Blink XT2 vs. Arlo Pro: Want Real Surveillance or Casual?
After weeks of testing, I determined Blink XT2 is a brilliant budget-friendly outdoor security camera for those looking for casual monitoring, rather than serious security. While Arlo Pro is more reliable and has rechargeable batteries, it’s not ideal for serious surveillance, yet too expensive for the average shopper.
I’ll explain how I reached my conclusion by comparing two outdoor security cameras (Blink XT2 vs. Arlo Pro) while evaluating five categories: free service, subscription service, software, hardware, and video/audio quality.
- Free: All motion detection clips are stored for free for 7 days.
- Subscription: Arlo Smart is $3/month and has cool features, but you’ll only need it if you’re close to a street.
- Software: The app is easy to use, and it works with Alexa and Google. It records for 5 minutes before timing out.
- Hardware: It’s powered by a rechargeable battery that needs charging every 2 months.
- Quality: Video is only 720p with a 110° field of view and has solid night vision.
Best for you if...
You want rechargeable batteries and a slight upgrade in reliability. While Arlo Pro can record motion for longer, it still shouldn't be trusted for serious surveillance. Plus, you'll need to pay ($3/month) for activity zones.
Arlo (entry-level) has poor video quality, terrible motion sensing, disposable batteries, and doesn't record audio.
- Free: You get 7,200 seconds of video clips for free. Enough for around 2 weeks of storage.
- Subscription: There’s no subscription plan, meaning AI detection to differentiate objects and people, isn’t available.
- Software: There's no native geofencing and two-way talk is a mess, but you can create activity zones.
- Hardware: It’s powered by two AA batteries, but they’ll only last a month.
- Quality: It records in 1080p with a 110° field of view and has mediocre night vision.
Best for you if...
You want solid monitoring for casual use. Blink XT2 provides free motion recordings and useful activity zones. But you’ll go through AA batteries quickly, and risk missing crucial seconds on recordings.
Free Service (B-):
- You get seven days of cloud recording, and you can sync five cameras at once for free. This should be all the storage most people need because you have the option of downloading the clips locally at any time.
- Recordings are event-based like Blink, but Arlo Pro starts recording later, and the video quality takes longer to be visible.
- The motion detection as bad as the entry-level Arlo, but it’s nowhere near as good as the flawless Arlo Pro 2.
- It’ll record up to five minutes or when the motion stops. This is a big upgrade over the entry-level Arlo.
- Blink has activity zones for free, but you’ll need Arlo Pro 2 if you want them with an Arlo device.
- You can change the motion sensitivity, but the default (80) is fine if you’re not near a road. If you’re near a road, there’s nothing you can do to avoid tons of false alerts from cars, unless you pay for the subscription.
Subscription Service (C+):
- Arlo Smart is the name of their subscription service, but Arlo offers enough with their free plan that most won’t need it, but here’s what you get:
- Longer than seven days of video storage.
- “Advanced A.I. Detection” will tell the difference between people, cars and pets and lets you decide which type of alert you want to be notified of.
- The phone notifications have thumbnails and are actionable. For instance, can turn on the siren from the notification screen.
- Arlo Smart has three tiers:
- 7-day video storage is $3/month per camera.
- 30-day video storage is $10/month per camera.
- 60-day video storage is $15/month per camera.
- Two loses from Arlo Pro 2’s subscription:
- There isn’t an option for continuous 24/7 recording.
- You can’t create activity zones.
- Arlo Pro feels more rugged than Blink XT2 with better build quality.
- Unlike the entry-level Arlo that uses disposable CR123 batteries, Arlo Pro comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts a couple of months before it needs to charge.
- You have to plug a base station into your router. It adds clutter, and if you don’t have extra ethernet ports on your router, you might be in trouble. But this helps add some reliability to your network, but I prefer Blink’s method. On the plus side, all Arlo base stations are backward and forward compatible with the entire Arlo lineup, so you can mix and match your Arlo cameras.
- Arlo Pro cameras are completely wireless. You just need to place the cameras within 300 feet of the base station.
- The base station has a loud siren which can be triggered by various factors.
- You can save your video clips to a flash drive by plugging one into the base station.
- There’s a micro USB port, and Arlo Pro can be powered with it if you have easy access to a power outlet.
- The app is set up well, easy to navigate, updates frequently, and works with all other versions of Arlo.
- You can set it up with your Alexa and Google devices, but HomeKit will only be available with Arlo Pro 2 (read more).
- Arlo Pro sends you an alert as soon as it detects motion. It doesn’t wait for the action to finish as Blink does.
- You can create rules and triggers. For example, when Camera A detects motion, start recording on Camera B for 44 seconds.
- You can record live footage with one tap.
- There are cool IFTTT recipes.
- You can arm and disarm your system based on your location (home or away) or a set schedule. This is going to come in handy to avoid false alerts while you’re home.
Video & Audio Quality (C+):
- Arlo Pro’s picture quality is 720p with a 110° field of view.
- Even though the entry-level Arlo is 720p too, it was the worst of the cameras I tried because the picture looks pinkish during the day and has a tiny field of view. Spec sheets don’t tell the full story.
- Arlo Pro 2 blows all other Arlo cameras away (read more).
- The nighttime recording on Arlo Pro is slightly clearer than Arlo Pro 2, and much better than Blink XT2.
- The audio recording is better than Blink XT2, but it’s just OK, nowhere near the crisp quality of Arlo Pro 2.
- Two-way audio is available because there are mics and speakers, but there’s a three-second delay, the video gets choppy and the connection cuts out. If video chatting is important to you, look at one of the Ring devices because it’s unusable with Arlo Pro.