Mu Design ULO Owl Camera Setup Review

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ulo the Owl is a quirky surveillance camera that breaks the mould from the rest by redesigning the concept of what a surveillance camera is supposed to look like.
Ulo's peculiar looks coupled with clever functionality makes Ulo standout from the crowd of security cameras and in a good way!
At first glance, you won't be able to spot Ulo's camera and that is because the 2 megapixel security camera in Ulo is not integrated in Ulo's owl eyes but in the shiny beak.
Ulo's shiny beak is where the motion sensor camera and built-in microphone are also integrated. The shiny beak doubles as a nifty two-way mirror that gives Ulo 120 degrees field of view.
Ulo's eyes are actually two watch size lcd screens (1.36-inch lcd screens with 220x220 resolution) for displaying Ulo's various eye animations which is a huge selling point for Ulo because of the "cuteness" factor.
From the Ulo app, you can adjust Ulo's pupil size, iris size and change Ulo's iris color and eye reflection.
The top of the head of Ulo integrates a capacitive touch button while on the bottom, Ulo features a magnet.

cooling vents on bottom
Included with Ulo is a neodymium magnet with 3m adhesive backing to stick it on a wall. When joined to Ulo, the neodymium magnet creates a very strong magnetic connection.
The back of Ulo features a micro USB charging port and a small opening to pry open Ulo in half and gain access to the battery compartment which takes three rechargeable NiMH batteries LR06 with a minimum of 1900 mA.
The mac address is written on the top underside of Ulo where you also find what looks like a 3.5mm audio plug but it isn't.
The plug connects the top half of ulo (the brain) to the bottom half of Ulo which powers Ulo. Speaking of half, Ulo's body can twist around 360 degrees so you can position Ulo at any angle when stuck on a wall.
Internally, Ulo features an accelerometer, a bluetooth module, a Wifi module and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 Series (APQ8009) SoC processor, which is the same SoC (system-on-a-chip) found in the Nokia 2 so Ulo's brain speed has a clock rate of up to 1.3 GHz.
As far as memory, Ulo possess 1GB of RAM and 8GB of EMMC internal storage which can be expanded via the built-in microSD card slot which supports only class 10 memory cards up to 128GB. As always, remember FAT32 formatting if you are using a 64GB microSD card or higher.
EMMC storage is the same type of memory storage you get in memory cards so when you setup Ulo you won't have to worry about erasing the settings when removing the batteries which, by the way, are not included.
Ulo's body construction is made of ABS-PC plastics and measures 9cm tall and 9cm in diameter. Ulo weighs 237 grams (with batteries) so Ulo weighs as much as the Xiaomi Mi smartphone.

Ulo charging
Without batteries, Ulo weighs 120 grams and can actually be powered without batteries when using the included micro USB charging cable.
There are two ways to connect to Ulo via Cloud Access or Direct Access. Both ways are good options but connecting directly to Ulo means your data/information is kept inside Ulo rather than stored in Mu Design's remote cloud server.
Also, when connected to Ulo via Direct Access you can still access Ulo remotely, anywhere in the world which is primarily the main benefit of Cloud Access so from that stand point Direct Access seems the better option because it gives you control of your data/information.
Setting up Ulo is straight forward but be aware that Ulo operates on the 2.4Ghz band so Ulo is only compatible with 2.4Ghz routers. If you have a dual band (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) router, you will need to switch off the 5Ghz band by going into the network settings of your router. The steps to setting up Ulo are as follows:

1) Power on Ulo and connect your phone to Ulo's wifi hotspot

2) Download and open Ulo app.  so the app can find your Ulo. When the Ulo app finds your Ulo, select it (you will see your Ulo with a mac address beneath it).

3) Follow Ulo app's prompts. Place Ulo upside down, select your country and enter your router's wifi settings but before you do make sure to connect your phone to your router network again.

4) Select "new" setup method

5) Complete new administrator details. When entering the password, make sure you enter one of the special characters (!@#$%^&*) and a number so you won't get "password" error message.

6) The next prompt will give an option to keep Ulo right side up to access Ulo or to keep Ulo upside down to complete more administrator settings.

7) Manually Bluetooth pair Ulo with your phone by going to your phone's bluetooth settings and selecting W06S#***** (Ulo's bluetooth name). 

8) After completing the administrator settings, close the Ulo app and open it again so a local IP address will be automatically generated for Ulo. Make a note of Ulo's local IP address from the ulo app so you can access Ulo remotely via a desktop computer.

From the administrator settings of Ulo app, you can also create new users to grant them privileges to view your photos and videos.

The motion detection sensor built-in to Ulo can also be tweaked from the Ulo app via a setting called, Detection Exclusion, which lets the motion detection sensor know where to detect and where not to detect so it will not trigger the alert, which can also be disabled from the app.

Speaking of alerts, when Ulo detects motion it sends alert notifications via email but before Ulo can send you notifications, you need to complete the Email Settings by entering the SMTP server and SMTP port of your preferred email address.
If you have a gmail address, you will need to enter and SMTP port 465. If you have an Outlook address, the SMTP server is and the SMTP port is 587.
There are three operating modes for Ulo. Standard mode, Spy mode and Alert mode which you select from the Ulo app. Standard mode is the default and in this mode Ulo does not record but the lcd screen eyes are on showing Ulo is awake.
Spy mode and Alert mode are the recording modes where Ulo records every movement with the only difference being in alert mode Ulo is asleep (lcd screen eyes turned off), while in Spy mode Ulo Owl is awake.
While 1080p resolution (full HD) is the current holy grail of high definition TV, Ulo's 720p recording resolution is still high definition (standard HD). The main difference between 1080p and 720p recording is in the viewing on a TV.
You can view a 1080p recording in high quality on a 44-inch screen size TV, whereas the maximum TV screen size you can view a 720p recording in high quality is 32-inches. This is because 1080p cameras have twice the pixel resolution (2.07 MP) of 720p cameras (0.92 MP).
box contents (batteries not included)

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