Arlo|Smart Home Security|Wireless HD Security Cameras

Arlo Ultra System - Why Buy?

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KoolMoeDee Aspirant
Aspirant

Can someone help me explain why I would purchase the Arlo Ultra system when I can see the following issues below which I have gathered from various reviews and forum posts:

 

  • No free cloud storage (like Pro 2)
  • Expensive ongoing subscription costs
  • Expensive accessories
  • Ineffective (not loud) camera embedded siren
  • Ineffective (not bright) camera embedded spotlight
  • Slow mobile push notifications
  • No local accessible storage
  • 4K resolution only marginally better then Pro 2

I just purchased one of these sytems on an impulse buy thinking it would outplay the Pro 2 but after looking at the above im looking at returning it.

 

Change my mind.......


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Guru StephenB Guru
Guru

@KoolMoeDee wrote:

but after looking at the above im looking at returning it.

 


I suggest trying them yourself before returning them.

 


@KoolMoeDee wrote:
  • 4K resolution only marginally better then Pro 2
  • Ineffective (not loud) camera embedded siren
  • Ineffective (not bright) camera embedded spotlight

I see a noticeably sharper image with my Ultras.  Also the 180 degree field of view is very helpful for a couple of my camera positions. 

 

FWIW, the color is also more accurate - I find the pro and pro-2 to be over saturated.  Though that's not critical for a security camera, if you are also wanting to capture interesting stuff (wild life, etc), the ultra is definitely better.

 

I agree that the siren isn't very loud.  Mine is turned off anyway - given the lack of response to car alarms in my neighborhood, I don't see much value in that feature.

 

The embedded spotlight is bright enough to make color recordings at night for me - so I find it effective.  Though that will depend on distance.  If you are using it to light your pathway, a security light is a better approach.

 


@KoolMoeDee wrote:
  • No free cloud storage (like Pro 2)
  • Expensive ongoing subscription costs
  • No local accessible storage

It's true that you need to pay for cloud storage with the Ultra. 

 

Arlo has promised to make local recordings accessible in web interface and the app before the trial subscription runs out.  That's not out yet though.

 


@KoolMoeDee wrote:
  • Expensive accessories
  • Slow mobile push notifications

Looking at the accessory prices ( https://www.arlo.com/en-us/products/accessories.aspx ), most are similarly priced to the Pro-2.  The magnetic mount is one exception.  Of course (like all users), I'd love to see lower prices.

 

Push notifications aren't slower than the Pro-2 - they are coming from the same cloud. So I don't see that as a drawback for a Pro-2 upgrade.


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Guru StephenB Guru
Guru

@KoolMoeDee wrote:

but after looking at the above im looking at returning it.

 


I suggest trying them yourself before returning them.

 


@KoolMoeDee wrote:
  • 4K resolution only marginally better then Pro 2
  • Ineffective (not loud) camera embedded siren
  • Ineffective (not bright) camera embedded spotlight

I see a noticeably sharper image with my Ultras.  Also the 180 degree field of view is very helpful for a couple of my camera positions. 

 

FWIW, the color is also more accurate - I find the pro and pro-2 to be over saturated.  Though that's not critical for a security camera, if you are also wanting to capture interesting stuff (wild life, etc), the ultra is definitely better.

 

I agree that the siren isn't very loud.  Mine is turned off anyway - given the lack of response to car alarms in my neighborhood, I don't see much value in that feature.

 

The embedded spotlight is bright enough to make color recordings at night for me - so I find it effective.  Though that will depend on distance.  If you are using it to light your pathway, a security light is a better approach.

 


@KoolMoeDee wrote:
  • No free cloud storage (like Pro 2)
  • Expensive ongoing subscription costs
  • No local accessible storage

It's true that you need to pay for cloud storage with the Ultra. 

 

Arlo has promised to make local recordings accessible in web interface and the app before the trial subscription runs out.  That's not out yet though.

 


@KoolMoeDee wrote:
  • Expensive accessories
  • Slow mobile push notifications

Looking at the accessory prices ( https://www.arlo.com/en-us/products/accessories.aspx ), most are similarly priced to the Pro-2.  The magnetic mount is one exception.  Of course (like all users), I'd love to see lower prices.

 

Push notifications aren't slower than the Pro-2 - they are coming from the same cloud. So I don't see that as a drawback for a Pro-2 upgrade.

Kammfam Luminary
Luminary

There are really only 2 benefits that I've noticed so far, going from my Pro2 cameras to the Ultras.

 

1) The image really is better. But of course, you can't see that better image unless you use an SD card, then pull it out of the base station, put it in your computer, play the videos from there. Total pita. But if you do go through all of that, you will notice a big difference in resolution.

 

2) The infrareds are SO MUCH BETTER. This really is my #1 favorite thing about the Ultra, that it completely lights up the frame at night so you can actually see what's there, rather than only lighting up like 1' out from the camera.

 

Other than those 2 things, I find that the Pro2's are just as good. Batteries are just as good, motion sensing is just as good, etc.

n11 Guide
Guide

@StephenB wrote:

@KoolMoeD

 

 


@StephenB wrote:

@KoolMoeDee wrote:

but after looking at the above im looking at returning it.

 


I suggest trying them yourself before returning them.


StephenB--

You've given some good answers with regard to issues that a lot of folks are troubled by. Would you give your thoughts on this. I have power going to all four of my cameras which gives me a 3 second buffer to show what happened before the event was triggered. I find that to be too short which means if a person/vehicle/animal triggers a recording there is not likely to be anything useful on the recording. That is especially true at night when the infrared doesn't show much detail and by the time the light goes on the activity is typically just about gone. I've submitted a suggestion for a longer buffer but it got rejected and archived.

 

I find this limitation makes the whole system almost useless for security purposes.

Guru StephenB Guru
Guru

@n11 wrote:
I have power going to all four of my cameras which gives me a 3 second buffer to show what happened before the event was triggered. I find that to be too short which means if a person/vehicle/animal triggers a recording there is not likely to be anything useful on the recording. That is especially true at night when the infrared doesn't show much detail and by the time the light goes on the activity is typically just about gone. I've submitted a suggestion for a longer buffer but it got rejected and archived.

 

I find this limitation makes the whole system almost useless for security purposes.


Are these Ultras or Pro 2s? (EDIT- Ultras if you are talking about the built in spotlight).

 

If you are using auto-zoom then try turning that off.  It doesn't zoom back to full image when done, and you can lose stuff that way.   Also (as I've said a few times), it's best to position the cameras so the motion you are interested in is side-to-side (and ideally towards the bottom of the field of view).

 

One option is to use CVR on a camera that covers the area generally.  Though it's not that easy to navigate the CVR timeline, it would allow you as much lookback as you need.  Of course that does cost.

 

Another similar option is to cross-trigger a second camera (or third) cameras.  That can be particularly effective if the cameras are arranged along a driveway - so they'd normally go off in sequence.

 

Can you provide some info on your camera layout (a diagram maybe)?

KoolMoeDee Aspirant
Aspirant

@StephenB ,

Thanks for providing your insights. While you mention some of the features are better or not that bad, it seems you have just confirmed the some of the major issues. You confirmed:

  • Siren is not loud and you yourself dont use it
  • No free cloud storage
  • No local playback (currently) - New features can take years to implement so im not banking on this anytime soon

I just finished watch a youtub review on these from lifehacker and am now really concerned. Now it seems the cameras zoom and follow function does not work correctly and looses the target.

I just looks like this product simply wasnt ready for market. On top of that they have rolled back some of the best features of the previous gen model.

aname Aspirant
Aspirant

You shouldn't buy this system at all as it is. Sure it shows some promise but as it stands, "peace of mind" is the last I feel with Arlo Ultra. The software is still very much beta quality and this is really giving Arlo a bad reputation. Who will consider Arlo as a complete vendor of home security after this?

 

Some highlights:

 

  • Cloud functionality has been more or less broken (videos stored sometimes or not at all) for two months
  • Two-way audio communication functionality is  a joke and barely audible
  • Cameras stop recording while the object of interest (that triggered the camera in the first place) is still in the middle of the frame and no further recordings are created so you don't know what really happened
  • Insufficient wireless range between cameras and base station
  • Delayed or completely missing notifications
  • A lot more already mentioned in this and other threads
brh Master
Master

I believe that if the customer wishes not to use the 4k capabilities of these cameras, then the 5 camera free plan shoud be the same as all the other Arlo cameras, as in reality, without the 4k, the camera is basically a pro2 with a spotlight and a couple of other enhancements.

One thing to also consider is future expansion as the Ultra hub has Z-Wave and Zigbee radios built in to be able to connect to these devices in the future.

My 2 cents worth.

 

Brian

Guru StephenB Guru
Guru

@KoolMoeDee wrote:
  • No local playback (currently) - New features can take years to implement so im not banking on this anytime soon

 


I expect they will roll that out before the trial subscriptions expire.  They know they need a viable path that gives users free recordings on the Ultra.

labayoumom Aspirant
Aspirant
My opinion- don’t buy it. I have 5 ultra cameras and a base station. 2 of the cameras are practically useless because the connection between the base stations and the cameras is so weak. And they are less than half the maximum distance advertised by Arlo. The cameras randomly record and the action caught on the times it records are pointless as the action has almost ended. For unknown reasons they just go to sleep and never wake up. Cameras have to be disconnected from app and reset. Works for a few days and then falls back to sleep. I WANTED these cameras to work and have spent time on the phone with support to no good end. I think this product should be removed from the market and buyers refunded for the product and the time trying to make them work.
Model: VMS5340 | Arlo Ultra 3 Camera Kit
Guru StephenB Guru
Guru

@labayoumom wrote:
 I WANTED these cameras to work and have spent time on the phone with support to no good end. 

My experience has been better than yours, and I am pleased with their performance.

 

Mine aren't that far from the base stations, and that might be part of the puzzle.  How far away are yours?

labayoumom Aspirant
Aspirant
My cameras are about 100 feet from the base unit.
Guru StephenB Guru
Guru

@labayoumom wrote:
My cameras are about 100 feet from the base unit.

My furthest one is about half that.  

 

One challenge is that WiFi range depends on more then just the distance.   It also depends on house construction and interference from other devices (among other things).

 

How many bars of signal are you seeing?

KoolMoeDee Aspirant
Aspirant

Hi All,

 

Thank you all for your input on this device. After reading over all of your responses, checking out a few more reviews and having a quick try for myself I have decided to return them and get my money back.

 

I have confirmed the majority of the listed issues for myself and even encountered some random software bugs and recording glitches. I strongly believe the Ultra is and unfinished/untested product and was rushed into market to try and one of the first 4K wireless cameras. And my god, there is no way these should be priced at their currently price point.

 

After doing a bit more research (and not an impulse buy) I have gone with a competing brand that offers more reliable hardware and more stable software. Main difference is that they are 1080 cameras.

 

Thank you all for your input.

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