FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

Hands-on review: Arlo rings my bell and offers Ultra + Security

By Owen McCarthy
Mon 4 May 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The Arlo Ultra + Wire-Free Security Camera System

During my time in lockdown, I have been looking at some of Arlo’s home security products.  At the core of these are the Ultra + cameras and Arlo’s Advanced SmartHub. I was also given the Arlo Audio Doorbell and Arlo Chime, and it has been interesting seeing how well these products integrate. 

The Arlo Ultra + cameras offer 4K quality, with colour night-vision, built-in siren and spotlights and the ability to chat with your visitor, whether it’s your favourite mother-in-law, the neighbour’s cat or someone intent on ‘redistributing’ your hard-earned belongings. For those of us who wonder at those grainy security photos that crop up on Police 10-7 or Wellington Paranormal, my two favourite reality cop shows, prepare to be disappointed. Even at dusk, the photos are rather good with plenty of colour. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to take a bad one yet! 

To start off, first download the Arlo app from your Android or iOS store.  Everything is controlled from the app and routed via the Arlo hub. 

The Arlo Advanced SmartHub  
The Arlo Hub is the unobtrusive hub of the system. Setting up was quick and straightforward. Adding all the components took mere minutes, and I’ve been creative when naming them, choosing a particularly outstanding feature of our neighbourhood. I’ll be dusting off my electric screwdriver and mounting one camera, which I’ve named ‘Front Door’ in the front porch. More about that later.  

You can angle the camera to get the best view of what’s happening, and you can even focus on what parts of the picture you want to include in your security screening. This means that if your neighbour drives out, your camera won’t wake you up. (My neighbour leaves punctually for work at 4:45 AM, but I’m no longer alerted by my phone and can continue sleeping blissfully unaware of their early start.) 

Arlo Ultra + Cameras

Camera specifications:

  • 4K Video with HDR
  • Colour Night Vision
  • Integrated Spotlight (note: guaranteed to surprise visiting felines looking to make deposits in your garden!)
  • 180º Viewing angle (so make sure you position your cameras to take the most advantage of this)
  • Crystal Clear 2-Way Audio (No matter where you are, you can chat with your visitors)
  • Advanced SmartHub
  • Weather Resistant 
  • Battery life: 3-6 months 
  • Battery Charge time: 3.5 hours

The second camera in my kit is mounted in my study, and I’m about to take a selfie to show you the picture quality. Note the carefully stacked cartons, adding to the ambience of my workspace. You will be wowed of course by the clear detail and the author’s dashing good looks.  

Suffice to say, being able to take still snapshots from the live feed and then download or email them from your phone is a brilliant option. You can have Billy Burglar’s mugshot posted before he’s even picked the lock. I’m impressed by the high resolution and have easily checked in from remote locations and watched the wind gently wafting through the leaves of the trees in our street. The sound quality is crystal clear too which means you can have a two-way chat with your visitors from wherever you happen to be.  Via the Smart Hub, you can pair the doorbell with the security camera.  

The Arlo app is clearly set out and simple to follow. I only encountered one problem: I can only take still shots from one of the cameras.  After that, if I want to capture a still from the other, I had to remove and reinstall that camera. It’s a very minor bug that I’m sure will have a fix.

I was thinking that 180º of viewing angle sounded a trifle much, but as you can see, the camera does a very good job of not making everything look too fish-eyed. To give you an indication, the Blue Microphone is only slightly offset to the front of the camera. The shots you get are easy to see, and I doubt that any user will need to worry about having security shots that are too grainy. The cameras also come with spotlights built-in, ensuring you will be able to see any night visitors clearly. 

Arlo was kind enough to include two mounts, one that screws into the rear of the camera, and another magnetic mount that requires another fitting that I don’t have. 

The cameras are powered by rechargeable batteries while the doorbell takes two AA batteries. You can keep track of battery levels via the Arlo app, but you can expect between 3 – 6 months of operation between charges. If you have the cameras on continuously, you’ll see a corresponding reduction in battery time. You can tweak settings in the app depending on your own preferences. 

Included in the kit are the screws for both the magnetic and the screw-in fittings. Both make it easy to remove the cameras for recharging.  I found it very easy to set up, and even after three weeks of intensive poking around, I am still discovering features. I have enjoyed playing with the settings, rotating the camera views, talking to myself when trialling the doorbell, and taking a few selfies purely for demonstration purposes of course. 

You can also add an SD card if you want to store footage in-camera. If you are going to invest in your home’s security, make sure you look at the available accessories available. You may want to add more cameras, or even change their locations, in which case you may want to fix a few more of either the magnetic or screw-in fittings. The clarity of the photographs will be sure to outwit more than a few defendants in the future.

The Arlo Audio Doorbell

Adding the doorbell is a no-brainer. Operating on Murphy’s Law, I know now that vital courier drop-offs always seem to occur when I’m hanging out the washing, shopping, or in the shower. I can now chat with my visitors no matter my location, and it’s one more way to add to your peace of mind. 

It's interesting to see that Arlo is not resting on its laurels. I recently heard that the company is releasing a video doorbell, which will mean you can angle your existing camera for other hotspots near your entrance. With an easy-to-use interface and a variety of choices in settings, you’d be well advised to examine Arlo’s range of home security offerings. Stay safe and keep on bubbling! 

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Data Protection
How secure is accounting software data in Aotearoa?
A recent Xero study found ICT spending for NZ businesses has increased 25% compared to pre-pandemic levels, so how safe is accounting software?
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: GoDice
In a world where we’re more connected than ever to our smart devices, startup company Particula believes that its innovative product GoDice is the answer to getting everyone reconnected with one another - by turning that smart device into an interactive board game.
Story image
Gaming
Sony releases a new gaming gear brand for PC gamers
Sony has unveiled INZONETM, a new gaming gear brand for PC gamers that makes gaming more immersive and offers greater gaming ability.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Retailers must invest in new tech to keep up with online shopping demand
There's a higher demand for more purchasing opportunities at our fingertips, as well as greater expectations when it comes to the online customer experience."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Adobe launches AI-powered updates to Photoshop and Lightroom
Adobe says the updates use Adobe Sensei AI and machine learning to simplify complex workflows and streamline cross-device collaboration.
Story image
Skills shortage
Tech salaries increase as skills shortage inflates expectations
More technology professionals will receive a pay rise this coming financial year than last, with skills shortages creating a once-in-a-career market.
Story image
Apple
Apple’s watchOS 9 and its new features, including a medications app
The new watch0S 9 gives users more watch faces, an updated workout and sleep app and a brand new medications app.
Story image
Cloud
Apple unveils M2 with 50% more memory bandwidth than M1
Compared to M1, M2 has an 18% faster CPU, a 35% more powerful GPU, a 40% faster Neural Engine, and delivers 50% more memory bandwidth and up to 24GB of fast unified memory.
Story image
Design
Hands-on review: Samsung S22 Ultra
I have been impressed by the functions Samsung packed into this phone. I did actually make one phone call on this phone, in between trying out as many of its other uses that I could pack in.
Story image
Cloud
Adobe Substance 3D updates, looks to the metaverse
A look at all of Adobe's major updates for Substance 3D and how its services are enabling businesses to get metaverse ready.
Story image
Cloud
Google announces new version of Chromecast with remote features
Google has announced its newest version of Chromecast, featuring a variety of new features and a new look.
Story image
N4L
N4L, Spark, Chorus partner for Hyperfibre school upgrade
Networks for Learning (N4L) has partnered with Spark and Chorus to upgrade Wellington College to Hyperfibre, fostering stronger outcomes for students and teachers.
Story image
Terramaster
TerraMaster launches its T6-423 Professional NAS with TOS 5 OS
Shenzhen-based data storage manufacturer, TerraMaster, has launched the T6-423 6-bay tower NAS.
Story image
Christchurch
Enable launches free Wi-Fi in Christchurch city centre
Fibre broadband provider, Enable, and the Christchurch City Council have launched their new Christchurch Free Wi-Fi service in the central city. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
The link between cybersecurity, extremist threat and misinformation online in Aotearoa
Long story short, it's often the case that misinformation, threat and extremism link closely to cybersecurity issues and cyber harm.
Story image
Web Development
Whitecliffe fosters careers for the future of tech
Do you want a career in Information Technology, Networking, Web Development, Software Development, or are you looking to upskill?
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60
Philips’ range of Hue smart lighting promises to make any home a smart home. Techday’s Darren Price checks out the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60.
Story image
Broadband
Mercury launches broadband and fibre packages for NZ customers
Mercury has officially launched Mercury Broadband, giving its electricity and gas customers the ability to add fibre to their existing Mercury account.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Publicis Sapient and The Man Cave drive digital transformation for mental health
Publicis Sapient and The Man Cave are joining forces to help support the mental health and wellbeing of young men around the world.
Story image
Commerce Commission
ComCom puts electronics sector on notice over resale price maintenance
The Commerce Commission has concluded an investigation into allegations that television manufacturers were engaging in illegal resale price maintenance.
Story image
Gaming
Intel Arc A380 graphics units launched in China, global release imminent
New Intel Arc A380 graphics units are set to bring next-generation technologies to gamers and content creators in the coming months. 
Story image
Film review
Film review: Jurassic World Dominion
This movie is what happens when you cross a lot of hungry dinos with humanity trying desperately to redeem itself for a mistake, and boy does it try.
Story image
Financial results
Margins & revenues up at New Zealand arm of Acer Computer
We look at the local financial statements of Taiwanese manufacturer Acer Computer Inc.
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft launches the Surface Laptop Go 2 with new features
Microsoft has introduced the new Surface Laptop Go 2, adding to the company’s growing portfolio of Surface Laptop devices.
Story image
Entelar
How TruSens air purifiers can create healthier workspaces
The pandemic has heightened our awareness of our own and others’ health, and made us all much more conscious of the environments we work in.
Story image
Cloud
Apple improves Mac operating system with latest offering
Apple has unveiled the latest version of its desktop operating system, macOS Ventura, providing users with tools for greater productivity.
Story image
Cloud
Apple announces new developer tools and APIs for better app experiences
The new announcement encompasses new tools, technologies and APIs that the company says are designed to help developers create better and more involved experiences for their users.
Story image
Sustainability
CarbonCrop launches native regeneration scheme, backed by AI
Granted exclusively for native forest, Native CCUs are the first voluntary carbon credits of their kind available in New Zealand.
Story image
Wireless
ComCom finds NZ broadband compares well with Australia
A new report published by the Commerce Commission has found New Zealand's Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) compares well to Australia's National Broadband Network.
Story image
Cloud
Apple reveals new iOS 16 features set to enhance sharing and communication
Apple has unveiled an all-new Lock Screen experience and new ways to share and communicate in iOS 16.
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
Automated Guided Vehicles at seaports to grow 26% by 2027
ABI Research says the global use of Automated Guided Vehicles in seaports will exceed 150,000 deployments by 2027. Port authorities are also looking into 5G private networks.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Fobia – St. Dinfna Hotel
When it comes to horror video games, they usually need to have a good balance between suspense and a little bit of action.
Story image
Remote Working
Hands-on review: EcoFlow River Pro Portable Power station
We get hands-on with an extremely versatile device that every remote worker or outdoor enthusiast should consider.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: 16GB PNY XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X 3600MHz DDR4
PNY sent over its 16GB XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X 3600MHz CL16 DDR4 module kit for testing. The kit contains two 8GB dual-channel modules with RGB lighting.
Story image
Privacy Commissioner
Aotearoa gets a new Privacy Commissioner: Michael Webster replaces John Edwards
Michael Webster, who is currently the Secretary of the Cabinet, will step into the Privacy Commissioner role on 5 July 2022.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Morphée
Life in the twenty-first century has become a 24-hour affair. Morphée promises to help restore some balance to your life.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: The Quarry (PC)
Supermassive Games channel 1980s teen horror movies with their latest suspense-filled cinematic adventure, The Quarry.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Unknown connections: How safe is public WiFi in Aotearoa?
If it's not your own household WiFi, then who has control of your data and is your connection actually safe?
Story image
Electricity
Canstar finds Flick Electric NZ’s favourite provider
Canstar’s annual research to find New Zealand’s favourite electricity provider reveals Flick Electric has come out on top.
Story image
Design
Hands-on review: Phillips Hue starter kit
The set-up was one of the simplest I have ever had to do. It is also where the products shine. I was able to connect the bridge, the three lightbulbs and the strip within 10 min.
Story image
Cloud
Sony expands X-Series portable speaker range with three new models
The company says the SRS-XG300, SRS-XE300 and SRS-XE200 all contain high-quality and powerful sound pressure due to X-Balanced Speaker Units.
Story image
Gaming
AMD introduces FSR 2.0 giving gaming GPUs a boost
Not only have AMD proudly announced their new line-up of Radeon RX 6000-series graphics cards, but the company has also unveiled the first games to support its FSR 2.0 technology.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review – CleanMyMac X utility for macOS
We get hands-on with a useful utility that macOS users never thought they needed but probably do.