When I googled “indoor/ outdoor camera,” I got 724 million results in half a second. Now, I know you don’t have time to sift through the endless mountain of data that is the Internet. That’s where Security Baron comes in handy. We’ll be comparing two awesome indoor/ outdoor cameras, the Arlo Pro 2 and the Blink XT , using our Necessary Features test. Which camera will come out on top?
First I want to discuss each camera’s design. There are a lot of different configurations that a security camera can have. Some come with an external hub, some can rotate around 360 degrees, and some can even be mounted magnetically. Let’s see how the Arlo Pro 2 and the Blink XT stack up.
Arlo Pro 2
The Arlo Pro 2 is about five ounces, which feels pretty heavy for an object only a few inches tall. The camera has a shiny white plastic exterior surrounding a reflective black face.
What’s nice about the Arlo Pro 2 is that it can be plugged in or battery-powered. I love the flexibility here, especially for outdoor usage- many places that you’d want the camera to monitor are not near power outlets. However, if you prefer not having to change the battery every three to six months, plugging the camera in is a great option.
The Arlo Pro 2 comes with a rectangular hub that connects to the Internet through an ethernet cable. The camera must be placed within 140 feet of the hub for it to work. This is less than ideal as some cameras don’t require a hub at all.
Another thing that disappointed me about the design was the magnetic ball mount. While some cameras have ball mounts with a 360 degree swivel, I found that the Arlo Pro 2’s mount doesn’t allow for a full range of motion like the website says. This could be a problem depending on the angle you’re looking to capture. Like most security cameras, the Arlo Pro 2 can be mounted to a wall or placed on a flat surface.
Overall I do like the design of the Arlo Pro 2, despite its subtle flaws.
The Blink XT is a simple black cube about 3 inches tall and wide.
Like the Arlo Pro 2, the Blink XT also uses a hub referred to as a “sync module”. The sync module stays connected to a power source and wirelessly communicates with the camera. Unlike the Arlo Pro 2, the Blink XT does not have a plug-in option and solely operates using batteries. The Blink website says that the battery has a life of 2 years, but many people online have complained that it only lasted a few months, so that’s a drawback.
The camera can be mounted or placed on a flat surface.
To quote Maya Angelou, “we are more alike than unalike, my friends.” Oh, Maya. What do the Arlo Pro 2 and the Blink XT have in common?
Like I said at the top, both the Arlo Pro 2 and the Blink XT can be placed indoors and outdoors. While the Arlo Pro 2 is described as “weather-resistant,” the Blink XT is described as “weather-proof”. What do those terms mean, and is there an objective way to measure an object’s resistance to weather?
A product’s International Protection (IP) Rating states how weather-proof it is using a set of objective standards. The rating is made of two numbers. The first digit measures the object’s resistance to solids, while the second digit covers liquids.
It’s a pretty useful spec to know, especially if you live somewhere with harsh weather conditions. The scale goes from IP54, an object protected from “limited dust [and] water spray,” to IP69K, an object protected from “total dust [and] a steam-jet cleaning”.
The Arlo Pro 2 has an IP rating of 65, meaning that it’s protected from “total dust [and] low pressure water jets from any direction”. That’s a great rating, as your device probably won’t be submerged in water or sprayed with a high pressure jet anytime soon. Unfortunately, the Blink XT has no formal IP rating, making an objective comparison difficult.
I wasn’t super happy about the night vision on either camera. The good news is that both cameras use infrared LED lights. In contrast to the bright white lights of some cameras, LED lights are completely undetectable by the naked eye. Obviously, you don’t want a night intruder noticing your security camera, so infrared lighting is essential for proper night vision. However, I think both cameras could have benefitted from more powerful LED lights. Each camera has only 850 nm LED, allowing you to see just a few feet away.
Setting up the Arlo Pro 2 was a breeze. All I had to do was download the Arlo app, connect the hub to the Internet, and press the sync buttons. Overall, the process took about 15 minutes.
Setting up the Blink XT was not as seamless, but that may have been due to my Wifi connection. I highly recommend making sure your Wifi is strong before setting up a security system. Barring the Internet connectivity problems, the Blink XT was easy to set up. All I had to do was download the Blink app, sync the cameras to the modules, and connect each device to my phone. The entire process took about half an hour.
The Arlo Pro 2 can be bought in packs ranging from one camera to six. Each package comes with a hub. The more cameras you buy, the cheaper each individual camera will be. Mounts are sold separately. For the Blink XT, you can buy packages of one, two, three or five cameras. There’s also an option to buy an “add-on” camera, meaning that it will not come with the sync module.
I think that these cameras are both worth buying, but your decision will probably hinge on your personal preferences. These cameras definitely have more differences than similarities, discussed in detail below.
Ultimately, the differences between the Arlo Pro 2 and the Blink XT will determine which camera you choose. While I wouldn’t say that one camera is generally better than the other, there are clear winners for different categories like video, audio, and more. Let’s jump in.
I know I said I was going to talk about how the two cameras are different, but I lied. First I want to say that both cameras have 1080p HD, the industry standard for a clear video display. Unfortunately for the Blink XT, that is where the similarities end.
While the Arlo Pro 2 can zoom in eight times and has a field of view of 130 degrees, the Blink XT can only zoom in three times and has a field of view of 110 degrees. Although both cameras were given full marks for the video category, the Arlo Pro 2 is clearly the winner.
Here at Security Baron, we think that two-way audio is a necessity. Why? It allows the user to communicate with whoever is in the room, be it an intruder or your kid eating soup on your perfectly white couch. I’ve seen instances where users have used two-way audio to scare intruders away. It’s also a great way to communicate with someone from a remote location. That’s why I’m excited to tell you that the Arlo Pro 2 has two-way audio.
Unfortunately, the Blink XT does not. For this reason, the Arlo Pro 2 beats the Blink XT in terms of audio.
When it comes to security cameras, storage is essential. Say you have an intrusion- you want to be able to show the footage to law enforcement so they can catch the crook. Local storage means being able to back up your footage on a hard drive, while cloud storage means that your footage will be stored in a digital network. Personally, I prefer cameras with both cloud and local storage. That way, if one of them crashes, I’ll still have my footage.
Kudos to the Arlo Pro 2 for its local and cloud storage options. Footage is stored for free for up to seven days, a very generous time length compared to competitors. As much as I dislike continually criticizing the Blink XT, I was disappointed that it did not have a local storage option. Plus, the cloud storage only holds footage for two hours, and there’s not even a optional paid subscription plan available to get more storage.
Clearly, the Arlo Pro 2 takes the cake over the Blink XT when it comes to storage.
Smart Platform Integration
Again, the Blink XT’s smart platform integration fell short of expectations. The camera only integrates with Alexa, not surprising considering that Amazon owns Blink. Plus, you can only use Amazon to arm or disarm the entire system, and not specific cameras. This creates more work for the user, who will have to manually arm or disarm their individual cameras.
The Arlo Pro 2 goes above and beyond with its smart platform integration. The camera pairs with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT and Stringify. I love all the options because they put the user in the driver’s seat. Whether you are part of the Amazon or Google ecosystem, the Arlo Pro 2 will accommodate you. For that reason, the Arlo Pro 2 trounces the Blink XT in terms of smart platform integration.
The term “artificial intelligence” might bring to mind I, Robot, Tron, or even The Matrix. But how is this strange science-fiction-sounding term relevant to your home’s security?
The main way that home security cameras use artificial intelligence is through person detection, which is exactly what it sounds like. Person detection allows the camera to tell the difference between your dog, your SUV, and your Uncle Bob. It means smarter, more specific notifications. After all, no one needs to be alerted that their cat is playing with a ball of yarn, no matter how adorable it might be.
To my dismay, neither the Arlo Pro 2 nor the Blink XT come with any artificial intelligence features. On the bright side, the Arlo Pro 2 does have a paid subscription plan called Arlo Smart Home which would add person detection to the camera. Person detection isn’t the only thing you get with Arlo Smart Home, but I’ll discuss that in more detail below. When it comes to artificial intelligence, the Arlo Pro 2 trumps the Blink XT simply by having a paid person detection option.
Now I want to discuss the special features of each camera. Just like all humans have something that makes them unique (or so your mother told you), cameras come with all different features not covered by our necessary features.
Arlo Smart Home
It’s pretty common for security cameras to come with an optional paid subscription plan. For the Arlo Pro 2, it’s called the Arlo Smart Home. I’ve already mentioned how the Arlo Smart Home adds person detection to the Arlo Pro 2, but it doesn’t stop there- it also adds activity zones, a 911 button, and better notifications.
Activity zones allow a user to designate the most important spaces for the camera to record. This means that the user can mark an area, like a baby’s crib or a window, and get specific notifications when there is activity there. The camera must be plugged in to enable activity zones. While this feature is by no means essential, it does lead to better, more targeted notifications.
With Arlo Smart Home, you’ll also get a 911 button in your Arlo app. This button allows you to connect to law enforcement directly without having to conspicuously call 911. Honestly, I think that a safety button should be included with every security camera app, but that is unfortunately not the case.
Finally, the Arlo Smart Home gives you better notifications. From your locked screen, you’ll see a screenshot of your livestream, allowing you to see exactly what is happening with minimal effort.
Arlo Smart Home is only $2.99 per camera per month, and they’re even offering a one-month free trial. This is a great way to test the program out without having to spend any money.
Arlo Pro 2 Extras
On a free level, the Arlo Pro 2 does have some nice features that we haven’t yet mentioned. If the camera is plugged in, it can record non-stop 24/7, if that’s what you prefer. The Arlo Pro 2 also includes a siren for scaring away intruders, motion and sound notifications, and geofencing.
If you are looking for a system with both a camera and a siren, the Arlo Pro 2 has got it going on. The siren is over 100 decibels (in English: very loud) and can be used to scare away intruders or to alert your family of an intrusion.
Motion and sound notifications are pretty self-explanatory. The camera can notify you not only when it detects movement, but also sound. Having both detectors makes it way hard for intruders to stay hidden.
Finally, the Arlo Pro 2 comes with geofencing. Geofencing means that you’ll be able to hook up your cell phone with the camera system. That way, the system will know whether you are in the house or not based on your cell phone location. When you’re away, the camera will automatically arm, and vice versa. I love geofencing because it makes using your camera so much more convenient. You won’t need to worry about setting it on every time you leave the house- the geofencing does it for you.
Arlo Pro 2 App
I was pleased if not a tad overwhelmed by the Arlo Pro 2 app. The app is where you’ll view your livestream, motion and sound-activated recorded events, where you’ll access your safety button, and where you’ll change your camera’s settings.
I really like that the app lets you choose between “Best Video,” “Optimized,” and “Best Battery Life”. I can see how these options would be useful for different situations. For example, say I want to record my daughter’s fifth birthday party (if I had a daughter, that is). I could choose “Best Video” and get a high-quality record of our celebration. On the other hand, say I want to record wirelessly for a long period of time- I could simply put the camera on “Best Battery Life” for that time period.
As I’ve said ad nauseam, I love any feature that lets the user customize their experience, and the app is full of options. Like the camera itself, the Arlo app does not disappoint.
Blink XT Extras
I know I’ve given the Blink XT a hard time throughout this review, but it does redeem itself when it comes to its sensors. Not only does it have motion detectors like the Arlo Pro 2, but it also has built-in temperature sensors. From your Blink XT camera, you’ll be able to tell the room’s temperature. Considering the camera works both indoors and outdoors, the temperature sensors are essential to keeping the video display clear.
Unfortunately, the Blink app is where things took a turn for the worse. While it was very user-friendly, there were a few annoying features that took away from my experience.
The Blink app is where you’ll livestream footage and change your settings. A huge drawback of the app and of the camera itself is that you can’t choose when to record footage- it will only be recorded when it detects motion.
Another thing that bugged me were the constant pop-ups that appeared while I was livestreaming footage. You know how Netflix will ask if you’re still there when you have been watching something for a long period of time? It was like that, except the pop-ups came every 30 seconds. I don’t want to keep having to press “continue” when I’m trying to view my footage. In general, the Blink app is not up to snuff.
Clearly, the Arlo Pro 2 has a lot of features that the Blink XT lacks, like superior video, two-way audio, more storage options, artificial intelligence- the list goes on. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should buy it over the Blink XT. After all, the Arlo Pro 2 is over twice as expensive as the Blink XT, making it a tough decision.
The Arlo Pro 2 might be a better option for you if you want:
- Two-way audio
- Superior video quality
- Cloud and local storage stored free for up to a week
- Integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT & Stringify
- Option to add person detection, activity zones, and a 911 button
- Sound detection
- Non-stop continuous recording
- Option to plug-in camera or go wireless
However, the Blink XT might be the camera for you if you’re looking for:
- A more affordable option
- Built-in temperature sensors
- A longer battery life
I hope this article helps you make an informed decision. Still have any burning questions? Leave them in the comments section below and we’ll be happy to help.