In which direction is camera-based surveillance technology for houses and yards going? What the developers are currently planning is exemplified by a new camera from Arlo, the Pro 5. At first glance, it resembles all other cameras from the American manufacturer, whose European sales activities were taken over by Verisure. What has been newly tackled here is first and foremost the software for the smartphone and the web browser, which updates itself automatically as soon as you put a Pro 5 into operation.

Michael Spehr

Editor in the "Technology and Engine" department.

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The new app surprises at first with many changes and a completely changed menu structure. Once you get used to it, you discover the plus points and see what's on the developers' minds. The aim is to turn the simple surveillance camera into a complex surveillance system that is closely linked to other smart home components and can be programmed granularly.

Camera is quickly put into operation

With the Pro 5 and the latest Arlo architecture, differentiated scenarios can now be designed. As usual, you can automatically deactivate Arlo devices when you are at home or when you get there, such as the cameras for monitoring inside. A new feature is the option that routines are automatically set in motion when certain people arrive. Arlo works with a geofence and recognizes a person by the smartphone they are carrying. Then it is now possible to initiate further actions by triggering a rule. You come home, and the alarm system is not only automatically switched to presence mode, but the light is also switched on immediately. The possibilities of fine adjustment are differentiated and complex. For example, you can specify for a mode that the sensitivity of the detection of movements or sounds also changes.

The new camera is quickly put into operation. It connects either to an Arlo hub, which provides a more stable Wi-Fi connection, or directly to the home Wi-Fi. It is the first battery-powered Arlo to support both the 2.4 and 5 gigahertz frequency bands. The manufacturer promises a 30 percent longer battery life than previous models. We came up with an average runtime of ten weeks with the older Pro 3, and initial estimates with the new camera in the same position show that the figure is realistic.

How long a battery charge lasts in practice depends on the number of detected movements and alarms as well as the lighting time of the built-in light, which lights up at night after an activity is detected. The lamp has been fundamentally improved. It now has a night vision mode in color, and the differences are impressive. While the older cameras show a dark black-and-white image at night, it is now possible to display a picture that resembles a daylight image. Only the sharpness is a bit lacking. The camera has a resolution of 2K, so it lags behind the Arlo Ultra, which comes in at 4K. The field of view can be switched from 110 degrees to 160 degrees wide angle. Activity zones are used to focus image and video on important areas.

No biometric facial recognition

The Arlo cameras only alert when motion is detected, without an additional subscription. Subscription prices start at four euros per month for a single camera. Then the notification settings can be individualized, and there is a very reliable detection of people, vehicles and animals. In this way, an alarm will only sound if the burglar is stroking around the house, but not if it is the neighbor's cat. If necessary, you can switch on the built-in siren in the event of an alarm, but it is more of a trumpet. Videos are stored in the cloud for either 30 or 60 days with a subscription. In this way, beautiful portrait photos of the burglar are preserved even if he destroys the camera.

Unlike other Arlo cameras, the Pro 5 could not be integrated into Apple's Homekit. This functionality is to be added later, says the manufacturer. Also, there is no biometric facial recognition to identify people. If you're looking in this direction, take a look at Eve's outdoor camera or Eufy security cameras. Overall, the new Pro 5 is expensive with a price of 250 euros, but it works very reliably, is flexibly programmable and, in combination with other Arlo cameras, also allows the monitoring of larger properties.