Price (RRP): $129
In case you were wondering why we stated that the Arlo Ultra Solar panel charger ‘really works’ it is because the old model really did not. This one is superb.
To be fair the Arlo of today is a very different company of the Arlo of yesteryear. Now a separate public company with new products it has developed, it has freed itself from the legacies of the past. The Arlo Ultra Solar Panel and Ultra/Pro3 cameras et al., and the new Arlo ecosystem just keeps on getting better.
Where do we start? Perhaps comparing the old Arlo VMA4600 solar panel and the new Arlo Ultra solar panel
Arlo Ultra Solar Panel Charger (VMA5600)
- Australian website
- Price: About $129 from JB Hi-Fi and Arlo retailers
- Warranty: 1-year Australian Consumer Warranty if purchased from authorised retailers (note some retailers cite 2-years)
For starters, you may want to read our article on solar panel chargers and ignore everything we wrote about the old panel efficiency. The old 12-cell panel put out 6V/.333A (2W) that simply was not enough to keep the Arlo Pro going, let alone an Ultra or Pro 3.
The new panel only works with the Ultra and Pro 3 via the magnetic 2.4m cable (sorry no extension cables available). That means it can deliver at least 5V/1A (we suspect up to 10W but varies according to sunlight intensity) to the 3V/18.48Wh battery.
Because it has a proprietary magnetic cable clip (that holds onto the camera very well), we were unable to test actual voltage and amperage but over a month-long test, it not only topped battery up from almost empty in a day, it kept it at 100% almost regardless of the weather/clouds/rain. And we found that the panel still charged on overcast days – albeit a little slower. Note the test camera has well over 100 activations per day – most at night using the spotlights.
It is smaller too and weather resistant
The new 12-cell panel is 188 x 102 x 11.7 mm x 173g and comes with a ¼”, 360° gimbal mount (same as the camera) to get the best light angle. That is east/west with a small north tilt to allow water runoff. Not, as is shown in the header image, up and down!
It claims weather resistance but does not quote an IP rating. It would have to match the Ultra camera at least.
GadgetGuy’s take – Arlo Ultra Solar Panel charger (VMA5600 and UPC 606449138368) really works
We are not surprised by the new company approach. Even FakeSpot now gives it an ‘A’ for authentic ratings meaning over 90% of the reviews are verified, original and quality.
The question is – is it worth $129 per unit to avoid manually charging every few months. The answer is a resounding yes in that you can now mount the camera higher in more effective, if harder to reach places – provided you get some direct sunlight on the solar panel.
Maintenance wise it will need an occasional clean to remove dust and bird droppings, but it should perform well for 20-30 years!
It is a 5/5 for Arlo Ultra/Pro3 owners with the only niggle that you can’t extend the 2.4m cable.
BTW – if you don’t opt for the Arlo Ultra/Pro3 solar panel you have three other choices.
- 12m outdoor cable and 240V plug charger (indoors only) VMA5600C (not tested) approx. $90
- Dual charger station VMA5400C (indoors – tested and great) approx. $90
- Spare Arlo Battery VMA5400 approx. $100