Slightly confused by Ubiquiti’s UniFi CCTV product line? You’re not alone, here’s our full guide to the 2020 product line, and which devices are best for you.
Also if you are interested in UniFi Networking, check out our buyers guide from the end of 2019.
What is UniFi Protect?
UniFi Protect is Ubiquiti’s latest version of its video and CCTV recording platform, the company has been producing CCTV hardware and software for a number of years now with the previous product, called UniFi Video. UniFi Video 3 was replaced with the newer UniFi Protect in late 2018, although UniFi Video is still supported for bug fixes, security updates and also when new products get launched – it will receive no new features now.
When UniFi Protect launched, it had a fair few issues with stability and motion detection issues but as of writing and with my own experience those issues seem to have been resolved now.
UniFi Protect vs UniFi Video
The main difference with the two is the hardware strangely, with the older versions of UniFi Video you had two options. You could purchase Ubiquiti’s dedicated hardware NVR, which came pre-installed with a 500GB hard drive, although later models had a 3TB version. Or you could install the software on your own hardware, be it a Windows PC, Linux or Ubuntu. The ‘install on your own’ idea was really important and necessary if you had more than 10 cameras, as the NVR Ubiquiti sold couldn’t really handle a useful amount of footage on anything more than that.
Ubiquiti also have a UniFi XG Server on sale, which runs Ubuntu, had 16GB RAM and enough space for two hard drives up to 8TB. This runs UniFi Network and UniFi Video, as of writing there is no option to run UniFi Protect on this.
Users could install on their own hardware, the sky was the limit for RAID choices and what performance you needed.
With UniFi Protect, this option was no longer available. At launch there was only one device to run the software on, the UnIFi Cloud Key Gen2+ which we’ll cover later on in the post. Launched in the last few weeks is the new UniFi Dream Machine Pro, which can run UniFi Protect and has space for a larger hard drive, up to 14TB. The amount of cameras you can run on this isn’t noted anywhere, but it should be more than 20.
Ubiquiti has six different models of cameras on sale which all work with UniFi Protect and UniFi Video. Only one of the models is indoor only, the rest are rated for indoor and outdoor. Much like the UniFi Network product line, all of the cameras apart from one are powered over PoE only and are not wireless.
At the very start of the pricing bracket, we have the G3 Flex which is around £80 here in the UK and $79 in the US, and hence the name the mounting options are very flexible, it works indoor and outdoor, is weather resistant, is powered from 802.3af PoE and is 1080p. It also offers an IR filter and IR lights for night vision.
The next one is the G3 Bullet camera, which is which is around £130 here in the UK at $149 in the US. Like the name suggests the G3 Bullet is more like a traditional camera, it also works indoor and outdoor and is weather resistant. Power is supplied by 802.3af PoE or 24v passive PoE. Video is 1080p. It also offers an IR filter and IR lights for night vision.
The G3 Dome has all the same features as the G3 Bullet, but can only be used outdoors if it is under an overhang. The main difference is the form factor, it be a more discrete on a ceiling to see down a corridor or above a door with a wide angle. It’s around £130 here in the UK at $149 in the US. Power is supplied by 802.3af PoE or 24v passive PoE.
The G3 Pro is based on the G3 Bullet idea, it has 1080p maximum resolution, but its fully waterproof with a rating of IP67, a fully motorised optical zoom lens, a larger sensor and a more powerful infrared system. It’s around £250 here in the UK at $299 in the US.
Power is supplied by 802.3af PoE or 24v passive PoE.
The G3 Micro is the only wireless camera that Ubiquiti offers, it works over 2.4GHz and 5GHz and it around the same size as a golf ball. It has a resolution of 1080p, works indoor only and has a few unique options for mounting. It can be wall, ceiling or magnetically mounted. It also has a speaker and microphone integrated for two way audio support. It’s around £180 here in the UK at $199 in the US.
As it is wireless, it can be powered by a AC adaptor or via an adaptor for 802.3af, but the data will still go over the wireless.
The G4 Pro is Ubiquiti’s most recent camera, it supports 4K video at 24FPS, and can be powered by 802.3af or 802.3at PoE. t’s around £460 here in the UK at $449 in the US. It also has an LED ring for when motion is detected.
The UniFi Cloud Key Gen2+ which has a pre-installed 1TB 2.5-inch hard drive, which can be expanded to 5TB if you remove the hard drive and Ubiquiti says it can only handle 20 cameras. 20 cameras is a lot for a home and small business, but some installations need more cameras.
The new UniFi Dream Machine Pro is also offered and is a more all in one solution for network deployments, but can support larger hard drives of up to 14TB.
I hope this overview of the Ubiquiti UniFi Protect product line was helpful, if you have any suggestions or if we have missed anything please let us know in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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