Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight vs. Ring Spotlight Camera: Which Should You Buy?
Keeping a close eye on your front yard requires an outdoor security camera that’s always on and doing its job. The battery-powered Arlo Pro 4 projector and the Ring Spotlight camera are two of the best options, offering a versatile set of features. Both cameras come with plug-and-play installation and offer additional benefits with a monthly subscription. Despite their close price, the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight and the Ring Spotlight Camera differ on several fronts, ranging from video quality to subscriptions. So only one of them will do for your smart home.
|Spotlight on Arlo Pro 4||Ring Spotlight Camera|
|Video||1440p, 160° FoVIR night vision||1080p, 140° FoV, IR night vision|
|Features||A searchlight, siren, package detectionmotion tracking, pre-roll video (when wired)two-way audio, smart alerts||Two projectorssiren, motion tracking, two-way audio, smart alerts|
|Integrations||Apple HomeKit (hub required)Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantIFTTT||Amazon-AlexaGoogle Assistant (limited), IFTTT|
|Battery life||Up to 6 months||Up to 6 months|
|Subscription||ArloSecure, from $3/month||Ring Protect, starting at $4/month|
Camera quality: more pixels matter
The Arlo Pro 4 shares its camera attributes with its predecessor, which we reviewed and were impressed with. Its 2K videos are crisp and a noticeable step up from the Ring Spotlight camera, which can only take 1080p video. The Ring Security Camera’s video quality isn’t inherently bad. It does a pretty good job of capturing any movement, but who wouldn’t prefer more pixels if given the option? Arlo also takes wider shots with a 160° field of view versus 140° on the Ring.
Being battery powered, both cameras are only activated when they detect motion. This means that many features cannot be accessed in battery mode. A significant omission is the pre-roll video which shows you a few seconds preview of what happened before a motion trigger. With Arlo Foresight, you can turn it on if you decide to hardwire the Pro 4 projector, but unfortunately that’s not possible with the battery-powered Ring camera. You will have to choose another Wired Ring Spotlight Camera Only template to get pre-roll videos.
One important thing to note here is that none of these cameras have local storage. It is both a boon and a curse. Your footage will remain safe in the cloud even if the camera is stolen. However, this way the camera relies entirely on cloud backup and has no backup in case of power failure or network failure. For the Arlo camera, you can choose an optional hub, which supports local storage, although you can’t access those images remotely.
Light: The brighter the projector, the better
Both cameras have a spotlight to illuminate the area when an intruder attempts to enter your yard in the dark to clearly capture their face and potentially scare them away. The motion sensor automatically triggers the light, so it turns on just as the camera starts recording.
While these surely aren’t as effective as floodlights, the Ring Camera’s floodlight is considerably brighter than the Arlo’s, thanks to a pair of light bars flanking the camera lens. It is much better for illuminating a larger area. Arlo’s spotlight does a decent job, but it’s designed to illuminate the area for color video instead of the grayscale you usually get with infrared lights.
And if the lights aren’t enough of a deterrent for a bad actor, both cameras are equipped with sirens to scare off humans and non-humans alike.
Smart features: smarts and their integrations
If you also plan to use your security camera to track delivery packages, then the Arlo Pro 4 would make more sense. Its AI can identify packages and notify you when one is left at your doorstep. This handy feature, unfortunately, is only available to a few of Ring’s video doorbells.
Additionally, Arlo integrates with other smart home ecosystems besides Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, including Apple HomeKit (which requires a hub) and Samsung SmartThings. This makes the Pro 4 an incredibly versatile security camera that can work with all sorts of smart homes, which is vital unless Matter becomes a thing. You don’t miss much on the Ring though, as it supports the standard trio of Assistant, Alexa and IFTTT.
On top of that, you get a list of highly configurable smart features like two-way audio, live view, smart alerts, activity zones, and more. You can customize these settings and track any activity using their companion apps available for Android and iOS.
Additional costs: Their subscriptions
Security cameras these days have two price components: the initial hardware cost and the inevitable recurring cost in the form of a monthly subscription. This is unavoidable because Arlo and Ring put most smart features behind a paywall, leaving you with only basics like the live stream, which would be worthless in the event of an event. Since both cameras don’t have local storage, you need to get their subscriptions no matter how big your video storage needs are.
The Arlo Pro 3 Projector for Representation
To pay for Arlo secure Where Ring Protect will unlock smart alerts, more nuanced motion tracking with activity zones, longer video history, and more. While Arlo only offers 30 days of video history, Ring goes ahead and generously maintains a 180-day log. However, Ring Protect Basic costs $4 per month, compared to $3 for Arlo Secure.
This subscription price can quickly go up if you plan on getting more than one security camera for your home. In this case, you will have to shell out $10 per month for Arlo and Ring.
Wiring details: battery life and wired connection
The Arlo Pro 4 Projector and Ring Spotlight Camera claim to last about six months between charges. Their actual battery life should be between a few weeks and a few months, depending on your motion sensitivity and notification settings.
While this is sufficient for most users, you can reduce downtime by purchasing spare batteries that you can quickly swap out before putting the camera back in its place. The Ring Camera has two battery compartments (only one battery is included in the box), allowing you to double the battery life. It’s worth noting that Arlo uses a proprietary charging connector, while the Ring battery can be charged via micro-USB.
You can avoid having to recharge these batteries by obtaining their solar beams, offered by both Arlo and Ring, for an additional fee. Alternatively, you also have the option of hard-wiring these cameras. Going wired with Arlo Pro 4 will allow for a few seconds of pre-roll video, but that’s not possible with the Ring Spotlight Cam battery. In Ring’s case, you’ll have to opt for its wired-only variant, Spotlight Cam Wired, which costs the same as its wireless sibling.
Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight or Ring Spotlight camera: which one to buy?
The Arlo Pro 4 projector presents itself as a better choice between the two, with its higher resolution and larger camera and bright enough projector. It has a heavy construction and comes with a strong and easy to install magnetic mount. The icing on the cake has to be its slightly lower price of $180, and its monthly subscription is also cheaper than Ring’s. And Arlo will work great with any smart home setup you have, whether it’s from Amazon, Apple (hub required), or Google.
For an asking price of $200, the Ring Spotlight Camera gives you a much brighter spotlight, which is a solid selling point for these cameras. Its subscription costs a bit more (but only for one camera) but gives you an unmatched 180 days of video history. Ring further gives you the option to choose the wired option in case power is not an issue where you want to place the camera. The Ring Camera makes more sense for those deep into the Alexa ecosystem, even at its higher initial and subscription price.
The Arlo Pro 3 Projector for Representation
You’ll end up finding a ton of little differences when you compare two security cameras spec by spec. But considering how every aspect of these cameras is subscription-based these days, you should look at the larger ecosystem you’re investing in for the long haul. Because if you’re already paying for Arlo Secure or Ring Protect, it makes sense to add more cameras from the same brand you already own.