Arlo|Smart Home Security|Wireless HD Security Cameras

Pre-purchase query

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Edinburgh_lad1
Apprentice
Apprentice

Greetings All

 

I have purchased an Arlo 2 system, but also had an opportunity to buy Arlo Ultra - I have until mid June to decide (returns period) which one to keep, though with the latter, I'd need to buy a SmartHub, as I only got cameras for £110 each from Currys PC World :). I've not opened either yet, but I'm more leaning towards Arlo Ultra for the quality of the video, audio and wider field view. So, I have the following questions and would be grateful if anyone would answer before I make the final decision:

 

1. I'd like to use Direct Storage Access so recordings can be stored on a USB/SD card. Can another person with full access rights access the recordings (so, me as the owner of the account and then my partner as another user with full access rights). If not, can two users using the same credentials be logged into the app at the same time (in other words, I could share the username and password with my partner and so could he access the direct storage at the same time as me? The reason I'm asking is because when I log into the web/app, I can only be logged into one - we'd like to be able to access the direct storage, but I'd not want to be logged out of the app while he's doing that). 

 

2. Is it true that recordings to the USB/SD card from Arlo Ultra are no longer recorded in 4k but in lower resolution? 

 

3. The plan is to use three Arlo Ultra cameras. I've read that only two can record in 4k. Does that mean that only 2 will record in 4k and the third one in 2k or lower? Or that because there will be 3, none of them will be recording in 4k. Or does it refer to both recording simultaneously at any given time.  We live in a quiet area and don't have a lot of traffic (both humans, cars), so it's rare that our 2 Arlo HD cameras are activated at the same time, but our neighbours have had a number of attempted break-ins so our current Arlo HD needs upgraded.

 

4. Apart from the SD card slot and 2.4/5 network, what's other differences between the VMB5000 and VMB4540? I think that it'd be better to use one with USB for convenience (and it's cheaper and Arlo Ultra doesn't use 5Ghz anyway, does it?), but if it's to do with 4k, I'd like to know. There's literary no information about technical specs of either base station (for example, is there a difference in terms of RAM, processor speed), though I appreciate some contributions on the forum here about Z-wave being shared by both etc.

 

4a. Which Smarthub does Arlo Ultra come with as standard? And does the 2.4/5 network refer to the camera-to-hub scenario, or hub-to-router one? 

 

5. If I connect an external power source to Arlo Ultra, do I need to keep the battery in or can the camera simply run on the external power source? 

 

Thank you for your time and help.

 

 

 

 

Model: VMB5000 | Arlo Ultra SmartHub
StephenB
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Guru

@Edinburgh_lad1 wrote:

 

1. I'd like to use Direct Storage Access so recordings can be stored on a USB/SD card. Can another person with full access rights access the recordings (so, me as the owner of the account and then my partner as another user with full access rights). If not, can two users using the same credentials be logged into the app at the same time (in other words, I could share the username and password with my partner and so could he access the direct storage at the same time as me? The reason I'm asking is because when I log into the web/app, I can only be logged into one - we'd like to be able to access the direct storage, but I'd not want to be logged out of the app while he's doing that). 

Unfortunately

  • Only the account credentials can be used to  view the recordings - "friend" access doesn't work.
  • only one person can be logged into the account at a time
  • local recordings can only be viewed from the app - not the browser interface.

@Edinburgh_lad1 wrote:

 

2. Is it true that recordings to the USB/SD card from Arlo Ultra are no longer recorded in 4k but in lower resolution? 

 


Local recordings are 4K (assuming the camera is set up for 4K). 

 

Though if you had a 2K subscription plan, then all recordings would be 2K. 

 

FWIW, I have a 4K subscription myself.

 


@Edinburgh_lad1 wrote:

 

3. The plan is to use three Arlo Ultra cameras. I've read that only two can record in 4k.


Where did you read this?

 


@Edinburgh_lad1 wrote:

 

4. Apart from the SD card slot and 2.4/5 network, what's other differences between the VMB5000 and VMB4540? I think that it'd be better to use one with USB for convenience (and it's cheaper and Arlo Ultra doesn't use 5Ghz anyway, does it?), but if it's to do with 4k, I'd like to know. There's literary no information about technical specs of either base station (for example, is there a difference in terms of RAM, processor speed), though I appreciate some contributions on the forum here about Z-wave being shared by both etc.

 


I think those are two functional differences.   There was a press release about Zigbee and Z-wave in January 2019, but the smart home features never materialized.

 

IMO 5 Ghz doesn't really matter much, since my cameras are far enough from the base that 2.4 Ghz would give a better connection. 

 

Personally I have both hubs.  The microsd card is just as convenient for me (my laptop has a slot for it).  I haven't seen any difference in range or performance.

Edinburgh_lad1
Apprentice
Apprentice

Thank you, @StephenB, for your prompt reply. 

 

I can't believe that Direct Storage can be accessed by one user at a time - how does Arlo think the modern world works? Is it at least in the plans to change that? 

 

This probably also means that with one person being logged into the app, only that person will be receiving notifications about motion, unless the other person is logged in as 'friend'. But then they'll not be able to access stored videos. 

 

Does Arlo want me to create a rota with my partner: this week, it's my turn to be logged into the app to receive notifications and access Direct Storage, and next week, it's yours. Or maybe we should take turns to check the SD card on the PC? 

 

Honestly, this lack of flexibility in relation to the Direct Storage is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous. 

 

I also don't understand why it's taking so long to do thumbnails? Is it really that difficult to do that? 

 

I'm actually shocked that the Direct Storage feature is so under-developed and it's taking so long for the Development Team to significantly improve it, especially if you think about Ultra and Ultra 2 as premium products.  I'm not surprised that Currys PC World were selling these for £110 each. 

 

Can anyone comment on whether the power cable can provide power without batteries being in?

 

Thank you. 

StephenB
Guru Guru
Guru

@Edinburgh_lad1 wrote:

 

Can anyone comment on whether the power cable can provide power without batteries being in?

 


The power cables will power the Ultras even if the batteries are removed.

dcfox1
Master
Master

@Edinburgh_lad1 

Just to add with the battery in it will add back up power if there is a power outage. 

Edinburgh_lad1
Apprentice
Apprentice

Thank you very much @StephenB @dcfox1  - much appreciated.

 

How do you rate the Ultra system? As I said, I'm torn between Arlo Pro 2 and Ultra, so any advice especially welcome. Reviews on the latter on the Internet are very mixed. 

 

Thank you!

StephenB
Guru Guru
Guru

@Edinburgh_lad1 wrote:

 

How do you rate the Ultra system? As I said, I'm torn between Arlo Pro 2 and Ultra, so any advice especially welcome. Reviews on the latter on the Internet are very mixed. 

 


The Ultra had a very rocky launch - Arlo actually had to withdraw it for a bit due to software bugs, and then relaunch it. Many purchasers expected the 7-day cloud recording w/o a subscription to be available on the Ultra, and when the trial  ran out were very upset.  Arlo also initially required an add-on to the subscription to get 4K recording, and that also wasn't well received.

 

My own Ultras are working well - the wide field of view is very helpful in  some locations.  The picture quality is of course better then the Pro 2, and the newer charging port (though non-standard) is somethat better sealed against the weather.  The availability of the XL battery is nice, especially if the cameras are hard to reach. Color Nightvision is a bit of a mixed bag - sometimes the camera streams a poor quality low-light color video when the IR would have been a better choice.  One thing that can be annoying is that 4K HEVC doesn't play in most web browsers.  It does play in Edge if you get an HEVC add-on.  FWIW, the 2K Pro 3 and Pro 4 are pretty close to the Ultra, so I wouldn't rule them out.

 

However, the Pro 2s also have performed well for me, and they do have the benefit of the free 7-day cloud recording.  I think the wifi range might also be a bit longer (since they don't need as much bandwidth).  The picture isn't as sharp as the Ultras, but still is sharp enough to see what's going on. I suspect that the Pro 2s will be discontinued in favor of the newer Essential cameras (which don't have the 7-day cloud recording, and can be used without a base station).  

 

So it's a tricky call.  The free cloud recording definitely has some value - I have an Elite subscription for my newer cameras, but still keep the Pro 2s in service - putting them in spots where I don't need smart notifications.

 

Depending on how many cameras you need, you could get a couple of each (getting an Ultra kit, but adding in some pro 2 cameras).

StephenB
Guru Guru
Guru

Just to add a couple other caveats on the Ultra (on features I don't care about).

  • The camera siren is fairly quiet, and not a strong deterrent.
  • The two-way audio has a lot of lag (IMO too much to be useful), and the xmit audio from the camera is very quiet on some phones (particularly Samsung Galaxy).  Note the xmit audio is fine when playing videos - just too soft when using the two-way communication feature.

 

 

Edinburgh_lad1
Apprentice
Apprentice

Thank you very much @StephenB  - really helpful.

 

I do agree that Pro 2 is probably being retired, but I also think that this is the case for Ultra, in favour of Ultra 2.

 

I only need three cameras. I bought Pro 2 (2 camera system + 1 add-on) and Ultra (3 add-ons, so will need to buy the hub), but one of these systems will have to go back to the shop. 

 

Hardware cost-wise, it's a close call for me, as Pro 2 vs. Ultra cost me more-less the same. Certainly, the lack of free cloud storage puts me off and I think Arlo will pay a high price for not enabling that, especially that Ultra costs so much. Coupled with the problems you mentioned, that's why I think they're going to concentrate on promoting Ultra 2.

 

Running a mixed set-up is not an option, as the Pro 2 kit I bought consists of 2 cameras and a hub, but I'd need to get a hub if I keep the three Ultras.

 

I've written to Arlo to find out if they're planning to enable shared access to Direct Storage in the future, and I think this will sway me towards Pro 2 or Ultra. 

 

Thank you!

 

 

dcfox1
Master
Master

@StephenB wrote:

Just to add a couple other caveats on the Ultra (on features I don't care about).

  • The camera siren is fairly quiet, and not a strong deterrent.
  • The two-way audio has a lot of lag (IMO too much to be useful), and the xmit audio from the camera is very quiet on some phones (particularly Samsung Galaxy).  Note the xmit audio is fine when playing videos - just too soft when using the two-way communication feature.

 


I have the Pro3 and it is also to much of a delay for 2 way audio, I don't use it anymore for that.  Other then that the other features work fine and I am happy with it. 

Model: VMB4540 | Arlo Pro 3 SmartHub
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