Thoughts on Arlo?

I have been looking for an outdoor camera but running a POE setup will be difficult and pricey. I saw Arlo works with ST but not Blue Iris. What are all your thoughts on it?

I thought about it, and decided to go with Blink a while back. Their outdoor cameras should be shipping in 1Q, and I’m very happy with their performance (and battery life). ST’s integration isn’t “official-official”, but the author of the DTH and SmartApp is working with Blink and ST on hopefully official integration.

There’s already quite a few discussions about Arlo and Blink, so try a few searches and I think you’ll get a few opinions and answers to your question.

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As with anything it depends on what you are trying to do. I have 5 Arlo Pro’s running on 2 base stations. The ST integration is nice but it isn’t perfect. If you want slave the Arlo’s to ST, essentially triggering all camera recordings from ST triggers, you will be disappointed as the cloud-to-cloud lag adds 3-4 seconds to the camera response.

The system itself is nice but the image quality lags behind my D-Link WiFi cameras although night vision is superior on the Arlo Pro’s. Average battery life after 6 weeks is about 55-70% across the cameras. I do not think I’ll see the 6 month rated life, but my system records every motion event therefore 2-3 months battery life is probably all that can be expected before re-charing is needed.

If you do not mind a hybrid approach, you can harness the best of both worlds. I use Arlo’s own rules to trigger motion activated recordings (not ST). This approach eliminates the extra 3-4 second lag I was seeing. Because the Arlo integration with ST exposes the cameras as switches, I can disable/enable individual cameras which overrides the Arlo rules. I still trigger the Arlo’s to record from ST, for instance SHM alarm activations, or from the Aeon motion sensor on the garage. All SHM triggered recordings still appear in the SHM history, regardless if they are from the Arlo’s or my D-Links. All Arlo recordings are in the Arlo app, even if recorded by ST.

The only downside is that the Arlo siren’s don’t work and aren’t exposed to the ST integration. Not a big deal for me as I already had sirens, but it would be a nice addition.

Given the uncertain future of the Blink integration I would say it is worth looking at the Arlo’s.


What do you mean uncertain Blink integration?

If you read through the last 30 or so posts you’ll see where Blink temporarily disabled RBoy’s integration and told customers to use IFTTT. After an outcry from users they “temporarily” enabled access to it but have only stated that it’s so they can make the IFTTT interface more robust. I would not recommend anyone purchase the Blink system if the RBoy integration is a factor.

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Within the last month I bought both Arlo (not pro) and Blink to compare side by side. I ended up sending the Arlo system back and I kept the BLink system.

For me, the Blink had much better motion detection. Both in terms of distance and sensitivity. The delay Steve mentions on the Arlo was pretty bad and would cause the camera to miss what triggered it… not good at all. The video quality is about the same on both.

The lack of an outdoor Blink at first turned me off, but many people reported using them outside with no ill effects. I have one outside under my porch that has seen single digit temps and snow (snow does not reach the camera) and it works just fine. I do wish I could set a movement zone for the outside camera so that cars going down the street did not set it off.

The big drawback for me with Blink are:

Lack of a true/decent mount
Blue LED light on while recording (I’ve covered the LED to hide this)
No true night vision, only a bright LED to light up the area (really only a minor thing in my use case)
No option to record and live view at the same time (makes it kind of useless for something like monitoring the front door and packages)

The pluses for the Blink are:

Price (you can get 5 Blinks and 1 Blink XT for the price of 3 Arlo cameras on the current promotion)
Longer battery life
Can be powered with a mini USB if needed/wanted

In the end is going to come down to what you need them to do and what your budget is. for me the Blink was a much better value.

As to the SmartThings integration, Blink did kill the old versions of RBoy’s code. The latest version they were going to dropped, but the community managed to get them to keep it around. They do say it is temporary until they can get an official integration sorted out. They are still pushing IFTTT, but imply that the official Blink to ST integration is in the works.

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In AZ outdoor housing is really needed. It’s too hot for a piecemeal solution which is why Arlo had me interested.

I don’t think the housing is going to matter for heat or cold. Given long enough exposure to a certain temperature, all housing will heat or cool to that temp. Where the housing will make a difference is exposure to water and/or dust. Here in CO we get lots of dust and quite a bit of water if you count snow. But as long as you have the Blink at least under the eve of your house, it seems to work just fine.

Blink has announced that their outdoor version, called the XT, will ship in March.

This is exactly my setup and I love it, except one base station. I want another camera to be my motion trigger so I get a little more of people walking up to my door or lower on my driveway.

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