Arlo|Smart Home Security|Wireless HD Security Cameras

Update on my experience and decision to keep my Ultra 4-camera system

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zincyellowcobra Luminary
Luminary

I was hugely frustrated early on and super vocal here and on Best Buy site. I got quiet this week as my experience has greatly improved. I’ve backed off my earlier position that I would be returning the Ultra cams to Best Buy. The firmware updates released so far plus Arlo support stepping in to fix my subscription woes has improved my end user experience enough that I’ve refocused my energy from giving up on the Ultra altogether to charging forward with testing and comparing. 

 

Now that I have been able to work through the subscription glitch that inadvertently prevented 4K recording to the cloud, I have been able to continue my comparison of the Ultra cams to my Pro 2 cams and able to see benefits, improvements, cool new features. I have spent time this week Continuing the comparison of the Ultra cams to myPro 2 cams. The difference in video quality from Ultra 4K vs. Pro 2 1080p is amazing. Sound quality vastly improved. I was on the fence regarding value/benefit of the color night vision feature but have to say I now think it is pretty darn cool. I can now tell what color a suspicious car is as it drives down the street... I can tell what color my neighbor’s clothes are and even determine the color of their hair -AT NIGHT- as they walk their dog and/or jog down the street. Just think of the benefit in reporting crime to the police. If I capture the car on camera overnight, I can report the color of the car not just my guess on make/model. Improvements to video quality when recording in 4K at night also make the vehicle clear enough to feel confident of my determination of vehicle make/model even when driving by quite fast. Before it was a loose guess what type of car it was with 1080p much less the color with B&W night vision. The spotlight feature is really cool for color night vision especially when the object is within 10-20 feet of the camera. We had coyotes running around our yard Wednesday night (that’s an oddity where I live). I had turned off the spotlight feature for overnight recording on Wednesday night to test B&W night vision compared to my Pro 2 acmes. Man, I’m really disappointed I did that! The 180-degree FOV allowed me to see the coyotes running up and down my neighbors walkways and driveways so sent the videos to my two next door neighbors. They were blown away by my ability to pick up the activity at their house from my cameras - even asking what type of camera I had, where I puchased and what was the cost for cameras. I felt confident enough to say it was the Ultra cams with a couple of disclosures like new tech, working through some bugs and cost associated with the 4K cloud recording. Money saved not having to pay someone to install a camera system offsets costs for subscription in the short run. Ability to access local 4K recordings down the road with future updates just announced would give us ability to choose between paid 4K subscription vs no fee local 4K recordings easily accessed via the app.  Motion detection has improved and time for cam to start up when triggered has improved. Videos capture the activity much earlier than before.  I do have cams that miss an event all together with one particular cam being more problematic in that regard. I haven’t tested the zoom/track feature quite yet. Thinking today will be the day to activate that feature and test. 

 

How about the rest of you  -  any updated feedback? 

 

 

 

zincyellowcobra Luminary
Luminary

TONS of typos in my post.  Evidence that I should wear my glasses more frequently so I can catch this stuff. LOL. 

 

Alien should be value. 

JamesC Community Manager
Community Manager

zincyellowcobra,

 

This is fantastic to hear! Thank you for the detailed updated review! We're continuing to work hard to resolve the remaining reported issues and greatly appreciate your patience and understanding along the way.

 

JamesC

JamSam Star
Star
I decided to keep them as well. Although my cameras are still experiencing quite a few issues, I have seen improvement and JamesC in particular has built trust that the remaining will get resolved.

Hoping it turns out to be the right decision!
brh Master
Master

I believe that Best Buy jumped the gun and released these cameras too early, for whatever reason that I am not privvy to. But these are great cameras if you take into account that there are still a few bugs being worked out. Arlo really listened to their customers this time - besides the things you mentioned, don't forget the built in siren that has been requested for a long time and the way the camera comes apart to change the battery, means that you do not have to reposition the camera every time you need to change the battery. Also, if I read between the lines, I believe the Ultra base has both Z-wave and Zigbee radios built in as Arlo has announced a new multi purpose sensor to be available later this year to expand the range of motion detection and other new devices besides cameras.

ChefJeff Star
Star

I guess I will go buy a Pro 2 so I can see if there is a difference between the two since I do not have experience with it.

Ultimateboss Tutor
Tutor
I too have held off since I have a 45 day return policy. My main issue is motion detection. How far was the activity of the coyotes? Do you record continuously ?
JamesC Community Manager
Community Manager

Ultimateboss,

 

Motion detection is effective up to 25 feet on Ultra cameras. Can you provide some detail on what you're experiencing? A screenshot from the cameras perspective to give us a better idea of its environment?

 

Thanks,

JamesC

ItsPlayTime Apprentice
Apprentice
Last week I decided to hold off on returning my cameras to best buy. I realized that I have 30 days to return them so I felt more at ease about giving Arlo time to correct issues.

That said, I'm now 97+% sure I'm keeping them. The team is definitely making progress towards correcting the issues at hand. It's been about 2 weeks & what a difference already. Day one, they were essentially not functional as security cameras whereas today they basically are. They definitely still require work but they have great potential.

The hardware is quite good. Yesterday I showed clips to a co-worker that also owns a business installing security cameras/systems & he was pleasantly surprised by both how good the video quality is & that the video was coming from a wireless system. I was pleasantly surprised by the framerate of the 4k video. I feared it would look choppy but if I had to guess I'd say it's 24 fps. I haven't checked but I placed a camera where I can see cars driving at least 45 mph & they look pretty smooth passing through the footage.

I really wish the accessories were available but they'll come out eventually. As long as the team keeps cranking out updates & fixing/improving our issues, I'm okay for now.

I can't stress enough the positive role that communication from Arlo has had on my opinion of the system & therefore in growing my confidence as a customer. While it should be the norm in this era, sadly it is not. Too many companies publicly deny/ignore issues with their products/services while others may acknowledge them but make no discernable effort to correct them.

Side note: One thing I would love to see when things are better situated with the system is an Android TV app. I would really like to bring that up on my Nvidia Shield TV to monitor my cameras. Yes, I'm aware that I can say "Hey Google stream xxxx on Living room shield" but I would prefer a proper app without having to side load the current one & be stuck in portrait view on a beautiful 4k TV via a box that can easily crank out quality 4k footage. Just a thought that I felt like getting off my chest.

I apologize for the rant.
brh Master
Master

I had a drunk guy staggering around my property and on my neighbor's property around 4am this morning. The Ultra detected him, turned on the spotlight and caught him in color and in great 4k detail. I will be purchasing more of these. Progress is being made at a rapid rate to fix the bugs so I am quite pleased with mine. Just wish the Zoom and Track worked with 4k so that I could have gotten even better detail of him.

Guru jguerdat Guru
Guru

I was not at your house at 4AM! Don't even know where you live!!

 

🙂

brh Master
Master

@jguerdat 

Sorry, I thought that was you! LOL. 

JamSam Star
Star
For fear of drunks wandering around my home (and after committing to riding this bumpy Ultra release out) I upgraded 2 cameras to 4K this morning. I looked at 1 video and quickly upgraded the other 2. Crazy difference in quality and totally worth the extra $20 per camera per year.
ChefJeff Star
Star

Can someone share one of their 4K videos? I have 4K active on my cameras and just don’t see how you could call it 4K quality. I bought a Pro 2 to compare it to and yes, there is a difference, but I would not consider that camera to be 1080p quality either. Record something in 4K from your iPhone or GoPro and tell me the Ultra has the same clarity...

Bigjames83 Apprentice
Apprentice

I was very tempted to keep the cameras even tho the video captured was not 4k by any means until I woke up and my cameras were both fogged over and unable to see anything. One was located right next to a nest cam which was fine. That was the final straw for me.

Guru jguerdat Guru
Guru
Was the nest also 180 degree FOV? The lens has to stick out to be able to get that coverage, leaving it prone to moisture collecting on the lens. A quick wipe with something like Rain-X may be worth a try.
Frenchyk Guide
Guide
I'm going to need a few more reviews like this before I go check it out. The reviews are too lopsided right now.
mauijer Star
Star

@brh wrote:

 don't forget the built in siren that has been requested for a long time and the way the camera comes apart to change the battery, means that you do not have to reposition the camera every time you need to change the battery.


I saw this advertised as a perk but cant figure out how you would do so. Doesn't the magnetic cable attach to the white rear housing of the camera to charge the batteries rather than directly to the batteries or the removable black part? 

mauijer Star
Star

@Ultimateboss wrote:
I too have held off since I have a 45 day return policy. My main issue is motion detection. How far was the activity of the coyotes? Do you record continuously ?

How are people getting 30 and 45 day return policies? I bought from best buy and it says 14 days...

mauijer Star
Star

@brh wrote:

 Just wish the Zoom and Track worked with 4k so that I could have gotten even better detail of him.


So to confirm if Track and Zoom are enable the recording is not in 4K? 

ItsPlayTime Apprentice
Apprentice
The magnetic charger attaches to the bottom of the white camera housing.

People get longer return windows at Best Buy by spending more money there.
Join the rewards program & spend enough money & you become an "elite" level member & get 30 days for returns/exchanges, spend more & become "elite plus" & you get 45 days.
JamesC Community Manager
Community Manager

mauijer,

 

Correct, when Track and Zoom is enabled, recordings will being 1080p. For more information, take a look here: What is Auto Track and Zoom on my Arlo Ultra camera?

 

JamesC

mauijer Star
Star

I too will say that I was quite vocal here and on bestbuy.com about my disappointment with the Ultras... However, I am contemplating keeping them. I have a few days left on my return policy but am seeing some favorable advantages to the Ultras. 

 

First and foremost the response from Arlo and specifically from James has given me some faith.

 

I am hopeful that the motion detection improves which seems possible with firmware updates. 

I am grateful that Arlo will offer remote access to recordings for the Ultra

I am still missing some triggering events but hope those will improve with time. 

 

I previously criticized the color night vision but agree it is cool and quite pretty to look at the images recorded and thus prefer it over the Arlo Pro2.

The mounting hardware is easier to use/install and I like how the magnetic mount makes it look like it is a built in CCTV camera rather than wireless.

Previously I could run past a camera and the delay was a bit ridiculous; now it seems to be much better. 

Maybe I'm crazy but the camera seems to be smart in its ability to understand whether you are monitorining a vertical or horizontal field of view...

I like the track and zoom but I assume its a digital zoom and thus is not necessarily better for viewing detail than just zooming in on an image recorded in full view mode. Can someone confirm? 

 

I still wish Arlo had included more accessories such as a 2pack battery charger with their 4 camera system or at least a second cable (longer cord similar to the pro 2 woud be better) but I am feeling myself becoming happy with Ultras enough to call them an upgrade. I am planning to pair them with a few Arlo Pro2s as the pro2s do have other advantages tho. 

 

 

mauijer Star
Star

@ItsPlayTime wrote:
The magnetic charger attaches to the bottom of the white camera housing.

People get longer return windows at Best Buy by spending more money there.
Join the rewards program & spend enough money & you become an "elite" level member & get 30 days for returns/exchanges, spend more & become "elite plus" & you get 45 days.

So why are people saying that you don't have to reposition the camera to charge the baterries if you still have to detach the white part which is attached to the mounting unit? I guess its a true claim if you buy the accessory battery charger and bypass the magnetic charging attachment but if using the cable you do have to reposition the camera, right? 

ItsPlayTime Apprentice
Apprentice
Short answer is yes... There is a button on the bottom of the white case which ejects the actual camera (Black part + innards) so that you can then remove the battery to charge in an accessory charger without moving the aim of the camera. Personally, I unmount the easiest camera to unmount, charge it, pull the battery, eject another camera from it's case, swap batteries, place depleted battery into already unmounted camera & repeat until all 4 are charged. This way I only have to re-aim the one camera. This is also what I do with my Arlo Pro cameras. The difference being that on those I hold the back of the camera base to the mount so they don't lose their aim as they swing open & then I remove the batteries.