Here’s my Unifi G3 Flex Camera Review. I’ve recently reviewed the G3 Flex’s younger, smaller brother (the G3 Instant) and because I already have a bunch of G3 Flex’s installed at the office, I thought it’d be worth writing the review. There are countless videos on youtube detailing peoples thoughts on the Flex, but not much in terms of written pieces.
Now there are a a few key differences between the Flex and the Instant. The main ones being that the Flex can be used indoors or outdoors and that the Flex gets it’s power and transmits data via ethernet cable. I originally chose the G3 Flex because I was looking for an all in one system for my office networking needs; a router, switch, access points and CCTV cameras. Ubiquiti’s prosumer range of networking equipment fitted my needs perfectly, so here we are.
The reason I went for Ubiquiti equipment, aside from the fact it’s a self contained ecosystem, is that I wanted a security camera setup that was going to be continually updated and supported. I’ve had several IP cameras in the past and they eventually become redundant or the company goes bust and then no further updates are added. Choosing products by Ubiquiti, there’s a fairly strong chance they’ll continue operating for the foreseeable future.
I originally bought the G3 Flex camera about 12 months ago now and since then the price has gone up quite significantly. I think the price increase is in part due to them becoming increasingly difficult to get a hold of. Supply and demand I guess.
Let’s get into the review and find out how good this entry level HD POE camera is. We’ll start with what I thought when I first laid eyes on the camera, first impressions count.
Unifi G3 Flex Camera Review
I originally ordered 3 of the G3 Flex cameras and subsequently ordered one more. I have four Unifi Cameras covering my office and they’re all compatible with Unifi Protect. Unifi Protect is pre-installed on the Unifi Cloud Key Gen 2 Plus, which is a fantastic device. It comes with a 1tb hard drive pre-installed, so with four cameras recording 1080p footage 24/7 it’ll give me about 7 – 10 days worth of footage history.
You can change out the hard drive if you need more than 10 days footage, the cloud key will support up to a 5tb hard drive, I believe. I may end up doing this in the future, as I upgrade the cameras around my home and office with the 4k G4 Pro cameras.
I’ve tried to remember what the unboxing was like as it was over 12 months ago now. I remember the box being made of really good quality cardboard, the design and the high res product imagery looked great. The Ubiquiti branding looked good against the mainly white colour scheme. There’s definitely a very deliberate user experience designed by Ubiquiti and that overall unboxing left me feeling, without doubt that I’ve just opened a premium product.
It’s pretty much the same as the G3 Instant product box. I was left feeling that this company really cares about it’s customers first impressions. My first impressions were excellent and I was excited to set-up the camera and check it out.
Set Up Guide
A prerequisite for these cameras is that you’ll need have a Unifi Protect compatible device. My gen 2 cloud key is pre-installed with the Protect software, so setting the G3 Flex Cameras up was a breeze. I used the app on my phone. The following set-up steps assume you already have a Unifi account.
All you need to do to get set up is the following:
- Connect the G3 Flex to power and data using POE.
- Make sure your Smartphone and Camera on on the same network
- Download Unifi Protect Mobile App.
- Launch App.
- A pop up will ask you to adopt the device.
- Tap ‘Add;
- Name your device and tap Next.
- You’ll then be taken to the home screen, which will list your newly adopted device.
NOTE: If the prompt at step 5 doesn’t appear, tap on the ellipse icon in the upper-right corner of the Cameras page and select Add Elements.
If you need any further support with adding your device, Unifi have a comprehensive guide on their website, hit the link here to check it out.
Set Up Screenshots
Here’s some screenshots of the set-up process. As you can see it’s fairly simple and only takes three different screens to get the G3 Flex camera adopted by the Unifi Protect system. If you have more than one device, just follow the same process over and over again. The GEN2 Plus Cloud Key that I use can support up to 50 devices.
Now that’s the first impressions and set-up covered. We’ll move onto the build quality next, this is an area where from experience I know it’ll meet and exceed my expectations..
Just like the other cameras in Unifi’s arsenal, the G3 Flex is built like a tank. At first glance, it looks and feels quite weak, but don’t let that fool you. It’s actually really robust and I don’t expect anything less to be honest as it’s marketed as indoor or outdoor use; it needs to at least stand up to the Great British weather.
According to the spec sheet the G3 Flex will continue to work down to a frostbite inducing -20° C (-4° F) all the way up to a scorching 50° C (122° F). That vast range in operating temperature is quite impressive in all honesty. I don’t think we’ll get to those wide ranging temperatures in England, but it’s good to know that it’s been designed with extremes in mind.
The all plastic construction is strong and the camera has been well fixed together. The pieces all line up and there are no gaps or sharp edges in the construction of it. One test I do tend to perform on the blog is my ‘scratch test‘. This test is performed by taking a sharp object, usually a pen knife or letter opener and running it down the side of whatever product I’m testing.
I grabbed the letter opener and ran quite firmly down the side of the Flex. The good news is that it didn’t cause even the faintest of scratches, which gives me the utmost confidence that it’ll survive in whichever location you decide to place it.
But, be warned this camera isn’t actually 100% waterproof. It does need to be in a somewhat sheltered position with an overhang. Somewhere like underneath a rain gutter for example will leave it out of direct weather. It’s still outside but being underneath a rain gutter will leave it sheltered from the worst of the wind and rain.
As you can see from the under-eave mounted G3 Flex, it’s out of the direct weather and somewhat protected from the elements. It’s been mounted with a ceiling type mount which can be found on the Ubiquiti website here.
The camera does allow you to manually pan and tilt it in order to get the best viewing angle and that is easy to do. The mechanism is quite stiff, but I think that’s done on purpose to prevent it from moving once you’ve found the right position.
In order to get power and data the ethernet port is mounted at the back of the camera towards the bottom. It’s then ‘sealed’ in with a plastic mounting clip to help prevent water ingress. It’s an extremely well designed and well thought out camera and was an absolute pleasure to mount and get set-up.
By the very nature of the product it doesn’t need to be absolutely bomb proof, it’s going to remain in a fixed position for probably the entirety of it’s life and for that it has more than strong enough build quality. I also really like how small the cameras are, especially if you get the ceiling mounting kits. They could very easily go unnoticed just about anywhere, which is great for security through obscurity.
Overall, I’m really impressed with the build quality on this camera. Let’s face it, I wouldn’t have four of them in my office if they were rubbish. Let’s move on now and take a look at the actual video performance of the G3 Flex.
In a world of ever increasing 4k compatibility there’s something quite comforting about a bog standard 1080p camera. By recording in 1080p you don’t need terabytes and terabytes of storage and the quality is still fine for home or commercial use. There is a slight problem though, well it’s tiny to be honest. The 25fps the G3 Flex records at is just a tad too jittery.
I’m recording these with the Cloud Key Gen 2 Plus which has a 1tb hard drive and that’s more than enough to handle an additional 5 fps more per camera. Now, I know security cameras don’t usually record at high frame rates as they don’t need the buttery smoothness that 60fps offers, but it would be useful to have at least a minimum standard of 30fps.
The image quality is fine considering the frame rate and you can easily make out personal features and number plates from about 20 feet. I was (I still am) also extremely impressed with the night vision of the Flex. It floods my entire Office with IR light like it’s the middle of the day. You can change the sensitivity and delay in the settings if you’d like to tweak it. But, by default they allow it to get pretty dark before switching to night vision.
As I mentioned on the G3 Instant review the protect software is good and has some powerful features. When using ‘live view’ protect streams directly from the camera at 720p, so be sure to change it in the drop down menu to 1080p to view the best quality.
The Protect software receives regular updates. They’ve already updated the mobile app to include push notification on motion. The software does lack a backup option so saving an RTSP stream to VLC Player is a backup option that’d help in business use.
How Much And Where To Buy
Because of the huge demand and reduction in manufacturing capacity in China these are quite scarce. They’ve gone up in price recently and it fluctuates quite a bit from between £70 – £100 ($100 – $175). I’d recommend checking the price regularly to find it when it’s reduced.
You can do so on Amazon by clicking our affiliate link here.
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Unifi G3 Flex Camera Review Summary and Verdict
I think in summary I’d give these almost the perfect 10. For price, build quality, video performance and continue support by Ubiquiti it’s almost un-rivalved. The G3 Flex is inexpensive, provides good quality video with lots of placement options. Probably the biggest factor in the decision to buy these cameras is the overall Ubiquiti ecosystem.
I just think the max frame rate of 25fps let’s it down slightly which is why I’m going to give it a 9/10 on this occasion.
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The Unifi G3 Flex Camera used to write our review was paid for by us.