Arlo Ultra 2 – 2021 update to the world’s best 4K security camera

Arlo Ultra 2

The Arlo Ultra 2 has taken a perfectly good Arlo Ultra 4K camera and tweaked a few things to make the perfect 4K security camera even better.

The main difference is the Arlo Ultra 2 adds Wi-Fi 5Ghz (you many need a new SmartHub to use this*) and increased 2.4Ghz range. Otherwise, it’s the 4K, HDR, 16:9, 180° FOV, spotlight, that made it the top 4K security camera last year.

Arlo Ultra 2 models include

  • Camera only (VMC5040-200AUS) $449
  • 2 camera and VMB5000 SmartHub (VMC5240-200AUS) $1099
  • 3 camera and hub (VMS5340-100AUS) $1449
Arlo Ultra 2

If you are an existing Arlo user

The 2020 Ultra 4K comes with the same VMB5000 SmartHub. The faster 5Ghz channel cuts in if the signal strength is sufficient. It also uses micro-SD cards for local recording.

If you have a VMB4540 SmartHub that came with the Pro 3, then the maximum recording resolution is 4K, and it only uses the 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi channel. This uses a USB-A slot for local recording.

Earlier VMB4000 or 4500 SmartHubs will also support the Ultra 2, and 4K provided the hub has sufficient bandwidth for existing cameras.

Arlo Ultra 2 (and the Ultra) features

  • 8MP/4K/HDR – frame rate depends on the signal strength and data transfer rate, and it can drop back to 2K, 1080p and 720p
  • 180° FOV with fisheye distortion minimisation
  • 12X zoom and motion follow
  • Dual LED spotlights for colour night vision to about 5 metres
  • IR 850nm LEDs for mono night vision
  • Full-Duplex 2-way talk, dual mic and wind attenuation, siren
  • USB-A to micro-USB 5V/2A adapter, approx. 3.5 hours charge in camera
  • Battery life depends on activations – nominally six months. Solar panel available
  • Bandwidth – about 2-4Mbps
  • Weather-resistant
  • HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT.
  • One year ACL warranty
  • Website here  
Arlo Ultra 2

Arlo Smart subscription

The free plan allows live video streaming to a smartphone and push notifications. The single camera plan is $4.49 a month. The $14.99 (up to five camera) Premier plan is 2K for 30 days and includes person, animal, package and vehicle detection, customisable detection zones and call a friend. The Elite plan offers 4K live streaming at $21.99 per month.

Arlo has ‘Privacy as a Pledge’ and will not sell your data. This explains why it has to charge for cloud plans – if the product is free, the product is you.

Arlo privacy logo

GadgetGuy’s take

It is hard to improve on perfection.

The Arlo Ultra (review here) is everything you can expect from the Ultra 2. It scored 4.4/5 – the highest of any wireless security camera to date.

At that time, we were betwixt and between whether a camera needs a SmartHub or if Wi-Fi is adequate, And being typical Aussies, we were still smarting the Smart Subscription cost.

The SmartHub adds incredible reliability, range and local storage to Wi-Fi-based devices. Over the past year 18 months, the Ultra has had 100% uptime, even when the internet is down (looking at you Telstra but is now vastly better since the switch to Aussie Broadband).

We now understand that the Smart Subscription is worth every penny for the advanced cloud features it adds. Customisable zones, object detection, etc., all need cloud AI to function.

Finally, Arlo’s solar panels are a blessing having topped up cameras each day regardless of rain, hail or shine – not one manual recharge in 18 months.