Arlo Ultra Security Camera Review 2020

The Arlo Ultra is a tempting option for the tech-lovers out there.
Arlo logo
4K resolution
Wire-free design
Pricey

The Arlo Ultra is one of the most impressive, feature-packed home security cameras we’ve ever seen. It’s the first battery-powered camera with 4K resolution, and it has a slew of other goodies built in, including color night vision and a built-in spotlight.

We could list Arlo Ultra’s cool features all day, but all you really need to know is that this camera offers some of the best tech out there—and you’ll pay a relatively high price for it.

Arlo Ultra features
ModelPriceVideo resolutionSmart speaker integrationsLearn more
Arlo Ultra$389.91Up to 4KAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKitView on Amazon

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 5/19/20 15:35 PST)

Arlo Ultra features

The Arlo Ultra has some awesome features you don’t get in every camera.

Back of Arlo Ultra box listing features of the Arlo Ultra camera

Source: Reviews.org

If you’re an early-adopter, tech-loving, smart home nerd who wants the best stuff and the best quality, then the Arlo Ultra is an easy choice. It offers features we don’t see in many cameras at all, let alone wire-free battery-powered options.

Arlo Ultra camera features:

  • Up to 4K video resolution
  • HDR
  • Automatic tracking and zoom
  • 180º field of view
  • Built-in spotlight
  • Built-in siren
  • 12x digital zoom
  • Two-way audio
  • Noise cancellation
  • Motion detection
  • Color night vision
  • -4º–140º F (-20º–60º C) operating temperature
  • 3–6 month battery life
  • Cloud storage
  • Local storage

4K resolution

1080p resolution has pretty much become the standard for home security cameras. But the Arlo Ultra goes above and beyond with full 4K video resolution. That means you’ll see every detail of your yard with the same quality as you see Planet Earth II on your 4K TV.

The Arlo Ultra’s 4K footage is a noticeable improvement over 1080p. Both are good, but 4K is great. And the Arlo Ultra also includes HDR (high dynamic range), which helps with the contrast in images to keep things clear even in difficult lighting conditions.

Color night vision

Yet another common feature that the Arlo Ultra takes to another level is night vision. Lots of outdoor security cameras include night vision, but the Arlo Ultra includes color night vision.

Rather than the grainy, black-and-white footage you get with most infrared night vision cameras, the Arlo Ultra lets you see images as clearly as if it were broad daylight. (Or close enough, anyway.)

The Arlo Ultra lets you see images as clearly as if it were broad daylight. (Or close enough, anyway.)

Keep in mind that you have to have the Arlo Ultra’s built-in spotlight turned on to have access to the color night vision feature. If you turn off the spotlight, then you’ll get regular ol’ infrared night vision.

Built-in siren and spotlight

We’ve already mentioned the Arlo Ultra’s built-in spotlight, but it bears repeating. This camera basically combines an outdoor security light with a top-notch camera, plus a built-in siren.

Potential intruders will be subjected to the upsetting experience of being lit up with a spotlight, screamed at by a blaring siren, and recorded in ultra-HD video quality. Plus, the Arlo Ultra has two-way audio, so you can join the fray and yell at intruders yourself through the mobile app.

We don’t know about you, but if we were looking for a house to break into, the sight of an Arlo Ultra would make us choose a different yard to sneak across.

Cloud and local storage options

The Arlo Ultra records to the cloud, but it also offers a local storage option. The Arlo base station has a slot for a microSD card where you can store footage locally, which keeps your footage more secure and thwarts hackers.

The best part is, you can still view locally-stored footage in the Arlo app. But, we’ve gotta say, the cloud recording experience is better.

Arlo Ultra pricing

This camera doesn’t come cheap. The Arlo Ultra costs a pretty penny.

Hands holding the Arlo Ultra camera over a wooden desktop

Source: Reviews.org

All those cool features don’t come cheap. The Arlo Ultra will cost you around $400 for a one-camera starter kit. That’s a lot of Benjamins to spend on a single camera.

The good news is that, if you need more than one camera, the price goes down a bit for add-on cams. The initial starter kit includes the Arlo base station. Once you have the base station, you can buy an additional camera (or two, or three) for about $300 each.

The Arlo Ultra will cost you around $400 for a one-camera starter kit.

We realize $300 is still not exactly cheap. But for comparison, the Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor costs $400 for the camera alone. (Google Nest cameras don’t require a base station or hub.) Of the two, the Arlo Ultra is a better value.

Arlo Smart subscription plans

The price doesn’t stop at just the price of the camera. To access the Arlo Ultra’s best features, you’re going to want to subscribe to an Arlo Smart plan. In fact, you’ll want to subscribe to the Arlo Smart Elite plan, which gives you full 4K cloud recording.

Without a subscription, your Arlo Ultra will record to the cloud only in the less-impressive 1080p resolution. You also don’t get features like person detection and smart alerts. Without the 4K plan, there’s really no point in paying for the 4K camera.

Features that require an Arlo Smart subscription: 

  • 4K cloud recording
  • Person and object detection (people, animals, packages, vehicles)
  • Custom activity zones
  • e911 emergency calling service

We think an Arlo Smart plan is worth it, but it is an extra cost you have to pay every month.

Arlo Smart plan pricing
PlanPrice*Cloud storageResolutionLearn more
Premier$2.99/mo./camera OR $9.99/mo./5 camerasUp to 30 daysUp to 2KView on Amazon
Elite$4.99/mo./camera* OR $14.99/5 camerasUp to 30 daysUp to 4KView on Amazon

Data effective 4/19/20. Offers subject to change.
* After five cameras, the price per additional camera goes down by 50%.

Keep in mind that Arlo Smart plans support event-based recording (EBR). That means the camera only records when it detects motion, and it stores these videos as clips. If you want continuous video recording (CVR), you’ll have to pay for an additional upgrade.

Arlo Ultra home automation

The Arlo Ultra works with all the main smart speakers.

The Arlo Ultra works with your favorite smart speakers, including HomeKit. You can ask Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri to show you your camera’s live feed or tell you when the camera detects motion.

You can also view your live feed, watch stored clips, and control your camera through the Arlo mobile app.

Arlo Ultra installation

Since Arlo Ultra doesn’t have any wires, installation is pretty simple.

Hands holding Arlo base station over a wooden desktop

Source: Reviews.org

The hardest part of installing your Arlo Ultra is deciding where to put it. Because this thing can go just about anywhere.

Unlike other security cameras that make you string wires and plug in cords, the Arlo Ultra is totally wire-free. Once you connect the camera to the base station, you can mount it just about anywhere. Plus, the camera snaps magnetically onto the base, which makes it easy to adjust the angle however you want.

Arlo Ultra installation steps: 

  • Set up an Arlo account, if you don’t have one already. Select the device you want to install. (In this case, that’s the Arlo Ultra.)
  • Plug the Ethernet cable into your internet router and then into the Arlo base station.
  • Insert the rechargeable battery into the Arlo Ultra.
  • Let the base station automatically detect your Arlo Ultra. It will ask you to select the correct serial number before it connects.
  • Install the camera mount wherever you want to put the camera. (An unobstructed view is best.)
  • Put the camera on the mount. It will magnetically attach. Then you can adjust the viewing angle.

Once the camera’s up and connected, you can adjust its settings in the Arlo mobile app.

Recap: Is the Arlo Ultra a good camera?

The Arlo Ultra has great tech and easy installation.

In short: yes, the Arlo Ultra is a good camera. It has some really cool features and packs a lot of tech into a single device. Plus, the Arlo Ultra’s easy to install.

Features: The Arlo Ultra has a ton of features we don’t usually see in wire-free, battery-powered cameras, including 4K resolution and color night vision. It also comes with sweet extras like a built-in siren and spotlight.

Pricing: You’ll pay around $400 for a single Arlo Ultra camera and (required) base station. Add-on cameras are $100 cheaper, but this is still a pretty pricey camera. Plus, you’ll want to add on an Arlo Smart subscription to get the most out of your device.

Home automation: The Arlo Ultra works with all the greatest smart speaker hits: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.

Installation: The Arlo Ultra runs off a rechargeable battery, so installation is a cinch. You basically just have to connect the base station to your internet and install the camera mount.

Do you think a higher price is worth it for really great security camera features? Do you use a smart security camera in your yard? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

Additional contributors

Steve Siems

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