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

Arlo Ultra Lifestyle
Arlo Ultra Lifestyle (Image credit: Arlo)

Arlo Ultra

Arlo Ultra Official Render

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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.

Arlo Ultra

Top-of-the-line

Better image sensors and resolution
Dual-microphone array
Wider field of view
Double-motion detectors
Year-long Arlo Smart subscription included
Most expensive Arlo security camera
Can only use with included Arlo hub

Arlo Pro 3

Arlo Pro 3

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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.

Arlo Pro 3

The next best thing

Less expensive than Ultra
Compatible with more Arlo hubs
Three-month Arlo Smart subscription included
Lower quality sensors and resolution
Less free cloud storage than the 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.

Arlo UltraArlo Pro 3
Power SourceBattery
(can power/charge over cable)
3-6 months
3.5 hour charge time
Battery
(can power/charge over cable)
3-6 months
3.5 hour charge time
WirelessYesYes
Image Sensor8mp
1/2 inch
4mp
1/3 inch
Resolution4K with HDR at 2160 p2K with HDR at 1440p
Video Modes4K, 1080p, 72op2K, 1080p, 720p
24/7 RecordingYesYes
2-Way AudioYesYes
Noise CancellationDual-microphone array
Noise and wind cancellation
Single microphone
Noise and echo cancellation
Field of View180-degree160-degree
Night VisionYes (color)Yes (color)
Integrated SpotlightYesYes
AlertsMotion and SoundMotion and Sound
Motion DetectionDouble motion detectors
150-degree horizontal
Single motion detector
130-degree horizontal
Indoor/Outdoor UseYesYes
NetworkingWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth Low Energy 4.2
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Weather ResistanceYes (IP65)
-4 to 140 F
Yes (IP65)
-4 to 113 F
Smart AssistantsAmazon Alexa and Google AssistantAmazon Alexa and Google Assistant
Local StorageYes (up to 2TB through the hub)Yes (up to 2TB through the hub)
Arlo Hub CompatabilityVMB5000 (included)VMB4540 (included)
Also compatible with VMB4000, VMB 500, and VMB5000
Free Cloud StorageOne year Arlo Smart Premier subcription
(after trial requires paid subscription)
Three month Arlo Smart subscription
(after trial requires paid subscription)
Subscription OptionsFrom $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

Source: Arlo (Image credit: Source: Arlo)

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

Source: Arlo (Image credit: Source: Arlo)

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.

Jeramy Johnson
Editor-in-chief

Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.