Spotted by Facebook user Don Mackay way back in Mid-December, Best Buy Canada had a listing for Arlo’s newest smart device, the Arlo Essential Wi-Fi Video Doorbell, which was touted as being able to be both a wire-free doorbell – with an included rechargeable battery – or wired, using your own existing wires. Nothing so special about these points of course, but in the listing for this product, it mentioned HomeKit compatibility.
Whilst it seems this was posted in error by Best Buy, it turns out arlo did have a HomeKit video doorbell waiting in the wings all along, only not the one that was originally spotted, but the Arlo Wired Video doorbell, with the updating being announced at CES 2021 today.
There have been Arlo products previously not listed as HomeKit compatible that have gained this integration, notably the company’s Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Cam which got the update in July, so this is one of those cases.
When it comes to the price & specs (just $117 on Amazon at present) for this model, whilst it’s reasonable, it’s not going to match the new Logitech, mostly due to the fact it doesn’t support HomeKit Secure video. Additionally, to get the doorbell to be exposed to HomeKit, you’re going to need one of the hubs that the Arlo cameras use, which begins to add a lot of cost to a doorbell that does less than the aforementioned Logitech.
Still, the Arlo model offers a 1:1 aspect ratio, which manages to give you enough of a vertical view to see things like packages left on the doorstep, but also more of the horizontal view than the Logitech does, so in this sense, it offers the best of both. In addition, the doorbell comes with a built-in siren as well as package detection, although it would seem neither of these are options via HomeKit.
Now that HomeKit has been added to this device, the reason its unlikely to be getting support for HSV is down to Arlo’s own range of paid, cloud-based recording plans, which, if they introduced HSV to their own cameras, would eat into the company’s own revenue, so many think this is unlikely to ever happen, meaning it’s one of the few remaining holdouts in this regard. Indeed, Ecobee, who also have their own paid plans, have actually updated their own Ecobee SmartCamera to support HSV, which wasn’t viewed as an option when the camera was initially released.
Stranger things have happened, and whilst we’re happy Arlo has at least made a doorbell HomeKit compatible, for the time being, it looks like Netatmo and Logitech are your best bets.