You can upgrade the Arlo cloud subscription at extra cost to get smart alerts that can be customised to identify people, vehicles, animals, or other motion. We did not access that feature.
Compared to the Arlo Pro 2 it has more accurate colours and sharper details as well as software selectable field of view.
You can set activity zones (the default is everywhere) to trip the motion sensor. You can turn motion detection to its lowest setting (for example if used as a straight live stream camera). Motion detection sensitivity is a trial and error thing to lower the risk of false positives.
The two-way audio works within the confines of a small speaker (very harsh) and signal strength (if it’s low, forget audio).
We noted that the Ultra Camera has a signal strength metre (camera positioning) and the Arlo Pro 2 does not. Our observation is that the Ultra has longer range from the SmartHub than the Pro 2
How does it look?
- 4K HDR video capture (dependent on signal strength) is clear, crisp and brighter
- Can auto-track and auto-zoom but only at 1K
- Colour night vision to about 2 metres (sorry no examples)
- Well-made and the new unibody outer cover design makes it more weather resistant
- Choice of field-of-view and multiple motion detection zones
- Audio is better but not perfect
- Different battery to Arlo Pro 2/Security Light
- 4K cloud recording costs extra
- HDR does not make a significant difference indoors – its optimised for outdoors
- Only one proprietary magnetic charging cable and charger supplied
- No magnetic ‘rear’ like the Arlo Pro 2
- Maximum two concurrent 4K streams (additional cameras stream at 1K or lower)
- Siren is 76dB – could be louder
- Most streams were [email protected] – not 30fps, but that could be a signal strength issue
- No Apple Home Kit
- Adobe Flash Player required to view
Mixing Arlo Pro 2 (earlier Pro not tested but does work)
The Arlo Pro 2 camera is a [email protected]/15fps camera, 130° FOV, IR and costs $319 (versus $449). GadgetGuy reviewed it here but to be fair our 3.6-out-of-5 rating was more about the overall package than the camera. It is a competent 1K camera – more so now when attached to the Ultra SmartHub.
It really should be the base of your Arlo Ultra camera setup. Use them where its more about live streaming or where its magnetic ‘rear’ is more convenient to stick to a metal pole or door frame etc.
More importantly, Existing Arlo users can continue to use them with the new SmartHub, using the 4K cameras sparingly where you need additional definition. And if you are a savvy shopper, you might just find them at around $200 online (no base station).
Arlo doorbell and optional chime
We could devote an entire review – but time is precious. The doorbell does not have a camera but has a motion detector. You can pair it to an Arlo Ultra camera (with LED spotlight) or an Arlo Pro/2 (IR light only) and Arlo Security light for darker areas.
The doorbell runs off two AA batteries. It can work with the Arlo Chime and/or an existing wired mechanical or digital chime. We did not test this as wired chimes use between 8-24V AC (not DC) and you should use sparky to connect AC.
It connects to the Arlo SmartHub
We have tested it at 10 metres (and down one floor), 20 and 30 metres (after pairing first to the SmartHub). It was reliable at 10 metres, and reliability dropped off markedly from there.
We paired an Arlo Pro 2 and Light, but the lag between motion detection and recording was over 30 seconds. The Arlo Pro 2 does not have a signal strength (video bandwidth) metre. We then paired to the Arlo Ultra, and the video signal was ‘weak’ at 10 metres (and down one floor). The lag between pressing the doorbell and video reduced to about 10 seconds.
We suspect signal strength is the doorbell’s Achilles heel.
The app knows your mobile phone number so as well as activating the chime it can ring your mobile. You can turn this feature off but its remarkably handy and two-way voice quality is good, but the loudness is a little low.
It also prompts callers to leave a voice message if you do not answer your phone. You can set up family mode to allow others to answer the call. You can also put it in silent mode and enable email alerts.
The Chime plugs into a 240V outlet. It is loud enough at 78dB, and we understand (not tested) that you can have up to five chimes around the house. The base station supports two doorbells.