The Arlo Pro 4 and Ultra 2 are the latest in the premium Pro and Ultra line-up. While they have been around for a few months, its new lower-cost Essentials range has been stealing the spotlight.
Why? Well, the Arlo Pro 4 and Ultra 2 are the best security camera’s money can buy – no arguments. They are bulletproof, amazingly reliable, and work 24/7. The Essentials range, while good, are lower-cost and don’t need a base station to operate.
Base station – is it worth it?
Absolutely. The base station range and signal strength are superior to 99% of cheap Wi-Fi routers. But if you have a decent and recent AC5400 or AX6000 (or greater) router from Netgear or D-Link, then a Wi-Fi only connection should be fine. The key is to ensure Wi-Fi cameras are not in Blackspots.
The base station also has local storage via MicroSD card (from Class 10, UHS1, V10 or higher). I have a 256GB UHS-3 V90 exFAT formatted microSD, and I suspect it may support 512GB as well. Local storage is handy if the internet goes down.
Premium – is it worth it?
I guess that is why the 1080p Arlo Essentials range does so well – it is lower cost and does not need a base station. And in the right use scenarios, the Essentials range is perfect. Those include good lighting levels, the ability to place cameras closer to the action and good strong Wi-Fi.
But premium means 2K or 4K; 12X digital zoom; follow me (locks onto the moving target); colour night vision; removable battery; 24/7 reliability; and details like numberplates you just can’t see with 1080p.
So, if money is not the issue, Arlo’s Pro and Ultra cameras offer far more value than lower-priced cameras. For me, it’s a no-brainer.
Arlo Pro 4 and Ultra 2 update
We have reviewed almost every model since its first-generation Arlo Ultra and Pro in early 2019. That also coincides with its separation from parent NETGEAR into a separate company laser-focused on security cameras.
While I initially baulked at the ongoing subscription costs (as any Aussie is wont to do), my Arlo Ultras are still going strong and foiled several attempted break-ins and scared unwanted intruders away.
Now I know this may be a cop-out, but you should read the in-depth 2019 Arlo Ultra and Pro 2 (review 8.8/10) because it deep-dives into everything. Just assume that Arlo Pro 4 and Ultra 2 are even better.
Basic specifications – Arlo Pro 4 and Ultra 2
4K HDR 8MP Scales back to 2K, 1080p and 720p depending on signal strength/ Between 2 and 4Mbps for 4K
* Prices from Arlo Australia website. You may do better shopping around at Arlo retailers. Or visit the Arlo Amazon Store for deals of the day.
Bottom line – Ultra 2 4K is best with better resolution, field of view, and audio but needs a base station. Arlo Pro 4 2K can use a base station or the Arlo app iOS/Android app or via a browser in Windows and Mac. Image quality on the Ultra 2 is better over longer distances.
But that is not all to Arlo.
Left image is Arlo Pro 4 2K, and right image is Arlo Ultra 4K (slightly different angles but taken at the same time)
My advice is to use the Ultra 2 where you need better definition day or night and the Pro 4 where you need a visual deterrent. Alo consider the Pro 3 floodlight camera where light may be an issue. See below.
Any security camera needs an app and a place to store activity clips. There are two significant issues – privacy and cost.
Arlo nailed it with Privacy as a Pledge that, to my knowledge, no other manufacturer has been willing to commit to. Basically, it won’t spam you or sell your data. Several well-known manufacturers give your personal information to associated companies to build an advertising profile. That is not as bad as the thousands of generic makers that sell your data or use it for facial and object recognition.
The secret sauce is Arlo Secure that add Artificial Intelligence to the camera. Depending on your need and budget, 30-day cloud storage to continuous video recording. Here are a few features
Animated preview of a smartphone notification on the lock screen
Object detection (Packages, animals or persons)
Define activity zones
Up to 4K resolution for 30 days (rolling erase)
Smoke Alarm T3 or T4 ‘noise’ detection (Ultra and Pro 3 or later)
Call a friend (or make a friend an authorised viewer)
Continuous video recording
Of course, all the standard features are available for free. The Arlo secure plan is $14.99 per month for unlimited cameras ($4.49 for a single), or Secure Plus (4K) is $21.99 for unlimited cameras.
There is Arlo Ultra 2 and Pro 4, and there are the rest. No, that is not being unkind to excellent security camera makers like Nest, D-Link, Uniden and Swann but its horses for courses.
It is not just the privacy as a Pledge (that gets my vote) but the rock-solid reliability of the base station and the image quality of its 2K and 4K cameras. Add to that the ease of building an Arlo security ecosystem, its superb app, and its support of voice assistants (which I don’t recommend you use), and you can see why it rates so well.