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Which high-end Arlo security camera should you get — Pro 3 or Ultra?

Top-of-the-line

Arlo Ultra

arlo-ultra-official-render.png

$458 at Amazon

Pros

  • Better image sensors and resolution
  • Dual-microphone array
  • Wider field of view
  • Double-motion detectors
  • Year-long Arlo Smart subscription included

Cons

  • Most expensive Arlo security camera
  • Can only use with included Arlo hub

The Arlo Ultra system packs in all the features you’d expect from the company’s best security camera. 4K UHD video, dual-microphone noise cancellation, a wider field of view, and a broader temperature range make for a mighty home surveillance device.

The next best thing

Arlo Pro 3

arlo-pro-3-official-render_0.png

$400 at Amazon

Pros

  • Less expensive than Ultra
  • Compatible with more Arlo hubs
  • Three-month Arlo Smart subscription included

Cons

  • Lower quality sensors and resolution
  • Less free cloud storage than the Ultra

While it may not have the highest-end specs, this camera system is still impressive. It can record in 2K HDR, which is more than enough for most people, and it has similar if scaled-back capabilities to the Arlo Ultra.

When comparing Arlo Pro 3 vs. Arlo Ultra, two security camera systems with the words “Ultra” and “Pro” in the product names, you expect premium features for a premium price. So what separates these top-tier devices, and why should you care? Either way, you’ll be getting a camera system that is more than capable of providing all the detail you need to watch over your home.

Arlo Pro 3 vs. Arlo Ultra: The best of Arlo

Both of these camera systems have impressive specs, but what’s interesting to me is how far the Ultra is ahead of the Pro 3 in certain areas. Will those advantages ultimately matter to you? Let’s tale a look before we decide.

Power Source Battery(can power/charge over cable)3-6 months3.5 hour charge time Battery(can power/charge over cable)3-6 months3.5 hour charge time
Wireless Yes Yes
Image Sensor 8mp1/2 inch 4mp1/3 inch
Resolution 4K with HDR at 2160 p 2K with HDR at 1440p
Video Modes 4K, 1080p, 72op 2K, 1080p, 720p
24/7 Recording Yes Yes
2-Way Audio Yes Yes
Noise Cancellation Dual-microphone arrayNoise and wind cancellation Single microphoneNoise and echo cancellation
Field of View 180-degree 160-degree
Night Vision Yes (color) Yes (color)
Integrated Spotlight Yes Yes
Alerts Motion and Sound Motion and Sound
Motion Detection Double motion detectors150-degree horizontal Single motion detector130-degree horizontal
Indoor/Outdoor Use Yes Yes
Networking Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/acBluetooth Low Energy 4.2 Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Weather Resistance Yes (IP65)-4 to 140 F Yes (IP65)-4 to 113 F
Smart Assistants Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
Local Storage Yes (up to 2TB through the hub) Yes (up to 2TB through the hub)
Arlo Hub Compatability VMB5000 (included) VMB4540 (included)Also compatible with VMB4000, VMB 500, and VMB5000
Free Cloud Storage One year Arlo Smart Premier subcription(after trial requires paid subscription) Three month Arlo Smart subscription(after trial requires paid subscription)
Subscription Options From $3/month (up to 30 days)To access higher resolution clips requires subscription. From $3/month (up to 30 days)

Arlo Pro 3 vs. Arlo Ultra: For the Pros

arlo-pro-3-lifestyle-hero.jpg

I’ve said this many times, but it can be tricky telling these high-end Arlo camera systems apart from one another. They’re all white, pill-shaped boxes with black cameras, lights, and some sort of microphone array. If you lined up a bunch of the Ultras and Pro series cameras, you might not know which is which. The company is nothing if not consistent in its design!

If you’re looking for an excellent high-end security camera system for your home, the Pro 3 should tick most of your boxes. It’s weatherproof with an IP65 rating, which means it’s suitable for the indoors. You get high-resolution images at 2K / 1440p, and it features a noise-canceling microphone so you can clearly hear who is around your house and carry on a two-way conversation with them.

Arlo cameras are typically available in bundles of two to four devices, paired with an Arlo hub/base station. For this comparison, I chose to match up the two camera packages so that we were looking at apples to apples. What’s interesting is that if you already have an Arlo hub/base station, the Pro 3 might be compatible with it. These cameras can work with several different Arlo hubs, as opposed to the Ultra, which only works with the hub it ships with.

Arlo Pro 3 vs. Arlo Ultra: The age of Ultra

arlo-ultra-official-lifestyle.jpg

Looking at the spec table and the Pro 3 section above, you might be wondering why you should continue reading. It seems like the Pro 3 has everything you need to keep a watchful eye over your home, and you know what? You’re right! The Pro 3 is an excellent camera system, but it’s bested by the Ultra in several key areas.

The first area is the camera quality. The Ultra is capable of recording 4K video at 2160p and has an 8MP camera compared to 4MP on the Pro 3. Plus, the sensor is slightly bigger. Both cameras are capable of two-way audio and both feature noise cancellation, but the Ultra uses two microphones for improved noise cancellation instead of one for the Pro 3. The Ultra has a wider field of view (180 vs. 160 degrees), and its motion-detection capabilities are better with two separate detectors scanning a 150-degree horizontal range compared to a single detector at a 130-degree horizontal range.

The second area is video storage. Both camera systems are capable of storing up to 2TB of video locally via the hub/base station, and both come with a set amount of free Arlo Smart cloud storage. The difference is, the Ultra comes with a full year of free cloud storage, whereas the Pro 3 only gets three months. The one downside to Arlo’s subscription plans is that with the 4K recordings on the Ultra, you’ll need to pay for your subscription after the year is up to access your higher resolution recordings from the cloud.

What’s left? How about the price? Of course, the highest-end model has the best specs, but that typically comes at a cost. It’s true that the Ultra is more expensive than the Pro 3, but not by as much as you’d think. The two-camera configuration I looked at runs a little over $100 more for the Ultra than the Pro 3. That may be enough of a deterrent for many, but for those who want the best of the best, it probably won’t hold them back.

Arlo Pro 3 vs. Arlo Ultra: Which should you buy?

If you made it this far, you can tell that I’d recommend the Ultra over the Pro 3. Both camera systems are fantastic, and either would serve most folks exceptionally well. It just seems to me that if you’re comparing the most premium devices from Arlo, that high-end details matter to you. Since the systems are priced competitively, that seals my decision to recommend the Ultra as Arlo’s best available security camera.

Top shelf specs

Arlo Utra

arlo-ultra-official-render.png

Truly professional grade

$458 at Amazon
$580 at Walmart
$490 at Newegg

The features of the Arlo Ultra border on overkill for most, but that’s precisely what security-obsessed consumers are looking for.

More than good enough

Arlo Pro 3

arlo-pro-3-official-render_0.png

Pro-sumer cameras

$400 at Amazon
$400 at Best Buy

The Pro 3 features a built-in spotlight, 2K HDR recording, and color night vision, which makes it ideal for most homes.

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