Arlo|Smart Home Security|Wireless HD Security Cameras

Re: Returned my Ultra, Pro 2 is superior

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Comiotmoto Star
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After struggling with awful Arlo customer service day in and day out with my 4 camera $1000 Ultra POS, I returned it to Best Buy (big thanks to BestBuyGuy for helping me with a store policy question) and bought a Pro 2 system. No firmware updates were improving this product at all, and the various on-line video reviews were spot-on where they all recommend do not buy. This product is an embarassment to the Netgear Arlo name. I was also told initially that after a year I would have the free 7 day cloud plan. I did the math and cannot believe how much this POS would cost me after the first year to do its basic job in 4k. My main reasons for returning are no free 7 day plan, 4k fee right out of the box, constant disconnects, weird light glares, poor battery life, not enough cables included and cheap plastic outdoor mount, frequent distortion and color artifacts, terrible sensitivity, Smart Alerts never work, picture quality on local network in 4k is poor, and I could go on.


Good news: The Pro 2 camera system I replaced it with is fantastic! Holy cow, it just works, costs less, and is superior to the Ultra even in picture quality. With the Pro 2 I get the free 7 day cloud plan, better picture quality, reliability, USB backup storage which is far better than the micro drive, greater range, awesome sensitivity, instant alerts, and battery life has held steady. If it wasn't for the advice of others I would have just passed on Netgear all together, but I'm glad I took a chance from those whose criticisms of the Ultra and praise of the Pro 2 were spot on. Thank you! To anyone else in the same position, I think you will be much happier with the Pro 2. No way the Ultra should have been released, and it should have had some level of free recording like ALL the other cameras. Shame on you Netgear and your awful customer support as well. Please implement some immediate changes. If I don't feel confident with the way you handle this failure I will return the Pro 2 as well because I just won't trust you long term.


P.S. When I returned this to the store, the rep turned around to say to another employee jokingly, "We got another one." Apparantly there have been a lot of returns on the Ultra. I'm not surprised.

Model: VMC4030 | Arlo Pro Wire-Free Camera
SteveDoes Guide
Guide

Good write up. Mine is going back to Best Buy today. Hope i was one of the online videos that helped you out. 🙂

IanSherren Aspirant
Aspirant

Thank you for the post! I'll go for the Pro 2. We have the Arlo baby and it really works well. 

Netgear I hope you figure out the bugs in the Ultra. 

Comiotmoto Star
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@SteveDoes wrote:

Good write up. Mine is going back to Best Buy today. Hope i was one of the online videos that helped you out. 🙂


Actually it was!!!  Thank you.

BestBuyGuy Apprentice
Apprentice

Your welcome, glad I could help. You wouldn't believe how many returns we've already had at my store as well. Thats why the customer service associate was joking. I have recommended to the store manager that we pull our inventory off the shelves.

Jdelvalle1 Tutor
Tutor
Can you send me the video you posted? I don’t know if I should return mine or not!
SteveDoes Guide
Guide

@Jdelvalle1 wrote:
Can you send me the video you posted? I don’t know if I should return mine or not!

I don't know if i can post direct link here. But you can search SteveDOES on Youtube and watch my last 2 videos. 

Jdelvalle1 Tutor
Tutor
I didn’t know that was your videos! I actually watched a few of your videos. I’m really on the fence about returning and picking up the pro2 system. I just do not want to make the mistake of returning and some type of firmware come out that makes these things awesome. I’m just not a huge fan of subscriptions. Please pm me if possible I have some questions for you as well.
Mavrrick Apprentice
Apprentice

So here is the thing. I am convinced that the cameras will get better and work fairly close to what is expected down the road. I really don't expect the pricing structure to change much unless this fails super hard which it is. 

 

I tried the Arlo Pro a long while back and ended up returning it for the Arlo Q. I now have 3 of them the newest one is only 4 months old. The oldest is probably about 2.5 years old. I also have 2 Pro 2 cameras. All of them have had their issues and gotten better over time. So I have no doubt that it will bet better with the ultra cameras. The problem though is that the price of those cameras is getting you really close to something like a Reolink NVR that is 24/7 recording and doesn't lean on the cloud if you don't want it to. If i was starting completely from scratch and doing it all over again I might just get a 4 or 8 camera system from that company.

 

One thing i think folks here aren't getting is 4k is not a simple thing to do. It is really intensive on computer tech and a bunch of stuff has to line up for it to work well. It isn't as simple as just buying a 4k camera and it will work. My guess is that they have the right stuff to make it work, they just haven't figured out nuances for their gear to make it work well in this environment. I heard that the local video on the hub is 1.8mbps that is nothing for 4k concent. Try recording a 4k video on your phone and it will be 40+mbps, or watch a blu-ray movie and it is normally 20-30mbps. When i have done conversions at my house i generally don't go below 3-4mbps with hevc(the codec thought to be used here) for quality reasons. 

 

That doesn't mean it can't be good, but explains why the images don't look as good as we like. If subscriptions is your biggest concern I would suggest you dump the ultra and look at either the Pro 2 which are still very good, or NVR based system that will completely take you off the cloud. There are some good things about that.

 

Remember never buy tech with the expectations of promises being meet. Only buy it for what it can do right now and be pleasently suprised when things improve. 

 

 

Comiotmoto Star
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@Jdelvalle1 wrote:
I didn’t know that was your videos! I actually watched a few of your videos. I’m really on the fence about returning and picking up the pro2 system. I just do not want to make the mistake of returning and some type of firmware come out that makes these things awesome. I’m just not a huge fan of subscriptions. Please pm me if possible I have some questions for you as well.

One thing that will not be awesome no matter the firmware they come out with is the ridiculous fees and long term expense of owning one or more of these cameras. First year is free 1080p cloud recording, but you need to pay immediately for 4k recording quality. After that first year you are in trouble. You will have to pay for basic 1080p recording on top of the additional 4k recording fee for the LIFE OF THE PRODUCT. Subscription prices never go down, only increase over time. So their cheaper cameras which work much better have free 7 day recording, but their premium camera which doesn't work and is much more expensive has none. There is no logic to that. You are paying much more and getting much less in this regard, especially since the cameras can't even function correctly. As said in one video review, there is no benefit in owning these over other cameras anymore.

LarryQwest Star
Star

I cancelled my order before picking it up after learning they cancelled the free basic 7 day plan and the endless problems being reported. There is no way any product is launched with such problems unless it was rushed to market. My theory is that the new management, since separating from Netgear, used to work for Sears. To not acknowledge this problem and accept responsibility for the pain they have casued people is proving their ultimate intention. Cash grab. Explains cancelling the free 7 day plan, rushing the product to market prematurely even though it doesn't work (no way they didn't do basic testing, so they knew ahead of time), cheaper plastic outdoor mount apparantly, too few cables included with each kit, and 4k recording fees for a 4k camera. Again, no way they didn't know this was a failure before launching. They knew and launched it anyway.

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Mavrrick Apprentice
Apprentice

I am still holding judgement on the product until about a month after the offical launch date which is 1/31. I am not suprised there are issues, it is about how they handle them that will make the difference. So far it isn't really looking good though

BestBuyGuy Apprentice
Apprentice


One thing that will not be awesome no matter the firmware they come out with is the ridiculous fees and long term expense of owning one or more of these cameras. First year is free 1080p cloud recording, but you need to pay immediately for 4k recording quality. After that first year you are in trouble. You will have to pay for basic 1080p recording on top of the additional 4k recording fee for the LIFE OF THE PRODUCT. Subscription prices never go down, only increase over time. So their cheaper cameras which work much better have free 7 day recording, but their premium camera which doesn't work and is much more expensive has none. There is no logic to that. You are paying much more and getting much less in this regard, especially since the cameras can't even function correctly. As said in one video review, there is no benefit in owning these over other cameras anymore.


That is the point exactly. People returning these are citing this as one of the main reasons, not to mention the performance. Arlo no longer has a competitve edge. There is no reason to pick the Ultra and suffer when there are lots of other alternatives that work. The free basic plan was what made them a better option over the competition. If they still had it and didn't charge extra for 4k cloud recording, I bet people would have weathered the storm because it is such an advantage. If the cameras were cheaper than the Pro series I could understand it because you could say the cloud storage is worked into the price. But the Ultra costs an arm and a leg and gives you less for it. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

Mavrrick Apprentice
Apprentice

Just thought i would point this out as well. Consider this, for 1 camera to have 24/7 recordin for 7 days with the 1.8mbps bitrate they would just need 134 GB of space. That is 24/7. Which is a paid subscription of 9.95 + the cost for 4k. That amount of storage is nothing when you think about how they probably buy storage. Then you say well it costs electricity and such. It isn't just about the space well most likely per user the cost per year is less then a few bucks when you think about scale. 

 

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