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Arlo Pro 3 vs Ultra (2020): Which Security Camera Is Better?

Upgrading home security is a lot easier these days with smart home security cameras. Arlo’s line of smart security devices are among the top choice available today so if you’re after a top-of-the-line product, consider choosing between the Arlo Pro 3 and Arlo Ultra. Here’s our detailed review of these security cameras, with a recommendation for the better choice depending on your preferences.

Arlo Pro 3 vs Ultra Security Camera Comparison Chart

ModelArlo Pro 3Arlo Ultra
Arlo 3 Security CameraArlo Ultra Security Camera
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Dimensions89 x 52 x 78.4 mm89 x 52 x 78.4 mm
Weight316 g331 g
Max Resolution2K + HDR4K + HDR
Field of View160 degrees180 degrees
Integrated SpotlightYesYes
Color Night VisionYesYes
Arlo Smart HubRequiredRequired
Two-way AudioYesYes
Noise CancellationYesYes
Battery Life3-6 months3-6 months
Rechargeable BatteryYesYes
Magnetic ChargingYesYes
Arlo Smart Premier Service3 months free1 year free

Design

The Arlo Pro 3 and Ultra look identical.

Arlo Pro 3 vs Ultra Design
Both the Arlo Pro 3 (left) and Arlo Ultra (right) sport similar designs.

Arlo did not make any major design changes (or even minor for that matter) when they introduced the Arlo 3 a year after the Arlo Ultra has already been in the market. Both have similar aesthetics, with a unibody that looks very modern and minimalist. The camera lens of the Arlo Ultra is noticeably larger than the Arlo 3’s, but that’s the only easy way to tell the two apart.

Both Arlo 3 and Ultra can be mounted easily using the threaded hole at its bottom. They’re weather-resistant so you can set them up indoors or out facing the front door or back yard. At its very bottom is a magnetic charging port that’s much easier to clip onto compared to a USB port. There’s also a catch that you can press so you can take out the camera unit out of its shell without removing it from its mount.

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These security cameras have Wi-Fi connectivity so setting them up doesn’t involve dealing with wires, which is one of the biggest pains of installing traditional security cams. They do require an Arlo Smart Hub so it can record footage onto the cloud, which you can also view in real time on your phone.

Video Quality

The Arlo Ultra has a higher resolution and wider field of view than the Arlo Pro 3.

Arlo Pro 3 vs Ultra Video Quality
With advanced dewarping technology, the Arlo Ultra gives you a 180-degree view without the usual fisheye distortion.

Despite being released after the Arlo Ultra, the Arlo Pro 3 actually sits in between the former and the Arlo Pro 2 in terms of specs. It has 4 MP image sensor with a 1/3″ sensor size compared to the 8 MP and 1/2″ of the Arlo Ultra. This translates to half the maximum resolution at 2k (2560 x 1440), with options to set capture at 1080p or 720p.

In addition to 4k video capability (3840 x 2160), the Arlo Ultra also has a 180 degree lens field of view compared to the 160 degree coverage of the Arlo Pro 3. In short, you can see a lot more and a lot clearer on the Ultra. Having a higher resolution can help in identifying the faces of intruders, for example, so the Arlo Ultra has the clear upper hand in this regard.

Both Arlo security cameras feature HDR or high dynamic range to deliver better detailing despite harsh bright conditions or very dark shadows. They also feature color night vision so you can see video in color instead of just black and white during nighttime scenarios. You also won’t have to look through fisheye lenses which is typical in wide-angle views, since both Arlo Pro 3 and Ultra have dewarping features.

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Audio Quality

The Arlo Ultra delivers clearer audio than the Arlo Pro 3.

Arlo Pro 3 vs Ultra Audio Quality
With the Arlo Ultra and Pro 3’s two-way audio you can speak with family members, guests and other visitors using your mobile device.

While both of these Arlo security cameras have two-way audio, which lets you listen in and talk with people in its range, the Arlo Ultra has a noticeably clearer sound than the Arlo Pro 3. You get crisper detail and louder overall output with its mic, especially at farther distances. With noise cancellation features you can hear people up to 30 feet away, and easily understand what’s being said.

The Arlo Pro 3’s audio is definitely an improvement over the Arlo Pro 2. It’s just a bit hollow and tinny compared to the Ultra, especially when the speaker is near something that creates background noise. You’ll still be able to hear voices at normal volume and two-way communication isn’t affected.

There’s also powerful home siren in these Arlo cameras which you can set to go off automatically depending on preferred settings. Alternatively, you can sound it after you’ve received an alert on your phone. You can choose to receive notifications whenever your Arlo security cam detects a person, animal, vehicle, or other in its field of vision.

Other Features

The Arlo Ultra comes with a long Arlo Smart trial period than the Arlo Pro 3.

Arlo Pro 3 vs Ultra Other Features
You can set the Arlo Pro 3 and Ultra to automatically turn its spotlight on when it detects motion.

Both Arlo Pro 3 and Ultra are equipped with a motion-sensitive spotlight that can turn on when it detects activity. This can potentially ward off any intruders on your property. Combined with color night vision and alerts sent to your device, you can immediately inspect the outside of your home at night.

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Arlo offers more advanced features with their paid subscription service, Arlo Smart Premier. You get a free trial period when you purchase either device, but the Arlo Pro 3 only has a 3-month trial while the Arlo Ultra offers a full 1-year subscription. This service package maximizes Arlo cameras to the fullest, letting you highlight which zones the camera should focus on, connecting you to emergency services such as 911, and giving you access to the last 30 days of footage.

Verdict

The Arlo Ultra is clearly superior, but the Arlo Pro 3 is a good cost-saving alternative.

As you just saw, the Arlo Ultra simply does everything the Arlo Pro 3 can do but better. It has a higher max resolution and wider view, and you get a 1-year subscription to their best security features. Audio quality is better too, though not by much. If you’re looking for the top of the line security camera from Arlo, you won’t regret going for the Arlo Ultra, especially when you can get it at reduced prices.

That said, the Arlo Pro 3 is priced at $100 less than the Ultra at release. The brand is offering the Arlo Pro 3 as a nice mid-point product that still offers very high quality with nearly all of their latest security enhancements. You won’t be giving up much by opting for the Pro 3, and it will save you quite a bit if you’re planning to get multiple security cameras set up in and around your home.

Derick Bondoc
Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.