Executive Editor, TechHiveSep 15, 2020 5:01 am PDT
Arlo makes our favorite wired video doorbell, but many newer homes lack the low-voltage wiring that the Arlo Video Doorbell depends on. So, it was only a matter of time that the company would come up with a wireless model. The new Arlo Essential Wire-Free Video Doorbell will arrive in time for the holiday shopping season.
The Arlo Essential Wire-Free Video Doorbell promises a unique feature in addition to operating on battery power: Direct-to-mobile video calls in which the doorbell dials your smartphone directly when a visitor rings the bell, instead of sending you a push notification and then requiring you to open the Arlo app to see who’s at your door. Arlo says this feature will greatly reduce the chance that your visitor will tire of waiting for you to respond and leave your porch before you have an opportunity to greet them.
Two-way audio is supported, of course, but should you not respond on a timely basis—or simply choose to ignore your visitor—you can play a pre-recorded message, and they’ll be able given the option to leave you a voice message that you can listen to later. Motion-detection alerts will inform you when someone nears your door but doesn’t ring the bell. Should you spot an unsavory character lurking on your porch, you can sound a siren to dissuade them from hanging around.
The camera will deliver a 180-degree field of view with a square 1:1 aspect ratio that enables you to see your visitor from head to toe, as well as any packages that might be sitting on your porch. The camera delivers HD video (resolution of 1,536 x 1,536 pixels) with HDR, and there’s a night vision mode so you don’t need to leave a porch light on when it gets dark.
As you’d expect, the Arlo Essential Wire-Free Video Doorbell will play nice with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. Those who elect to sign up for the optional Arlo Smart service will receive alerts identifying whether a person, animal, or vehicle has caught the camera’s attention. Arlo Smart can also send you notifications when packages are left at your door, and an e911 feature connects you with emergency services local to the camera’s installed location. A three-month free trial with a rolling 30 days of cloud recordings is included, after which Arlo Smart costs $2.99 per month for one Arlo camera, or $9.99 per month for up to five Arlo cameras.
The Arlo Essential Wire-Free Video Doorbell itself will cost $199.99 when it ships ahead of the holiday season. It’s available for pre-order now at Best Buy or directly from Arlo.
Updated after publication to correct shipping timeframe and the length of the Arlo Smart service free trial.
Michael is TechHive's lead editor, with 30+ years of experience covering the tech industry, focusing on the smart home, home audio, and home theater. He built his own smart home in 2007 and used it as a real-world test lab for product reviews. Following a relocation to the Pacific Northwest, he is now converting his new home, an 1890 Victorian bungalow, into a modern smart home.