The 4K UHD Smart Cam market is in full swing with retailers hammering hard to get people to upgrade from full HD 1080p to ultra high definition.
So, should you upgrade, the answer is yes and no.
Take for example the new Arlo Ultra Full HD 4K Security camera, this has several new features apart from crystal-clear images at 3,840 × 2,160 resolution.
It also delivers panoramic 180-degree field of view image capture and a dual-microphone array with wind and noise cancellation making it ideal as an external camera solution.
From a technology perspective, the Arlo Ultra is every inch the next-generation smart cam the market has been waiting for. Shortly Swann will launch a new range of 4K cameras with new motion control features.
The new Arlo offering is compact, sleek, and sufficiently versatile for indoor or outdoor use, its impressively-wide field of view and clear 4K UHD imaging leads the market at this stage.
The new Ultra Arlo cameras are not cheap at $1,049 for a two camera rig at JB Hi Fi or The Good Guys, but neither is the technology and if you are serious about security this is an ideal external camera device.
In an ideal world you would go all 4K but that could be costly so what I suggest is that you consider Full HD for internal cameras where there is often lighter and 4K Ultra High Definition for external cameras.
The new Arlo 4K offering comes with an Ultra Smart Hub, this significantly upgraded device also allows you to mount an SD Card (See my comments further on in this review) which is an ideal solution if you don’t want to pay a monthly or annual cloud storage fee.
Inside the camera is 1.27 centimetre 8-megapixel image sensor that delivers the crystal-clear 3,840 × 2,160 resolution images. Your Full HD cameras deliver 1080p and 720p resolution.
Other features built into this 4K camera is dual motion detection, advanced object detection, automatic tracking, and a zoom capability.
External security cameras deliver serious peace of mind, apart from knowing that the kids got home safety these cameras also deliver colour night vision, and an integrated spotlight that boosts the camera’s security capability.
The bright 6500K illumination eliminates shadows at night time and when there is a real danger an integrated siren will go off if an intruder is detected prowling around your property.
The new Arlo cameras that I tested come in Gloss white, I would prefer black as the colour is more discreet.
These cameras are slightly larger than the Full HD cameras at 3.5 × 2.0 × 3.1” (89 × 52 × 78mm). They are also heavier at 331gram.
Recently Police arrested a child molester in Mosman after I was able to supply crystal clear footage of a man who was subsequently arrested and charged with several offences.
The man had walked past my house prior to the incident which happened just up the road from my house the images were shot on an Arlo Full HD camera that was in place at the time.
The reason that the 4K cameras are slightly larger and heavier is because of an improved chassis design built to house the Arlo Ultra’s rechargeable batteries.
A real neat feature is the introduction of a new magnetic charging system which charges super-fast compared to previous Arlo cameras and several other camera brands we have tested.
The Arlo Smart Hub which comes with the Ultra 4K package, will in the future allow third-party device connections that are based on the Zigbee and Z-Wave platforms.
What this means is that if you own products like a Philips Hue, Sonos sound system, Yale locks or some Wi Fi capable Bose gear the Hub can become a defecto standard to connect devices, however I am not confident that this system is going to be powerful enough for future demands.
Setting up this device was extremly easy so was the mounting of the cameras which attach to a magnetic mount that only needs one screw and because the mount is magnetic it’s easy to position the camera to ensure an optimal view of surroundings.
The camera itself also has a flat base which makes it easy to place on a shelf or desktop.
The 180-degree field of view offers a wide view of a location where the camera is mounted this comes in handy when mounted at the front or back of a building, what I also found was that the image quality was not compromised by the use of a wide angle camera lens. Another benefit of the external cameras is the integrated spotlight which does a good job of illuminating a moving target.
What I did was format a microSD and inserted it into the Arlo SmartHub.
The feature was enabled in the app, and the microSD card was registered on the SmartHub, however if you are thinking of being able to access the SD Card over a network, forget it because the only way to access this data is by taking out the SD Card and putting it into a mobile, tablet or PC.
Arlo are saying that an upgrade will be issued shortly that allows owners to access the SIM over a network a move that could reduce the amount of people who pay a monthly subscription for an Arlo cloud account.
This is a bizarre restriction that should have been fixed prior to the Ultra 4K cameras being launched.
The Arlo Ultra is every inch the next-generation smart camera. The real benefit of this device is under the bonnet and the use of a powerful processor that can not only capture high resolution data but deliver it to screen as a clear recognisable image or video.
It’s compact, sleek, and sufficiently versatile multiple use especially as an external camera, it’s also easy to set up with a seriously impressive wide angle camera capability.
This device is very much an early model and as software upgrades are added I suspect that the capabilities will become more enhanced. However, Arlo needs to fix their SD storage problem making it easily available over a network.