7 Best 4K Security Camera System with Audio

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So you are looking for a 4K security camera system with audio?

I have to tell you- that is a tough ask.

4K security cameras are becoming much more widely available but to get one with audio, narrows the field somewhat.

But, you are in luck, there are some great systems out there- there just aren’t that many of them.

To prove that, take a look at my top 3.

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Definition- what exactly is 4K?

For a long time for both our security cameras and our TVs, the gold standard resolution was 1080p.

For a picture to be 1080p, it needs to contain over 2 million pixels (which are the smallest part of an image)

This is because a 1080p image has a resolution of 1920 pixels high and 1080 pixels wide which gives a 2.07 million pixels.

A 4K image has a resolution 3840 high and 2160 wide: resulting in a resolution of 8.29 million pixels. 

This is 4 times the size of clarity of a 1080p image.

Advantages of 4K

[1] Crisper Images

Footage that has been recorded at a resolution of 4K will be much clearer than a 1080p image and this is very important when it comes to security cameras as crisper footage means better evidence.

[2] Better zoom

An increasing number of images from security cameras are being zoomed in. If the original image has a resolution of 4K, any zoomed images will be less pixelated.

[3] Better Coverage

This enhanced image quality means that security cameras can have wider angle lenses (because their images are much bigger.) 

The bottom line for the user is that fewer security cameras need to be bought in order to monitor the same size area.

[4] Improved Notifications

Motion detection is a highly sought after quality in a security camera but a common complaint are all the false alerts.

When you are notified of a motion event only to find that it is nothing but a strong gust of wind!

Better quality images should lead to motion detection being much more accurate.

Disadvantages of 4K

[1] Cost

4K security cameras are more expensive.

[2] Compatibility

Are security cameras with a 4K resolution compatible with the rest of your system- is your NVR or DVR able to record in that definition. 

[3] Network Speed

Is the speed of the Internet across your network fast enough to cope with the increased demands that 4K security cameras make.

[4] Installation

All of the systems in my comparison, apart from one, require the cameras to be connected to a DVR or NVR via a Ethernet cable or a power cable. 

Laying these cables so that they are neat and tidy and not a trip hazard or so that they are hidden and protected in some kind of conduit is a very lengthy task.

And it is only made easier by the thought that you are not having to pay an Electrician to run electrical cables and install electrical outlets!

Who Should Be Buying a Security Camera System?

A security camera system is a bundle of gadgets that includes a set of cameras with a recording device- normally an NVR a network video recorder.

Although the largest systems will allow you to connect up to 32 individual security cameras to an NVR, the biggest sellers tend to be systems which allow up to eight or sixteen cameras to connect.

And so these systems are most suited to businesses that have 8- 16 different areas within the same premises that they want to monitor.

But these systems also lend themselves to owners of larger houses or indeed owners of smaller houses who are security minded and have enough practical skills to install a system on their own.

Why Audio?

The security camera systems in my reviews are all able to record audio.

But legally speaking the recording of audio is quite complex and controversial. 

Security cameras aren’t just used to monitor any break-ins by intruders, they are also used to help us monitor family, friends or employees at home or at work.

And it is this second use of monitoring where there are big limits on the use of audio recording.

And it is one of the reasons why so few security camera systems have built-in microphones because they are aimed at businesses who might be using the cameras to monitor staff.

This activity is similar to wiretapping and the legality of it depends if the security camera system is being used in a one party or two party state (link to my article on this.)

Thinking about intruders, audio adds considerable value over and above a silent piece of video footage. It provides more evidence. 

If the audio recording is clear enough, getting a sample of someone’s voice is much better than just trying to identify them from their physical features. 

Audio can also help with intent- if a conversation is recorded it is easier to work out what the intruder’s intent is. What are they looking for?

Now that we have briefly discussed the value that built- in microphones can bring to security cameras, I want to move on to list the most important features that you will find when you are hunting for a 4K security camera system with audio.

16 Top Features Of 4K Security Camera System with Audio

[1] 4K Resolution

I don’t want to be patronising but a security camera system has two elements: a set of cameras and a video recorder.

In order for the whole system to be 4K, the cameras need to be able to shoot footage at a 4K resolution and the video recorder needs to be able record and store the footage at such a high resolution.

[2] Audio 

All of the cameras, except the Arlo Ultra, have 1 way audio. 

This means that the camera has a built in microphone, which can record sounds and a person who is connecting to the camera live via an app can also hear those sounds

The Ultra has 2 way audio which means that as well as each camera having a built in microphone, a person who is linking to the camera via an app can talk to a person who is close by the camera. 

[3] NVR or DVR

All of the systems in my reviews are either NVR or DVRs. 

In fact the overwhelming majority are NVRs.

The difference between these two systems is that an NVR connects to each camera via an Ethernet cable, whereas the one DVR in my comparison connects to each camera via a 

[4] Storage

All of the NVRs and DVRs have storage of at least 2 TB. 

[5] Continuous Video Recording (CVR)

All of the cameras in my selection allow CVR or 24/ 7 recording. 

And how long will 2 TB of storage last for a 4K camera system? It is difficult to say exactly because it depends on how many cameras that you have in the system.

But if you are using multiple cameras that are recording constantly, it is safe to say that your storage will last days not weeks. 

[6] Format

Formating describes the way that the video recorders store any footage. 

All of the systems in my reviews, except one, used a standard of formating called H.265.

It is a very efficient method which aims to store very high quality footage in less space than previous generations of formatting. 

[7] Channels

This is a strange piece of jargon to me. The number of channels that a system has, is the total number of cameras that can be connected to the system.

Most of the systems in my reviews have 8 channels- and can therefore have up to 8 cameras attached to them.

[8] Cameras

Even though most of the systems that I look at are eight channels most of them come with 4 cameras.

This means that a person can add more cameras to their system in future as their needs grow.

And going back to something I said earlier, only one system that I review does not come with 4K cameras.

[9] Field of View

This is the area in front of a camera that it can “see”. 

And in terms of size, the fields of view range from 80° to 120°. 

This is pretty standard when you compare these cameras to different sorts of security cameras available for purchase. 

[10] Motion Detection

All of these cameras come with a motion detection function. 

Some of the cameras are more sophisticated and you can set up motion zones and other camera systems have more sophisticated detection systems that can identify people or vehicles.

[11] Night Vision

This is another obvious feature of a security camera and the night vision range of these cameras varies from about 90 feet to 150 feet.

[12] Indoor/ Outdoor

All of these cameras have an IP rating of 66 which is very high and offers a high level of protection against all types of weather. 

[13] Voice Control

Most of the security camera systems in my review do not have voice control and by this I mean that they cannot integrate with either Google Assistant or Alexa. 

But one of the cameras can be controlled by either Google Assistant or Alexa, whilst the other security camera system will only respond to Alexa. 

[14] Power

Most of the systems in my review are powered by the power over Ethernet protocol. One camera is battery powered and the two other camera systems use DC power cables with BNC connectors. 

[15] Remote Access

All of the products in my reviews offer a remote access function. In order to be able to remotely access these devices, you need to download an app onto your smart phone and then connect your DVR or NVR to an Internet router. 

[16] Spotlight

Most of the security cameras in my reviews do not have a spotlight built into them.

The Arlo Ultra is the exception. 

I think that a built in spotlight on a camera can help in two ways- by improving the quality of any video footage and acting as a surprise to any intruder.

[1] Arlo Ultra 4K Security Camera System

I want to start off my review section by looking at this system because it is so unique and different from all the other systems in my review. 

Let me show you the specs, which are in the chart below.

NVR | DVRNODETECTIONPERSON | VEHICLE
STORAGE2 TB | CLOUDNIGHT VISIONNOT KNOWN
AUDIO2 WAYINDOOR OR OUTDOORBOTH
CHANNELS5VOICEALEXA
CAMERAS1- 4 POWERBATTERY | CABLE
VIEWING ANGLE180°REMOTE ACCESSYES
SPOTLIGHTYESSIRENYES

And now, I will go through these specifications one at a time to discuss the ways in which the Arlo Ultra security camera system is so unique.

Storage

The Arlo Ultra security camera system includes a base station but it doesn’t include any storage in it.

All footage is stored in the cloud and when you buy a system, you get 1 year’s free subscription to this cloud storage, which is called Arlo Smart. 

After that you will need to pay a monthly subscription that starts at $14.99 per month for up to 5 cameras or $4.99 a month for 1 camera. 

These are the rates for the Elite plan which enables you to store footage (for 30 days) at a 4K resolution and it enables you to record footage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Audio

The Arlo Ultra is also unique in my comparison because it has 2 way audio meaning that the camera doesn’t just have a built in microphone but that someone can connect to the camera via the app.

Channels

All the other products in my review can have up to 8 cameras connected to them but with the Ultra, a maximum of 5 cameras can be connected.

Cameras

Most systems come with 4 cameras but with the Arlo Ultra you can just buy a base station with one camera or you can buy a base station with 4 cameras and there is a large difference in price between these options. 

Viewing Angle

The Arlo Ultra has a massive viewing angle of 180°. The next largest viewing angle in my selection is the HISEEU system with an angle of 120°. 

Spotlight/ Siren

It is the only system to have a built in spotlight and siren.

Detection

It has some very advanced detection capabilities courtesy of the cloud storage plan. These include the ability to detect people, vehicles, packages and animals. 

What this means is that if a person is detected , you will get a notification informing that a person has been detected. If a parcel is detected, your notification will inform that a parcel has arrived.

If you stop subscribing to this service, then you won’t get these advanced forms of detection. 

Power

The last feature of the Arlo Ultra that makes it so unique in the 4K security camera system marketplace is that its cameras can work via a built-in battery. 

Arlo believes the battery should last between three to six months but only if the camera is being used a few times per day.

Functions such as the spotlight or continuous video recording should only be used when each camera is plugged in. 

Pros

  • Several unique features
  • Free Cloud storage for 1 year

Cons

  • Need to keep paying a subscription in order to unlock all the features.
  • Battery power a bit limited
  • No information on the night vision range

Verdict

I think that this is a great system, with a set of features that are almost out of this world.

But the system is expensive to buy (particularly if you want to use it with 4 or 5 cameras) and after the first year, an owner will need to pay a monthly subscription in order to benefit from these features.

I don’t think that this will suit many businesses but I think that it is a perfect system for use in the home of a tech geek who wants the very best and doesn’t mind paying for it.Now that I have reviewed the Arlo Ultra, I will move onto a Reolink system next.

[2] Reolink 4K POE Security Camera System

I have to say the cameras that come with this system look amazing. I love the rounded bullet look of them and I think that the white body with black face is very smart.

And now, the specs

NVR | DVRNVRDETECTIONMOTION ZONES
STORAGE2 TB | CLOUDNIGHT VISION100 FEET
AUDIO1 WAYINDOOR OR OUTDOORIP 66
CHANNELS8VOICENONE
CAMERASPOWERPOE
VIEWING ANGLE80°REMOTE ACCESSYES
SPOTLIGHTNOSIRENNO

Unique or Outstanding Features

A quick look at the specs shows that this Reolink 4K security camera system doesn’t have any outstanding features apart from just how popular it is and how highly it is rated. 

It is just a very solid performer from a company that is becoming more high profile and trusted.

Pros

  • Very highly rated

Cons

  • Some users complain that the software is a bit “glitchy” and that there is no U.S. based support. 

Verdict

I think that this Reolink product is the best 4K security camera system with audio.

I think it is the best bet for business owners or homeowners and  balances value for money with a reliable product that has a solid set of features.

[3] HISEEU POE 8 Channel 4 Camera System

If you think that these security cameras have the same look as the Reolink cameras you are right as they look pretty similar.

However this system hasn’t got such incredible ratings as the Reolink system has.

First, let’s take a look at the specifications.

NVR | DVRNVRDETECTIONZones 
STORAGE3 TB | CLOUDNIGHT VISION131 feet(color)
AUDIO1 WAYINDOOR OR OUTDOORIP 67
CHANNELS8VOICENone
CAMERASPOWERPOE
VIEWING ANGLE120 °REMOTE ACCESSYES
SPOTLIGHTNOSIRENNO

Unique or Outstanding Features

The HISEEU system has one unique feature and a couple of strong features when compared to its rivals.

It’s unique feature is that it comes with an NVR that offers 3TB of storage- most systems in my comparison only come with two. 

And it has a top rated IP67 weatherproof status that not all the systems have.

And it’s night vision range is one of the longest in my comparison.

Pros

  • Picture quality 
  • App reliable and easy to use
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • Customer service could be better

Verdict 

This HISSEU system is available at a very competitive price and so if that is a big factor in your decision making, buy it. 

You will also get more storage than any other system. 

[4] Swann 8 Channel 4 Camera Security System

To me the cameras in this system look a little short and dump and not as elegant as the Reolink cameras. 

But, here are the specs.

NVR | DVRNVRDETECTIONHeat 
STORAGE2 TB | CLOUDNIGHT VISION150 feet(color)
AUDIO1 WAYINDOOR OR OUTDOORBoth
CHANNELS8VOICEALEXA | Google
CAMERASPOWERPOE
VIEWING ANGLE93 °REMOTE ACCESSYES
SPOTLIGHTNOSIRENNO

Unique or Outstanding Features

There are a few features that make this system stand out a bit from others in my round up. 

Firstly, you can make use of cloud storage by uploading short clips of video to your Dropbox account. 

Secondly, the night vision range on this camera is very high compared to other systems that I have looked at.

Thirdly, is that this system can be integrated into the Google and Amazon voice control systems. 

Pros

  • The quality of the 4K is fantastic.
  • Price is very reasonable

Cons

  • Some users are concerned about how poor the software is. 

Verdict

Unless you love Swann security cameras to death and you will not consider buying any other brand, I would say buy Reolink instead. 

[5] Lorex 4K 8 Channel 8 Camera DVR

It is difficult to say much about this camera system as the details are very sparse.

But let’s check out the specs.

NVR | DVRNVRDETECTIONMotion 
STORAGE2 TB | CLOUDNIGHT VISION90 feet
AUDIO1 WAYINDOOR OR OUTDOORBoth
CHANNELS8VOICENone
CAMERASPOWERPOE
VIEWING ANGLE101 °REMOTE ACCESSYES
SPOTLIGHTNOSIRENNO

Unique or Outstanding Features

This Lorex system is unique in one way. 

It is an 8 channel system that comes with 8 cameras but in every other way it is similar with many of the other systems in my round up.

There are no details about if this camera has an IP rating or not. 

The product description just includes the fact that it is weatherproof.

Pros

  • Great picture quality
  • Easy set up 

Cons

  • Great picture quality
  • Easy set up 

Verdict

If you want an 8 channel 4K security camera system and you want 8 cameras to use NOW, then this product could be for you, I am just a little wary about the lack of feedback.

[6] Defeway 8 Channel 4 Camera DVR

Again, I like the look of these cameras. They are a rounded bullet shaped much like the Reolink cameras that were discussed earlier.

NVR | DVRDVRDETECTIONmotion
STORAGE2 TB | CLOUDNIGHT VISION130 feet
AUDIO1 WAYINDOOR OR OUTDOORIP 67
CHANNELS8VOICENone
CAMERAS4POWERBNC cable
VIEWING ANGLE110 °REMOTE ACCESSYES
SPOTLIGHTNOSIRENNO

Unique or Outstanding Features

Like the Lorex system, there aren’t a lot of details about this Defeway system and there are no ratings.

There are also certain specifications which contradict each other.

For instance in one part of the description it claims that the cameras are 4K (or 8 MP) cameras and in another section, it lists the cameras as being 5 MP.

Verdict

I would steer clear of this. 

Find another 4K security camera system with audio to buy. 

FAQs

How far can a security camera be from DVR?

The distance you security camera can be placed away from your DVR depends primarily on the cable that connects your camera to the DVR. So, it’s more a function of the cable’s features than the camera’s. If you’re using RG59 or RG6 co-axial cable, your camera can go farther from the DVR. An RG59 co-axial cable can get good video feed as far as 600 ft distance. On the other hand, with an RG6 you can extend your cable up to 1,000 ft.

Are security cameras always recording?

There are a number of options for recording with your security camera. Some cameras record only when its motion detector is activated. But other security cameras record continuously. This is the case with most PoE (Power over Ethernet) 4K security cameras. These cameras have an efficient compression system that reduce the file size of videos, that enables it to save more videos using up less memory. These 4K PoE security cameras often have recording base stations that have built in 2TB of HDD that can record 24/7. On top of that, you have the option to expand its memory up to 8TB, externally, using its e-SATA port. 

Biggest Brands in 4K Security Cameras with Audio

Amcrest has set the benchmark in security cameras with their 4K series cameras. They guarantee true 4K resolution in comparison to other brands that fall short of delivering real 4K video quality videos. Amcrest has been in the business of manufacturing remote access and video security cams since 2013. The company is based in Houston, Texas, and was founded by the same people who founded Foscam Digital Technologies. Amcrest is a top quality manufacturer and distributor of security surveillance systems in the USA.

Reolink has been in the business of security products for personal and business needs since 2009. Known for the quality of their products and their reliable service, Reolink has come up with products that both protect your home and live up to modern technological challenges. Their products range from indoor wireless security cameras to outdoor surveillance 4K PoE cameras. This includes accessories that are compatible with their array of electronic surveillance products. So, with Reolink security cameras, you have the assurance of mature technical expertise in their products.

Now, let’s turn our attention to the products.