The UniFi Protect G3 Instant Camera has been hard to catch in-stock on Ubiquiti’s website lately; however, they seem to be getting a little easier to grab. I managed to get one the other day after checking the Ubiquiti subreddit and finding a 5-hour-old post about their availability. Unfortunately, the stock is still limited at the time of this review to a single camera per customer.
For $29, it’s hard to pass up this camera for any use in a UniFi Protect system.
UniFi Protect G3 Instant Camera Key Features
- Full HD 1080p, 30 FPS video
- Day or night with infrared LEDs
- Dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity
- 133˚ Wide-angle lens
- Built-in microphone and speaker for two-way audio
- Quick setup via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth from UniFi Protect mobile app
- Powered by AC adapter (included) or Instant 802.3af PoE to USB adapter (not included)
- Small, wall-mountable form factor
The other key spec of this camera is that it is designed for indoor use and is not meant to face the elements. There is no weatherproofing for the G3 Instant and your power cable is effectively exposed to the elements – unlike the $80 G3 Flex.
The key differentiator of the G3 Instant is the WiFi connectivity. This is not a POE (power-over-ethernet) camera. There is no way to make a hard-wired data connection to the G3 Instant – only Wi-Fi.
It is powered via a single USB-C port on the bottom of the camera and includes a right-angle adapter that fits snugly into a cable channel so that the G3 Instant can sit on a table-top with no interference from the cable path.
Additionally, it includes a wall-mount plate to attach via screws/anchors or double-sided sticky pads – with both configurations included in the box.
I opted for a simple table-top mount on the piano in our playroom, which includes a view of our front door. (On the outside of my front door, I have a G3 Flex facing the street, which is connected by Cat5e cabling).
The 133-degree viewing angle of the lens is incredibly wide-angled and captures nearly the entire room. While there is some barrel distortion in the resulting image, that’s to be expected from a $29 camera.
Additionally, the audio quality struggles with varying sound levels but it certainly serves its purpose as a security camera. The talkback works surprisingly well from the UniFi Protect App on the iPhone.
Note that when you activate talkback, it will block your live monitoring of audio from the camera’s feed. This makes sense to prevent feedback; however, it’s worth pointing out in case you were expecting a seamless intercom system — it’s not that. Think more like walkie-talkie radio communication. (Actually, audio works with two-way, simultaneous communication. I’m not sure what happened in my initial test of this feature but further use proves that you can both talk and listen at the same time. Nice work, Ubiquiti!)
It’s also worth noting that UniFi Protect is required to use the G3 Instant. This camera is designed to work exclusively with UniFi’s closed-ecosystem Protect surveillance system. While Ubiquiti recommends using the G3 Instant with the Dream Machine Pro or UniFi Protect NVR, I have zero issues using it with a Cloud Key Gen 2 Plus.
The $29 price point of the G3 Instant seems too good to be true. Frankly, I think they’d continue to sell droves of them at $49 each.
If you’ve got an indoor use for another camera on your UniFi Protect system, the G3 Instant is hard to beat – particularly for locations that are hard to reach with ethernet cabling. You just need power access with the included AC adapter.
For now, it looks like the G3 Instant is only officially available from Ubiquiti’s website. Shipping and tax ran a little over $7 for a total of $37-ish delivered for me. Once production and availability pick up, I expect the G3 Instant to also show up at B&H Photo and other resellers.