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Arlo Ultra Review: 4K UHD Wireless Camera

A Smarter 4K Camera with an Integrated Spotlight

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Arlo Ultra Camera

The Arlo Ultra is Arlo’s first 4K indoor/outdoor, wireless camera. It has smart features like color night vision, auto zoom, and smart tracking across the entire 180° field of view. It lacks Cloud-based storage (without a subscription), but is compatible with SD card local storage (card sold seperately). In our tests we were impressed with usability and video quality. It was fast to setup and works well.Check Price

Pros

  • Automatic zooming and tracking with a wide 180° field of view
  • Integrated spotlight (auto or manual mode)
  • 4K video resolution with color night vision
  • Wireless camera for indoor or outdoor use

Cons

  • More expensive than other Arlo cameras
  • Does not offer free could-based storage
  • Requires the purchase of an Arlo Smart Hub
  • 4K video resolution requires more bandwidth and may not function well with multi-camera systems or areas with a poor wifi signal

Performance

Video: Day

Great

Video: Night

Great

Audio

Good

App

Good

10 SECOND SUMMARY: Overall, the user experience and performance of the Arlo Ultra camera is exceptional. The 4K resolution is fantastic for both day and night as well as indoor or outdoor installations. Full-duplex audio is a nice feature and the app was easy to use and intuitive during our tests.

Video: Day vs. Night

The video quality of the Arlo Ultra camera is very clear. There is a good amount of contrast that mimics natural colors in real-time as well as good clarity for figures up close and further away.

Even areas that intersect natural daylight (like near a window) seemed to be visible and not overexposed.

Arlo ultra camera - indoor daytime video quality
Arlo Ultra camera – indoor daytime video quality

The Arlo Ultra can be used indoors or outdoors. Outdoors, clarity and colors were also impressive. This location is quite far from the Arlo hub / wifi router (~150 feet) and I did not notice any detectable drop in performance or resolution.

Arlo Ultra camera - outdoor daytime video quality
Arlo Ultra camera – outdoor daytime video quality

Indoors at night, the Ultra uses color night mode technology for a clear image. The color resolution at night makes it easier to distinguish details on figures and objects.

Arlo Ultra camera - indoor night time video quality
Arlo Ultra camera – indoor night time video quality

At night, the spotlight on the Ultra was activated, which illuminated the area directly in front of the camera. Even outdoors, the camera is able to show the scenes in full color.

Arlo Ultra camera - outdoor night time video quality
Arlo Ultra camera – outdoor night time video quality

Audio

Audio quality on the Ultra cam was better than average. It was able to pick up a good amount of sound from the environment as well as clear audio when using the 2-way talk feature.

The Ultra cam offers full-duplex audio.

What is full-duplex?

In the world of audio, there is half-duplex and full-duplex. The difference between half and full is like the difference between walkie talkies and telephones.

Both offer 2-way audio, but with a walkie-talkie, you can only do one at a time (half-duplex), but with a telephone, they can happen simultaneously (full-duplex).

The Arlo App

Using the app, you can access even more features, like viewing the live feed, toggling across multiple cameras, switching modes, viewing camera settings, or checking out the video library.

The video library allows you to view activity from the past 7 days, or more if you opt to pay for the subscription plan.

If you’re viewing live footage on the camera, you can:

  • Adjust volume
  • Use two-way audio
  • Adjust brightness
  • Take a snapshot
  • Record manual video footage
  • Pause a live view

Arlo Ultra Design

The Arlo Ultra security camera has a rounded body design with a white composite shell and a black lens and faceplate.

Arlo Ultra home security camera
Arlo Ultra home security camera

It can sit directly on a surface or it can be magnetically attached to the mount for angled viewing or to be mounted at a higher vantage point.

The front of the camera has the lens and spotlight at the top and the sensors are located at the bottom.

Close up view of the Arlo Ultra cam
Close up view of the Arlo Ultra cam

The bottom of the camera has a threaded insert that is compatible with a hardware mount. There is also a round magnetic disc that the charging cord attaches to juice up the battery.

Input / output on the Arlo Ultra camera

Top Features

Here’s a quick list of some of the best features offered on the Ultra camera:

  • Continuous video: allows a 24/7 feed of activity locally (you’ll need a subscription if you want to stream remotely)
  • Custom motion zones: create up to 3 different zones to monitor
  • 2-way audio: allows you to hear sound on-screen or send audio back simultaneously (full-duplex)
  • Smart Alerts: when motion or sound is detected
  • Local storage: take video from the camera using a micro USB port (supports up to 512 MB)

NOTE: This camera does not offer Cloud-based storage without a subscription.

What’s in the box?

Parts & accessories include:

  • Arlo Ultra wireless camera
  • Magnetic mount
  • Battery pack
  • Charger cord
  • Charging adapter
  • Mounting screws (optional)
  • User Guide
  • Arlo window cling “Video Monitoring in Progress”
Arlo Ultra camera with accessories
Arlo Ultra camera with accessories

Setup & Usability

Setting up the Arlo Ultra cam is easy and takes less than 5 minutes to get it ready for use. As mentioned above, the camera comes basically pre-assembled.

How to set up the camera

  1. Unbox the Arlo Ultra camera and remove all original package.
  2. Plug the ethernet cable from the base station into your local router.
  3. The base station will search for your devices and automatically connect to the camera(s).
  4. Follow the prompts to name the base station and it will automatically check for updates.
  5. Install the better pack into the back of the Arlo Ultra cam.
  6. Follow the prompts to name the camera.
Charging the Alro Ultra camera
Charging the Alro Ultra camera

How easy is Arlo to install?

Ease of install depends on where you plan on using it.

For indoor install…

  1. Place on a flat surface, like a table, shelf, or counter.
  2. Use the magnetic mounting base and provided 3M tape to install on a smooth vertical surface, like a wall.
Arlo Ultra home security camera
Arlo Ultra home security camera

For outdoor install…

  1. Use the provided screw and spacer to install onto the exterior.
  2. Slide the magnetic mount onto the screw for a secure install.
  3. Magnetically attach the camera to the mount and adjust the camera until you have the desired view on-screen.

In-App Features

The Arlo app is designed to work seamlessly with the Arlo cams. Install the app to your smartphone and follow the prompts to pair the camera(s).

Once the camera is set up, you’ll be able to access the following features:

  • Adjust brightness
  • Automatic HDR
  • Local 4K Live streaming
  • Auto-zoom and tracking
  • Low light settings
  • and more
Arlo Ultra video settings in-app
Arlo Ultra video settings in-app

Usability

The usability of the Arlo is pretty simple once you complete all of the initial setup items. Three of the most important steps to enhancing the usability of the Arlo include:

  1. Installing the app on your smartphone
  2. Installing your camera
  3. Pairing it with the smart hub

Here’s the smart hub we used for our tests and the one Arlo recommends. It’s the Arlo Smart Hub (VMB5000).

Arlo Smart Hub (VMB5000)
Arlo Smart Hub (VMB5000)

How does Arlo work?

When the Arlo detects sound or motion, you will get a push notification sent directly to your phone. You can view the live feed, check out activities from the past, or alert authorities via e911 technology (with a paid subscription).

The spotlight feature is motion detection and helps to deter unwanted patrons or enhance the visibility of your footage. You can manually turn the spotlight on or off or leave it on auto mode.

Does the Arlo Ultra require a subscription?

All Arlo cameras offer an optional subscription service that you are not required to use, but it does add some extra features.

Here’s exactly what you can expect with and without a subscription.

Without an Arlo paid subscription, the Arlo Ultra has the following features:

  • Live remote video streaming
  • No Cloud-based storage
  • Motion alerts, sound alerts, and push notifications
  • Support for up to 5 cameras
  • 2-way audio
  • Custom motion zones
Arlo Q video quality - indoor shot
Arlo Q video quality – indoor shot

With a paid Arlo subscription, you can get access to the following:

  • 30-day Cloud-based recording
  • Motion alerts, sound alerts, and push notifications
  • Support for up to 10 cameras
  • Cloud-based activity zones
  • e911 emergency services

The two subscription Arlo packages are:

  • Premier: $9.99/mo. for up to 5 cameras (or $2.99/mo for one camera) and has plus an e911 emergency call service.
  • Elite: $14.99/mo. for up to 5 cameras (or $4.99/mo for one camera) and has all the same features the Arlo Premier has.

If you have more than 5 cameras, Arlo offers a 50% off discount for each additional camera.

Is the Arlo Ultra a good value?

Alright, so specs and features aside, is the Arlo Ultra a good value? The value of the Ultra comes down to what you plan to use the camera for.

The Arlo Ultra is a powerful surveillance system with 4K video resolution, an onboard spotlight, and wireless indoor / outdoor usage. It checks a lot of boxes for a lot of users and the user experience is just phenomenal.

But what it lacks is free Cloud-based storage without a subscription.

And with a subscription, if you plan on a system that has more than 5 cameras, the monthly cost goes up for each camera. For systems with multiple cameras, this can get pretty costly.

By the same token, you’ll also need to buy the Arlo Smart Hub for this system to work. For single-camera installations, this expense can hurt the overall value of the system.

Arlo Ultra Specifications

 Arlo Ultra
TypeIndoor / Outdoor
Video Resolution4K
Night VisionFull color
Field of View180°
Motion DetectionYes
2-Way AudioYes
Local StorageYes; SD card compatible
Smart SirenNo; in base storage
Wireless RangeUp to 300'
GeoFencingYes
Amazon AlexaYes
Continuous VideoYes (with subscription)
Auto-ZoomYes
Warranty1-Year Warranty
ReturnsVaries by retailer
PriceCheck Price

Should you buy the Arlo Ultra?

I would recommend the Arlo Ultra if you’re looking for the following in a security camera:

  • Flexible use: The Ultra works indoor or outdoor and with or without the magnetic mount. It is powered by a quick-release battery pack and can last up 2-3 months before needing a charge.
  • Excellent video quality: The 4K video resolution on this Arlo is the highest resolution to come out of the Arlo lineup. It is crystal clear footage with an on-board, motion-activated spotlight and colored night mode.
  • Smart tracking: Auto-zoom and smart tracking are two newer features that are offered on this camera. If you’re monitoring high-risk areas or want extra clarity on the people coming in and out of the frame, this feature really helps the Ultra model to stand apart from other camera systems.

Click here to learn more about or to buy the Arlo Ultra security camera.

Ultra Performance
  • 97%
    Design - 97%
  • 98%
    Performance - 98%
  • 96%
    Quality - 96%
  • 98%
    Usability - 98%
  • 95%
    Value - 95%
97%

Summary

The Arlo Ultra is Arlo’s first 4K indoor / outdoor, wireless camera. It has a motion-activated spotlight, motion and sound detection, and the ability to view footage wherever you are (with a paid subscription). The video quality was exceptional with nice features like color night mode, auto zoom, and smart tracking for people who come in and out of 180° field of view. It doesn’t have free Cloud-based storage like some of the other Arlos, but that is a feature you can subscribe to and get.

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