Arlo|Smart Home Security|Wireless HD Security Cameras

Ultra impressions and experiences

Reply
Discussion stats
  • 3 Replies
  • 184 Views
  • 1 Like
  • 3 In Conversation
Kekegenkai
Initiate
Initiate

I purchased the Arlo Ultra 5 pack from Costco. My intent was to install all exterior cameras that capture important areas on our property - driveway, entryway, side door, etc. Now that they have been running for a bit, I wanted to share my observations and compare notes with the community. DISCLAIMER: This is my first camera system, I have not tried others. After reading up on the usual suspects, the Arlo Ultra seemed to offer a lot of features and the smart detection seemed compelling.

The Good:
  • Picture quality is pretty good, better with 4k enabled

  • Motion detection is good, even catches birds and large insects. Activity zones are helpful to prevent false alarms.

  • Arlo smart detection works... sometimes

Not so Good:
  • 4k feature is very limited, only available on two cameras at once and cannot operate at the same time as auto-tracking.

  • Included magnetic mounts are really for indoor use only. Upcharge for separate exterior mounts.

  • Battery life really not as advertised. Keep the ladder handy.

  • To improve performance, everyone recommends putting the cameras on chargers. This does solve the battery life issue. Having said that, another upcharge and not so wireless after all.

  • Subscription service required, yes I was aware of this beforehand and ok with it. Having said that, it's another upcharge.

Just Bad:
  • I was unable to change notification tone in iOS, and some googling reveals that this complaint is common. You would think a unique alarm tone would be helpful if Arlo identified a person in my backyard, but alas, standard notification like everything else. Hope your phone is not on silent. Surely Arlo is working on this, right? Well, Arlo forums have been discussing the issue since 2017. I'm sure Arlo will get right on it.

  • Cameras communicate directly with the hub and are separate from your WiFi. If you have great WiFi signal at home, this is irrelevant as the cameras operates on its own 2.4ghz signal. The Arlo Ultra signal degrades very quickly and this is a substantial issue if you have walls in your home, as the hub must be wired to your router. Hope your router is centrally located. My router and Arlo hub are centrally located in my home, fortunately, and all cameras are on main level of my home (1,800 sqft). With that advantage, none of my external cameras have full strength, majority have poor strength (1 bar). To improve strength, Arlo recommends purchasing additional hubs (upcharge) and if necessary additional WiFi satellites to connect the hubs (upcharge, recurring theme here).

Takeaway:

This is a premium product and I'm surprised there are this many surprises that accompany it. Is this the normal experience? I could get 10 wire-free Blink XT2s for the same price and have a lot more coverage. Maybe someone can chime in with how it stands in the current market place, I could be convinced that Arlo Ultra is a Domino's, the highest quality pizza of the low quality pizzas.

 
StephenB
Guru Guru
Guru

@Kekegenkai wrote:
 
  • 4k feature is very limited, only available on two cameras at once and cannot operate at the same time as auto-tracking.

 

On auto-tracking, the zoom is done digitally.  They could have kept the output resolution at 4K, but the real resolution would still have been limited by the digital zoom.

 

But mine are not limited to 2 cameras at once.  What base do you have?  How fast is your internet upload?

 


@Kekegenkai wrote:
  • Included magnetic mounts are really for indoor use only. Upcharge for separate exterior mounts.


I've used the magnetic mounts for several cameras outdoors for several years w/o problem.  Why are you thinking "really for indoor use"?

 


@Kekegenkai wrote:
  • Battery life really not as advertised. Keep the ladder handy.


I do agree that the battery life is shorter than the advertisements lead you to believe. - though It is acceptable in my camera locations.  BTW, one option (though it does cost) is to get the XL battery.

 

Kekegenkai
Initiate
Initiate

I found Arlo expensive for what you get, I’ve shifted over to self hosted POE cameras, and I got 3 for around the price of a single Arlo camera, yes I had to wire them up, but there’s also no on going costs, and I can store the data uncompressed. Arlos compression ratings have definitely increased over the years leading to 1080p cameras being noticeably worse than 720p cameras from other manufacturers that allow toy store uncompressed footage. I struggled with the battery life, especially of cameras in high traffic areas, like the ones I had on the front of the house. They had to be inconvenient to steal, but that also made them inconvenient to recharge, I ended up buying long usb cables to keep them topped up, which negates the wireless aspect, if I’ve run a cable for power it’s not much effort to run a data cable. The range of the hub is ok, but our downstairs is all concrete block, it means the signal simply can’t reach outside in all directions from any location in the house, which means I ended up with a semi blind spot as the camera on that side had such a poor connection, the house isn’t exceptionally large so it will be a common problem I suspect if you live in an area that tends to use concrete and brick as the primary construction material, this could be resolved by Arlo producing an extender, they don’t, their solution is to buy a second hub, which isn’t a particularly convenient solution. As my first foray into CCTV cameras they persuaded me of the value of them, and I knew it was worth the effort of drilling a few holes and running some wires, but it was an expensive foray when there are cheaper wire free options, but if you’re serious about protecting your property I’d always recommend poe cameras that you can install once, and don’t have to climb a 6m ladder every couple of months to replace the batteries.

MLBinVA
Star
Star

Sorry you're finding these things out after the fact, IMO the Ultra's are over hyped and way under deliver.

 

As for the magnetic mount as long as it's high enough that someone can't grab it, knock it with a stick so it falls off, and is protected enough from wind it does fine, it's just not secure enough for me in an outdoor setting.

 

The battery's last me about a week but I do admit to having them set to record for a period of time after they sense motion vs just while they sense it since I want to see what's going on vs short clips when it thinks there's something going on.  Sure I could add solar but that's something else hanging off the side of the house which is unacceptable to me and plugging them in would eliminate the one positive of them being wireless.

 

Don't even get me started on video quality, 4K ROTFLMAO

 

 

Discussion stats
  • 3 Replies
  • 185 Views
  • 1 Like
  • 3 In Conversation