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Nest Cam Outdoor Vs. Ring Vs. Canary Flex Vs. Arlo Pro 2

We've tested A LOT of security cameras, many of which are built for outdoor use. There's Nest Cam Outdoor, Ring cameras, Canary Flex, Arlo, Reolink, Blink, and even video doorbells. The purpose of these tests is so we can recommend the best security cameras for outdoor use. We've narrowed down the list to four brands: Nest, Ring, Arlo, and Canary Flex.

(Disclosure: We received Ring Doorbell for free in November of 2015. We purchased Canary Flex, Nest Cam Indoor, Nest Cam Outdoor, Nest Hello, Blink XT, and Ring Spotlight Cam on our own. Arlo Pro and Pro 2 were provided to us for testing courtesy of Netgear. Obviously, this does not impact our opinion, but we thought you should know.)

Arlo ProArlo Pro 2Ring Spotlight CamRing Stick Up CamNest Cam OutdoorCanary Flex
Resolution720p1080p1080p1080p1080pCapable of 1080p, Streams in 720p
Frames Per Second24fps24fps15fps15fps 30fps30fps
Night Vision
Field of View130°130°140°115° (Battery), 150° (Wired)130°116°
Zoom
Two-Way Talk
Members Only
Livestream
PowerBattery, Solar Panel, or Hardwire (Requires Outdoor Power Adapter If Used Outdoors)Battery, Solar Panel, or Hardwire (Requires Outdoor Power Adapter If Used Outdoors)There are Battery, Solar, Mount, and Wired Versions of the CameraBattery, PoE, Wired, or Solar PanelPower OutletBattery or Power Outlet
NotificationsEmail, Push, IFTTTEmail, Push, IFTTTPush Notification, Optional Ring Chime, IFTTTPush Notification, Optional Ring Chime, IFTTTEmail, Push, IFTTTPush Notification
Device TheftOptional Wall MountOptional Wall MountScrewed in using proprietary screws, Ring will replace stolen devices.Depends on the Mount – Quick Mount easier to steal, Security Mount is a more permanent solution.Easier to steal. The power adapter twists off and the Nest Cam can be removed from the magnetic base by pulling.Secure Mount (Sold Separately)
Arlo ProArlo Pro 2Ring SpotlightRing Stick Up CamNest Cam OutdoorCanary Flex
Free Storage7 Days Free Cloud, Pro Base Station Supports USB7 Days Free Cloud, Pro Base Station Supports USB
3 Hours of Snapshots24 Hours of Video Previews
Cloud StorageStarting at $9.99/month or $99/annuallyStarting at $9.99/month or $99/annuallyStarting at $3/month or $30/yearStarting at $3/month or $30/yearStarting at $5/month or $50/yearStarting at $9.99/month or $99/year
Multi-Camera DiscountPrice Includes Shared Storage for 10 Cameras (Free Plan Supports 5.)Price Includes Shared Storage for 10 Cameras (Free Plan Supports 5.)$10/month or $100/year for Unlimited Ring Cameras$10/month or $100/year for Unlimited Ring CamerasEach Additional Camera Costs $2.50/month or $25/yearPrice Includes Shared Storage for 5 Cameras (Free Plan Supports 4)
Advanced Motion Detection FeaturesArlo Smart: Detects People, Vehicles, Animals & Packages & Adds Activity Zones (Requires Paid Plan)Free: Activity Zones and Look Back, both features require that the camera is plugged-in indoors. Arlo Smart: Detects People, Vehicles, Animals & Packages & Adds Activity Zones (Requires Paid Plan)Customizable Zones (Wired and Mount Versions Only)Motion with Customizable Zones and Distances (Wired Only)Person Detection, Zones (Both Require Paid Plan)Computer Vision Using Algorithms, Person Detection, Package Detection (Requires Paid Plan)
Monitors ForSound & MotionSound & MotionMotionMotionPeople ($), Sound, and MotionPeople, Motion, Packages ($)
Continuous RecordingNo. Records based on event.Yes, but the camera must be plugged-in which requires that you leave it inside. 14 days of 24/7 CVR starts at $9.99/month/cameraComing soon (Spring 2019). Will require a Ring Protect subscription.Coming soon (Spring 2019). Will require a Ring Protect subscription.Yes, will record 24/7 with paid Nest Aware plan.No. Records based on event.
Minimum Required Upload Speed1MBPS1MBPS2MBPS2MBPS2MBPS1MBPS
Other “Family” DevicesArlo Wire-Free, Arlo Q, Arlo Go, Arlo Baby, Arlo Pro 2, Arlo Security Light, Arlo Audio Doorbell, Arlo UltraArlo Wire-Free, Arlo Q, Arlo Go, Arlo Baby, Arlo Pro, Arlo Security Light, Arlo Audio Doorbell, Arlo UltraStick Up Cam, Solar Panel, Ring Chime, Floodlight, Ring Doorbell, Ring Protect, Ring BeamSolar Panel, Ring Chime, Ring Doorbell, Floodlight, Spotlight, Ring Protect, Ring BeamNest Cam, Nest Cam IQ, Nest Secure, Hello, Dropcam, Nest Thermostat, Nest ProtectCanary, Canary View
Works withAlexa Devices With a Screen, Google Assistant, IFTTT, SmartThings, Stringify, HomeKit (Coming Soon)Alexa Devices With a Screen, Google Assistant, IFTTT, SmartThings, Stringify, HomeKit (Coming Soon)Alexa Devices With a Screen, Google Assistant, IFTTT, StringifyAlexa Devices With a Screen, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Stringify, WinkAlexa Devices With a Screen, Google Home, IFTTT, Works with Nest, StringifyAlexa Devices With a Screen, Wink, Google Home
Web Portal
AppiOS, Android, Fire TV, and Apple TViOS, Android, Fire TV, and Apple TViPhones, iPad, Mac App, Android, and Windows 10iPhones, iPad, Mac App, Android, and Windows 10Android, iPhones, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TViPhone, Android, Apple TV
Family Access*
Where to BuyBuy HereBuy HereBuy HereBuy HereBuy HereBuy Here
Arlo ProArlo Pro 2Ring SpotlightRing Stick Up CamNest Cam OutdoorCanary Flex

Installation

Nest Cam Outdoor

We would never have guessed (based on our experience with Nest Cam Indoor) that Nest Cam Outdoor would be a pain to install. In fact, the assumption that the process would be easy was one of the reasons we purchased it. And we supposed in some ways it does solve for at least two of the challenges that face those trying to install an outdoor camera.

1. You don’t have to run a cable into your attic space. However, you will have a visible, 25-foot eyesore if you don’t.

2. The camera is magnetic. If you have a magnetic surface outside, you may be able to use the mounting magnet (included) and nothing more. We're not so lucky.

We're sure there are people out there who will make the wire management “problem” look straightforward and effortless. But for the average consumer, hiding a 25-foot power cord anchored by a large power adapter is not going to be easy.

Drilling into brick isn’t easy, and we're not even sure if we wanted to keep the camera anyway. With that in mind, we decided to use a piece of industrial strength 3M adhesive on the power adapter (the power adapter weighs about 4.5 oz) and a regular 3M strip on the camera wall plate. Everything seemed fine at first. At about 10 o’clock that night, we heard a loud crash. Thankfully, the camera was fine, but the power adapter proved to be too heavy for the adhesive.

Other than the process of physically installing the camera, installation is just like the indoor Nest Cam – fast. We simply had to add the camera to my existing Nest account. You’ll need to make sure the camera has access to both WiFi and power, and you should be good to go.

To summarize, installation has pros and cons:

  • Exposed Wiring
  • Requires Power and Internet
  • Drilling Required
  • Our Experience: 60-Minute Install

Ring Spotlight Cam Battery and Solar

Ring, an Amazon owned company, sells four versions of its Spotlight Camera: Wired, Mount, Battery, and Solar. Battery and Solar are the same cameras. The only difference is that Solar ships with a solar panel.

Installing Spotlight Cam Solar wasn’t that simple, which we expected since it requires drilling, but the process was made even more complicated by two issues. First, the box design would have Steve Jobs rolling over in his grave. On a more serious note, there’s a discrepancy between the instructions found on the app, those printed on the included quick start guide, and those found online.

Being a cautious optimist, we first followed the app instructions; this was a mistake. Unfortunately, the app instructions are incomplete and leave out important details. Next, we moved on to the included instruction manual where we learned that the first step of the installation process is to fully charge Spotlight’s battery. Unfortunately for us, it was too late for that. The app also skipped another essential step found in the instruction manual: mounting position.

The device shipped ready to be mounted on an eave, but we decided that we wanted to mount it on a wall. To do that, you have to swap the mounting plate from an upward facing to a downward facing position. What we learned while doing so is that Ring fails to mention that the device does not ship with the security screw already in place so even if the mounting plate is already in the position you want, make sure to check on the security screw. Instructions on removing the mounting plate are found on page 15 of the included instruction manual.

What have we learned so far?

Step One: Download the Ring App
Step Two: Charge Spotlight Cam’s Battery
Step Three: Decide if you want to mount on a wall or an eave and position the mount appropriately.
Step Four: Even if the mount is in the right position, double check the security screw.

No matter where you choose to mount Spotlight Cam, Ring suggests you mount it at least 9 feet off of the ground. You should also test your camera before drilling to make sure that:

A: The camera has a strong wireless signal.
B: You like the view.

The camera connects to the included wall mount using a ball socket. If you’re installing on brick or another hard surface, you’ll need to drill and insert wall anchors. If you’re installing your camera onto a wooden surface, you can use the included screws and screwdriver to secure the mount.

With the mount in place, simply slide the camera into the socket until it pops. You might have to loosen the screws around the socket for it to slide in place, but even then, you have to give the camera a little push. Next, adjust the camera angle, and tighten the side screws to keep it in place.

Unfortunately, though we purchased the Solar Panel version, the camera did not ship with Solar Panel installation instructions besides a picture book-style pamphlet. We decided to ignore all instructions and guess at the install, which wasn’t a good idea. After installation, the camera’s video feed kept flickering in and out (a problem which we have yet to resolve) so retraced our steps to see if we had messed up along the way. We had. We found the Solar Panel installation instructions online which we recommend that you follow step-by-step.

The aesthetic result of two devices mounted and connected by a wire isn’t overly pleasing. Thankfully, our setup is installed in a spot where it isn’t publicly visible. If it were on our porch, we would probably return the solar panel to use two batteries. That’s right, two! During the install, we were most surprised to find that though Spotlight Cam ships with one battery, it has room for two.

Pros and Cons of a Ring Installation:

  • Wired, Mount, Battery, and Solar Versions Available
  • Drilling Required
  • Our Experience: 20 Minute Install

Canary Flex

Installing Canary Flex was easy. Part of that comes from the fact that we've tested the Canary indoor camera. To add Canary Flex, plug it in (Even though it can be battery-powered, Canary recommends starting with a full charge.), turn on your phone’s Bluetooth feature, visit the Canary app, and selected “Add Canary device”. From there, you confirm the physical location of your camera, tap the button on the back of the device, and it begins to pair.

After the battery is charged, you can move the camera to a new location, so long as it’s within your WiFi’s range. The camera will work using battery power alone, or you can continue to use it plugged into a power outlet. Since the launch of Canary Flex, Canary has also promised a 4G LTE mount, but they haven’t, and probably won’t deliver. If cellular connectivity is something you’re interested in, I suggest you look into Reolink Go or Arlo Go.

While having a couple of power/connection options already provides flexibility, there is even more flexibility thanks to accessories (sold separately). The first accessory is a Secure Mount that locks your device into place. Replacing the magnetic base, it helps prevent device theft. The second is the Stake Mount: Stick the mount into the ground or a potted plant to give Flex a hidden camera effect. Third is the Twist Mount, which can bend and wrap around an object so that you can hang it virtually anywhere. Canary suggests using it to place Flex on fixtures, railings, or even branches.

Pros and Cons of a Canary Flex Installation:

  • Battery or Power Adapter
  • Mounting Options Flexible Through Accessories (Sold Separately)
  • No Drilling Required
  • Our Experience: 2 Minute Install

Arlo Pro and Pro 2

If Arlo shipped their cameras packaged in frustration-free packaging, the process would be a lot smoother. Beyond that, installation was easy.

As Arlo Pro is a cordless camera, it shares similarities with Canary’s installation process. The differences are that Arlo requires a base station and that Arlo ships their cameras fully-charged and ready to go directly from the factory. Thanks, Arlo.

To install Arlo Pro, pop the included battery into the camera, download the free mobile app (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon), plug in the base station (requires Ethernet and power), and sync the camera to the base station. If you have multiple cameras, you will need to sync them one at a time.

The next step is camera placement, and Arlo Pro offers a few options. It can sit on a flat surface, stick directly to a metal surface (magnetic), or you can use the included plate to mount it to a wall. While you can place Arlo inside or out, the camera’s power cord that ships with the package is not weatherproof so plan to use battery power when placing the camera outside. If you’re willing to spend an extra $25, you can also buy the weather-resistant outdoor power adapter (VMA4900) that works with Arlo Pro, Arlo Pro 2, and Arlo Go. Finally, they also sell an $80 solar panel. The panel works with Arlo Pro, Pro 2, and Go, and can power one camera continuously. Keep in mind, however, that the solar panel only powers the camera. It does not charge the camera’s battery.

Pros and Cons of an Arlo Pro Installation:

  • Battery Power, Outlet, or Solar Panel
  • Base Station Requires Power and Internet
  • No Drilling Required
  • Our Experience: 10 Minute Install

WINNER Arlo is the winner. They offer several flexible options including indoor charging, battery power, as well as a solar panel. And if you need to place the camera in a spot without internet, you can buy Arlo Go with 4G.

Home Security, Video Storage, and Advanced Features

Method Of Detecting MotionComputer VisionPIR Motion SensorComputer Vision (when plugged in) & PIR Motion Sensor (when battery-powered)PIR Motion Sensor (Basic) & Computer Vision (Arlo Smart)
Motion Detection Field Of View130°160°116° (when using CV); >116° (PIR)130°
Finding Video EvidenceEasy via Sightline and TimelapseTimelineTimeline and Incident SupportTimeline
RecordingRecords Continuously ($)Create Schedules, Continuous Recording Coming Soon ($)Geofencing, ModesGeofencing, Modes, Schedules, Arlo Pro 2 Can Record Continuously While Plugged-in Indoors ($)
Record On-DemandRecords Continuously With Nest Aware ($)Yes, by initiating a live stream.
Recorded Clip Length (Free Plans)Snapshots30 Seconds30 SecondsFixed Length of 10-120 seconds or Until Motion Stops (Up to 300 Seconds)
Share ClipsYes ($)Yes ($)Yes ($)
StorageCloudCloudCloudCloud or Local
Expand Security With Other DevicesNest Cam, Nest Protect, Nest Thermostat, Nest Secure, Nest Hello, Nest Cam IQRing Stick Up, Solar Panel, Chime, Chime Pro, Ring Floodlight Cam, Ring Spotlight Cam, Ring Protect, Video Doorbell, Ring BeamsCanary, Canary ViewArlo Wire-Free, Arlo Q, Arlo Go, Arlo Baby, Arlo Pro 2, Arlo Security Light, Arlo Audio Doorbell, Arlo Ultra
False AlertsBest Due to Person Detection

Nest Cam

Nest Cam’s software (Nest Aware) can’t be beat. Better yet, they continuously launch improvements to the software for all users. One of their more recent updates granted a limited amount of free snapshot access for both Nest Cam AND Dropcam users and recently, they dropped the entry price of Nest Aware. Nest Aware comes in three flavors: 5-days for $5 a month, 10-days for $10 a month, and 30-days for $30 a month.

Without Nest AwareWith Nest Aware
Motion DetectionBasicIntelligent
Live Streaming:
Video History:3 Hour Snapshots5, 10, or 30 Days Video History
Continuous Video Recording:
Two-Way Talk:
Zoom 8x:Yes, 12x for Nest Cam IQYes, 12x for Nest Cam IQ
Person Alerts:Nest Cam IQ and Nest Hello Only
Familiar Face Alerts
Nest Cam IQ and Nest Hello Only
Supersight TrackingNest IQ OnlyNest IQ Only
Activity Zones:
Create Clips and Timelapses:
Share Live Streams:
Geofencing
Sound DetectionBasicIntelligent
Dog Barking/Person Speaking Alerts

Finding Video Evidence

One thing you may not realize until you use your camera to find video evidence is how difficult it can be to locate relevant events.

Nest uses Timelapse and Sightline features, both require Nest Aware. Creating a Timelapse can condense up to 24 hours of video into a clip no longer than a couple of minutes. You can create Timelapses from your computer.

Sightline is accessed from the mobile app. From the app, you can see your video history marked with color-coded activities. The colors represent different zones set by you. For example, a green dot might be driveway activity whereas an orange dot is an activity from your porch. If you own a Nest Secure security system, events triggered by the system will also show up in the Sightline as red dots or bars. You will also be able to see a “snapshot” of the event. Finally, using Sightline, you can swipe to fast forward through several days’ worth of footage.

Event Alerts

Nest will intelligently alert you, within reason. For example, you can have the street set as a zone, but turn off notifications for the street. Nest can also tell you when it sees a person or thinks it sees a person. In fact, you can choose to only receive alerts when it sees a person, which virtually eliminates false alarms. Better still, you can turn on person detection for the entire frame or from select activity zones.

Summary of what you need to know:

  • Activity Zones
  • Automatically Arms and Disarms Based Upon Your Presence
  • Person Detection
  • 3 Hours Snapshots Free, Paid Storage 5-day, 10-day, or 30-day

Ring Spotlight Cam Battery and Solar

Ring doesn’t offer free storage. While you will be able to see missed alerts, you won’t be able to view missed events without subscribing. The good news is that cloud storage is cheap. For $3 a month per device, you will be able to view and download up to six months of events. You will also be able to share clips, which is of vital importance if you want to use your video as evidence. If you have several Ring Cameras, you can subscribe to their Protect plan for $10 per month or $100 per year. This plan covers an unlimited number of Ring cameras and adds a lifetime product warranty. Beyond storage, all Ring features are free.

Ring is also planning to launch a continuous recording option, but only for wired Ring cameras with a Ring Protect subscription. In addition to CVR, all cameras subscribed to Ring Protect will gain an additional feature where photos taken all throughout the day will appear on the Timeline.

Finding Video Evidence

Ring offers access to a timeline-style feature where you can view events going back six months (if you are subscribed). From the timeline, you can sort through ring events, motion events, starred events, or live view events. From the web app, you can also sort by device so that you can separate your Spotlight Cam footage from footage captured by your other devices. Right now, the feature isn’t very advanced. Soon, Ring plans to completely revamp their mobile app.

The new app will offer an “Event Timeline.” The Event Timeline includes a video scrubber for faster access to your daily clips. The major difference between new and old is that the current timeline only shows the date and description of the event. The new timeline will also show a snapshot.

Event Alerts and Accuracy

Even if you have multiple Ring devices, they don’t play together beyond the ability to view them using the same app. For example, if someone rings your doorbell, you can’t trigger your Spotlight Cam to record. Spotlight is limited to three features to protect your home: its spotlight, a siren, and a motion sensor.

WiredMountBatterySolar
Resolution1080p HD1080p HD1080p HD1080p HD
Live View On-Demand
Night Vision
Viewing Angle140°140°140°140°
Light Lumens700 lumens700 lumens700 lumens700 lumens
Light TriggerMotion, Manual, or ScheduleMotion, Manual, or ScheduleMotion or ManualMotion or Manual
Two-Way Audio
Motion Detection
Smart MotionMotion ZonesMotion ZonesAdjustable Motion SensitivityAdjustable Motion Sensitivity
Siren110dB Alarm110dB Alarm110dB Alarm110dB Alarm
Includes20-foot Power Cable3 Flush-Mounted Brackets6,000 mAH Ring Battery Pack6,000 mAH Ring Battery Pack, Solar Panel
AppWeb, iOS, Android, Mac and Windows 10Web, iOS, Android, Mac and Windows 10Web, iOS, Android, Mac and Windows 10Web, iOS, Android, Mac and Windows 10
Works WithPower CableExisting Outdoor Electrical BoxSolar Panel, BatteriesSolar Panel, Batteries
Weatherproof-20°F to 120°F (-28°C to 48°C)-20°F to 120°F (-28°C to 48°C)-5°F to 120°F (-20.5°C to 48.5°C)-5°F to 120°F (-20.5°C to 48.5°C)
Where to BuyBuy HereBuy HereBuy HereBuy Here

What you can do with the motion sensor will depend on which version of Spotlight Cam you own. With the Wired and Mount versions, you can create activity zones. You can tell the camera areas to monitor and areas to ignore by designating such areas within the camera’s field of view.

If you own the Battery or Solar version of Spotlight Cam, you will be limited to three features: Motion Zones, Smart Alerts, and Scheduling.

Motion Zones should not be confused with activity zones. Motion Zones allow you to choose the motion detector’s range. You can choose to receive alerts for motion within a 5-foot range up to a 30-foot range. Think of this feature as the ability to adjust motion sensitivity.

Think of Smart Alerts as the ability to control alert frequency. You can request to receive more alerts, “standard,” or “light” (fewer alerts) or choose to turn notifications off from the app’s main screen. You can also snooze motion alerts for a set period of time. Once snoozed, you won’t receive motion alerts, but motion events will continue to upload to the cloud. Besides snoozing motion, you can also snooze your Ring Chime or your Chime Pro.

Finally, you can create a schedule for your Spotlight Cam to follow. Unfortunately, you can only create a rule to disable motion alerts, but not enable them.

Spotlight Cam’s star feature is its light. The camera is equipped with two lights that automatically trigger when motion is detected. The lights aren’t very bright. At 700 lumens, they’re about as bright as a 60-watt light bulb. It’s not enough to scare someone away, but does improve the camera’s ability to see at night. And nighttime is the only time when the lights will automatically turn on, though you can turn the lights on manually at any time. When triggered, the light stays on for about 30 seconds. When turned on manually, it stays on until you end the live stream (required to access light feature).

The Wired Spotlight Cam and Mount Spotlight Cam also support the ability to create light schedules, a feature missing from Spotlight Cam Battery.

Spotlight Cam also works with Ring Neighborhoods. With this feature, you can quickly share video clips with those nearby. You don’t have to invite your neighbors. Instead, Ring uses your set geolocation to find other nearby users. You can even customize your location by creating a smaller or larger shape around your home. By tapping on the Ring Neighborhood icon when viewing a call or recording, you can share that event with those nearby regardless of whether or not they own a Ring device. So long as your neighbor has the Ring app, you can share events with them. You can also choose to share events to Facebook and NextDoor.

If you prefer to take matters into your own hands, you can manually trigger the camera’s siren. Though it has a siren, there is no way to trigger it automatically. You can, however, set your camera to trigger your Chime automatically. If motion is detected, your Chime will play the same tone it plays when your doorbell is pressed.

Summary of what you need to know:

  • Activity Zones (Wired and Mount Only)
  • Scheduled Monitoring
  • Automated Spotlight Feature
  • Storage Starts at $3/Month
  • Built-in Siren
  • Ring Neighborhoods
  • Custom Alert Tone
  • Continuous Recording for Spotlight Cam Wired ($) Coming Soon

Canary Flex

Canary offers 24 hours of video history for up to four cameras plus unlimited bookmarks. For free, clips are 30-seconds in length. If you want to download videos directly to your phone, share them to social media, want longer clips, more storage, or more devices, you need a Canary Membership.

A Canary Membership provides 30 days of video history, full-length video clips, social sharing, custom Home mode, two-way audio, desktop streaming, and unlimited downloads for $9.99/month for up to five cameras. It also provides access to a Safety Buton feature backed by Noonlight, formally SafeTrek. If you have more than five cameras, Canary charges an additional $4.99 per camera per month. You can use an unlimited number of cameras in a single location with a Canary Membership.

Finding Video Evidence

Canary Membership also provides a unique way to sort through video evidence: Incident Support. With Incident Support, Canary provides a dedicated agent to help you retrieve video evidence if a home theft occurs.

Event Alerts

Flex uses the same algorithm as the indoor Canary. In theory, this sounds good. In reality, an outdoor camera needs its own algorithm. Motion events are processed to determine if they are false or if the event should be uploaded to the cloud for “further analysis.” This process not only helps to reduce false alarms, but it saves battery life.

With Canary, you can also adjust motion sensitivity, and the camera includes a PIR motion sensor, which works when the camera is plugged in or when running on battery. But even with these added features, Flex has trouble sorting true events from false ones. On windy days, false alerts are common, and sometimes Flex misses events. Worse, if you use Flex as a battery-powered camera, you must wait for it to wake up. We had problems with the camera sleeping through events. In general, the camera performs at a much higher level when plugged in.

To help reduce false alarms, Canary has launched Person Detection. The best part? It’s free. From the app, you can limit alerts or recordings to only those that contain a person.

Person Detection was the first feature launched under the Canary Vision project, a project that aims to add AI-powered intelligence to Canary devices. The second Canary Vision feature is Package Detection, which lets users set up notifications for when packages are delivered to their homes. This feature is exclusive to Canary Flex, and it can only be accessed if you have a Canary Membership.

Summary of what you need to know:

  • Incident Support($)
  • Automatically Arms and Disarms Based On Your Presence
  • Person and Package Detection
  • Computer Vision Algorithms
  • 24 Hours Free Storage, Paid Video Storage 30-days
  • Camera Sleeps Between Events (Battery Mode Only)
  • Custom Canary Alert Tone for Push Notifications

Arlo Pro and Pro 2

Arlo offers 7 days of free cloud storage. How awesome is that? During setup, you will have the option of choosing between their home or business plans. For home users, they offer three flavors: Basic, Premier, and Elite.

For free, you have access to Basic which includes 7 days of free cloud recordings (up to 1GB), supports up to 5 cameras, and 3 months of phone support. Premier is $9.99 per month or $99.00 per year. It includes Arlo Smart, e911, 30 days of cloud recordings (up to 10GB), support for up to 10 cameras, and provides unlimited phone support. Finally, Elite is $14.99 per month or $149.00 per year and includes 60 days of cloud recordings (up to 100GB), support for 15 cameras, and unlimited support.

In addition to cloud storage, Arlo Pro offers local storage to a USB device (thumb drive, hard drive, etc.). Local storage cannot be used instead of cloud storage, but rather in addition to. However, if you lose your internet connection, all events will be stored on your USB storage device.

Arlo Pro 2 also works with Arlo’s continuous video recording (CVR) plan. The catch is that the camera must remain plugged-in in order for the feature to work, and Arlo’s power cord is not weatherproof. The subscription is per camera and also works with Arlo Q, Q Plus, and Arlo Baby. For $9.99 per month, they will provide 14 days of 24/7 CVR, for $19.99 per month you get 30 days, and for $29.99 per month, you will get 60 days. Arlo provides a discount if you pay for the year upfront and they offer a 50% discount if you have more than one CVR plan on your account.

Finding Video Evidence

All plans, including the freemium plan, offer access to the same security features and provide a semi-decent way of sorting through historical footage. Through the app’s “Library” section, you will have access to a timeline feature. You can view all recorded events by day. You will also be able to favorite an event, download, or share it. You can also filter recorded footage by favorites, motion events, audio events, manual recordings, or recordings triggered by IFTTT.

Event Alerts

For free, event recordings can be triggered by motion or sound. What happens after an event is triggered depends on the modes you create and use.

Arlo Pro is preprogrammed with four modes: Armed, Disarmed, Schedule, and Geofencing. Most of the modes are customizable, and you have the option of adding your own customized mode. You can even create different rules for different cameras. For example, armed mode on camera A might mean that if it detects motion or audio, it will record, while armed mode on camera B might mean that if motion is detected, it sounds the siren, but doesn’t record. You can also decide if you would like push alerts, email alerts, or no alerts.

If schedules aren’t your thing, you can use geofencing to have the camera automatically arm when you are away and disarm when you arrive home.

If you are willing to pay for Arlo Smart (starting at $2.99 per month per camera), your cameras will be able to detect people, vehicles, and animals. It also adds package detection (beta). This smart feature also makes video sorting easier as you can filter recordings to show what you want to see. For example, you can filter the results to only show recordings with people.

Arlo Smart also adds the ability to use Activity Zones even when your cameras are unplugged; however, if you choose to keep your Arlo Pro 2 indoors and plugged-in, you will have Activity Zones for free. Either way, you can select up to three zones for Arlo to monitor. If activity is detected in one of your zones, you’ll receive an alert. Activity that occurs outside of your set zone will be ignored.

And if you’re worried about missing events, plug the camera in. While plugged-in, Arlo Pro 2 offers Look Back, a feature that buffers three seconds of video at all times. If an event occurs, you’ll receive event footage plus the three-second buffer.

Summary of what you need to know:

  • Activity Zones
  • Automatically Arms and Disarms Based Upon Your Presence
  • Scheduled Monitoring
  • 7 Days Free Cloud Storage, Paid Storage 30-day or 60-day
  • Camera Sleeps Between Events (Battery Mode Only)
  • Arlo Smart for $2.99/month/camera

WINNER Nest. While Nest Aware is a more expensive service, advanced features like person detection combined with the ability for the camera to record 24/7 make it a better overall home security camera. However, Arlo with Arlo Smart is also a contender as the service is less expensive and the camera includes free storage. You can also add continuous video recording to Arlo Pro 2, but only if using the camera plugged-in indoors. Ring will also soon add continuous recording, but only if you have a wired Ring camera.

Family Sharing

Nest Cam Outdoor

If you want to share your Nest Cam with others, you have three options: Family Accounts, Password Protected Sharing, or Public Sharing.

Using a Family Account, you can share access with nine other people. However, Nest’s sharing feature is problematically one-size-fits-all. All members will have full control over your account, including all cameras and connected devices such as thermostats and smoke alarms.

With Password Protected Sharing, you can share access to your video stream with up to ten people who have both the link and the password. Public Sharing is self-explanatory; it’s access to your live stream without a password. Both Public and Password Sharing allow others to view a live stream of your video, but they cannot view your video history, receive alerts, control cameras, or your other connected devices.

Ring Spotlight Cam

All Ring doorbells and cameras support multiple users. Users can interact with guests and receive notifications. However, each user can set their own custom notification settings. For example, you can ask to be notified of doorbell activity while another user might want to be made aware of ring and motion activity.

Second, you can take it to the next level with Ring Locations. The Locations feature lets you assign your different devices to different locations under one account. When the new app launches, you will also be able to view location-based grouping backed by a multi-camera view.

Ring Locations also takes user access to another level. You can change a user’s access depending on the location. For example, you might be a Homeowner at your home and a Neighbor at another home.

Canary Flex

Canary also allows you to share access with other users. Through the Canary app, all users will have full control over your cameras. If you want to limit other users’ access, you can choose who has access to what camera through the use of multiple locations. For example, you can give person A access to location 1 but not location 2. Better still, locations can be at the same address so your location 1 and location 2 can both include cameras in your home.

In addition to sharing camera access, having multiple users will make geofencing even more intelligent. The cameras will arm when everyone is away and disarm when at least one person is home. You can also see who is home and who is away using the mobile app and set up Presence notifications to alert you of the same. Finally, it brings everyone in on the action. If an event is detected, an alert will be sent to all users. If one user responds to the alert, other users will be able to see how that person responded. You can also leave a comment on the event and chat with other users directly within the app.

Arlo Pro and Pro 2

Arlo starts with one admin per account. The admin is allowed to share access with other users. However, all other users will have limited access to some features.

Friend access allows users to view live streams, view recorded clips, and favorite clips. If you want to share more, grant access rights. In addition to the rights already discussed, those with access rights will be able to record video footage, mute the speaker, enter full-screen view, zoom and drag video footage, access and change modes, manually record, take snapshots, favorite, and share or delete video footage. Finally, Arlo does allow you to control which camera or cameras other users can access. For example, you can give them access to your outdoor camera, but not your indoor camera.

WINNER: Ring and Canary. Ring has a slight edge as they allow you to customize user access by location. Canary has this multi-user thing down pat thanks to group geofencing and group communication.

Weatherproofing

Camera RatingIP65IP54IP65IP65
Power Adapter RatingIP67UnknownWeatherproof Magnetic PlugPower Adapter for Indoor Use Only
Temperature Range -4° to 104° F-20°F to 120°F (Spotlight Wired and Mount) -5°F to 120°F (Spotlight Battery/Solar)-4° to 113° F, with deviations up to 122° F-4° to 113° F Range
OtherAvoid Placing the Camera in Direct SunlightCold Weather, Wind Impacts Battery Life; Solar Version Requires 1 Hour of Sunlight Per DayCold Weather, Wind Impacts Battery Life; Avoid Placing the Camera in Direct SunlightCold Weather, Wind Impacts Battery Life.

Nest Cam Outdoor

Nest Cam Outdoor’s temperature range is limited to -4° to 104°F. In the same breath, the Nest team warns of placing the camera in direct sunlight to avoid overheating the device. So if the device can only handle 104° and it might heat up in the sun, is it really ready to live outside? Perhaps it’s not that the device isn’t ready to live outside, but that it’s more suited for temperate zones.

I can’t say if the story shared below is true or not, but one Facebook user shared this,

"Waste of time for me as the temp range only goes to -4. Gets -20 here in Colorado. Spoke to Nest customer support was told not to purchase for our climate."

That said, this might be one area where splurging for the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor makes sense. While you do have to drill to hide the wires, the camera itself has an IP66 rating and can work in temperatures ranging from -40° to 113°F.

Ring Spotlight Cam

Spotlight Cam Wired and Mount will work in temperatures ranging from -20°F to 120°F, but Battery and Solar have a smaller operating temperature range.

The Wired version uses a power source. The Mount version uses your existing outdoor electrical box for drop-in replacement of other outdoor lights and cameras.

Solar uses a solar panel. The Solar Panel connects to Spotlight Cam’s battery via a 13-foot cable. In fact, if you buy a battery-powered camera and want to convert it to solar, you can buy the panel for $49. The panel is weatherproof and requires just one hour of direct sunlight per day to keep your camera charged.

And that is its job, to keep the camera charged. However, we noticed during testing that it does charge the battery too. When we installed the camera, the battery level was at 40%. Soon after connecting the solar panel, that percentage jumped to 50%. The next day it rained, and the percentage climbed from 50 to 52%. Day three was overcast, and yet the battery level crept up to 56%. Day 4 was a beautiful sunny day, and the battery level jumped to 78%. By the end of day 4, it was at 100%.

According to Ring, the solar panel should provide a “Trickle Charge” of 1-2% per day. I got more. That said, if the battery doesn’t charge and it dies, you will need to charge it in order to use the camera. You cannot run the camera on solar power alone.

The battery version of the camera can only use a battery. You can’t plug it in. According to Ring, the batteries should give you six months of life before needing to be recharged, but that wasn’t our experience. After testing the battery for three weeks, the battery level dropped from 100% to 47%. It was depleted before the two-month mark. If you plan to use a battery, we suggest buying two. As mentioned in the installation guide, Spotlight Cam ships with one battery, but it supports two. This configuration will improve your camera’s up-time. When one battery dies, you can charge it while battery two kicks-in to power your camera. Ring sells additional batteries for $29.

Canary Flex

We ran the original Canary Flex test in December, and the temperatures failed to drop below 32 degrees. We're telling you this because Canary claims the battery can last several months, though cold weather and heavy usage will reduce its lifespan.

After using Flex unplugged for a little over two weeks, the battery fell critically low before getting to the point where the camera would no longer turn on. We don’t blame this on the weather as much as we do the wind. Continued tests showed a battery life of 2-4 weeks. Per a reader request, we retested the camera in August. The weather is warmer here in August, it’s less windy, and Canary has since made several adjustments to help extend Flex’s battery life. This time, the battery lasted a full seven weeks.

Of course, there are things you can do to get the max life out of your camera’s battery. Canary provides the following tips:

  1. You can plug the device into a weatherproof, covered outlet if you see a green dot on the bottom of the power adapter.
  2. Protect your device from direct sunlight by placing it under an overhang or in a shady area.

Arlo Pro and Pro 2

Arlo Pro can be used outdoors only if running on battery or solar power. (While they once sold an outdoor power adapter, it is no longer available due to quality issues.) If you’re using battery power, you will have to charge your camera indoors as the included power adapter is not rated for outdoor use. Furthermore, if your battery is too cold from being outside, you might have to wait for it to warm up before you can begin to charge it. If you don’t like the sound of that, you can invest in the $59.99 Pro Charging Station and an additional rechargeable battery ($49.99). You can use the charging station to charge two batteries simultaneously so that you always have one ready to go when needed. You can also purchase the Arlo Pro UV-resistant silicone skins, which provide added protection against condensation and sun glare.

At two months, Arlo’s battery lasted longer than Canary’s. Arlo also sent both an email and push notification encouraging me to charge the camera. We tried to time how long it took to recharge the battery, but it took five hours to reach 87% and then stopped. Even the next day, the camera’s battery did not charge beyond 87%. Also, like Canary, Arlo’s battery life was impacted by activity more than weather. The camera we placed in a lower traffic zone had 37% battery life remaining after two months and several sub-zero days.

After receiving Arlo Pro 2, we completed a second battery test in a lower traffic environment. With the same settings, we ran Arlo Pro and Pro 2 side-by-side to see if Pro 2, with its higher resolution, drained the battery faster. It did not. In fact, it held a slightly better charge than Arlo Pro. Of course, we're assuming this has more to do with the fact that the camera’s battery is newer and less to do with the fact that it’s a different camera. During the second test, both cameras lasted 5 months on a single charge, and it took 2 hours and 30 minutes to recharge the batteries.

Device Issues and Troubleshooting

Warranty Length2 Year Limited Warranty1 Year Limited Warranty (Lifetime with Protect Plus)1 Year Limited Warranty (2 Years With Canary Membership)1 Year Limited Warranty (90 Days Phone Support)
AvailabilityPhone, Chat, or TwitterEmail, Phone, or ChatEmail, Chat, or Twitter Email, Phone, or Chat
Phone Support QualityExcellentExcellentDiscontinuedOffshore, Average
Wake Up To Livestream (on Average) Same Network1 Second (Wired)4 Seconds (Solar Spotlight)10 Seconds (Battery), 5 Seconds (Wired)6 Seconds (Battery), 6 Seconds (Wired)
Wake Up To Livestream (on Average) Remote6 Seconds (Wired)9 Seconds (Solar Spotlight)12 Seconds (Battery)6 Seconds (Battery)
Automatic Firmware Updates

Nest Cam Outdoor

One minor problem we’ve had with Nest Cam Outdoor is one that has also plagued our indoor camera for as long as we’ve had it. For some reason, when we physically move the device, even slightly, it loses connection. And when Nest loses connection, it can take several minutes to boot back up.

The device’s design causes another issue. In theory, each clip cable needs to be screwed in. We’ve heard others claim this is for security reasons, making the device harder to steal. But we don’t see how this could be true. It’s not hard to walk up and unscrew the camera from the cord and walk away with it. The camera attaches to the base using a magnet, and it connects to the power adapter using a cord that you simply push and twist to disconnect.

One final issue has more to do with software performance than hardware issues, but it’s important to point out. From time-to-time, the snapshot will record a little too late. In the example above, it caught the UPS man’s back. For those without a Nest Aware subscription, this is all you get. Those with a subscription can rewind footage to see the moments before the clip.

Ring Spotlight Cam

Thus far, my only issue with Spotlight Cam is that the live streaming option is a little glitchy. It will live stream, but the video flickers in and out.

Canary Flex

Our indoor Canary is self-sufficient, and that is exactly what we want in a home security camera. Flex has yet to provide that same experience. We’ve had to physically interact with the device multiple times to get it to reconnect to our internet. Also, the geofencing feature is inaccurate, often marking us away while home and vice versa. As for power loss notifications? They’re hit or miss.

Additionally, when running Flex on a battery, it is often slow to wake up, even after a recent update targeting Canary’s lag time.

Our final issue with Canary Flex has less to do with the device itself and more to do with the company behind the camera. Over the years, Canary has made a lot of changes to their cameras, and the changes don’t always benefit the customer. For example, they promised free two-way audio, but then started charging for it, and for a long time they provided free cloud storage, now they offer what they call “digestible Video Previews.” Changes such as these are concerning.

Arlo Pro and Pro 2

We haven’t had any issues with Arlo Pro, but we called their support team to get a feel for support quality. As Netgear owns Arlo, phone tech support is managed by Netgear, and they offer offshore support. It was the stereotypical experience you think of when you think of tech support. We called into a phone queue, waited a little bit (not long), got transferred to someone who struggled to understand the question, she put us on hold, she came back to clarify the question, she put us on hold, and then she came back with an answer. While it wasn’t a bad experience, it was sub-par compared to the tech support experiences provided by Nest, Canary, and Ring.

There is a known issue with Arlo that didn't affect us but may affect you. Danh Bui was kind enough to share that Arlo Pro sound currently does not work for T-Mobile users. T-Mobile uses IPV6 where Arlo Pro uses IPV4.

WINNER Nest, Canary, and Ring all provide excellent tech support experiences, but a general word to the wise: When you self-monitor your home security system, expect to do some troubleshooting from time-to-time. It’s an inevitable part of the process. Most of the outdoor devices I’ve tested have had issues, though Nest appears to be leading the way.

Final Thoughts

Nest, Canary, Ring, and Arlo all have advantages and disadvantages. Nest has an advantage in that it can capture footage 24/7. Canary has an advantage in that it offers person detection for free. Arlo Pro and Ring Spotlight have an advantage in that the cameras can run on battery power and they wake up for both motion and live streaming faster than Canary Flex. If we were to rank them, we would rank Nest and Arlo Pro the highest and also add that a video doorbell is a must. You can read my video doorbell compare here.

If you are debating between Arlo Pro and Pro 2, my suggestion is to monitor the price difference which I’ve seen swing from vast to minimal. If there isn’t much of a price difference, opt for Pro 2. If there’s a big difference, Arlo Pro is still a great camera.

In the end, the best camera depends on what you want to accomplish. There is no one-size-fits-all solution regarding home security. We want to use our cameras to help our neighborhood. We’ve found that continuous recording is crucial. After all the testing, we went back to Nest Cam indoor supplemented by our Ring Video Doorbell before finally swapping to Nest Hello. Currently, we use Nest Hello with the $5 per month plan backed by a WyzeCam 2 (on my porch). WyzeCam 2 is an indoor camera, but it’s $25 so I’m not overly concerned about it giving out. It offers free cloud storage and CVR to an SD card. However, for our backyard, we feel Arlo Pro is ideal. We don’t need continuous recording, we don’t want more wires, and it wakes up faster than Canary.

Using the Nest Cam Outdoor vs. Indoor Nest Cam

Below is a brief comparison of using the Indoor camera to film through a window versus using the Outdoor Nest Cam.

  • NEST CAM INDOOR
  • No Sound
  • Less accurate at detecting people at night.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing
  • Theft Protected
  • No Night Vision*
  • NEST CAM OUTDOOR
  • Sound & Two-Way Audio
  • Slightly More Accurate
  • Sloppy
  • Vulnerable to Theft
  • Night Vision

*The indoor camera has night vision, but you have to turn this feature off to record through a window.

Nest Indoor or Nest Outdoor? There are pros and cons to both. The Nest Cam Outdoor might be slightly more accurate, but that’s probably more to do with positioning – it has a better vantage point. The fact that it is more accurate, has sound, and night vision made me want to switch, but we could not deal with the way it looked once installed. In the end, Nest Hello provides CVR with the clean aesthetic that’s important to us.

Arlo Pro vs. Arlo Pro 2

All of the differences between Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2 were tackled in the content above, but if you’re looking for a quick comparison, I’ll break it down below.

Pro 2 is essentially the same as Arlo Pro. It uses the same base station, it offers many of the same features, it looks the same, it’s battery-powered, and can be used inside or outside. In fact, there are only four difference between the two cameras.

  1. Resolution. Pro 2 is 1080p where Pro is 720p
  2. Look Back. When plugged-in, Pro 2 can pre-buffer to capture the three-seconds before motion is detected. This feature will also lower latency.
  3. Activity Zones. When plugged-in, Pro 2 has Activity Zones. You can create three rectangular shaped zones. The camera will monitor for activity in the zones while ignoring other areas.
  4. CVR. When plugged-in, Pro 2 can record continuous video, if you pay for Arlo’s CVR plan.

Other Outdoor Cameras

Arlo Ultra

Arlo is now selling Arlo Ultra. Ultra joins Pro 2 as a flagship product. There are several differences between Pro 2 and Ultra including resolution. Ultra offers a 4K resolution, a new base station, built-in siren, integrated spotlight which supports colored night vision, and an upgraded design. Ultra is still wire-free and weather-resistant, but the mount was redesigned, the battery was redesigned, and it ships with a magnetic charging cable.

Blink XT

Blink is also a battery-powered outdoor camera. It’s built around a unique chip that should provide an amazing battery life. However, while our indoor cameras are almost at the two-year mark using the original AA batteries, our Blink XT batteries usually last between 1.5 and 2 months. While we love our Blink indoor cameras, we would not recommend Blink for outdoor use. You can read our Blink XT review and comparison to Arlo Pro here.

Arlo

We’ve heard others say Arlo is the perfect outdoor camera. We disagree. The original Wire-Free camera had more latency than Arlo Pro. Also, Pro includes a wider field of view, a rechargeable battery, a siren (built into the hub), and it adds sound with two-way audio, all features the original Arlo lacked. Arlo Pro 2 bumps up the resolution to 1080p and adds three features if the camera is plugged-in: CVR, Motion Zones, and Look Back.

Arlo Go is yet another Arlo camera. It’s an Arlo Pro plus 4G. The big catch is that a cellular plan via Verizon is needed as it doesn’t work with WiFi. It does come with 15 data minutes to send 15 minutes worth of video to the cloud for free. Once you’ve used those minutes, you’ll need to buy more time. Data plans start at $4.99/month for 15 data minutes and go up to $32.99/month for 225 data minutes. Arlo Go sells for $429.99 on Amazon or 399.99 from Verizon ($349.99 if you sign a 2-year contract).

Kuna and Toucan

Kuna is also intriguing, but using the device would require that you swap out your current light fixtures. Toucan, another product by Kuna, would potentially solve that dilemma. With Toucan, you can retrofit any outdoor light with a smart socket and a camera.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

Post launch of Nest Cam IQ Indoor, Nest has announced that they are making an outdoor version of IQ. We’ve tested the indoor IQ and it is one of a few cameras that we’ve returned. In my opinion, the extra features (Person Recognition, Supersight, 4K Image Sensor, HD Talk and Listen, 12x Zoom, and HDR) don’t justify a price tag that is nearly double the original Nest Cam.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor will offer most of the same features as the indoor IQ (less the Google Assistant integration). The only difference between IQ and the original Nest Cam is the power cord. Unlike the original Nest Cam Outdoor, you will have to drill a hole to install the IP66-rated Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, unless you happen to have an existing opening. Nest Cam IQ Outdoor will start at $349. And this is why we won’t be purchasing Nest Cam IQ. Not only is person detection sufficient and offered via the less expensive Nest Cam Outdoor, but we don’t have an existing opening, and we're not going to drill. Plus, Nest Hello offers facial recognition and a pretty sweet Google Home integration.

Ring Stick Up Wired and Battery

While the Stick Up Cam would have been an obvious choice, it wasn’t for us. It does provide a wireless experience (Battery version), and in the right conditions, the battery can last several months. Plus, if you add the solar panel, it can recharge itself.

Our goal with a security camera is to help protect our neighborhood, not just our house. That said, we want a camera that can record 24/7 (Stick Up Battery can’t, although the option will soon be available to wired Stick Up Cam users). We also want a camera that can capture a wide angle (Stick Up Battery can’t), and we need a camera that will allow us to quickly sift through footage when our neighbors request help (Stick Up can’t).

The new Stick Up Cam does have some interesting features, mostly power options. The camera can be used inside or outside and there are Battery and Wired versions. The Wired version can also be powered via PoE (PoE Adapter sold separately) while the Battery version can connect to the Ring Solar Panel.

Ring Floodlight Cam

The Ring Floodlight Cam would be an interesting option if you need floodlights. The Floodlight Cam is built to replace existing floodlights to make them “smart.”

Adding smart lights adds a layer of security by allowing you to flash the lights or sound the built-in alarm. The device also has advanced features like custom zone creation and facial recognition. Like Stickup Cam, the camera will have the option to record 24/7 once Ring launches their CVR plan.

Oco Pro Bullet and Pro Bullet V2

We were interested in testing this Oco camera, until we tested the indoor version. On paper, it has a lot of the same features as Nest Cam plus a PoE option.

Oco Pro Bullet is weatherproof, has an SD card, cloud storage, night vision, smart motion detection, and records in FHD 1080p. It can also work in a wide range of temperatures, from -22 °F – 140 °F (-30 °C – 60 °C). But it has one massive limitation: viewing angle. Unfortunately, it only offers an 85-degree viewing angle. Also, the indoor version fell flat on many of its promised features. While the outdoor camera uses different hardware, the indoor experience left me feeling leery towards Oco’s ability to build a quality camera.

Oco Pro Bullet V2 lacks a PoE option and has a more limited temperature range (14 °F – 122 °F). However, it does offer a wider 100° viewing angle.

Swann Smart Security Camera

Swann Smart Security Camera is an indoor/outdoor battery powered security camera that works without a base station. It’s most similar to Reolink Argus and Canary Flex. The camera records in 1080p FHD, offers a 120° field of view, night vision, and is IP65 rated for outdoor use. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with any third-party devices and it lacks intelligent features to reduce false alarms. The camera boasts a feature called True Detect™, but that’s just a fancy marketing term for PIR motion sensor. The camera’s best feature is free local and cloud storage. From the app, you can playback seven days worth footage stored locally. The camera also includes two days of cloud storage.

Reolink Argus and Argus 2

I have tested Reolink Argus and Argus 2. Both are indoor/outdoor, hubless, battery-powered cameras. The cameras do not offer cloud storage. Instead, you can purchase and add an SD card. The cameras record in FHD 1080p, offer night vision, live streaming, mobile app access, and a 130° field of view. However, they lack other features offered by Canary, Arlo, and Nest including geofencing and the ability to connect to third-party devices.

EverCam

EverCam is a newer option made by a Chinese company who has never made a security camera before. That said, despite their Kickstarter success, we're hesitant to recommend the camera even though it boasts an impressive feature list. For one, they refused to answer my in-depth questions about the camera which makes me a little suspicious. Two, they are promising many AI-rich features without a monthly fee. As a consumer, we know that’s tempting, but we also know it’s unsustainable. Facial recognition, for example, does not live on the camera itself. The feature is cloud-based which is expensive to maintain; hence why you see companies like Nest charge a fee to access features that are heavy on AI.

That said, EverCam is a battery-powered camera that connects to a base station. It is designed to offer a battery life of up to 1 year. EverCam also offers facial recognition, person detection, and PIR motion detection. These features are expected to reduce false alarms drastically. EverCam is expected to hit the shelves September of 2018.

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