Update: Nest recently lowered its cloud storage prices, reflected in the written portion of the review.
When you’re talking about outdoor security cameras, there are even more factors to consider than with indoor cameras. Of course, there’s durability, meaning how much terrible weather this camera can handle. Power becomes more of an issue, as plug-in cameras may have trouble reaching outlets. And, obviously, we don’t want to lose sight of Security Baron’s Necessary Features, which call for excellent video, audio, night vision, and more.
In this review, I’m comparing three of my top outdoor security cameras, namely the Arlo Pro 3, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and the Blink XT2. Needless to say, they are all quality cameras, but does one come out on top, and who would each camera be good for? I’ll answer those questions and more in this Arlo vs. Nest vs. Blink review; let’s get started!
Arlo Pro 3 vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor vs. Blink XT2 Design
Obviously, these are all indoor/ outdoor cameras, but that’s where the similarities end. Let’s dive into each camera’s design, specifically.
Arlo Pro 3 Design
The Arlo Pro 3 works in temperatures from 14 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, so it might not be the best choice for those super-cold climates. To use the camera in the first place, you’ll need to have the Arlo base station, which adds to the price. Now, one thing about the Arlo Pro 3 that I like is that it’s wireless, with a battery life of three to six months. The battery is actually rechargeable so you won’t have to buy a new one when it runs out— simply charge it for about three and a half hours to get it back up and running.
Another advantage of the Arlo Pro 3 is it’s spotlight, which you can either control manually in the Arlo app or make it motion-activated. The camera has a magnetic charge cable and mount that snaps into place plus a built-in siren, differentiating it from the other two cameras in this review.
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Design
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is by far the most durable camera of the three. It works in temperatures from -40 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you live in a cold climate, Nest is your best bet. Plus, with an IP rating of 66, it’s completely protected against all solids and even high-pressure water jets. Basically, as long as you don’t immerse it in water, the camera will keep on keeping on.
Now, a disadvantage of the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is that it needs to be plugged into an indoor power outlet, which could limit your placement possibilities. Make sure to think about where you’d like to place your outdoor camera before making any purchases.
Blink XT2 Design
The Blink XT2 has the smallest temperature range of the three at negative four to 113 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s slightly less durable than the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor with an IP rating of 65, protecting it from all solids and low-pressure water jets. Like the Arlo Pro 3, the Blink XT2 requires a sync module, which costs an extra $50, and the camera is also wireless.
The one unique feature of the Blink XT2 is that it provides temperature monitoring, which you’ll be able to see on the Blink Home app. I often find that the iPhone weather app and the actual weather do not always coincide exactly, so this is definitely a feature I appreciate.
Key Similarities of Arlo Pro 3 vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor vs. Blink XT2
Just to make sure you’re in the right ballpark, let’s talk about what these cameras have in common.
Infrared Night Vision
The Blink XT2, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and the Arlo Pro 3 all have infrared night vision, which I prefer over color night vision from a spotlight.
All of these cameras have speakers and microphones enabling two-way audio, which means that you can speak to whoever the camera is on remotely.
The Blink XT2, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and the Arlo Pro 3 all work with Amazon Alexa, making them great choices if you’re already in the Amazon ecosystem.
The Blink XT2, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and the Arlo Pro 3 all support activity zones, although they’re only free with the Blink XT2. Activity zones let you divide your space into different areas marked as important or not important, to get notifications that actually matter. For example, you can have your cameras ignore the street or your neighbor’s property so you only get alerted about movement on your yard.
Key Differences of Arlo Pro 3 vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor vs. Blink XT2
Now, the differences between the cameras are what’s going to influence your buying decision the most, so let’s get into it!
Like I said before, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is by far the most durable camera of the three in terms of both temperature range and IP rating. Second is the Blink XT2, and third is the Arlo Pro 3.
From most to least impressive video, the cameras go in this order: Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, Arlo Pro 3, and then Blink XT2. The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor not only has 1080p HD display, but also 4k sensors, which provide twice the amount of pixels, resulting in a clearer picture. The camera also has HDR, which helps with outdoor lighting, plus intelligent imaging in a feature called Supersight. Basically, the camera will automatically zoom in on a person up to 12 times for tons of detail! Add in a wide, 130 degree field of view, and the choice is clear when it comes to video— the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor takes the cake.
Now, the other cameras still have impressive video, especially the Arlo Pro 3, with it’s 2K HDR, 2560p HD, 12 times digital zoom and 130 degree field of view. While I’m pleased that the Blink XT2 has 1080p HD display, you can only zoom digitally and the field of view is a bit narrow at 110 degrees.
Color Night Vision
Due to it’s spotlight, the Arlo Pro 3 is the only camera of the three with color night vision. Now, as I said before, I prefer infrared over color night vision, as that spotlight makes your camera super conspicuous (and thus easier to avoid). But I’m fine with this because the Arlo Pro 3 also offers infrared.
The Arlo Pro 3 is the only camera with local storage through the Arlo base station. Beyond that, Blink only offers two hours of cloud storage, with no paid options to extend that time. Similarly, Nest only gives you three hours of cloud storage on the house. Arlo, on the other hand, gives you seven days for free, but Nest will give you the most bang for your buck if you want 30 or 60 days of storage, after they lowered their prices recently. So I’d go with Arlo if you want local storage or a week of free cloud storage, but Nest if you don’t care about local storage and want 30 or 60 days of cloud storage.
Google Assistant Integrations
Only the Arlo Pro 3 and the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor work with Google Assistant, making them an ideal choice if you’re already in the Google smart home ecosystem. If that’s the case, steer clear of the Blink XT2, as it only works with Alexa.
The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the only camera of the three to include person detection. Arlo offers it under Arlo smart home, while the Blink XT2 lacks any AI capabilities whatsoever. Now, if you want more features like facial recognition, dog barking alerts, or person speaking alerts, you’ll need to invest in a Nest Aware plan. Similarly, Arlo offers person, package, vehicle, and animal detection under Arlo Smart Home. Clearly, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor takes the cake when it comes to artificial intelligence.
While the Arlo Pro 3 and the Blink XT2 are both wireless, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor can be either wireless or plug-in, if you prefer. The Arlo’s battery is rechargeable and, after it charges for about three and a half hours, can last three to six months. Even more impressive, the Blink XT2 is known for it’s two-year battery life, making it the best option when it comes to power source. However, if you’d like a camera that plugs in, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor is your best bet.
Arlo Pro 3 vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor vs. Blink XT2 Installation
All of these cameras you will have to install yourself, so I want to make sure that the process is seamless.
Installing the Arlo Pro 3
I gotta be honest: installing the Arlo Pro 3 was kind of a pain, but that’s mainly because I had a faulty Arlo Hub. Now, keep in mind that you’ll need the most recent version of the Arlo Hub to unlock the Arlo Pro 3’s 2K video. After I got my hub replaced, the process wasn’t hard. Just plug in the hub via its ethernet and power adapters, charge the camera’s battery, and follow the step-by-step directions in the Arlo app to sync the two together, along with setting up your Wi-Fi. As long as your hub wasn’t messy like mine, the process should only take a few minutes.
Installing the Nest Cam IQ Indoor
Nest cameras are typically pretty easy to install and the Nest Cam IQ Indoor is no exception. After I added it to the Nest app, I simply connected it to power and adjusted the view. Of course, things were made much easier by placing it on a flat surface instead of mounting it, but overall the process was very straightforward and quick.
Installing the Blink XT2
If I haven’t made it clear enough, you’ll need to have the Blink sync module within 100 feet to use the Blink XT2. Your installation process will start with the sync module. Plug it into power and add it to the Wi-Fi using the Blink Home app. Insert the two AA batteries into the Blink XT2 and sync it with the module. Again, I placed it on a flat surface, although the swivel mount doesn’t seem hard to use either.
Top Camera For Installation
Nest vs. Blink vs. Arlo Apps
With any connected device, a user-friendly mobile application is essential. It’s what allows you to livestream footage, speak through two-way audio, view storage, and more, so it’s important that it’s well-designed and free of bugs.
The Arlo App
After some major updates, I’m happy to say that the Arlo app worked well for both iPhones and Androids. It now has a 3.7 on the Google Play store and a 4.5 from the Apple store, much higher than previous iterations.
The Nest App
Unfortunately, the Nest app didn’t fare quite as well. It has a 3.1 on the Google Play store and only a 2.4 on the Apple store, making Nest a poor choice for iPhone or iOS users of any kind. Android users also weren’t thrilled with the app. For example, an Android user named Haley Kadlec recently wrote in a two-star review,
“This app is extraordinarily bad at telling when I am home and turning off the cameras. It works fine for my boyfriend but for some reason cannot properly turn off when I get home. I have checked the settings recommended in the help articles and everything is set up as it should be.”
The Blink Home App
Finally, the Blink app lands solidly in the middle, with a 3.3 from the Apple store and a 3.8 from the Google Play store. I personally had issues with the app, as it kep asking me if I wanted to continue livestreaming footage every 30 seconds. I also didn’t like that I couldn’t manually record footage; rather, it had to be triggered by motion.
It’s no surprise— Arlo has the best app overall.
Recap of Arlo Pro 3 vs. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor vs. Blink XT2
Go with the Arlo Pro 3 if you want…
- Apple Watch integration: The Arlo Pro 3 is the only option in this list that works with your Apple Watch, although it’s not totally HomeKit-compatible.
- Spotlight: Whether it’s manually-operated or motion-activated, the Arlo Pro 3 makes sure that intruders are visible.
- Color night vision: With the spotlight comes color night vision, a welcome addition to the camera’s infrared LED sensors.
For more information, read my review of the Arlo Pro 3.
Buy the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor if you want…
- Best video quality: With 4K sensors, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor’s video has twice the amount of pixels as 1080p HD, the current industry standard.
- Most artificial intelligence capabilities: Person detection is included, plus, you can get facial recognition, dog barking alerts, person speaking alerts, and more if you buy a Nest Aware plan.
- Plug-in design: Sometimes plugging in cameras can be easier, as you won’t have to worry about battery life.
For more information, read my full review of the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.
Purchase the Blink XT2 if you want…
- Temperature monitoring: The Blink XT2 is more than just a security camera; it’s also a way to learn the real temperature outside, which is much more accurate than the iPhone weather app in my experience.
- Two-year battery life: The Blink XT2 has a longer battery life than the Arlo Pro 3 by a minimum of four times.
- 2560p HD video: Going above the standard of 1080p HD, the Blink XT2 gives you a beautiful and clear display.
Want to learn more? Read our individual review of the Blink XT2.
Or, if none of these cameras seem like the right option for your smart home, read our review of the best outdoor security cameras of 2019.
Is Blink or Arlo better?
In terms of quality, Arlo is better than Blink, with superior video, night vision, storage options, smart platform integrations, and artificial intelligence capabilities. Of course, it’s also much more expensive.
Are Blink security cameras any good?
Blink security cameras are good if you’re looking for the basics of smart home security: 1080p HD video, infrared night vision, two-way audio, and an Alexa integration. However, the cameras are lacking when it comes to artificial intelligence capabilities like person detection, as well as storage.
Are Arlo Pro cameras easy to steal?
It depends how they’re mounted. I recommend putting them out of reach and screwing them into a wall or ceiling.