Most smart cameras offer a lot of the same features, but a lot of them are intended solely for keeping an eye on the inside of your home. There aren’t quite as many models that are intended to work outside, but the Nest Outdoor IQ and the Arlo Pro 2 are some of the best. Both cameras have their pros and cons, so it’s difficult to determine the best — but for severe weather, there’s no bearing the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.
Nest and Arlo are some of the biggest names in the smart camera industry, and these two specific models are some of the best the brands have to offer. From a durability standpoint, the Nest is better, but it’s also much more expensive. Arlo adds in some features like a siren, limited free cloud storage, and local backup, making it an excellent option for those looking for a more affordable price.
Below, we take a look at the Nest Outdoor IQ vs. Arlo Pro 2 to give you a sense of what both cameras have to offer. Read on for the full story, or use our navigation bar to jump right to what you’d like to know.
Nest Outdoor IQ vs. Arlo Pro 2 — Differences
Difference #1: Record Live View – The first difference worth discussing when comparing the Nest IQ vs. Arlo Pro 2 is the way they approach live view.
With Arlo, you can record your feed whenever you please at no additional charge. If you’d like to do the same with Nest, you’ll unfortunately have to pay for a Nest Aware subscription.
Recording the live feed is a pretty basic feature as far as smart cameras go, so it’s definitely a little disappointing to see Nest lock it behind a monthly fee.
Difference #2: Zoom – One of the most impressive aspects of the Nest Outdoor IQ is its digital zoom.
The 12x digital zoom and enhance is already a lot more advanced than the majority of its competitors, but what really sets the Outdoor IQ apart is its close-up tracking view feature.
When the Nest IQ sees a person, algorithms allow the camera to automatically zoom in and follow the action. For people trespassing on your property, or even thieves fleeing the scene of the crime, having a camera that is smart enough to keep the suspect in view is a major plus.
The Arlo has an 8x digital zoom which is certainly passable, but it’s nowhere near as advanced as what Nest has to offer.
Difference #3: HDR – While these two cameras do have similar resolutions and framerates, the Nest is going to perform better in challenging lighting conditions due to its support for HDR. The camera combines multiple images to even out the picture, which means you shouldn’t see the details blown out or hidden by shadows.
Difference #4: Power Options – The Arlo Pro 2 is more flexible when it comes to power options, with the ability to use a rechargeable battery in addition to AC. The battery lasts for 3-6 months on a single charge, but the optional Solar Panel can make charging a thing of the past.
The Nest Cam Outdoor IQ requires constant power with an AC plug-in.
The flexibility of the Arlo Pro 2 is quite nice, and that might be critical for homeowners looking to monitor hard-to-reach areas with little access to power. Just remember that certain features like CVR will be disabled due to the intense power requirements.
Difference #5: Internet Connection – The Arlo Pro 2 is a single band device while the Nest Outdoor IQ uses dual band technology. This means that the Nest can communicate on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi bands, while the Arlo Pro 2 can only use 2.4GHz.
The implications of this difference are that the Arlo camera is much more likely to clog up your network — especially when you add more than a few cameras into the mix. The Nest’s ability to spread the data transmission across both bands makes it much less demanding from a networking standpoint.
Difference #6: Motion Detection – There are also some differences in the way that the Nest Outdoor IQ and Arlo Pro 2 handle motion detection.
Both cameras feature motion zones, although the Arlo needs to be plugged in to use the feature and the Nest camera requires a Nest Aware subscription.
Person detection comes standard on the Nest Outdoor IQ, but the feature requires a subscription if you opt for the Arlo Pro 2.
The Familiar Faces Recognition feature available with Nest Aware allows the Outdoor IQ to distinguish between previously-recognized visitors and strangers, which should reduce the incidence of false alarms.
Long story short, both cameras offer roughly the same features, but they’re pretty different in terms of what they offer for free, and what you have to pay for. Neither setup is actually better than the other, they’ve just decided to charge for different things.
With that said, only the Nest Outdoor IQ supports facial recognition, so it pushes the brand ahead of Arlo (assuming you have a subscription plan for both).
Difference #7: Requires a Base Station – The Nest Outdoor IQ functions on its own without the need for any additional equipment, while the Arlo Pro 2 requires a Base Station.
The base station is a piece of equipment that you plug into your router via an Ethernet cable, and it serves as a hub for your Arlo, Arlo Pro, and Arlo Pro 2 cameras. It’s a little inconvenient to have an extra hub crowding your router, but the base station does add some extra features like an increased WiFi range, better battery life, local backup storage, and a siren.
There are now two generations of a base station that will support up to 15 cameras total, and either will work to support your Arlo Pro 2. Check out our comparison of the Arlo vs. Arlo Pro Base Station for a better idea of what makes them different.
Difference #8: Siren – While that Base station might not look great next to your router, it does give your Arlo cameras a siren. In the event of an emergency, it’s simple to sound the alarm to alert your loved ones and scare off intruders.
Since the Nest Outdoor IQ doesn’t have a base station, it doesn’t support a siren.
Difference #9: Local Backup Storage – The Arlo Pro Base station allows you to use a USB as backup storage for your Arlo Pro 2.
While you can’t use it as a substitute for the standard cloud recording, it’s a great option to have in the event your cameras lose internet. The Arlo App will also let you know when storage is getting full, and can even automatically record over the oldest footage to ensure you only have to swap the USB when you want to review the video.
The Nest Outdoor IQ offers no option for local storage.
Difference #10: Cloud Storage – Cloud storage is the main way you’ll access your recordings with either brand, but the two companies differ in what they offer for free as well as the way they structure subscriptions.
Nest doesn’t give you access to much for free, offering only the ability to view the past 3 hours of snapshots. If you want to access more storage than that, there are three tiers of subscription to choose from: 5-day, 10-day, and 30-day.
All three plans enable extra features like 24/7 CVR, intelligent alerts, clips and time-lapses, and activity zones. The only difference is the length of video history you’ll have. The names of each plan refers to the length of rolling video history you’ll have access to.
5 days of storage costs $5/month or $60/year, 10 days costs $10/month or $100/year, and 30 days of storage is available for $30/month or $300/year.
The way Arlo approaches their subscriptions is a little bit more complex.
By default, you’ll actually have access to 7 days of rolling storage and support for up to 5 cameras with their free Arlo Smart Basic plan.
The two main tiers of paid subscriptions are Arlo Smart Premier and Arlo Smart Elite. These plans expand the amount of stored video and the number of cameras you can connect to your network.
Arlo Smart Premier, at $9.99/month, gives you support for 30 days of storage and up to 10 cameras.
Arlo Smart Elite, at $14.99/month, supports 60 days of storage and 20 cameras.
In addition to the main plans that add more storage and cameras, there’s also a complimentary subscription called the Arlo Smart Add-On that adds some additional security features. The Add-On costs $2.99 per camera if you’re not paying for one of the subscriptions, but Smart Premier and Smart Elite include all of the add-on’s extra perks.
First off, there’s Person Detection and Cloud Activity Zones, which allow you to adjust the sensitivity in different areas of your camera’s field of view and make sure that the alerts you receive are as accurate as possible.
In the event of an actual emergency, you’ll also have access to Rich Notifications to respond to an alert with a simple swipe as well as e911 Emergency Call Service to ensure the authorities are headed to the actual location of a crisis rather than the location of your phone.
The main advantage that Nest has to offer is the fact that 24/7 CVR is included with all three tiers. If you don’t care about that feature, however, Arlo Smart offers more for less. For people hoping to skip the monthly fee entirely, it’s also clear that Arlo is the better deal with access to 7 days of recordings as opposed to just 3 hours.
Difference #11: Weather-resistant – Both the Arlo Pro 2 and the Nest Outdoor IQ are suited to be used outside, but the Nest camera is significantly more impressive and can withstand much more severe conditions.
The most obvious difference is the Outdoor IQ’s ability to work well in much lower temperatures, with a temperature range of -40° to 113°F versus the Arlo’s -4° to 113° F.
But what really makes the Outdoor IQ more durable is the IP66 rating. This refers to the extent that the camera can stand up to harsh treatment. IP66 means that the Outdoor IQ is completely waterproof, with protection from total dust ingress, high-pressure water jets, and limited ingress protection.
The Arlo Pro 2 only has IP65 Protection, which while impressive, leaves the camera a little more vulnerable to high-pressure water. In most cases, this shouldn’t be that much of an issue, but in a torrential downpour, it could be damaged while the Nest Outdoor IQ would skate through without a scratch.
Nest Outdoor IQ vs. Arlo Pro 2 — Comparison Chart
|Nest Cam IQ Outdoor||Arlo Pro 2|
|Video resolution||1080p HD,
|Frames per Second||30 FPS||30 FPS|
|On-Demand Live View||Yes||Yes|
|Record Live View||with Nest Aware||Yes|
|Field of View||130° diagonal||130° diagonal|
|Zoom||12x digital zoom and
Enhance Close-up tracking view
|8x digital zoom|
|Optional Power Source||N/A||Solar Panel|
|Battery Life||N/A||Battery: 3-6 months
|Two-Way Audio||Yes, HD||Yes|
|Motion Detection||Yes||Up to 23 feet|
|Motion Zones||with Nest Aware||Up to 3 activity zones when plugged-in|
|Person Detection||Yes||With Subscription|
|Night Vision||850 nm LEDs: illuminates up to 25 feet
IR cut-off filter
|850 nm LEDs: illuminates up to 25 feet
IR cut-off filter
|WiFi||2.4GHz or 5GHz||2.4GHz|
|Requires a Base Station||No||Yes|
|Max # of Cameras per Base Station||–||15|
|Siren||No||Via the Base|
|24/7 Recording||with Nest Aware||Optional when plugged-in|
|Local Backup Storage||No||Via the Base|
|Cloud Storage||3-hour snapshot history or with Nest Aware||7-Day Free / Subscription|
|Review, Share, & Save||with Nest Aware||Yes|
|e911 Emergency Call||No||With Subscription|
|Instant App Alerts||Yes||Yes|
|App Support||Android, iOS, Web||Android, iOS, Web|
|Rich Notifications||Yes, with a snapshot||With Subscription|
|Weather-resistant||IP66 rating||IP65 rating|
|Amazon Alexa||Echo Show, Echo Spot||Echo Show, Echo Spot|
|Google Home Hub||Yes||N/A|
|Operating Temperature||–40° to 113°F||-4° to 113°F|
|Dimension||5 x 3.7 in.||3.1 x 1.9 x 2.8 in|
Nest Outdoor IQ vs. Arlo Pro 2 — Things in Common
Video Quality – Both brands have you covered from a video quality standpoint. 1080p HD recording at 30 FPS ensures a detailed and smooth recording, and the 130° field of view can keep track of your entire yard.
Both cameras also use H.264 compression, which means most home networks will be able to support three or four cameras without becoming congested.
On-Demand Live View – Check In on your home at any time from wherever you happen to be, with on-demand live view standard on both the Nest Outdoor IQ and Arlo Pro 2.
Two-Way Audio – Your Video feed and recordings will have sound as well, but you can actually talk to guests, pets, or intruders as well — directly through the camera. The two-way audio feature makes it easy to both listen and respond to activity within your home.
Night Vision – Keep your home protected after dark with the Nest and Arlo night vision capabilities. Both models feature 850 nm LEDs that can illuminate up to 25 feet, and an IR cut-off filter makes for a high-quality picture despite low-light conditions.
24/7 Recording – Both brands offer 24/7 recording through CVR. The feature is included with any Nest Aware subscription, with the different tiers offering varying levels of storage at prices ranging from $5 to $30 per month.
For the Arlo Pro 2, CVR is only available when the camera is plugged in due to the higher power requirements. Arlo charges for CVR on a per-camera basis, with 14 days of rolling storage available for $9.99 per month, and 30 days for $19.99 per month.
If you’re looking for CVR on multiple cameras, Nest is definitely the more economical choice. But the option is there for both models, albeit for an extra fee.
App Support – Arlo and Nest both offer multiple ways to access and control your cameras, with app support available for Android, iOS, and Web.
Voice Control – Control your cameras using just your voice with support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Both cameras work quite well with devices like the Echo Show and Echo Spot, since they can show you the video feed in addition to enabling smart control. Just keep in mind that two-audio is not available through the Show.
The Nest Cam IQ also works with the all-new Google Home Hub, which is a similar solution for those who are bigger fans of Google than Amazon.
Nest Outdoor IQ vs. Arlo Pro 2 — Accessories
Both cameras have some accessories that make installing and using the devices a little bit easier.
Since you can run the Arlo Pro 2 off of battery power, you might want to grab an additional rechargeable battery and/or a solar panel. The Arlo Security Light is also great for keeping your yard illuminated at night, while the Arlo Pro 2 Skins offer better camouflage to avoid tipping off intruders.
Nest Outdoor IQ vs. Arlo Pro 2 — Our Thoughts
Ultimately, when comparing the Arlo Pro 2 vs. Nest IQ, it’s difficult to give a clear answer as to which one is the best.
The Nest camera is a good deal more expensive, but it offers better monitoring tech, 24/7 CVR included with the basic subscription, and a hardier construction overall.
The Arlo Pro 2 is more affordable, offers more cloud storage for free, includes features like a siren and local storage, and can operate off of battery power.
In this case, it’s obvious that both of these brands have put their best foot forward, and there are benefits and drawbacks to both. For those looking for premium recording features and/or who live in extreme locations, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the best option. The Arlo Pro 2 is less expensive overall and is a great choice for those looking for excellent quality at a more affordable price.
Last update on 2021-09-23 at 00:12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API