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 smart home platforms — and the camera isn’t weatherproof like other LTE cams.., or any other major
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|
|Color finish||Black and white||White|
|Connection type||Cellular; Wi-Fi; Ethernet||Cellular|
|Power source||Rechargeable battery, Power over Ethernet (PoE)||Rechargeable battery|
|Resolution||1080p HD||720p HD|
|Local storage||Yes (up to 32GB microSD card, not included)||Yes (up to 32GB microSD card, not included)|
|Alerts||Motion and sound||Motion and sound|
|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, 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.