mute, tap to talk, manual video record, and picture snapshot buttons. There’s also a flashlight button that turns the spotlight on and off and a slider for adjusting the light’s brightness level.

Installation – Arlo Essential 4 camera kit + bonus solar panel

Setting up the Arlo Essential was extremely simple, but it’s important to note that it needs to connect to a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi band – if you have a dual-band router with separate 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, pick the right one. Establishing a connection to the camera from the iPhone app was quick and pain-free: we simply pointed the camera at the QR code in the app, waited for the camera to make a loud ping and then let the app search for and install the most up-to-date firmware.

As with all Wi-Fi cameras, proximity to your router is essential here. The Arlo app has a clear visual guide to show you the strength of your connection, and as the distance increases you’ll start to experience noticeable lag when you connect to the camera.

After a 60-second firmware update, I took the camera outside, attached the mounting plate to my house, and attached the camera to the mounting plate. The app informed me that my video bandwidth was strong, so I tapped Finish to complete the installation. 

Arlo Essential 4 camera kit + bonus solar panel customer review

Excellent Value with Great Features


Nearly all of the features and capabilities at a lower cost.

Built-in long-lasting rechargeable battery.

Flexible mounting options.

Great features.

Great video quality and range.

Can connect to WiFi directly or the Arlo Hub for better range/quality.


Slightly cost-reduced materials.

Non-replaceable battery with Micro-USB charging.

Plastic mounting bracket instead of metal.

The Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera is just as its name implies- the “essentials” for what make Arlo cameras great. It has all of the battery life, the range, the video quality and the smart features as its more expensive big brothers but at a fraction of the price.

For comparison, I already own a few Arlo Pro 3 cameras and the hub station that came with them. These cameras are great, but the Arlo Essential is 90% of the features for roughly a third less cost.

If you’re considering this camera, you already probably know the benefits of Arlo cameras in general; great connectivity, awesome video quality and a full suite of smart features even if you don’t choose to subscribe to their service; although the service offers even more smart benefits.

I’ll compare the Essential to the next similar camera up in their line, the Pro 3. Note that the Pro 2 has similar resolution to the Essential but is missing the spotlight and siren, and only does black & white at night, so the Pro 3 is probably the next step up from the Essential.

For the cost savings, the main differences seem to be slightly lower video resolution, a non-replaceable battery and slightly cost-reduced materials. The materials are not a huge deal, at least to me. I can tolerate a visible seam around the case and a plastic mounting bracket versus the Pro 3’s seamless design and metal bracket. The replaceable battery would be handy when the battery no longer holds a charge, but that’s a while down the road. So the main difference is the video resolution. 1080p is still HD and is probably sufficient for most uses.

So… unless you need the extra resolution of the Pro 3, this Essential really is a great balance of all the features you want and need at a lower cost. The main aspects that I didn’t like as much as the Pro 3 is that the camera has to be dismounted and plugged in via MicroUSB to charge an estimated twice a year. The Pro 3 has a magnetically-coupled cable or you can leave it installed on the mount and just swap out the battery.

The camera was easy to set up with my existing Arlo system and so far has worked reliably well both during the day and at night. I even set up it to integrate with Apple HomeKit with just a few clicks.

Overall, the Arlo Essential is a great camera with a robust feature set.

By gadgeTT at Best Buy

Arlo Essential 4 camera kit + bonus solar panel alternative

REOLINK Argus PT Home Security Camera

  • Best field of view
  • Has the best zoom at 6x like the Argus Eco.
  • It can support 32 users
  • Any device, including PCs, can use it.
  • Allows the user to make a custom siren.
  • It has the lowest battery capacity at 6500mAH
  • It can only support a 64GB SD card

The REOLINK Argus PT wireless security cameras have the best field of view, zoom, and the unique ability to record a custom siren. It is expensive for what it offers, but it has some good features.

Field of View

It comes with the standard 1080p resolution to produce high-quality footage and visibility with a 360-degree field of view. The real selling point is that it has a 355-degree field of view horizontally and 140-degree vertically. This is even better than the ieGeek and the SOLIOM.

Range of View at Night and Zoom

The night vision is fairly standard at 33 feet. This is in the same ballpark as the Argus Eco and the ZUMIMALL. But less range than the ieGeek, which offers 50 feet. The zoom is 6x, making it the best on the list alongside the Argus Eco. This is twice the zoom of what the SOLIOM offers and is better than the 4x zoom offered by the ieGeek.


The typical 2.4GHz of internet speed is required.

One major perk is that up to 32 users can log into the REOLINK app and gain access to the real-time footage of the wireless security camera. This is far more than the 10 offered by SOLIOM but less than the ZUMIMALL, which has no user restrictions.

The free cloud storage can store video footage for up to seven days. An SD card can also be used but only up to 64GB, like the SOLIOM or the Argus Eco. The ieGeek and ZUMIMALL can support twice the SD card size.


The biggest downside is that it has the smallest battery capacity at 6500mAH. This is enough for about one to four weeks of use if the solar panel doesn’t receive sunlight. This is a third of what the ieGeek can sustain with 15000mAH of battery life.

Editor’s recommendations