Arlo Essential Indoor Camera Gen 1 vs. Arlo Essential Indoor…

Arlo recently refreshed its popular Essential Indoor Camera, offering a new design, lower price, and some other premium features. The original Arlo Essential Indoor Camera Gen 1 was one of the best indoor cameras – is the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera Gen 2 a worthy successor?

Here’s a closer look at the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera Gen 1 and Gen 2 to help you decide whether you should upgrade or look elsewhere for your security needs.

Pricing and Monthly Fees

Arlo Essential Indoor Camera Gen 2 on countertop.

The Arlo Essential Indoor Camera Gen 1 costs $100, although it’s regularly on sale for $60 following the launch of Gen 2. The Gen 2 camera is available in two formats. The HD version costs $40, while the 2K version costs $80 (though it’s often on sale for $60).

Both Gen 1 and Gen 2 cameras are supported by Arlo Secure. This monthly subscription plan starts at $5 per month for a single camera on the Secure plan and maxes out at $25 per month for unlimited cameras on the Safe & Secure Pro plan. Opting for the entry-level Secure plan is almost a requirement, as it unlocks 30 days of cloud video history, animated preview notifications, smart activity zones, and audio recognition of alarms, among other features.

Design and installation

Arlo Essential Indoor Security Camera on Table
John Velasco/

The Arlo Essential Indoor Camera Gen 1 and the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera Gen 2 share a lot of similarities in their design. Both have a black front-facing camera, a white outer frame, and a stand that can be turned and rotated to find the optimal viewing angle.

The Gen 1 product is slightly larger due to the long neck that connects the camera to its base. The Gen 1 also has the Arlo logo on the front, while the Gen 2 has no identifier. Apart from those changes, the two look remarkably similar.

The installation is the same for both devices. If you’re placing it on a flat surface, all you need to do is plug it in and sync it with your smartphone. If you’re mounting it on a wall, you can use the included kit.

resolution and night vision

Arlo Essential Indoor Camera (Gen 2) with Privacy Shield enabled.

The Arlo Essential Indoor Gen 1 films in 1080p and uses black-and-white night vision. Things are a little different for Gen 2, as you can buy HD or 2K models. The HD model produces movies in the same 1080p resolution as the older Gen 1, while the 2K model produces movies in resolutions up to 2560 x 1440. Regardless of model, both Gen 2 cameras capture night-time black and white footage. A major advantage of the 2K model is that zoomed images retain more clarity than the older Gen 1. And while 2K footage certainly looks better, the difference isn’t very dramatic when viewed on the smaller screen of your smartphone.

Features and Specification List

Arlo Essential Indoor Security Camera Privacy Shutter
John Velasco/

Other than its fresh look, 2K availability, and low price, there’s not much new about the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera Gen 2. Here’s a look at some of the key features it shares with its predecessor:

  • two way audio
  • 130-degree viewing angle
  • 12x digital zoom
  • wired connection
  • indoor use only
  • Infrared LED (850nm) for night vision.

Which is the better security camera?

Although it’s not a huge leap, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera Gen 2 is a better security camera. Not only did it add new features like 2K support and a more compact design, but it also dropped its price in the process. This combination of better features and lower price means there’s no reason to pick up the Gen 1 – unless you manage to get it on sale for a lower price than the 2K Gen 2.

If you already have the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera Gen 1 or a similar product, there’s no reason to rush out and upgrade. The changes made in Gen 2 are minimal, and unless your current camera is on the fritz, the new features in Gen 2 aren’t worth abandoning your current setup.

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