Arlo Ultra, hands-on: A premium security camera with expansion potential Review
Netgear’s Arlo range of security cameras has proved so successful in recent years that Netgear decided to spin the Arlo division off as a new publicly traded company last year. Entering 2019, Arlo Technologies Inc. announced a number of new products at CES, as well as an increased emphasis on business users that’s intended to extend the company’s reach beyond its traditional focus on the home security market.
Along with new security products, such as outdoor security lights and doorbells, the latest addition to the Arlo range is the Arlo Ultra, a high-end camera that’s designed to work on its own, but can also form the basis of a wider security system.
The Arlo Ultra is now on sale in the US, and is due to launch in Europe at the end of February. It’s available in a number of kits that include up to four separate cameras, and which also include a SmartHub control unit that needs to be connected to a broadband router in order to provide remote access to the cameras via smartphones and other mobile devices.
A kit with a single camera and SmartHub costs £450 (inc. VAT; £375 ex. VAT, or $400), rising to £1,150 (inc. VAT) for a kit with four cameras (£958.33.33 ex. VAT, or $1,000). Those are top-of-the-range prices, but the Arlo Ultra provides features to match, including 4K video capture with HDR to enhance image quality, and 180-degree viewing angles. The Arlo app can also track motion detected by the camera, following the movement of people or vehicles, and provides a zoom function to pick out details such as vehicle licence numbers.
The camera casing is weather-proof and includes a rechargeable battery so you can use it either indoors or outdoors. Each bundle also includes a wall-mount kit, making it easy to set up the camera in outdoor locations such as car parks, warehouses or public venues. Like most security cameras, the Arlo Ultra has a night-vision mode for low-light conditions, but it also includes a motion-activated spotlight to enhance visibility and scare away intruders, as well as a siren that can be triggered automatically, or remotely via the Arlo app for mobile devices.
As well as providing remote access, the Arlo SmartHub allows you to add extra cameras in the future, as well as accessories such as the forthcoming Arlo Security System, which contains a smoke alarm and other security sensors. This allows you to buy a single Arlo Ultra kit and then gradually expand it to create a wider security system that can cover larger homes or business premises. Arlo Technologies has also announced that it plans to add support for Apple’s HomeKit software to the Arlo Ultra — as well as the existing Arlo Pro 2 camera — via a software update later in Q1 2019.
Like most security cameras, the Arlo cameras store their video footage online, with this service requiring an additional monthly subscription. However, the price of the Arlo Ultra includes a 12-month subscription to the company’s Smart Premier service, which allows you to store video from up to 10 separate cameras for 30 days at a time. This subscription also unlocks additional features such as the ability to create ‘activity zones’ that tell the Arlo app to focus on a specific area, such as a doorway or window. At the end of 12 months this subscription will cost $99 per year, although there are less expensive subscriptions also available for smaller systems that only use 1-5 cameras.
The Arlo Ultra is one of the more expensive security cameras currently available, but its high-quality video recording and added features such as the integrated siren and spotlight provide comprehensive security features for both home and business users. And, with the SmartHub also included, you have the option of expanding the Arlo Ultra into a wider security system in the future.
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