Wednesday , 19 September 2018
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Link-U's indoor 4G LTE Smartcam needs some serious work – CNET

Link-U's indoor 4G LTE Smartcam needs some serious work – CNET

I was so excited about the Link-U 4G LTE Smartcam back in 2014 when I covered its Indiegogo campaign. DIY cameras are still largely Wi-Fi-dependent today, so one that also works with a cellular network is unique. In fact, the Smartcam automatically switches between LTE and Wi-Fior Ethernet connections as it sees fit. It simply uses whichever one is performing the strongest at any given time. That’s an elegant solution — particularly in places where no single option is ever consistently the best. 

Even so, no one should buy the $249 Link-U 4G LTE Smartcam (roughly £175/AU$325 converted). The app is difficult to use, the design of the camera itself is confusing, it doesn’t work with Alexa, Google Assistant or any other major smart home platforms — and the camera isn’t weatherproof like other LTE cams.. 

Sigh. I wanted to love this camera, but I can’t think of any reason why someone should buy it — even if you want an LTE backup for your indoor security cam. The Link-U just has too many issues. 

Up close with Link-U

So how does the Smartcam stack up against its closest competition? Take a look:

Comparing LTE security cameras

Link-U 4G LTE Smartcam Netgear Arlo Go
Price $249 $400
Color finish Black and white White
Weatherproof Indoor only Indoor/outdoor
Connection type Cellular; Wi-Fi; Ethernet Cellular
Power source Rechargeable battery, Power over Ethernet (PoE) Rechargeable battery
Resolution 1080p HD 720p HD
Live streaming Yes Yes
Continuous recording No No
Cloud storage No Yes
Local storage Yes (up to 32GB microSD card, not included) Yes (up to 32GB microSD card, not included)
Mobile app Yes Yes
Web app No Yes
Night vision Yes Yes
Alerts Motion and sound Motion and sound
Activity zones No No
Third-party integrations Works with Sigma Casa devices Amazon Alexa; Google Assistant; IFTTT

The Link-U has some definite appeal over Netgear‘s Arlo Go at a glance. It’s less expensive, has more connection types and power sources — and it has higher video resolution. 

Its number of connection types is especially appealing, since the Arlo Go works only over cellular network. For Netgear’s LTE cam, then, cellular isn’t a backup — it’s your only connection type. That makes the Arlo Go a camera you’ll likely use outside (although you can keep it inside), in places where you don’t want/can’t get a reliable Wi-Fi network. 

The Link-U offers different use cases. You could take it outside for short periods, but it’s an indoor cam designed to connect to Wi-Fi or Ethernet and switch to LTE as needed for backup support.

But the Link-U has limitations. It doesn’t offer cloud storage, a web app or integrations with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or any other major smart home platform. It instead works with up to eight Sigma Casa accessories. I paired my Link-U with a Sigma Casa motion sensor, door/window sensor and temperature sensor. With them added to the app, I was able to view the temperature sensor’s ambient temperature, air pressure and humidity at a glance — and also see when the motion sensor and the door/window sensor detected activity. 

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