Best Cellular Security Camera: Arlo Go 2 Or Eufy 4g Starlight

The Arlo Go 2 and the Eufy 4G Starlight are two new 4G LTE smart security cameras that stream or send footage over a cellular data connection.

They’re among the few solutions for monitoring places where Wi-Fi may be unreliable or unavailable: an off-grid cabin in the woods; the far end of your backyard; a construction site; or a storage facility.

They can also be used to keep an eye on your RV, camper van, or tent site when you’re camping or watch over your boat while docked. A cellular security camera is also a good option if you’d like a camera at your property that you know will stay up even if the Wi-Fi and power are down. Or perhaps you travel a lot and want to surveil your Airbnb or hotel room when you’re out and about and not rely on public Wi-Fi.

In contrast, the Arlo stores its recordings in the cloud, and you’ll need to pay for its Arlo Secure service ($3 a month) to view motion-activated recordings in the Arlo app. The Arlo is the second-gen of the Arlo Go, and it adds Wi-Fi, which the Eufy doesn’t have, plus it supports a wider range of smart alerts.

The Eufy 4G Starlight is a white camera with gray accents. The Arlo Go 2 is all-white, but you can buy a black housing for the camera.

The cameras both follow the design language of their respective non-cellular smart security cameras, with sleek white oblong bodies and stark black faces. The Arlo has the option of a black casing, which would be more discreet in an outdoor setting. Eufy says it has plans to sell a camouflage skin.

Arlo and Eufy models look and work the same way their company’s standard outdoor smart home security cameras do — just with bigger batteries and a cellular radio on board. They don’t need a Wi-Fi connection to record or stream video, but you will need to pay for cellular data to use the camera, which can be an expensive add-on.

Most notably, the Eufy doesn’t need a cloud subscription to view or save recorded video, while the Arlo does. The Eufy uses edge computing to process the data entirely on the camera; all the footage lives on the camera’s 8GB of local storage. When you view video in the app, you are connecting directly to the camera. But if you run out of data or your camera is destroyed, you won’t have access to any footage.

The Arlo also includes a Wi-Fi radio, meaning it can double as a standard security camera if and when you have access to Wi-Fi and don’t want to pay for cellular data. This is also handy as a fail-safe option in a home security camera setup, meaning you’ll still have at least one camera you can access remotely in a Wi-Fi or power outage. The Eufy only works on cellular.

You’ll need a data SIM card and a data plan to get the cameras up and running on a cellular network. Arlo offers the option of buying the camera direct from compatible carriers through its website. It works with Verizon, US Cellular, or T-Mobile. If you go this route, the camera will come with a SIM card, and you can also choose to spread the cost of the device out over two to three years. The Arlo also works with European carriers.

Eufy says the Starlight will use 60MB of cellular data to stream five minutes of live, 2K video or roughly 500MB / month if you access the live view 10 times daily for 10 seconds each and record 25 events for 10 seconds each. Arlo says the Go 2 will use between 700MB to 2GB monthly depending on the number of motion triggers and length of recordings. The large difference here is because the Arlo uploads automatically to the cloud, whereas the Eufy only uses data when you access the camera.

Setup for both cameras was straightforward. It’s exactly like installing any of their Wi-Fi counterparts, just with the extra step of inserting a SIM card. However, neither of them works with their respective brand’s hub. They do both work with Amazon Alexa and Google Home ecosystems, and you can livestream footage to a smart display. Arlo also works with IFTTT.

The key feature of any security camera is video quality. The Eufy edges the Arlo, delivering a clearer, crisper image in daylight, with more detail in the background than the Arlo, which loses some clarity further out. The Eufy did a great job catching a young bull moose in all his glory at the Alaska cabin, and the Arlo showed my 70-pound dog prowling around the backyard clearly, although the chicken coop behind him was slightly blown out.

Both cameras have color night vision, and the Eufy has starlight night vision, using a starlight sensor to pick up more detail in the darkness. The Arlo relies on activating the spotlight for any color night vision. The Eufy can also be set to turn on the spotlight at night based on motion, and both offer infrared black and white night vision.

Both record in 1080p HD, with the Eufy capable of going up to 2K, but you can opt for lower in the app. If you’re on a limited data plan, you might want to stick with 1080p. Arlo has a more impressive digital zoom at 12 times, but it gets very pixelated very quickly, making that less useful than on Arlo’s 4K Wi-Fi cameras. Arlo has a slightly wider field of view at 130 degrees compared to Eufy’s 120, but this difference isn’t very noticeable in practice.

The Arlo has much better two-way audio, using full-duplex audio, which is like having a phone conversation, whereas the Eufy is only half-duplex, which is like using a walkie-talkie. This can be frustrating if you’re trying to have a conversation through the camera. Both had loud and clear audio while talking or listening.

Both cameras suffered from a common problem with motion-activated, battery-powered cameras; they picked up motion late. The battery has to wake up the camera once the motion sensor is triggered.

But they both delivered alerts of motion promptly, with rich notifications that included a snapshot. On the Arlo, you can long-press the notification and see a preview of the recording as well as access a shortcut to activate the siren or call 911. Eufy doesn’t offer this.

With an Arlo Secure subscription, you can tailor your alerts to tell you only about people, animals, and / or vehicles rather than all motion. You can also add activity zones to focus the camera on specific areas. Eufy has people detection and activity zones for free but no animal or vehicle alerts.

Eufy doesn’t offer any cloud storage service for the Starlight, and it doesn’t charge any fees for access to its features. Instead, the app accesses footage directly from the camera. Eufy says its 8GB local storage can store up to six months of events.

Arlo Secure lets you store up to 30 days’ worth of videos in the cloud. Arlo uses AES encryption to secure recordings in transit to and from the Arlo camera, and the app requires two-factor authentication. The Go 2 does have a slot for a microSD card for local storage, so you can record videos without paying for Arlo Secure. But that footage can only be viewed by inserting the SD card into a computer, not in the Arlo app, meaning you have to physically be at the camera to see any footage it’s captured.

Battery life was about the same. Both cameras have 13,000mAh batteries on board. In three weeks of use, the Eufy was at 65 percent — about 11 percent a week and on track for two-ish months. Eufy estimates it will last three months, but the camera was in a poor service area, which the app warned would reduce battery life.

The Arlo has a removable battery, so you can have a spare on hand. But, if you are looking at installing a cellular camera somewhere remote, you will want to pair it with a solar panel to keep it charged. Both companies sell compatible ones for $59.99.

Both cameras are fully weatherproof: the Eufy Starlight is rated to IP67, and the Arlo Go 2 is slightly lower at IP65. This means the Eufy could survive underwater for a bit and against higher pressure water jets, but both will stand up to heavy rain and thunderstorms. Both also work down to negative 4 degrees Fahrenheit; the Arlo Go 2 is rated for up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit and the Starlight for a blistering 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Arlo can record and livestream in up to 1080p HD video, whereas Eufy is capable of 2K. The Arlo has 12x digital zoom for getting a better look at any action compared to Eufy’s 4x, but with the higher resolution of the Eufy, this difference isn’t as large in practice as on paper. The Eufy is slightly smaller and lighter, but they both have the same massive 13,000mAh battery capacity, and both have optional solar panels to keep the batteries topped up.