Arlo Ultra vs Nest Cam IQ

Arlo Ultra Review and Comparison to Nest Cam IQ

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On November 30th, 2018, Arlo Technologies announced a new flagship home security camera that directly competes with Google’s Nest Cam IQ. In this Arlo Ultra 4K review, I’ll take a closer look at the new wire-free camera and see how it stacks up against the current technological leader in consumer home security cameras.

Arlo Ultra (4.5/5)
Nest Cam IQ (4.3/5)
Arlo had pulled the new camera after early adopters filed complaints about its quality and performance. When the Arlo Ultra relaunched, I got to finally test it. After a few days of testing, I can report, that there are still software / firmware issues the company needs to iron out.

Arlo Ultra 4K Review

Arlo Ultra Kit with Hub
Arlo Ultra Kit with Smart Hub
  • 4K HDR Video Resolution
  • 180° Distortion-free View
  • Integrated LED Spotlight for Enhanced Night Vision
  • Two-way Audio with Noise-Cancelling Microphones
  • Built-in alarm siren
  • Wire-free

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The new Arlo wireless camera is arguably one of the most advanced home security cameras available for consumers today. Just based on its specifications, it surpasses the already impressive Nest Cam IQ in many areas.

Video Resolution

Unlike the Nest Cam IQ, the Arlo Ultra features a true 4K image sensor with High Dynamic Range (HDR). The higher resolution sensor allows the camera to capture more details. The benefit of the increased video resolution is that is that you can zoom in farther to identify small objects such as a car’s license plate.

The higher dynamic range allows the camera to capture more details in challenging lighting situations that would usually result in washed out or too dark images.

However, 4K streaming only works when you access the camera’s stream from your local wireless network, assuming it is fast enough. If you stream video remotely, for example via LTE or 4G, you’ll only get the regular 1080p resolution to conserve bandwidth and fidelity.

It’s important to note that you only get local 4K video streaming, if you don’t have “Auto Zoom & Tracking” enabled. In other words, you can only enable one of those two options at the time. Fortunately, both HDR and 4K streaming work simultaneously.

Additionally, Arlo does not support storing 4K video footage in the cloud, due to the larger file size of 4K video clips. However, the new Arlo Smart Hub provides a local storage option via a microSD card slot that allows you to store full 4K resolution clips. To access your stored recordings, you can use the same Arlo mobile app that also supports previous camera models.

Arlo Ultra - Panoramic View
Arlo Ultra – Panoramic View

Field of View (FOV)

One of the most impressive features of this smart security camera is its ability to capture a 180-degree view without distortion. Most cameras, such as the Arlo Pro 2 or the Nest Cam IQ are limited to 130 degrees.

As a result, you can get a perfect panoramic view of the camera’s surroundings. That means, you can likely cover your property with fewer cameras, which reduces the amount of money you have to spend.

The wide FOV is what I like most about the Arlo Ultra. I installed mine in the front of the house, which gives me an overview of the front yard and driveway.

Arlo Smart Person Detection
Arlo Smart Person Detection

Person and Object Detection

In recent months, Arlo has stepped up its game when it comes to improving its motion detection capab