UniFi Diary: Hands-on with Ubiquiti’s new $29 Protect G3 Instant Camera

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Ubiquiti’s UniFi ecosystem has been growing significantly as of late with the introduction of Wi-Fi 6 access points and other new gear. But its most recent release arrives in the form of its most affordable Protect camera yet. Entering at just $29, today we’re taking a closer look at the all-new G3 Instant to see how it stacks up to the greater Ubiquiti lineup, as well as your average smart camera. Head below for all of the details on the UniFi Protect G3 camera.

Hands-on with the new UniFi Protect G3 camera

Earlier this year, Ubiquiti expanded its UniFi Protect ecosystem with its latest camera, this time delivering its most affordable offering yet. The new UniFi Protect G3 Camera arrives with all of the support you’d expect to see from the brand’s larger ecosystem, as well as some firsts for the lineup.

First things first here, the new camera is absolutely tiny by comparison to the other Ubiquiti cameras I’ve installed in the past. It’s not quite as short as the Wyze Cam, which many will consider to be the king of compact builds, but does carry a smaller footprint thanks to the cylindrical design. It’s geared towards indoor use only and arrives with many of the featured you’d expect from a run-of-the-mill smart camera these days.

Alongside just being notably smaller than other cameras in the UniFi Protect ecosystem, its new G3 Instant arrives as the brand’s first released powered by a USB-C port. Others have offered alternatives to the usual PoE connectivity found on these sorts of cameras, but this one ditches that entirely for Wi-Fi support. 

An effortless setup process

As we’ve found with the rest of the Ubiquiti lineup, setting up its new UniFi Protect G3 camera is a breeze. There’s a QR code on the back to scan, which pairs with it built-in Bluetooth to quickly connect with the companion iPhone app and integrate into the Cloud Key or NVR. The whole process took less than five minutes and was more effortless than the onboarding experiences for many of the purely consumer-grade smart home cameras I’ve used in the past.

Its sensor can capture 1080p recordings at 30FPS with integrated night vision thanks to infrared LEDs. That’s on top of dual-band Wi-Fi support, as well as two-way talk via the onboard speaker and microphone array. There’s also a wall bracket included in the box that allows you to create a more permanent installation that’s centered around a swivel mount.

Despite sharing a lot of similarities with a more typical smart camera, the UniFi Protect G3 Instant Camera sets itself apart thanks to integrating with the rest of the Ubiquiti lineup. This brings with it access to a wealth of monitoring tools, as well as more in-depth customization of recording quality, and more. It doesn’t matter that this is the most affordable camera in the Ubiquiti stable; you’re still getting access to the full suite of features.

Compact, yet feature-packed

Though the tradeoff you’re making here with the G3 Instant Camera in exchange for all of the power features that come from UniFi Protect is that it won’t pair with Alexa, Google Assistant, or other services out of the box. It’s designed almost exclusively for those in the Ubiquiti game, which isn’t something that the company tries to hide by any means. It’s just something to keep in mind if you’re looking at this as purely a smart home camera. 

Those who like to tinker can expand upon the out of the box capabilities by leveraging the RTSP features built into UniFi Protect, which I’ve used to bring the cameras in my arsenal into Home Assistant and HomeKit. 

Despite its affordable $29 price tag, you’re still reaping all of the perks offered by the UniFi Protect line. Aside from picture quality, you’re getting a pretty similar feature set here on the brand’s most affordable camera as you’d find on its flagship offerings. There’s the same peace of mind offered by local recording, package delivery alerts via motion tracking, and all of the management features found elsewhere in the Ubiquiti ecosystem. 

9to5Toys’ Take: 

If you’ve been thinking about trying out everything that UniFi Protect has to offer, the G3 Instant Camera makes for the most compelling argument yet. It’s already one of the more affordable smart cameras out there compared to offerings from Blink and TP-Link but has the backing and infrastructure of Ubiquiti behind it.

And given that a lot of UniFi setups will already be ready to take advantage of the security side of the brand’s software stable, this is a pretty notable way to try out the full experience without having to worry about wiring up PoE runs or doing more in-depth hardware mounting.

Ubiquiti’s UniFi Protect G3 Instant Camera offers all the ease that comes from your average smart home camera, but with many of the in-depth features from a more professional security system. But that’s something we’ve come to expect from Ubiquiti lately, especially after taking a look at its Dream Machine. 

Buy the UniFi Protect G3 Instant Camera for $29

Other UniFi Diary posts here at 9to5Toys:

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