We’ve seen a lot of connected home security cameras in the past few years — Wi-Fi cameras that can stream video to a companion app or a web browser. What we’ve seen far less of are connected cameras built for outdoor use. For a while, the Netgear Arlo was the only strong option, and while Netgear has some new and improved models this year, they’ve gotten competition in the Canary Flex. The latest connected home camera to go outside is Blink. The new Blink XT is similar to their indoors camera, but features weatherproofing and a few other handy features.
Like the original Blink camera, the Blink XT is a tile-shaped device with a small camera lens in the top half, but now with a more rugged-looking black exterior. Being an outdoors camera, you might want to use the Blink XT to spot details near and far. That’s probably the reason Blink decided to make the jump from 720p video on their original camera to 1080p on this one — something that neither Netgear’s nor Canary’s outdoor cameras can do. The other big difference is an IP65 rating, which makes the XT completely dust-proof and resistant to splashes and rain. They’ve also added infrared night vision, a big feature missing on the original Blink camera.
To make a proper outdoors security camera, Blink also needed to make the XT battery-powered. They’re saying the battery on the Blink XT will last two years, same as what the original camera is up to with a recent update. it’s worth keeping in mind that for security cameras, these estimates refer to mixed use — the idea is that the camera only starts recording when certain kinds of motion are detected or when the owner schedules it to run. Run it 24/7, and it probably won’t last anywhere near two years.
Like the original Blink, the Blink XT works with Amazon Alexa, so you can tell Amazon’s smart home assistant to start recording or to set up a schedule. It’ll also work with those indoor Blink cameras if you already have a multi-camera array set up — the XT and original Blink cameras can all be monitored from the same app and account.
The Blink XT is on the cheaper side compared to those other options, but for good reason. While it’s an impressive camera, it does lack one major feature that the Canary Flex and Netgear Arlo Pro/Go have — network connectivity. By partnering with Verizon and AT&T, respectively, those other cameras don’t need to be within range of a Wi-Fi network to stream video. That does require owners to add those devices to their wireless bills, but for those whose Wi-Fi networks are spotty outside the house, it could be worth the extra investment. If you buy the Blink XT, you’ll want to check your Wi-Fi reception in the area where you plan to use it first.
The Blink XT is available for preorder starting today for $120, with shipping scheduled for February 2017. Throughout December, Blink will throw in a free Blink XT for anyone who purchases a five-pack of Blink cameras.