Ok guys, need your thoughts and opinions. Currently, I have an outdoor camera security system, which is an 8 camera Swann 1080p over BNC wiring with 2 TB DVR. The quality is decent, but I have had issues with some of the wiring on 1 or 2 of the cameras and I know eventually the wiring needs to be replaced(I would do POE at that point). I also have a Ring Doorbell which is one of the locations with the wiring issues so when I do lose signal in that area, my Ring would detect any movement anyway.
My wife now wants to place an indoor camera in the Playroom which is downstairs which also has an exterior door in it. I am debating whether I should go with Blink or Arlo as I do want wire free cameras for this room. Blink is attractive from a cost perspective, but they don’t make any outdoor rated cameras and seem less mature than the Arlo’s. Arlo, while more costly, does give me the ability to expand to use outdoor cameras one day and slowly replace my Swann’s should I need to in some areas. I live in a high ranch, so I can’t see completely going wire free as I am not getting up that high to change batteries every so often. I know Arlo has official ST integration and Blink has unofficial. Not sure what the differences are from a ST integration perspective.
Both @RBoy and I are strong supporters of Blink cameras. I have 3 in my house and love the completely wire free lifestyle (there is a micro USB port on the back of the cameras as an option for AC power). That said, these cameras a battery powered and last for up to a year on 2xAA batteries. They use wi-fi connection to your router and a secondery connection to their hub. They work very well for my pupose.
2 current Cons for the device as you will find out from others…
at pressent, they can only record 10 second clips on AC/Battery. (This will change in the near future.
They use a Ultra Bright LED for elimination at night and not an IR sensor. (So not to be used for a baby room as a baby cam.)
Totaly Wire Free life style. (Place Anywhere you can mount it.)
Very SmartThings friendly thanks to work done by @RBoy; who is currently recognized on the Blink support page as their SmartThings support!)
Very good support.
Free cloud storage for life. (Will overweight old recordings after a while and will have local USB storage option in the very near future.)
Built in Microphone.
And the battery option lasts a lot longer with Blink then Arlo.
I love this product and have many friends who use it. Please feel free to ask me or others for help with your desission, but my opinion is to use Blink. Check out this very good comperison of Blink/Arlo/ Homeboy cameras.
I use a few blink cams when I don’t need continuous recording in areas … just to supplement my IP cams. All of my blink cams are outdoors (yea I know, not recommended). But they are somewhat protected, mounted on the wall by the front door, under glass in a light post, on an outdoor window sill. Places I just want a short clip when something happens. Neither Blink or Arlo support ONVIF like most modern IP cameras, so it’s doubtful they’ll ever integrate into my surveillance system. The blinks have Zero night vision ability, so they are placed near, but facing away from bright lighting. I wish their ability to trigger motion in smart things happened before recording, instead of after recording has finally turned off…that way, I could brighten up the lighting temporarily while recording. I have to do that with a separate motion detector.
I understand, I’m only representing my personal experiences – and it’s not my intention to repeat any implied usability from the product advertisements. Personally I would consider “night vision” as infrared illumination for a camera that was able to see infrared. My IP cameras do this with amazing clarity. A daylight camera illuminated by a visible light led doesn’t fit my personal definition of night-vision. I have made due with a bright LED lamp (Lifx in two cases, and with my own experiments have determined their illumination is superior to turning an led in the Blink camera)
You nailed it! Nice review…I would just add to your cons (as of today…)
no web interface.
no IFTTT channel.
no way of managing notifications.
no GitHub integration (sorry @rboy love your work but this one is my pet peeve)
no ST pre-release testing (things may break with each ST update, more than ST supported devices)
To add to your pros
faster live feed access
ability to take pictures (this will no longer be an advantage when ST releases the Q integration)
The free cloud space is debatable. Arlo gives you 7 days/1gb for 5 cams free. Blink gives you 2 hours worth of recording and no option to purchase more (it will be a game changer if they enable usb recording)
I have 22 blinks and am very pleased with them. Let me give you my opinion of the “night vision” capability.
Instead of IR night vision, Blink uses an LED light. To me this is superior in rooms less than 15 feet because it is in color instead of black and white. In rooms larger than 15 feet, it gets grainier and only close objects are clear, but still as good as IR. I think it is best within 15 feet because the light bounces back more lighting up the room.
Outside, the LED is not as effective because it doesn’t bounce back to light up the scene. In fact, it can make it worse reflecting moisture in the air and spider webs. You probably need another light source for this to be effective.
One unexpected advantage of the LED I discovered was the surprise affect. People tend to look at it when it goes on resulting in a superb mug shot. This is no stealthy surveillance camera. On the contrary, it is in your face deterrent that works.
For example, Blink several times caught some people snooping around my property in the day time. However, once their mug was captured at night, they never returned.
I have two that have been in the garage and attic which have had no temperature control since January (hot and cold). One in a mailbox which I’m sure has been well over 100 degrees. Eight since early summer outside under eaves and one I placed in an outside enclosure. No problems yet. I figured the price was worth the risk of failure until they came out with an outside version.
The enclosure works fine during the day, but as expected, sound is not as good. It really isn’t functional at night because the LED bleeds into the enclosure clear plastic reflecting back into lens. It probably would work if I could get a different light source or cut a hole out for the lens. I still have the LED triggered as a deterrent.
(www.rboyapps.com - Making SmartThings Easy!)
I believe the website says this is coming up in a new update shortly.
As for putting them outside while officially they will have a IP rated camera coming out soon I have 3 of them mounted outside without any equipment for almost 6 months through rain and sun and storms. Working fine. Just note a few
Keep it out of direct heavy rain and sun (direct sun causes a halo effect on the lens). Few drops of rain are fine heavy direct rain may seep into the camera
So my solution was to put it under the deck board, under the gutter and under the pelmet on the front door. I.e. All outside but just having a shield directly above to reduce the sun glare and avoid direct heavy rain onto it.
This is just spooky! I just received an email from Blink with a special discount. @RBoy do you have access to their email marketing? Did you just push a button…LOOOL Was just thinking to get another one to place it outside and see how it does comparing to my Arlo… @Mbhforum if you decide to go with Blink, PM me I have a special price offer for you…
Guys, this is all great feedback. The room I am going to be putting in is rather large 21 x 20, so the night vision aspect is a really important one I didn’t think about. Since there is an exterior door to this room and the lights at night are off, it could serve as a very useful security camera. Eventually, I want to get Arlos/Blinks for all of my exit/entryways inside the house.
If price matters and don’t mind playing in ide, there is a no brainer choice. Blink is your only option. There is no better night vision than automating your lights to come on before the cam starts recording.
No problem. One of my Blink cameras is in my Living room and when my family is away, it will capture very clear video of anyone coming up from the first floor or down from upstairs. It actually scared the crap out of the house sitter. My wifes friend…She crapt her pants when the light hit her in the face. Quot: “That camera made me want to run away when I came up the steps!”
I have 10 Blink cameras and I can tell you, they do not have night vision. Using an LED to illuminate a dark room in order to capture video or pictures is not the same thing as true IR nightvision. It doesn’t bother me that they don’t have true night vision but it might bother others.
RBoy’s integration rocks as well - it is very complete and well done. As others have mentioned, I’m hoping for USB recording soon and hopefully an option for unlimited recording length if the camera is powered as opposed to being on battery.