Since the release of Arlo Ultra, it’s quite clear that it’s one of the most advanced options on the market for home video monitoring. Arlo has already proven with their Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2 that they can provide a premium experience, and the Arlo Ultra is one of the first smart cameras to record security footage in 4K. That quality comes at a price, but for many the improvements may be worth it…or not? Well, it’s time to find it out.
Below we compare the Arlo Ultra vs. Arlo Pro 2 to hopefully help make the shopping process a little bit easier. Read on below for a comprehensive review, or jump right down to a specific section using our navigation bar.
The Short Story
Arlo Ultra = 4k HD video, 180° diagonal FoV, auto zoom & tracking capability, IR/color night vision, built-in LED spotlight and siren in the camera, new Arlo SmartHub as a base with an SD card slot for local storage, plus a free year of Arlo Smart Premier subscription.
Arlo Pro 2 = 1080p HD with 130° FoV, IR night vision, local USB storage and siren via Arlo base, lacks 4K, auto zoom & tracking, built-in floodlight, and complimentary subscription.
Which one are you getting?
Arlo Ultra vs. Arlo Pro 2 — Differences
Difference #1: Video Quality – The Arlo Pro 2 records at 1080p with 30 FPS, which is pretty standard as far as smart cameras go. However, Arlo Ultra is a major step forward with the ability to record in 4K Ultra HD. If that wasn’t a big enough jump forward, the Arlo Ultra also includes HDR capabilities that allow for extra detail and clarity in challenging lighting conditions.
This is perhaps the biggest difference when comparing the Arlo Ultra vs. Arlo Pro 2.
Difference #2: Field of View – With a 180° diagonal field of view, the Arlo Ultra provides on of the widest viewing angles in the smart camera market. This gives you a lot more flexibility when it comes to placement, since you can still keep an eye on all activity within the area even with less-than-ideal camera placement.
The Arlo Pro 2 has a 130° field of view which is decent but definitely not as comprehensive at what the Arlo Ultra brings to the table.
Difference #3: Auto Zoom – One of the cooler features of the Arlo Ultra is its ability to auto-zoom and track movement (kind of like Nest Cam IQ). Whenever motion is detected, the Ultra will instantly respond and focus in on the action — following along to keep it centered in the frame. This is a great utility to have on hand to provide valuable video evidence that can keep up with the commotion and fast movements of a home invasion or theft.
The Arlo Pro 2 does have an 8x digital zoom, but it pales in comparison to this auto zoom and tracking capability.
Difference #4: Power Options – Both devices provide both Rechargeable Battery and AC options for power. The Ultra, however, features a newly redesigned battery equipped with a weather-resistant, magnetic charging cable suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
Since there’s an upgrade with the battery, it’s possible that the battery life will be better than with the Pro 2, but at this point, it’s just speculation. Plus, it seems like the 4K and auto tracking will drain the battery pretty fast, so it’s better to opt in for wired charging. The Arlo Ultra works with the solar panel — the Arlo Ultra Solar Panel is specifically designed for the Arlo Ultra cameras.
The Arlo Pro 2’s rechargeable battery has a battery life of 3-6 months, but is also compatible with the Arlo Solar Panel to make charging a thing of the past.
Difference #5: Two-Way Audio – Both models feature a two-way audio feature that allows you to both listen in and speak directly through the camera. However, the Arlo Ultra has been upgraded with dual noise-canceling microphones that take the audio quality to a whole new level. With this upgraded equipment, you should be able to have clearer and more natural conversations, with advanced noise cancellation that minimizes background noise and puts the focus on what really matters such as voices.
The Arlo Pro 2’s two-way audio is just the standard setup, without the upgrade to the microphones.
Difference #6: LED Lights – The Arlo Ultra has a built-in LED spotlight that will activate whenever movement is detected. This is a great perk to have on hand, especially when using the camera outdoors to monitor your entryway and yard.
The Arlo Pro 2 is compatible with the Arlo Security Light, but that’s sold separately rather than included in the camera itself.
Difference #7: Night Vision – The Arlo Ultra’s integrated spotlight allows for color night vision — illuminating the darkness in order to record in full color, yet it can also use an infrared light for black & white night video. The Arlo Pro 2 uses standard infrared night vision with an included IR cut-off filter so it’s only capable of producing black and white night video recording.
Difference #8: Base Station – Both cameras require the Arlo Base Station in order to function. The Arlo Pro 2 uses the Arlo Pro Base Station in order to extend the camera’s range and add in features such as a built-in siren and local backup storage.
The Arlo Ultra uses the new Arlo SmartHub instead, which connects to the router to extend the range of WiFi and create a more secure dedicated IoT network for all devices connected to the base station. All current generations of Arlo wire-free cameras are forwards compatible with the Ultra SmartHub. This means that you can pair your existing Arlo, Arlo Pro, and Arlo Pro 2 cameras with the new Arlo SmartHub. However, don’t expect your older gen cameras to start shooting in 4K.
The Arlo Ultra SmartHub enables 4K video, Auto Track and Zoom, and local live streaming in Arlo Ultra Cameras. It’s also important to note that while all Arlo wire-free cameras are forward compatible with the Arlo Ultra SmartHub, the Arlo Ultra cameras are not backwards compatible with older generation Arlo base stations (like Arlo and Arlo Pro Base Stations.) In the meantime, there’s a chance that Arlo will introduce full backwards compatibility sometime at a future update, but there’s no ETA.
Difference #9: Siren – Both cameras feature a siren, but with the Arlo Ultra it’s built directly into the camera while it’s part of the Arlo Pro base station with the Arlo Pro 2.
Neither setup is necessarily better than the other, with both offering their own benefits and drawbacks. While it’s nice to have a siren on the camera itself, it also draws attention to the video monitoring which could potentially leave you with a smashed camera if you’re not careful.
With the siren built into the base, it’s less likely that a criminal could easily disable it outside of finding the location of your router.
Difference #10: Local Backup Storage – The local backup storage on the Arlo Ultra uses a microSD card plugged directly into the SmartHub. The Arlo Pro 2 uses USB storage instead, which plugs into the Arlo Pro base Station.
With the Arlo Pro 2, it’s important to keep in mind that local storage can’t be the only option — you’ll still need to use cloud storage as the primary method of keeping track of footage. However, it’s great to have as an option in the event that your internet goes down since you won’t end up with lost footage.
As of now you can’t really check local recordings via the Arlo app. To view videos saved on a local storage USB or SD card, you need to remove the USB/SD card from your Arlo Pro Base or Arlo Ulta SmartHub. The good news is that Arlo is planning to add local and remote access to local storage via the Arlo app free of charge for the Arlo Ultra cameras, without requiring any monthly service fee. This update should roll out sometime in the second half of 2019.
Difference #11: Cloud Storage & Subscription – The subscription for both cameras is known as Arlo Smart. This service is broken into three tiers: Arlo Smart Basic, Premier, and Elite. All three subscription models offer the same features, with the only difference being the length of cloud storage offered and the number of Arlo cameras supported.
The basic free plan provides 7 days of rolling cloud storage and support for up to 5 cameras. Arlo Smart Premier costs $9.99 per month, upgrades the storage to 30 days, and supports up to 10 cameras. Arlo Smart Elite, at $14.99 per month, provides 60 days of storage and expands coverage to 20 Arlo cameras.
In addition to the three subscription tiers, there’s an additional package you can purchase called the Arlo Smart Add-on. At $2.99 per camera, the Add-on adds in some additional security features to your camera.
The main benefits of the Add-on are the expanded abilities for your camera’s motion detection — namely the addition of person detection and cloud activity zones to allow your camera to better distinguish between legitimate threats and harmless motion. This package also adds in Rich Notifications to allow you to instantly respond to an alert with a single swipe in the event of an emergency, and e911 Emergency Call Service that will sent authorities to the location of your camera in the event of a crisis rather than to the location of your phone.
The main difference between the Arlo Pro 2 and the Arlo Ultra is that the Arlo Ultra comes with a free year of Arlo Smart Premier while the Pro 2 requires that you purchase the service separately. If you’re like to store 4K footage in the cloud rather than just 1080p, however, you’ll need to purchase a separate subscription — or alternatively rely on local storage.
Arlo Ultra vs. Arlo Pro 2 — Comparison Chart
|Arlo Ultra||Arlo Pro 2|
|Video resolution||4K Ultra HD, HDR||1080p HD|
|Frames per Second||N/A||30 FPS|
|On-Demand Live View||Yes||Yes|
|Record Live View||Yes||Yes|
|Field of View||180°||130°|
|Zoom||Yes||8x digital zoom|
|Power||Rechargeable Battery/AC||Rechargeable Battery/AC|
|Optional Power Source||N/A||Solar Panel|
|Battery Life||N/A||Battery: 3-6 months
|Two-Way Audio||Dual, noise-canceling microphones||Yes|
|Motion Detection||Yes||Up to 23 feet|
|Motion Zones||Yes||Up to 3 activity zones when plugged-in|
|Person Detection||Yes||With Subscription|
|Night Vision||Color Night Vision||850 nm LEDs:
illuminates up to 25 feet
IR cut-off filter
|Internet Connection||N/A||WiFi: 2.4GHz|
|Requires a Base Station||Yes, Arlo SmartHub||Yes, Arlo Base Station|
|Max # of Cameras per Base Station||N/A||15|
|Siren||Yes, in camera||Via the Base|
|24/7 Recording||Optional||Optional when plugged-in|
|Local Backup Storage||SD Card via Arlo SmartHub||Via the Base|
|Cloud Storage||Includes a one-year subscription
to Arlo Smart Premier
|7-Day Free / Subscription|
|Review, Share, & Save||Yes||Yes|
|e911 Emergency Call||Yes||With Subscription|
|Instant App Alerts||Yes||Yes|
|App Support||Android, iOS, FireOS, Web||Android, iOS, FireOS, Web|
|Rich Notifications||Yes||With Subscription|
|LED Lights||Spotlight||Sold Separately
Arlo Security Light
|Amazon Alexa||Yes (Amazon Echo)||Echo Show, Echo Spot|
|Google Home Hub||Yes||–|
|Operating Temperature||Outdoor / Indoor||-4° to 113° F|
Arlo Ultra vs. Arlo Pro 2 — Things in Common
Live View – Both the Arlo and Arlo Pro 2 give you the ability to access and record your video stream whenever you’d like with an on-demand live view available for no additional charge.
Motion & Sound Detection – Motion and Sound Detection featured on both models allows the cameras to alert you of possible threats, and advanced features like motion zones and person detection reduce the incidence of false alarms and ensure you’re only being notified for legitimate suspicious activity.
Internet Connection – There hasn’t been any information released on the Arlo Ultra’s internet connectivity so there’s a possibility that it will be a dual-band device, but it’s at least safe to say that both devices support 2.4GHz WiFi.
24/7 CVR – The Arlo Pro 2 supports CVR when plugged in but not when running off of battery power. We anticipate that it will be the same for the Arlo Ultra unless there are significant advancements in battery technology.
CVR for Arlo is charged on a per-camera basis at $9.99/month for 14 days of storage or $19.99/month for 30 days.
App Support – The Arlo App is one of the more compatible options on the market, with support for Android, iOS, FireOS, and Web access.
Smart Home Integration – Both the Arlo Ultra and Arlo Pro 2 feature the same smart home integration, with support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant as well as conditional trigger systems like IFTTT and Stringify.
Arlo Ultra takes things one step further with integration with Google Home Hub, which allows you to see a live video feed from your camera directly on the Home Hub display.
Arlo Ultra vs. Arlo Pro 2 — Accessories
Arlo offers a wide range of accessories for the Arlo Ultra cameras. With the additional Magnetic Wall Mounts you can easily move your camera around the house. Plus, in case your Arlo Ultra camera runs low on power, you can use this Rechargeable Battery to swap out and recharge your Arlo Ultra Camera’s battery. You can always recharge the battery while it’s in the camera, or use the Dual Charging Station instead. There’s also the Arlo Ultra Solar Charger available.
The Arlo Pro 2 can be enhanced by the addition of an Arlo Security Light since there isn’t a light built directly into the camera. If you’re planning on using battery power to run your camera, you may want to purchase an extra Rechargeable Battery and/or a Solar Panel so you don’t have to worry about the charging process. Lastly, we’d like to mention the line of Arlo Pro 2 Skins that allow you to give your Arlo Pro 2 a premium aesthetic that perfectly complements your home.
Arlo Ultra vs. Arlo Pro 2 — Our Thoughts
It’s difficult to say which camera is the better buy when looking at the Arlo Ultra vs. Arlo Pro 2 side by side. There’s no doubt that the Arlo Ultra is an improvement in almost every way, and there are really no advantages that the Arlo Pro 2 has from a features or specifications standpoint outside of being fully forward and backward compatible.
However, the Arlo Ultra is also pretty expensive, and it’s debatable as to whether that extra fee is worth the extra costs. While prices may vary, you’ll generally be paying more for the Ultra when compared to the Pro 2, and the Pro 2 is already a pretty high-end camera.
So, long story short, we think the Arlo Ultra is one of the best options on the market, but it’s up to you whether you feel that premium quality is worth the price of entry.
Last update on 2021-01-15 at 11:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API