The Blue Outdoor Camera is a thick battery-operated security camera that is part of the Blue by ADT DIY Home Security System.
The camera offers a 130 degree field of view and 1080p high definition video. Custom motion zones, facial recognition, and two-way conversation at no additional cost. With many cameras, if those first two features are offered, the cost is extra in the form of subscription plans.
You can use the camera alone or with the excellent ADT Blue Indoor camera and ADT Blue Doorbell camera that we reviewed earlier. It can also be incorporated into a larger home security system with a base unit, keypad, and a variety of sensors from ADT's DIY division, Lifeshield. If you follow the last route, professional monitoring is available month-to-month for $ 19.95. This option also increases cloud video storage from one day to 30 days.
This review is part of TechHive's coverage of the best home security cameras, where you will find Reviews of competing products, plus a buyer's guide to features to consider when buying.
If more video storage is all you want, you can take advantage of the microSD card slot. It can host cards with up to 128GB of storage and is doubly useful on occasions where your internet connection fails. However, the downside to relying on local storage is that if a thief steals the camera, forensic evidence of the crime goes with the camera.
Getting the camera up and running was easy. The first job is to charge your battery through a USB charger. The cable connector is not waterproof, so it is not suitable for a permanent connection unless the camera is installed in a dry location. Currently, there is no provision to connect a solar panel that can slowly charge the battery when the sun rises. Battery power, on the other hand, gives you a lot of flexibility when mounting the camera. And thanks to the ball mount the camera sits in, it can even be mounted upside down from the ceiling or beam. If you do that, the software in the app can be configured to flip the image so that everything appears the right way.
Connecting to Wi-Fi is also simple. The smartphone companion app generates a QR code that encrypts network login details. Just place the code in front of the camera, and it recognizes it, decodes it, and connects to your home network.
The camera image was sharp and I had no complaints. In good light, the HD image really shows. At night, the infrared image was sufficient, but not as good as daytime.
One of the biggest problems I usually face with security cameras is constant activation as cars drive down the street in front of my house. Blue Outdoor's custom motion detection zones really helped here, allowing me to draw a custom area with the 5m (16.4ft) range of the motion sensor excluding the street, so the camera was only triggered when motion occurred within the defined area. . In my case, this was my front yard.
The type and number of alerts can also be customized in the smartphone application. Users can determine when to receive motion alerts only at night, for example, or in the afternoon when their children could get home from school. This is much more complex than the motion detection setup on a typical battery powered outdoor camera.
One of the disadvantages of being battery powered is that it will require recharging from time to time. How often it is required depends on where it is installed. The battery life will be longer in an area with good Wi-Fi coverage and little movement to activate the camera. Rather, it will be shorter in an area with a weak Wi-Fi signal or one that is constantly activated by movement. You can extend the camera's range by implementing ADT's $ 50 range extender, which also serves as a secondary bell for the company's Blue Smart Doorbell camera.
ADT says the blue outdoor camera battery should last three to six months on a single charge, reflecting the difference in the number of triggers. That's good enough to recharge and not become a hassle. I couldn't test it for that long, but in the two weeks I used it, the battery didn't degrade significantly.
Interestingly, the battery's USB connector has a rubber gasket and threaded holes on either side that appear to be ready for a screwed waterproof cable. I asked ADT about this and they said it was "to support future Blue by ADT accessories" so I hope some kind of additional power option will come along sometime.
Can I suggest a solar panel?