Ubiquiti Unifi Review Part 2 – Is This The Best Networking Hardware Around?

Here is a spoiler for you, yes it is!

This is Part 2 of the Ubiquiti Unifi Review. You can view Ubiquiti Unifi Review Part 1 here.

UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus and UniFi Protect

Home camera systems can give you peace of mind while simultaneously saving a lot of money when it comes to home insurance. In an unfortunate event where crime occurs, the use of such systems will provide you with a lot of help in gathering evidence. The thing is, home surveillance used to be a complicated and tedious installation procedure, but this has changed because of Ubiquiti.

The company gave its UniFi video system a huge upgrade, and this is in the form of the UniFi Protect. And to take advantage of its uses and features, you’ll only need to have the Cloud Key Gen 2+, and at least a single camera.

Ubiquiti’s Cloud Key Gen2 Plus functions as an UniFi SDN controller, as well as both a storage device and controller for UniFi Protect. Thing is, is it robust and good enough to meet all of your needs? Plus, is it really that easy and convenient for anyone to set up?

What’s in the Box?

As expected, the package of the Cloud Key Gen2 Plus was very simple, and the only thing that you’ll see in front is the image of the device. On the sides, you will see the name of the company and the device; other than those, you won’t find any other details written there.

Again, Ubiquiti kept things clean and simple for their Cloud Key Gen2 Plus’ packaging. When you check inside the box, you’ll see that the company still kept things minimal, and the only item that you’ll see is the Cloud Key Gen2 Plus itself.

UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus and UniFi Protect Overview

The Cloud Key Gen2 Plus is a really nice and attractive product that has this premium finish to it. When it comes to industrial design, it sure is a significant improvement from the previous Cloud Key, which was just made from white plastic.

This new case is mainly brushed metal, and it’s good to note that the Cloud Key Gen2 Plus now comes with a front panel display to have that “at a glance” system details. This instantly rotates between the Protect controllers and the status screen for the SDN.

We’re also loving the Cloud Key Gen2 Plus since it’s practically one of the best-looking networking related devices we’ve actually set eyes on from a design aspect. Its enclosure is made from anodized aluminum which will look great on your desktop or server racks. You’ll find an LCD display in front of the device which cycles through your network’s status, as well as the devices that are linked to it.

The LCD display that’s located on the front portion of the Cloud Key Gen2 Plus provides you with information on a couple of things such as your WAN bandwidth use, the number of controlled UniFi access points, your status of the SDN Cloud Access, and the total number of client devices that are available on the network.

Underneath the Cloud Key, Gen2 Plus is where the release latch is found, and this opens the hard drive tray. For the LED indicator, you will find this just at the top. On the rear portion of the device, you will see the POE Ethernet port, a reset button, and two USB C ports.

You also don’t have to worry when all power is removed since it comes with a battery backup, so with that, the UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus can easily shut down to avoid any instances of corruption.

The UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus is generally a huge upgrade in terms of function and specifications. It not only does its standard and primary functions of being an UniFi controller but the UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus also simultaneously run the UniFi protect, which is great.

In addition, the UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus is integrated with a 1 Terabyte hard drive and has been rated for support for up to a total of 20 cameras. With this, you can also opt to rackmount the UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus which lets you lock your Cloud Key into the rack.

The UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus comes with a 2GB RAM memory, 32GB eMMC memory,  and an eight-core 2.0GHz ARM. For its management interface, it uses the UniFi App – UniFi Controller.

Lastly, the UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus is 27.10 x 46.80 x 119.75 millimeters (H x W x D) and weighs a total of 172 grams.

Product Features

Simultaneous Management and Easy Setup

With multiple applications, you will be able to manage the video and networking devices of your UniFi system. Setup is also quick and easy with the use of the UniFi and UniFi Protect mobile applications.

Front Panel Display

The Cloud Key Gen2 Plus features a front panel display. Here, you can see the system details of your cameras and your UniFi networking hardware.

Comes with a Hard Drive and the UniFi SDN

A big treat is when you purchase 1 Terabyte hard drive measuring 2.5 inches is included when you purchase the UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus. Also, it comes with the UniFi SDN network management software.

Integrated Battery

Ubiquiti designed the UniFi Cloud Key Gen 2 Plus with a built-in battery. This allows for a safe and automatic shutdown, which lengthens the device’s life span.

Using the Product

The Cloud Key Gen2 Plus is equipped with an 8-core, 2.0 GHz ARM CPU. Ubiquiti has claimed that this device performs four times faster than the previously released Cloud Key, so we tested to see how this newer model lives up to the company’s claims.

In our tests, the Cloud Key Gen2 Plus’ CPU performed incredibly fast and we noticed no issues of latency at all. Aside from that, it’s also easy to install, and adopting switches & access points was flawless. We were able to manage our UniFi system excellently, and we did not encounter any problem while using it.

All in all, the UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 is a great product. This access point is something that we can call rock solid. And because of its efficiency and performance, we can definitely recommend this. It is best for anyone who is searching for high quality, top of the line access point in a little form factor.

There are still a couple of limitations present on the edge case aspects like the wireless up-link. The thing is, the main function of the access point works very well. With that, all our wireless devices didn’t experience any issues or problems. Hence, it remained connected at all times.

We can also add that if you have a couple of devices that can make use of the 4×4 MIMO’s efficiency, then you’re in for a treat. Using these together will allow you to achieve high speeds that you will very much enjoy. So, you will be able to experience a powerful and stable connection that is enough to cover your home.

In all honesty, we’ve become invested in the ecosystem and would recommend this to all.

UniFi Protect Software

The UniFi Protect is a powerful and flexible IP video surveillance system that can readily manage the UniFo Protect cameras, as well as the UniFi Protect mobile application. This specific software is free from all the licensing and hosting fees and us a software that is pre-installed on the UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus.

This software is a full rewrite of the company’s legacy UniFi Video software since Ubiquiti aims to match up to its features. The main ways that the UniFi Protect’s streams can be viewed is via the iPhone mobile app or through a web browser.

The mobile application displays a fluid experience such as a home screen that provides you with all the video camera feeds, as well as a smooth and seamless way to scroll through historical (time-lapse) and event videos. For the web browser, this displays a couple of templates or views that include 1, 4, 6, 9, 7, 13, 12, 10, 15, 16, 25, 20, and even 26 cameras simultaneously.

The selling points of the UniFi Protect are its security and privacy since no data is kept in the cloud, and none of these goes from a single camera to the WAN. The only constant connection that is maintained by the Cloud Key is to the site http://protect.ui.com – a place that serves as a type of broker for remote access. Keep in mind that the only time important data is consumed is when remote streaming sessions to mobile clients occur.

UniFi Protect also launches with a primary feature that is set and optimized for full time and complete recording, quick time-lapse review, as well as easy setup. Future updates of the UniFi Protect will provide advanced settings for fine-grained alert controls, advanced settings for recording modes, as well as other features that the Uni-Fi Video has.

We think that the UniFi Protect’s motion detection algorithm is really accurate since it constantly and immediately recognizes anyone by the doors or windows, which is great.

UniFi Protect Features

Simple yet Powerful User Interface

The UniFi Protect Software is accessible from a web browser. Its design is full and packed with a lot of great features and is also easy to use. The interface is intuitive, and it comes with a lot of live viewing options. It offers statistical reporting, advanced analytics, customizable event recordings, and versatile camera settings.

Plug and Play Installation

The automatic camera detection feature lets you install and deploy your cameras. The settings of the cameras are all built into the software. It means that all the setups, rebooting, and firmware upgrades will occur in one interface. What nice is that this is possible on every UniFi camera that you have.

More Live Viewing

You can create playlists with a live camera feed rotation that can be set up with ease. Here, you can specify the cameras that you want in your playlist. Plus, you can indicate how long you want them to appear on the screen before playing the next live feed.

UniFi Protect Mobile Application

When you download the UniFi Protect mobile app, it gives you remote cloud access. It is very convenient since it leads to your UniFi Protect system. Also, having the mobile app lets you access video recordings in your Cloud Key Gen2 Plus in private. You don’t have to rely on a third-party server or an internet cloud.

Live View

Have a view of as much as 20 camera feeds in one window. With a number of basic to advanced templates, you can choose the perfect live view template for you.

Time Lapse

This feature allows for quick and efficient scrolling through recordings and video events. Now, you can go through and scan the longest videos in just minutes.

Unifi Protect Mobile App

UniFi G3 Flex Video Camera

Aside from having a full home Wi-Fi network, an entire home audio & home distribution system, as well as a lighting control system, we’d recommend that you also invest in an excellent physical home security system. The primary component of any home security system has a comprehensive and highly efficient security camera system.

The UniFi G3 Flex video camera is specifically designed to work efficiently with Ubiquiti’s newly integrated management system, the UniFi Protect. This is basically a powerful and highly flexible IP video surveillance system that is able to control the UniFi Protect mobile application and its camera.

The UniFi G3 Flex Video Camera is the next generation of the surveillance system. It has a 1080p Full HD resolution which is perfect for day and night use. For powerful and versatile IP video control, it’s built-in with the UniFi Video software. This makes the camera easier to configure, manage, and operate.

Aside from a 1080 full HD resolution, the G3 Flex Video Camera has a 25fps EFL 3.4-millimeter wide-angle lens. It also comes with an 802.3af POE integrated microphone. Its swivel base allows horizontal and vertical adjustments for your viewing angle. Aside from these, it also comes with a mount that can be functional for your desktop, on a wall, or a pole.

What’s in the Box?

Just like the packaging for other UniFi devices, the UniFi G3 Flex video camera comes in a clean-looking box with an image of the camera placed at the front; the name of the product can also be found underneath the package. There isn’t much to see on the box since Ubiquiti focuses on keeping its design simple and clean.

Inside, you will find the UniFi G3 Flex video camera itself together with other accessories such as an indoor and pole mount, outdoor cover, screw anchors, screws, as well as zip ties. There isn’t much inside the box, but we’re happy that Ubiquiti continues to keep their packaging neat, organized, and secure.

UniFi G3 Flex Video Camera Overview

The UniFi G3 Flex video camera from Ubiquiti has a couple of essential parts that make it an efficient device for use. It comes with a microphone that’s necessary for recording audio, and the fantastic thing about this is that it produces clean and crisp sounds which are surprisingly good.

It comes with a light sensor that is for ambient light detection to provide more precise and better-quality images. In addition, the UniFi G3 Flex video camera comes with one LED status indicator to determine the status of the camera. If the LED alternates from white and blue, it means that the camera is busy, so you shouldn’t unplug or touch it.

These instances often indicate that a particular process is occurring such as a firmware update. When the light is blue and steady, it means that the camera is linked to a controller and the reset button is pressed. When it flashes green, the UniFi G3 Flex video camera has been disconnected from the controller. If it stays white, it only means that the camera is waiting for adoption.

The swivel base of the UniFi G3 Flex video camera lets you easily change its viewing angle by simply adjusting this to the right or left. This is actually pretty useful when you mount the camera on a wall or any other permanent surface.

At the bottom portion of the UniFi G3 Flex video camera is an Ethernet port which is a 10 | 100 Mbps port that is necessary for supplying power from the POE 802.3af compliant switch to the device. This switch should be linked to a LAN that runs a DHCP service and the UniFi Video Controller software.

This camera also has a reset button which is necessary for rebooting the camera to its factory settings.

The UniFi G3 Flex video camera measures 107.5 x 48 x 48 millimetres (H x W x D) and weighs 170 grams. The UniFi Video from Ubiquiti is the camera’s management interface, and the system requires one specific web browser, which is Google Chrome. This is the best choice for the device since other browsers may only provide limited functionality which will prevent you from taking advantage of the UniFi G3 Flex video camera’s features.

When the LDC is off, the camera’s viewing angle is 87.4-degrees (H), 47-degrees (V), and 104-degrees (D); when it’s switched on, the viewing angle is 80-degrees (H), 46-degrees (V), and 92-degrees (D).

Its sensor is 1/2.7” 2mp HDR sensor accompanied by an EFL 4mm / f2.0 lens. The camera has a 1080p FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution with a maximum frame rate of 25 FPS. The UniFi G3 Flex video camera operates at -20 to 50-degrees Celsius while its operating humidity ranges from 20 to 90%, non-condensing.

The UniFi G3 Flex video camera also has one 10 | 100 Ethernet port for its networking interface, plus a maximum power consumption of 4 Watts. The power supply is at 802.3 af POE switch / POE injector.

Product Features

Complete Scalability and Management of Surveillance

No matter where you are, you can easily get to monitor your home with the use of any ofG3 Flex Video Cameras. Arranging your security system is also quick and easy; plus, you can also use up to 20 cameras together with this.

Fully Weatherproof

The G3 Flex Video Camera is specially designed for outdoor use and is IP67-rated weatherproof. Just keep in mind that it’s only waterproof when mounted vertically.

Impressive Video Quality

The G3 Flex Video Cameras have a resolution of 1080p / 30 fps, which allows for producing high-quality videos at all times. Even in live view, there is no barrel distortion and relatively low latency.

Using the Product

The UniFi G3 Flex video camera can be installed by using a couple of possible methods. The camera can be installed on your desktop or any flat surface like a table or shelf. This can also be configured for temporary installations.

If you want, the UniFi G3 Flex video camera can also be installed to your wall or ceiling, especially if you want to have the camera set in a more stationary or permanent area. It’s also possible to install the camera on an outdoor or indoor pole since its surveillance coverage or viewing angles can be altered any time depending on your choice.

The UniFi Protect is an upgraded, next-gen version of their video surveillance system. This is the UniFi Video 3. With this, the company aims to give you the best video viewing and reviewing experience. Skimming through earlier recorded footage is vital for video systems. This is especially evident when recording continuously, 24/7.

Another notable aspect of the UniFi Protect is that it doesn’t come with any monthly fees. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of cameras attached to your system. You can use this for free without any worries.

Stream videos over LTE, Wi-Fi, as well as 3G networks with Adaptive Bitrate Technology. This is to adjust the video quality to your current bandwidth quickly. For added convenience, you can review days of footage by using the timeline feature.

The timeline feature condenses days of videos to scrollable outlines with thumbnails. These are necessary for things like motion events. This Hybrid Cloud Technology is able to link straight to your gadgets for video streaming. It is able to bypass the cloud for increased security and speed, which is great.

This will allow you to manage your data while also controlling users, cameras, alerts, and more. Managing system settings is also possible within mobile apps.

In regards to the setup process, the first thing that you need to do is to download the UniFi Protect App. This will aid you in configuring the G3 Flex Video Camera. Once you launch the UniFi Protect, the application will ask you to enable the Bluetooth. It will also prompt you to enable all other necessary features to give you the best user experience.

Here are some of the features and permissions that you should allow. This is to ensure that you get the proper application functions.

Launch the UniFi Protect application.

Click the side menu located on the upper left corner of the application. This will allow you to access more options.

Click Add Cameras to include a new camera. Once you set up a number of cameras, the application will allow you to add more than a single camera during setup.

Once the Add Camera screen appears, click on the list of cameras that you want to add to your UniFi Protect system. Tap Set Up camera to continue.

A Name your Camera will appear, and this will be individual for every camera that you chose in the previous step. Enter a name for each device, tap next, and repeat the process until you’ve named all your chosen cameras.

If needed, cameras that need a firmware update will upgrade during this process. Once the process finishes, a live view of every camera will appear in the application.

We can really say that we’re very much pleased with how the UniFi G3 Flex video camera performs. The image and sound quality that it produced were great, and the timeline-view browsing recorded footage was quick, easy, and really convenient.

It’s also safe to say that the night vision of the camera was sufficient indoors. Plus, the camera also comes with basic, yet useful functions, such as motion detection zones and privacy zones. We tried setting up a couple more of these cameras, and though it did take a bit of configuration work, it still functioned and performed effectively, which was great. The application also allowed us to see things clearly even at night, so we received a good resolution, which is necessary.

So if you’re an IT professional or serious hobbyist who has some familiarity with the UniFi video setup, then this camera will work great for tough-to-cover sports.

Go to Part 3 of the Ubiquiti Unifi Review.