Ubiquiti FrontRow Camera Tested

Rob Kilpatrick
Published Aug 24, 2017 15:52 PM

Ubiquiti is famous for low-cost wireless network equipment, a common choice for wireless video surveillance applications. The company has expanded into more computer networking products, video surveillance ones and now to 'FrontRow' which they declare to be 'reinventing the camera'.

We bought a FrontRow camera (shown below) and tested it:


Key Findings

Here are our key findings from this test:

  • Poor image stabilization: In our tests, the Frontrow's image stabilization was insufficient to provide steady video even when walking at a normal pace, regardless of lanyard or clip used. Ubiquiti specifically recommends holding the camera during movement.
  • No streaming without wifi: Frontrow requires a wifi connection to stream to the internet. Streaming to a phone is possible via bluetooth, but mobile streaming requires a hotspot or other wifi.
  • Poor WDR / bright light performance and Very poor low light performance: In anything other than even well lit scenes, video is poor, with images almost completely dark when tested at ~2 lux.
  • No VMS/RTSP streaming: Frontrow streams only to select social media platforms (Twitter/Periscope, Facebook, and Youtube) and cannot be used for direct streaming (e.g. to VMSes - no ONVIF or RTSP streaming).


The Frontrow sells for $399 online, direct from the Frontrow [link no longer available] website. This pricing is similar to the GoPro Hero5 Black which offers some of the same features (4K, image stabilization, etc.) but only live streams via the Periscope mobile app.

Questionable Outlook

While analyzing consumer preferences are beyond IPVM's scope, as a video device, it is a poor choice, especially given the image stabilization issues and cameras included for 'free' in smartphones.

Frontrow Overview

Frontrow is disc shaped, about 3" in diameter, with cameras front and back, 4K and 5MP respectively. Nearly the whole back of the Frontrow is a touchscreen, used to start recording or streaming, configure social media services, and preview video. It contains only two buttons, one for "media" (used to take a picture or start recording video) and a power button simply used to turn it on and off.

It includes two ways of wearing the camera, a lanyard and a pocket clip/stand. Neither provided much stability when the operator was in motion (see image stabilization below). The clip may be used as a stand by turning the camera upside down, with Frontrow automatically flipping recordings taken while upside down.

Streaming To Social Media Only

Frontrow is capable of streaming to Facebook, Twitter/Periscope, and Youtube Live. No RTSP streaming, ONVIF, or other integration to VMSes is supported. Streams are started simply by selecting the service icon and pushing start.

Note that streaming requires wifi. So when mobile, users must have an active wifi hotspot in order to stream to these services. No streaming from Frontrow to phone to internet is required.

Streaming vs. Recording Compression

Front camera videos are 4MP resolution (2688x1538), but still photos are 4K. 

In our tests, streaming video bitrate was ~4 Mb/s, regardless of motion level. Still scenes and high motion/walking shots both averaged (~4 Mb/s), which resulted in video pixelating/breaking up at times. 

However, when recording video to the Frontrow itself, bitrate jumped significantly, averaging ~20 Mb/s, with a bigger variance in bitrate, from ~18 Mb/s to 23-24. Pixelation was not present in these scenes. 

Poor Image Stabilization

Frontrow's built in image stabilization was poor, unable to stabilize even when walking at a normal pace on an even floor. 

The Frontrow pocket clip is slightly more stable but still difficult to watch at walking pace.

To compensate for this shaky video, Ubiquiti recommends holding the camera in place while moving, but this obviously presents difficulties for those expecting to use the camera while running, cycling, or performing other activities.

Image Quality

Frontrow has an extremely wide 147.5° angle of view, shown below. Because of this, PPF at even moderate distances drops quickly, producing only ~22 PPF at ~18' distance, shown below.

Frontrow's image quality was best in well lit interior scenes, but the camera's dynamic range was poor, causing overexposure of the test chart inside and reducing image quality in harsh sunlight outside in the sun. Additionally, low light performance was poor, with subjects totally obscured at only 2 lux and only the highly reflective chart visible. 

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