Blink vs Arlo Q vs Foscam

I am currently testing out a 5 camera Blink setup. It’s ok. I increased the clip duration to 15 seconds but the clips end too early (< 15 seconds) often and the clips always start to late. Live view is underwhelming at best. The android app is very meh and there is no web interface. I’m not too bothered by no IR for night time, but I wouldn’t mind having it.

The other options I see for me would be 5 Arlo Q cameras or 4-5 Foscam cameras (FI9821P or R2?). Obviously both would be wired. What are peoples opinions on them? Live streaming, image quality, web interface, notifications, other uses as motion sensors, etc. I don’t particularly plan to use them as recording devices really. Mostly pet watching, smoke alarm notification (a Nest Protect false alarmed me a few weeks back and I had to frantically drive home), minor security notifications. Long term I would probably also get a few Kuna lights for outside entry monitoring. The Arlo system would be about double what I payed for the Blink with Foscam only being a bit more than the Blink. What are the benefits (if any) in cost. Foscam worth trusting (after the password issue recently)?

Hi @Drew_Hill,

I am not going to sturt up my recommendation from another mirror thread. Please go to the Official Blink thread for help and avice as opposed to starting a new discussion. Talk to @RBoy as he and his team are the official 3rd party support for Blink on ST.

I’ve been in that thread and debated posting there since this is more of a not Blink thread. There are some recommendations for Foscam but I don’t see much (any?) talk about Arlo Q cameras and nothing comparing those two.

Not much on that. But if you do need an honest opinion on Arlo Q, than mode the Topic and you will get more zeroed in on what you are looking for.

See this thread:

I’ll try to answer a few points on your Blink but like @lmosenko it would be best to post Blink related question on that forum as the collective knowledge of the community is fantastic!

Blink has a feature called Stop recording if no motion is detected, this is per camera, enabling this can cause what you’re experiencing.

That indicates a problem with your WiFi. They way Bliink works is once the camera detects motion, it “wakes up” the camera networking system which then causes it to hunt, associate and connect with the Wifi. Once the connection is established it starts uploading the recordings. This is done to save battery as WiFi is a battery killer (hence it gets its 2+ year life on a single pair of batteries). This problem indicates one of 2 things:

  1. The WiFi signal at your camera is too weak (you can verify this from the Blink native app, it should be 3 bars)
  2. The Wifi router settings aren’t compatible with your Blink, things like Beacon rates, intervals etc if they’re set properly can cause WiFi association issues which delays the connections setup and hence you end up losing signals. Basically try a different WiFi router or go back in and check/tweak your router advanced settings (this is also documented on the first post of the Blink thread, FAQ 8)

I’m watching this and similar video camera Topics closely, since ActionTiles customers frequently ask me for recommendations.

A big deal for ActionTiles customers (and others…) is the availability of a locally available, browser compatible stream. For AT this needs to be MJPEG compatible (with a slight chance of future RTSP support).

But even non-AT users appreciate standard streams available without a monthly fee. This facilitates use with lots of Apps and NVRs like Blue Iris, etc.

Kuna charges about $60/year/camera. No big deal for some folks, but unacceptable to others. I’m on the fence about paying, 'cuz we have had a couple of missing deliveries.

Nothing wrong with a Cloud access & storage option as long as non-cloud isn’t locked out.

As for security, I’m perhaps insufficiently paranoid. I wouldn’t come down too against Foscam, however, because their breach improves the odds of a more secure future.


Don’t believe so. I’m watching clips of the dog end mid walk. :wink: Not that these are valuable clips.

Well the signal strength to all but one camera is 5 bars (the last camera being 4) with the sync module strength all being 5 except 1 (a different one, being 2), but I’m not sure about the beacon interval… curious how this will effect battery life to the cameras and phone.

I’ll peruse that other thread thanks.

I expected to use these cameras mostly through their app/web app. I mainly only need smartthings integration for arming/disarming the system with the presence sensor (phone). I wasn’t intending to pay any service for them (don’t need to store clips) but I just read somewhere that foscam wouldn’t only let you live view 30 minutes and 1 camera which would seem to disqualify it (unless that was wrong).

Kuna was the same thing for me. 24 hours of video is more than enough for me at the free tier.


In a very big way, connecting to WiFi and transmitting over WiFi is one of the biggest battery drains on the camera. If it has trouble connecting to WiFi, it will keep spinning cycles. If it’s supposed to take say 100ms to connect to a WiFi and instead takes 3 seconds, that’s consuming 30 times more battery than it should every time it connects.

FYI, this is straight from the engineers at Blink :slight_smile:


Kuna only let’s you view the past 2 (TWO!) hours of video in their free tier.

I bought mine before they made this restriction and would not have purchased them otherwise. However, their speakers are very good. Kuna video quality seems about the same as Blink to me.

The XT version has IR. It also is 1080p capable but Blink has not indicated if or when this will be turned on or if for a cost.

My blinks immediately record when strategically positioned. Keep in mind it uses an IR motion detector which works best with motions across the camera than straight on. In your case the delay may be addressed by increasing sensitivity.

I see the early video shut off every once in a while. As RBoy indicated the “End Clip early if motion stops” option seems to have this bug. I reported this some time ago to Blink and don’t know if they just haven’t prioritized fixing it or it is too difficult for them right now. You can turn it off but I suggest reporting it to Blink. Compared to my Nest, SkyBell and Kunas, I find the occasional shortened video less annoying than wasted long video.

Can’t help you with Arlo or Foscam since I don’t have them.


That is a big difference but for me not really. I’m more interested in the notification and live viewing than anything else.


I wonder how Kuna’s overall reliability compares to Ring (or other cloud-based outdoor cameras…). Since I don’t have a Kuna subscription, I can’t evaluate it; but I’ve heard of app complaints. I guess that’s true of anything.

Still, due to my use of ActionTiles, local stream access is essential. Foscam gets points for that.

Do you need a paid subscription to view live streams of multiple cameras for Foscam? Web app?

Never saw a perfect app/device (include apps I’ve written) so you kind of have to pic and choose what you hear. From my research more people seem happier with Kuna over Ring. Kuna intrigues me. Looks nice, though I don’t see them having a geofencing option for when I’m home… though I guess I’d want a notification if I’m in the basement/bathroom ;). They do look nice. Problem is I’d need 2-3 cameras and 1-2 companion lights depending on if I get a camera for the garage. I actually bought some but returned them before opening the box. It was $533 for something I don’t really need right now and will probably not use much.

The advantage of Foscam and a multitude of other “open stream” cameras, is that they will work with a tremendous range of viewing & recording (network video recording NVR) software, Apps, and even, clouds.

I use IP Cam Viewer on Android, and it even will function as an NVR, so, in theory, an “old” phone or tablet can serve that particular function. Blue Iris (Windows) is highly rated and doesn’t require a particularly high powered PC or old laptop. And there are a few Community DTH’s that integrate these open cameras with SmartThings.

I have no experience with Foscam or Armcrest’s cloud options, but my presumption is that it would be similar to the cameras: Affordable, but low on frills.

Kuna doesn’t offer “geofencing” (motion detection area configuration), just sensitivity adjustment (as does Foscam, etc.). Of course, that’s a nifty feature (though not necessarily 100% required) … I think Blue Iris offers it … and, Nest, …

Considering the amazing functionality of this product line, it’s pretty incredible what can be done at a reasonable price. It’s also no surprise that finding a camera which meets personal preferences is a challenge.

I would help if fewer vendors “closed” their cameras off; but, of course, it is very trendy to sell a product that has unavoidable recurring fees. Does SmartThings have fees for video yet? I’m seriously ignorant of the answer, and think it is very odd. ST’s revenue model could sure use a boost from fees, and, if they are charging them, I would think the feature would be promoted more.

Anyhow: In short, I’m not a ton of help in this area, but I’m learning. And my current position is to recommend the “open stream” options. My Kuna does the job (it was on deep discount sale and I desperately needed an outdoor sconce anyway) and I might pay its fee; but, I would rather pay a “release fee” and get to use its full stream and API with whatever software I choose.

1 Like

Foscam is fairly open. I actually have multiple streams from the same Foscam camera simultaneously and of course with something like ActionTiles you can set it up for streaming multiple cameras simultaneously.

It also integrates fairly well with ST.


I think that kind of settles it. I was doing some late thinking on Nest and Arlo again today but Nest got veto’d by my girlfriend since there was no free storage (and they aren’t the most attractive things), but if Foscam can get a remote live interface through active tiles (… I didn’t even look up what that was before… so sorry but that looks nice) and I can throw in an sd card I guess that seals the deal.

I guess I’ll go with the R2 models. The FI9821P in white is more than the R2 (amazon) so I might as get the sleeker looking 1080p version.

Two questions if you don’t mind.

  1. The cameras will only be using wifi bandwidth when I’m looking at a stream through any apps/action tiles, correct?

  2. How does the sd card recording work? Constantly record? Record only on motion when armed? Does it automatically delete old clips to make room for new clips (circular buffer)?

If this is a critical point, please wait until I can verify the specific model’s specifications for streaming.

ActionTiles can only stream what is supported natively in the browser, so newer hi-resolution compressed streams are; uncertain.

Arlo Q is way better than Blink or Foscam. What I’d like to know is the the Arlo Q vs Nest Cam battle. These two are top-notch indoor security cameras and it’s also interesting which has a smoother integration with SmartThings.

Really depends on what you mean by better.

Have you tried recording something while the arlo Q runs on batteries? Oh wait, it doesn’t have batteries and has to be plugged into a/c power at all times.

For some people, the fact that Blink is completely wireless is huge!