Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Camera Review

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Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Outdoor Security Camera Review Rating

Summary

The Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Camera is an excellent addition to the Arlo range. Personally, I'd only buy the XL models as it buys you a lot more time between charges. 

Overall
85%
85%
  • Overall - 85%
    85%

Pros

  • Affordable spotlight camera with a good battery 

Cons

  • Battery won't last anywhere near 12 months for most scenarios

Arlo has a wide range of battery-powered cameras that will fit most budgets and are suitable for different scenarios.

I have already reviewed the Arlo Pro 4, Arlo Go 2 and Arlo Essential Video Doorbell.

The Arlo Essential XL spotlight camera sits on the affordable end of the spectrum, providing basic quality surveillance footage but having a spotlight for colour video and features all the smart features within the Arlo Secure plan.

As the name suggests, XL model is bigger than the standard, and that’s because it has a much larger battery with a claimed 1-year battery life.

Preview Product Rating Price
Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Outdoor Security Camera CCTV,... Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Outdoor Security Camera CCTV,... No ratings yet £104.99

Specification

  • 1080p Resolution
  • 130° Field of View
  • Spotlight with colour night vision
  • Built-in siren
  • Two-way audio
  • 12-month battery life
  • Optional SmartHub with the option to use local storage via SD card.
  • 2.4GHz Wi-Fi

Set Up & Settings

I always find Arlo products easy to set up, and I like the overall app and settings. This camera uses 2.4GHz, and you will need to be on that network to provide it with the correct details (if you use separate SSIDs like me).

You then show the camera the QR code to transfer the details, then automatically update.

Arlo Secure

As always with Arlo, you need the Arlo Secure subscription if you want to make the most of your camera. This will cost you £9 a month for unlimited cameras with up to 2K resolution or just £2.80 for a single camera.

This will enable:

  • 30 Cloud Recording
  • Rich Notifications
  • Person, Vehicle and Animal Detection
  • Package Detection
  • Cloud Activity Zone
  • Call a Friend
  • Theft Replacement

Settings

Within the settings, you have plenty of options. Under video settings, you can adjust the brightness, and rotate the image. With the low light settings, you have options to adjust the spotlight, colour night recording and the behaviour of the spotlight (constant, flash, pulsate).

Within activity zones, you can set up the areas of your property you want monitoring. In my case, I kept it to my garden to avoid pedestrians and cars triggering the camera frequently.

Then under smart settings, which are not within the main camera settings, you can set up the various motion alerts and animated previous. I am only interested in people, so I have just that one toggled.

You also have package detection if you have the camera near your door.

Day Time Video

My camera is located just next to the window of my 1st-floor bedroom. It is probably not the optimal position for capturing detailed footage, but it is a good placement for monitoring who is coming through the gate.

The 1080P footage is good enough. The high placement means faces aren’t particularly visible, nor would they be clear, but you can get an idea of what someone looks like.

Night Time Video and Spotlight

When is set the camera up at first, I think the position was suboptimal for the spotlight, and you should probably test this.

There are visible street lights on the road, then a large tree nearby. I think the spotlight was hitting the leaves of the tree and not really providing many benefits.

I then relocated the camera on my fence at ground level. It still has some issues with the light hitting plants close by, but the colour and image quality improves a lot.

Motion

In my position, the camera obviously faces a public street and, therefore, would constantly be triggering.

I have therefore set up activity zones for my garden and then set the motion alerts for people only.

I have been particularly impressed with the motion alerts. They can sometimes be a bit hit or miss with these battery cameras, depending on where you place them. With this, alerts seem to be reliable, and they come through fast.

Battery

The battery life quoted by manufacturers is a bit like miles per gallon a car will get or the Wi-Fi speeds of a router. It is a best-case scenario in theoretical conditions.

I have been getting about eight events per day.

This falls well short of the 1-year claim. I found that the camera was dropping by about 2 percent points per day. I’d say 50 days is looking likely, and I can’t see a full charge lasting more than two months in my location.

The Arlo Pro 4 dropped almost 4% per day and lasted roughly a month, so these numbers make sense. For me, charging every month is a bit too much, but once every two months is acceptable.

I suspect part of the problem may be the public-facing position. While the camera is set to not do alerts for things like cars etc, there will be a certain amount of processing to do this.

Furthermore, I have the camera set to its default quality settings. This is optimised battery life, not best battery life, and it has all the spotlight and colour video options enabled within the low light settings.

The battery is charged via a microUSB cable and requires you to remove the camera. In comparison, the Arlo Pro 4 uses a magnetic charging cable.

Price and Alternative Options

Preview Product Rating Price
Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Outdoor Security Camera CCTV,... Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Outdoor Security Camera CCTV,... No ratings yet £104.99

The Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Camera has an RRP of £150 and is currently available on Amazon for £135.

The normal Arlo Essential Spotlight is £127, and I’d strongly suggest getting the XL considering the small price difference.

The Arlo Pro 4 XL is £240 for a single camera, then the Arlo Ultra2 XL is £670 for the 2-camera system and £290 for additional cameras.

The Eufy SoloCam S40 is £200 and has 2K, a built-in solar panel and 180-day charge. The SoloCam E40 is £118 but has a £33 off voucher at the time of writing. This is also 2K and claims 4 months of battery life, but when I reviewed it, it was more like 10 weeks.

Overall

The Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Camera is an excellent addition to the Arlo range. Considering the small price difference, I am not sure why you’d opt for the smaller capacity model.

The battery life falls well short of the 1-year claim, but I find that two months is an acceptable time to charge a camera. You should be able to extend this with optimal placement and settings.

While the 1080P footage isn’t the most detailed, it is good enough, and I have found the motion alerts to be excellent. The spotlight is good for some improved colour night footage, and it should help deter any unwanted visitors.

With the Amazon price of £135, I think this is an excellent affordable security camera.

Last update on 2023-02-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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