Out of all the smart security cameras on the market, the Netgear Arlo Pro and the Nest Cam Outdoor are at the very top in terms of features, design, and their overall functionality. Both cameras can help you feel safer in your home, monitor the front door to your business, or alert you every time your kids get back from school. But is one of the two cameras better than the other? We know the answer.
Arlo Pro vs Nest Cam Outdoor
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Winner: Arlo Pro
Installation is where the two camera systems differ the most. While the Arlo Pro is completely wireless, the Nest Cam Outdoor is limited to areas within the reach of an outlet. We expect that this alone will be enough for many people to decide which system to purchase.
Being able to take a newly-purchased Arlo Pro camera out of the box and install it anywhere within the range of the local Wi-Fi network makes the entire system feel incredibly polished and modern. And it’s not like there are any real downsides to running on batteries because the Arlo Pro can last up to six months on a charge. The Nest Cam Outdoor comes with a 25 feet weatherproof power cable, so you really need to measure twice to ensure the cable will reach to an outlet.
Both systems are weatherproof although we wouldn’t expect either the Arlo Pro nor the Nest Cam Outdoor to survive a particularly bad storm, at least not unscratched. Fortunately, it’s easy to remove the cameras from the base and put them back.
Winner: Nest Cam Outdoor
The Nest Cam Outdoor records video footage in the Full HD resolution (1920 × 1080 pixels), while the Arlo Pro records only in the HD resolution (1280 × 720 pixels). The real-world difference in terms of image quality isn’t huge, but it’s there.
The higher resolution is beneficial especially at night, which is when most housebreakings happen anyway. The extra pixels also come in handy when you need to focus on a small detail, such as the number plate on a passing car or the face of a person.
Both cameras have 130-degree wide-angle lens, night vision, and support for two-way audio, allowing you to both hear what’s going on near the camera and send voice messages through it.
You should know that there’s a known bug in older models of the Arlo Pro, which causes the camera to leave a short gap between two recordings and split longer recordings into several shorter clips. If you update your Arlo Pro camera as soon as you get it, you should never encounter this bug in the wild.
Winner: Arlo Pro
The Achilles’ heel of the Nest Cam Outdoor, in terms of its ability to compete with the Arlo Pro, is the pricey cloud storage. You get only 3 hours of cloud backup for free and no option to back up the recorded footage locally. If you want to keep your recordings stored longer, you can pay either $10 a month (or $100 a year) for 10 days of video history or $30 a month (or $300 a year) for 30 days.
Compare this to the Arlo Pro, which comes with 7 days of free cloud backup and the ability to back up the recorded footage locally to any USB storage device. If you want to store your recordings for more than 7 days, you can pay either $9.99 a month (or $99.99 a year) for 30 days of video history or $14.99 a month (or $149.99 a year) for up to 60 days.
What makes the expensive cloud storage service, called Nest Aware, offered by Nest even worse is the fact that the camera feels much weaker without it. Without Nest Aware, you can’t set up intelligent alerts, configure activity zones, nor record time-lapses. Netgear’s cloud backup service, on the other hand, feels like a true extra that only makes the Arlo Pro camera better.
The best and most useful extra feature offered by the Arlo Pro is the Smart Siren. This 100+ decibel siren can be controlled remotely by motion or by audio to scare off intruders. To put the loudness of the siren into perspective, 100 decibels is as loud as the noise made by a helicopter or a chainsaw.
The Nest Cam Outdoor offers easily configurable activity zones, which makes it possible to focus the camera’s attention only to a certain area. You could, for example, tell the camera to only monitor your fence and the area above it and ignore your yard to avoid false alarms caused by your dog or kids.
Both the Arlo Pro and the Nest Cam Outdoor can be paired with a handy smartphone app. The Arlo Pro app lets you see the status of your Arlo Pro security cameras, change their settings, and review the recorded footage. The Nest Cam Outdoor uses the same mobile application as other Nest devices do, and it features a scheduler, quality settings, a toggle to activate the night-vision, and an intelligent assist feature that arms or disarms your Nest Cam Outdoor camera based on your location.
The result of this comparison is clear: the Arlo Pro is the winner, offering comparable image quality to the Nest Cam Outdoor at a better price and while being completely wireless. The extra money the Arlo Pro will cost you when you purchase it is insignificant when you consider how affordable Netgear’s cloud storage service is. But if you have the money and want the best image quality you can get, the Nest Cam Outdoor is an excellent choice as well.