The smart camera market has exploded over the past few years and we now have a wide variety of options at different price points. The Arlo Ultra and Nest Cam IQ Outdoor are definitely on the higher end of the spectrum, offering premium features for a premium price. While both cameras have a lot to offer, we do feel that the Arlo Ultra is the better buy.
Arlo and Nest are both brands with a large lineup of products, and both have a reputation for quality. While the Arlo Ultra has some perks that Nest doesn’t offer such as support for 4K video, local backup storage, and a built-in siren, both of the cameras in this comparison are quality products. With that said, with the Arlo Ultra packing in more features at a lower price-point, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a bit of a hard sell.
Below we break down the Arlo Ultra vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and discuss what each camera brings to the table. Read on for the full picture, or jump right to the sections you care about most using our navigation bar.
The Short Story
Arlo Ultra = 4K Ultra HD, 180° field of view, battery or AC powered, motion zones, built-in light and siren into the camera, full-color night vision, SD card slot for local storage, plus a free year of Arlo Smart Premier subscription.
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor = 1080p HD, 130° field of view, AC powered only, motion zones, “Familiar Faces” recognition, IR night vision, lacks 4K, built-in light and siren, full-color night vision, local storage, and complimentary subscription.
Which one are you getting?
Arlo Ultra vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor — Differences
Difference #1: Video Quality – One of the biggest differences worth discussing when comparing the Arlo Ultra vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is video quality.
The Nest Cam records in 1080p HD at 30 FPS, and uses H.264 video compression in order to reduce strain on your network.
Difference #2: Field of View – The Arlo Ultra pulls ahead when it comes to field of view as well, with an amazing 180° field of view. It’s one of the wisest viewing angles on the market, and gives you a comprehensive view of your home. The angle also gives you greater flexibility when it comes to camera placement, as you can cover all of the important areas from vantage points that aren’t necessarily ideal.
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor’s 130° is definitely passable, but you’re still going to run into issues with blind spots due to the less impressive field of view.
Difference #3: Power Options – One of the advantages that the Arlo Ultra has over the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the fact that it offers the option of using a rechargeable battery for power.
The Arlo Ultra features a newly designed rechargeable battery and a weather-resistant, magnetic charging cable suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. While we don’t imagine features like CVR will be available when the camera is running on battery power, it’s a nice feature to have on hand if you’d like some more flexibility with your camera placement.
Plus, you can pair the Arlo Ultra with the all-new Arlo Solar Panel for constant power.
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, on the other hand, only gives you the option for AC power. This means you’ll always need to be near a plug, which can limit the areas you’re able to install.
Difference #4: Advanced Motion Detection – Both cameras give you the option for motion zones and person detection, which helps you reduce the incidence of false alarms and ensure your video monitoring is concentrated in the areas that need it the most.
However, while Arlo Ultra has motion zones by default, you’ll need to purchase a Nest Aware subscription in order to use the functionality on the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.
One benefit that the Nest Cam does have, however, is a “Familiar Faces” recognition feature that can distinguish between friends and family and a legitimate threat.
So the Nest has some extra functionality with its subscription when compared to the Arlo, but you get more by default with the Arlo Ultra.
Difference #5: LED Lights – Having a spotlight can be great for shining a light on suspicious activity outdoors, and only the Arlo Ultra has a built-in light. It’s a powerfully bright spotlight that will activate when it detects motion, which should ensure that no one is able to sneak up on your home under cover of night.
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor does not have any lights, so you’d have to purchase one separately.
Difference #6: Night Vision – Since the Arlo Ultra has a spotlight, it’s able to use that illumination to provide full-color night vision besides standard IR black & white recording. The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, on the other hand, uses infrared light so you’ll only see a black and white picture, no color-night-vision option is available.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to using the spotlight as the primary method for night vision. You’ll get a full color picture, but the quality might be a little less reliable than a standard infrared filter so you might need to test and choose which night vision option is best for your Arlo Ultra camera.
Difference #7: Requires a Base Station – The Arlo Ultra, like most of the Arlo Cameras, does require a base station in order to function. In this case, that’s the Arlo SmartHub that connects to your router in order to provide extended range and manage the data traffic to and from the camera. The Nest Cam works on its own right out of the box without any additional technology.
It’s a little frustrating to have to find a spot for another piece of equipment around your router, but the hub does provide a more secure IoT network for all the devices that it supports. It also enables 4K video, Auto Track and Zoom, and local live streaming in Arlo Ultra Cameras Plus, a few other benefits that we’re about to discuss in the following differences.
Difference #8: Siren – One of the most useful aspects of the Arlo Ultra is the siren that’s built directly into the camera. You can set it up to automatically trigger when it detects motion and audio, or can manually activate it remotely using the Arlo App. It’s a great feature to have on hand, since it allows your camera to not only monitor your home, but also scare off intruders and alert your family so that they can get to safety.
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has no built-in siren, which is definitely a downside when compared to the extra security Arlo brings to the table.
Difference #9: Local Backup Storage – While the Arlo Ultra’s SmartHub may be a little inconvenient, it also adds some extra utility that you won’t find with the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. In addition to extending the WiFi, you’ll also have access to local backup storage using an SD card plugged into the base.
You can’t use this as the primary method of storage, but it’s nice to have on hand in the event that your internet drops and you aren’t able to upload footage directly to the cloud.
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor does not have any option for local storage, which can potentially lead to lost recordings in the event that your network has issues.
Difference #10: Cloud Storage & Subscription – Both cameras have a subscription plan that adds extra storage and additional features, although the two brands approach it from a different angle.
If you purchase the Arlo Ultra, you’ll receive a free year of Arlo Smart Premier (a $119.88 value). This plan provides some extra peace of mind and additional convenience for owners, with features like customized notifications that are powered by AI and computer vision technology. These additional features allow your camera to do a better job of identifying activity that is actually from people, rather than movement from animals or vehicles.
In addition to the extra detection capabilities for the camera, the Arlo Smart Premier subscription also comes with e911 access that will send the authorities to the camera’s location instead of the user’s location in the event of an emergency. You’ll also have access to cloud recordings at 1080p or lower resolution for up to 30 days, with storage for 4K clips available with an add-on subscription or on your microSD card for no additional charge.
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor gives you access to a 3-hour snapshot history by default, but the Nest Aware subscription adds in extra storage and features. There are three tiers broken down by the amount of video history they offer: 5-day for $5/month, 10-day for $10/month, or 30-day for $30/month.
In addition to that extra storage, you’ll have 24/7 CVR across all of your cameras, intelligent alerts, and access to activity zones.
Difference #11: App Support – Last but not least are some differences in app support. Both cameras do a great job overall with options to access and control your cameras through Android, iOS, and Web. However, Arlo as a brand is pretty unique in their support for FireOS as well, giving you control through devices like a Kindle Fire or your Fire TV.
Most people will probably end up using Android, iOS, or Web, but we’ll never complain about some extra compatibility!
The Arlo Ultra, on the other hand, is one of the few smart cameras on the market to record footage in 4K Ultra HD. The resolution provides better detail and clarity to the recording, and will also allow users to zoom in on their video clips in order to uncover critical information that could make all the difference in the event of an emergency.
Both cameras also feature HDR, which allows for a better quality picture under challenging lighting conditions.
While the Nest Cam’s resolution is certainly impressive, it pales in comparison to the quality that the Arlo Ultra has to offer.
Arlo Ultra vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor — Comparison Chart
|Arlo Ultra||Nest Cam IQ Outdoor|
|Video resolution||4K Ultra HD, HDR||1080p HD, Daytime HDR|
|Frames per Second||N/A||30 FPS|
|On-Demand Live View||Yes||Yes|
|Record Live View||Yes||with Nest Aware|
|Field of View||180°||130° diagonal|
|Zoom||Close-up tracking view||12x digital zoom and enhance
Close-up tracking view
|Two-Way Audio||Yes, HD||Yes, HD|
|Motion Zones||Yes||with Nest Aware|
|Night Vision||Color Night Vision||850 nm LEDs:
illuminates up to 25 feet
IR cut-off filter
|Internet Connection||N/A||WiFi: 2.4GHz or 5GHz|
|Requires a Base Station||Yes, Arlo SmartHub||No|
|Siren||Yes, in camera||No|
|24/7 Recording||Yes, with subscription||Yes, with Nest Aware|
|Local Backup Storage||SD Card
via Arlo SmartHub
|Cloud Storage||Includes a one-year subscription
to Arlo Smart Premier
|3-hour snapshot history
or with Nest Aware
|Review, Share, & Save||Yes||with Nest Aware|
|e911 Emergency Call||Yes||No|
|Instant App Alerts||Yes||Yes|
|App Support||Android, iOS, FireOS, Web||Android, iOS, Web|
|LED Lights||Spotlight||LED light ring|
|Amazon Alexa||Echo Show, Echo Spot||Echo Show, Echo Spot|
|Google Home Hub||Yes||Yes|
|Operating Temperature||Outdoor / Indoor||–40° to 113°F
(–40° to 45°C)
Arlo Ultra vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor — Things in Common
Live View – With either camera, you’ll have the ability to access and record live view through the dedicated app whenever you please. Just keep in mind that Nest requires a subscription in order to record.
Auto Zoom & Tracking – Both brands include an auto-zoom and tracking functionality, although there are some minor differences between the two.
The Arlo Ultra will intelligently adjust to movement and keep the frame focused on what matters, giving you a close-up tracking view of any motion.
The Nest Outdoor IQ has a very impressive 12x digital zoom and enhance functionality called Supersight. Using a 4K sensor with HDR and special algorithms, the camera can automatically focus in on the action and keep the recording focused on what matters most.
Two-Way Audio – Each camera gives you the ability to both listen in to any activity and speak to guests or intruders using two-way audio.
The Arlo Ultra is particularly good in this respect with dual, noise-cancelling microphones for a crystal-clear conversation. The noise cancellation feature does a great job of minimizing background noise and amplifying noise in the foreground such as voices.
The Nest’s HD “Talk and Listen” feature uses a built-in speaker and microphone with noise and echo suppression that is comparable to the Arlo Ultra.
Internet Connection – The Nest is a dual-band WiFi router, which means it can communicate using both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. This reduces congestion on your network since the data can be spread out rather than concentrated on a single band.
The Arlo Ultra has yet to release as of the time of this writing, but we have reasons to believe that it will be a dual-band model as well.
24/7 CVR – Continuous video recording is included with a Nest Aware subscription at prices ranging from $5 to $30 per month.
It’s likely that the Arlo Ultra will work the same as the Arlo Pro 2, which means that CVR will be available when the camera is plugged in. It’s unlikely that we’ll see the feature under battery power unless they are super powerful.
Arlo charges for CVR on a per-camera basis, at $9.99 per month for 14 days of storage and $19.99 per month for 30 days of storage.
Smart Home Integration – Smart home integration is roughly the same across both brands, with support for popular voice controllers like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant as well as conditional trigger platforms like IFTTT and Stringify.
The cameras also make it easy to pull up and view your feed on smart devices like the Echo Show, Echo Spot, or Google Home Hub.
Weather-resistant – The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and Arlo Ultra both do a great job at monitoring the exterior of your home and can stand up to the elements due to their weather resistance.
Arlo Ultra vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor — Accessories
As far as accessories go, the Arlo Ultra has a few useful accessories on pre-order. With additional Magnetic Wall Mounts you can easily change the Arlo Ultra camera placement. And since the Arlo Ultra uses a new battery, it’s a good idea to have an additional Rechargeable Battery in case you want to swap out and recharge your existing Arlo Ultra Camera’s battery. The Dual Battery Charging Station charges Arlo Ultra batteries 15% faster. Better yet, check out the Arlo Ultra Solar Panel Charger for constant green power. We do also expect to see some skins for further customization.
Arlo Ultra vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor — Our Thoughts
Ultimately, when comparing the Arlo Ultra vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, we think it’s pretty clear that Arlo has the edge. With features like 4K video, local backup, a built-in siren, and a 1-year subscription included free of charge, it’s attractive as it stands. When you consider that it’s also slightly less expensive than the Nest Cam, it truly becomes a no-brainer.
If you need a camera right away, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor will certainly provide a high-quality monitoring solution. If you’re willing to put the Arlo Ultra on pre-order, however, we feel that it’s definitely worth the wait.
Last update on 2021-04-13 at 15:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API