If you’re going to have a smart home, then it is a good idea to protect it. One of the best ways to safeguard your investment is by installing a good security camera.
Whether you want to keep the bad guys from stealing packages off your front porch or make sure your dog is not lounging on the sofa again, installing a good quality security camera will allow you to see and communicate with your smart home.
Both Arlo and Nest bring years of quality, technology, and capabilities to their line of security cameras. Choosing the right one can be difficult which is why we wanted to provide you with this comparison of two of the top security cameras on the market.
Tale of the (Security) Tape
Just like the beginning of a heavyweight boxing match, we wanted to give you an overview of the two competitors. Here is the tale of the tape on how these two security cameras size up against each other so you can quickly see the highlights of what each have to offer.
If these differences between the Arlo and Nest Cameras aren’t enough for you to make your decision, then let’s take a deeper look at each one.
Key Features - Arlo Q (Indoor) and Arlo Pro (Outdoor) Cameras
There are several key features of the Arlo cameras but before we go too deep into them, you need to have an understanding of how the indoor and outdoor versions are different from each other.
The Arlo Q Indoor camera is hard-wired, which means it will plug directly into your wall outlet. The outdoor version, which is the Arlo Pro, is a wireless camera that runs on batteries.
To make sure it can withstand the elements, the Arlo Pro is also weatherproof.
Easy to Install
Installation of both cameras is pretty simple. The Arlo Q can attach magnetically or you can use the included wall mounts to place it in the ideal location in your home. It simply needs to be placed near a power supply, plugged in and you are ready to go.
Since the Arlo Pro is a wireless camera, you can mount it anywhere outside your home up to 250 feet away. This could come in handy if you have a large lot or a detached garage that you need to monitor.
The rechargeable battery life is pretty good as you can expect to get about 6 months before you need to charge them. The batteries will also recharge pretty quickly so you should not have to worry about your cameras being down for a long period of time. Of course, if this is a concern, you could always spring for extra batteries.
Video Quality and Recording
The video quality on the indoor model is a clear 1080p quality. This will allow you to clearly see faces of potential intruders as well as other smaller details that could help catch a criminal. The outdoor version is not quite as good as it records in 720p. This should be sufficient for the vast majority of your surveillance needs but it is not quite as sharp as the indoor version.
The Arlo Q can record continuously, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week since it is plugged directly into an outlet. The outdoor version, Arlo Pro, only records when activated by it motion detection system. This is a key area where the Arlo is different from the Nest cameras.
To save battery life, the Arlo Pro will only record when it senses activity. Depending on where you mount your camera and the types of activity that may occur near it, you may need to adjust the sensitivity to avoid false readings.
For example, if your dog is in the backyard, it can trigger your camera to alert you of movement and begin recording. You may also have issues if your camera points to a road where vehicle traffic could trigger it to start recording. Arlo has done a solid job on refining its motion-detecting capabilities, so you should be able to adjust the sensitivity to only pick up human type activity.
Finally, both types of Arlo cameras come with a 130-degree field of vision. This wide range should make it easy enough for you to get the coverage you want both indoors and out.
One of the cool benefits of these security cameras is that they feature two-way communications. The camera comes with a built-in microphone and a speaker. When you are watching security camera footage you will get good quality audio of what’s going on in the picture. You could hear your children speaking to you or you could pick up on the conversations of someone who has broken into your home.
In addition to that, you can also speak to whoever is in your home through the camera. If you need to tell your dog to get down off the couch or remind your kids to do their homework, then you can simply speak into your smartphone and they will hear you through the camera. This can also come in handy if you need to tell a potential intruder to get away from the door. This could be a significant deterrent to thieves who are trying to steal packages left on your porch.
Storage of Your Audio and Video
Now we are getting into an area where Arlo may excel. They offer 7 free days of Cloud recording of your security camera. This means that at any given time you can go back and look at the past 7 days of video and activity alerts.
If you want to keep more than 7 days and have no desire to keep that much local storage, then you can purchase additional cloud storage options from Arlo. They offer packages for 30 days and 60 days for an additional ongoing fee.
The Arlo cameras offer the use of their Arlo Pro smartphone app. The app lets you see the status of one or multiple cameras if you install more than one. You can stream live footage from any installed camera or watch your cloud-stored video as well. The app will also let you change the settings of any of the cameras right from your smartphone.
Two-way communication can be accomplished using your smartphone and the app as well. You can simply select the camera you wish to communicate with and speak through your phone. You will also receive alerts on your smartphone when your cameras detect activity. This can alert you to when your kids get home or let you know that you have a trespasser on your property.
This alert feature is especially important for the Arlo Pro outdoor cameras. Since these cameras only record when there is activity in their 130-degree range, you will be notified when there is activity outside your home. This will give you the opportunity to warn any trespassers that they have been caught on camera before they try to get into your house.
The mobile app is intuitive and user-friendly. Most novice users should be able to get up to speed fairly quickly and manage all their Arlo cameras from one single app.
Both the indoor and outdoor versions of the Arlo cameras have good night vision capabilities. You should expect good quality video even when the lights are off in the house or when the sun is down outside. In addition to detecting motion, both the Arlo Q and Pro can detect sounds as well.
The Arlo Pro System also comes with a piercing 100 plus decibel Smart Siren. This loud siren will not only alert you to an intruder but it is likely to scare them off before they get close to your home.
The design of these cameras is sleek and the white case gives it a pleasant look. The cameras should be able to blend well with the interior of your home and avoid being an eyesore. The outdoor camera will blend nicely with your home's exterior. They can also be spotted fairly easily if you mount them in trees. The mere sight of the cameras may be a deterrent to some intruders.
If you are looking to integrate your security cameras into your existing smart home suite of products, then the Arlo cameras might be a good choice for you. These cameras are compatible with Amazon Alexa, the Echo Show, Fire TV, and Google Assistant. These tools allow you to view your live video with the use of a simple voice command. The Arlo Q and Pro also work with IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings, and many others.
Finally, the Arlo cameras will allow you to customize how you use them. You can set up Activity Zones so that the cameras will alert you if motion or sound is detected in an area that there should not be any. This can help you to protect parts of your residence without being alerted every time your dog decides to get off the couch.
Key Features – Nest Security Camera (Indoor and Outdoor)
There are several key features of the Nest cameras as well but we also need to take a quick look at the differences between these two before we go too far into all the cool things they can do.
Both the indoor and outdoor cameras are wired which means they will need to be installed near a power source. Where the two Arlo cameras look basically the same, the Nest cameras look completely different from each other. The indoor cameras are a sleek, black color with a new age design.
The outdoor cameras are also sleek looking but they are white in color. They resemble an outdoor flood light which might help to conceal the fact that you have outdoor security cameras.
Simple Installation Process
The indoor cameras are a simple plug and play installation. You plug them in, follow a simple setup process with the smartphone app and you are ready to monitor whatever rooms you need to. The compact size allows you to place the Nest Camera just about anywhere. The stand works on all types of surfaces such as a table or shelf. It also has a built-in magnet which allows you to securely place it on a metallic surface. You can even attach it to any standard tripod mount.
The outdoor Nest Cam can also be conveniently wall mounted to the side of your home or magnetically attached to a gutter or metallic surface. You will have about 25 feet of cord attached to the camera which limits how far you can stray from a power source. Of course, you can add extension cords if you need to move it further away. This can sometimes create challenges with the placement of the outdoor Nest Cams.
Video Quality and Recording
The video quality of both indoor and outdoor Nest models is a clear 1080p quality. This will allow you to not only see faces of potential intruders but you can most likely see some finer details such as license plate numbers on vehicles. Unlike the Arlo Pro, the Nest outdoor version records in 1080p as opposed to 720p. This gives the Nest Cam a slight advantage in regard to the outdoor versions.
Both cameras will record in continuous 24-hour modes. Again, this is where the fact that the outdoor Nest Cam is wired that gives it a slight advantage on the Arlo Pro. You don’t have to rely on motion detection on your outdoor cameras in order to get video footage. You also do not have to worry about extra batteries and periodic recharging with the Nest Cam.
You can still set alerts based on detecting motion or noise with the Nest cameras but you will be recording regardless. The Nest Cam motion and sound detection technology are also pretty advanced. They can tell the difference between simple movements like hand gestures and a person entering a room. You can set Person Alerts and Activity Alerts which can help you monitor your home even if you aren't there.
Additionally, both types of Nest cameras come with a 130-degree field of vision. This wide range should make it easy enough for you to get the coverage you want both indoors and out.
With a built-in speaker and mic, you can use your Nest Cam as a two-way communication device as well. This has a number of applications around your home. If you are away from home and someone comes to your front door, you can receive an alert that they are there. You can then speak to them and hear responses. If it’s the mailman then you can leave instructions on what to do with that package so that it is not sitting conspicuously on your porch.
If it’s that nosy neighbor or some other stranger, you can communicate your unhappiness with the fact that they are on your property. The sound is recorded so you can use that in addition to the video recordings as evidence in the event of a break in.
One drawback of the Nest Cam is that it limits notifications to once every thirty minutes. So if you have a friendly interaction with the mailman, there may be a 30-minute window for an unwanted visitor to break into your house without you being notified.
Storage of Your Audio and Video
Nest Cam does offer cloud storage options for its camera users. It is part of their Nest Aware service. Unlike Arlo cameras, you do not get 7 days of free cloud storage. You also cannot connect Nest Cam to a local USB storage device to record your video footage locally.
The basic Nest Plans start at 10 days of recording and work their way up to 30 days of continuous footage being available via the cloud. You will also need to keep in mind that there are additional charges for each Nest camera you want to be recorded.
If you are planning multiple cameras to cover both the inside and outside of your home, you will need to take into consideration the cost of each camera and the amount of recording that you need for each. You may want to pay for more footage of your exterior and a key area of your interior home as opposed to paying for the same amount of recordings for multiple cameras. This could also affect the number and positioning of your Nest Cams so you get the most bang for your buck.
Nest Components and the Smartphone App
Nest has designed multiple devices that are geared towards keeping you and your home safe and secure. Two-way communication can be accomplished using your smartphone as part of the Nest Secure app. You select the camera you wish to communicate with and speak through your phone. This allows you to interact with your kids when they get home from school or reprimand those unwanted intruders who wander on to your property.
Your Nest cameras can also communicate with other Nest devices as well as other smart devices around your home. With Nest Secure you can use smart light bulbs to come on and help to get your attention in the event of an action alert or some other emergency.
The Nest mobile app is also very intuitive and extremely user-friendly. You can use it to look after your home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week no matter where you are. Whether you are at work, the ball field or on vacation, you can monitor what’s going on at your residence in crisp 1080p HD, day or night.
In the mobile application, you’ll find features such as Home/Away Assist which is a service that is similar to geofencing. You can also activate or deactivate the night vision on your Nest cameras. Should you choose to save recording memory space, you can adjust the quality and change the recording to 360p, 720p, 1080p or Auto. There is also an on/off scheduler feature.
With Nest Aware, you can add 24/7 continuous recording for 10 or 30 days. You can then use your smartphone to quickly review or scroll through activity. If you have a break in while you are away, then you can look for images of the intruders or other details that will lead authorities to the culprit.
Both the indoor and outdoor versions of the Nest cameras feature excellent night vision recording capabilities. The night vision is that much better with the 1080p HD video recording both inside and out.
The design of the Nest Cams is one of the features that can really set it apart. This is especially true of the indoor version. With its sleek black casing and its ability to be detached from its stand, you can discreetly place these cameras just about anywhere. And when someone does notice that you have them it won’t be because they are an eyesore.
The outdoor cameras also have a space-age look and feel making them an attractive addition to your home. Resembling a spotlight, these cameras can actually hide in plain sight.
In terms of integrating your Nest Cameras into your existing Nest smart home components, it is a smooth and painless process. Nest prides itself on creating a thoughtful home that looks to simplify functionality for homeowners. You do get a trail of Nest Aware when you purchase a Nest Cam so you can play with the features and decide if you are ready to take the plunge into all that Nest has to offer. Keep in mind those features come with a price tag.
In addition to working with its own family of products, the Nest cameras are certified to work with Amazon Alexa so you do have some options in how you choose to integrate them with your smart home components.
The outdoor version of the Nest Cam works well rain or shine. Its strong design characteristics make it durable even in difficult weather conditions. It also offers multiple installation options so as long as you can get power to it you can position these cameras in a variety of locations.
Conclusion: And The Winner Is...
Both the Arlo and the Nest cameras are feature rich and proven performers over time. There is not a bad choice to be made if you are looking for one or two standalone cameras to place in or outside of your home.
If you are already a Nest customer and use other Nest Smart home components in your home, then your best bet may be to stick with the Nest brand. You can quickly integrate them into your existing smart home systems.
Otherwise, we would have to recommend the Arlo cameras as the winner of this competition. Their ability to integrate with many other third-party products will allow you to completely customize your smart home experience. In addition, it is hard to beat the 7 free days of cloud recording that comes standard with either the indoor or outdoor versions. The cost to add additional storage is also less expensive for Arlo as compared to Nest.
Regardless of the choice you make, both the Arlo and Nest cameras can help give you a safe and secure feeling as part of your integrated smart home technologies.