1. Video Review
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2. The Basic Specifications
In this section I compare some of the basic features of these smart security cameras.
The newest camera is the Blink XT which was launched only a few months ago in May 2017 whereas the oldest camera was launched about a year and a half ago in April 2016 and that is the Reolink.
In terms of weight, the heaviest camera is the Butterfleye (because it has a lithium ion rechargeable battery inside) which weighs 12.5 oz and the Reolink with its batteries installed weighs in at 9.6 ounces.
The Arlo, which also contains a lithium ion rechargeable battery, weighs just under 5 ounces.
These cameras are very similar in terms of size.
The Blink and Butterfleye are flat and rectangular in shape.
The Reolink is more of a cylinder shape and the Arlo has a bit of a bullet shape to it.
The Blink XT wins this section.
It is a very new camera. It is lightweight and can be bought at a great price.
3. Security Features
In this section I compare some of the security features of these smart security cameras.
All four of these cameras have night vision and they all use the same infrared technology.
There are two main types of infrared: passive and active.
These cameras all use passive infrared, which means that the camera just reads or receives any infrared given off by passing humans and animals.
Most smart security cameras use this type of passive infrared.
The blink uses an LED illuminator, which lights up when any motion is detected and provides more light at night.
Think of this like a motion sensing torch.
The XT will clearly see objects that are 20 feet away in darkness.
The Reolink has a range of 33 feet in Darkness and the Arlo Pro has a range of 25 feet.
I could not find any information on the infrared range of the Butterfleye.
All four of these security cameras have motion detection, which of course is a must!
In all of the cameras the motion detection sensitivity settings are adjustable.
This allows the motion detection to be set up in a variety of different environments.
If the camera is to be placed in a fairly quiet area then you would probably want to have it set at a very high sensitivity, so that it detects any movement.
However if your camera is being placed in a fairly busy and noisy environment it would be best to set the sensitivity to a lower setting.
This will stop the camera from detecting every single movement from the surrounding environment and instead only detect motion which is immediately in front of it.
I could not find any information for any of these cameras about how many seconds of video the camera will record after motion has been detected, which is a little disappointing.
All of the cameras in this comparison will send you a push notification to your smart phone or tablet once motion has been detected.
The Reolink and the Arlo will also send you an email alert.
The Butterfleye and the Arlo also provide you with sound detection alerts.
This means that if a sound is detected but there is no motion you will be notified.
The only camera in this comparison that measures the temperature is the Blink XT.
The ability of a smart camera to detect temperature is very rare.
I think it was a feature that was more common in cameras a few years ago but it is now.
The only camera in this comparison that uses facial recognition technology is the Butterfleye.
Very few smart cameras that are available use facial recognition technology as at this level it is still in its infancy.
A well-known camera that has this capability is the Nest IQ.
The Reolink and the Arlo are the two cameras which have sirens built in.
The Arlo Pro siren is 105 decibels loud.
Pan & Tilt
All of these cameras have pan and tilt capabilities but they are only manual and digital.
All of these cameras can be swivelled and tilted manually on their mounting brackets or stands.
The Butterfleye does not come with a mount and so it cannot be manually swivelled.
However all of these cameras have a digital pan and tilt capability.
This means that any video footage can be zoomed in on and moved around via the app.
The Reolink’s footage cannot be zoomed in on via the app.
The Butterfleye and the Arlo Pro offer a digital zoom of up to 8 times.
I could not find any details about the zoom capabilities of the Blink XT.
The Arlo Pro has a great set of “security” features.
It has good night vision, a built in siren and its app offers a digital zoom of up to 8 times.
4. Video & Audio Features
In this section I compare some of the video and audio features of these smart security cameras.
All of these cameras use CMOS lenses.
The Butterfleye uses a 3.5 megapixel lens.
The Reolink uses a 2 megapixel lens and the Arlo Pro uses a 1 megapixel lens.
I could not find any information on the lens for the Blink.
Field of View
Field of view is a measurement of how much of the surrounding area a lens can “see”.
Most often this is measured across the horizontal plane or in other words from right to left.
The Arlo has a 130 degrees field of view which is what other top smart security cameras offer.
the Butterfleye offers 120 degrees field of view and the blink and the Rio linked have 110 degrees of view.
Surprisingly the two cameras in this comparison that record video in 1080p are the Butterfleye and the Reolink.
the Arlo and the Blink only record video at 720p, although the Blink is 1080P compatible but it is just waiting for an upgrade.
1080p has been the gold standard for the best smart security cameras although at some point in the near future, the next milestone will become more common.
This is the ability of a camera to record images in 4K, which is Ultra High Definition.
2 Way Audio
Three of these cameras offer two way audio and they are; the Butterfleye the Reolink and the Arlo.
In order for a camera to have two way audio it needs to have a built-in microphone and speaker.
This allows a user to talk and listen to anyone who is near the camera via the app.
Two-way audio is standard across most smart cameras and it is a real surprise that it is not yet available on the Blink.
The blink only has a microphone built in and so the user can only listen to what is happening via the app.
Another high-profile camera that only has one way audio is the Canary Flex.
All of these cameras offer a live stream capability.
This is the ability to connect with the camera and see and hear what the camera is “seeing and hearing” now.
This is a very popular feature with buyers.
You cannot watch a live stream on the Blink XT at night, which is unusual because for most smart cameras, the live stream facility is available 24 hours a day .
The Butterfleye wins this section as has such a solid range of video and audio features.
5. Power & Storage
In this section I compare some of the power and storage features of these smart security cameras.
All four of these cameras are powered by batteries.
The Blink and the Reolink use standard batteries.
the Blink uses 2 “AA” batteries, which provide approximately 11 hours of recording and live view time.
the Reolink uses 4 CR123A batteries which provide approximately 180 days of standby or 13 hours of recording and live view time.
The Butterfleye and the Arlo Pro have built-in lithium ion rechargeable batteries.
the Butterfleye battery gives you two weeks of normal use.
I was unable to find out how much recording time this equalled.
The Arlo’s battery provides about 15 hours of recording or live view time, which as we can see is best of the Bunch.
Built-in lithium ion batteries are more convenient because you do not have to take them out in order to recharge them and neither do you need to replace them.
However an advantage that a standard battery has over a built-in rechargeable battery is that if a standard battery (AA or CR123A) fails, then it is fairly inexpensive to replace it.
However if a built-in rechargeable battery fails then these are much more costly to replace.
The Blink and the Arlo both have base stations that they connect to which are powered by an AC charger.
The Butterfleye’s battery can be recharged using a micro USB AC adaptor or if it is more convenient the camera can be continually powered by the adaptor.
Likewise, although the Arlo Pro is powered by a battery, it’s battery re charger can be connected continuously to the camera.
None of these cameras can be powered by the sun.
The reason that this solar option is in this chart is because Ring’s Stick Up Cam can be powered via a solar panel.
This technology might be one of the next big things in powering outside smart devices.
Three of these cameras offer cloud storage.
The Reolink is the only camera that doesn’t offer any cloud storage.
Blink’s cloud storage options are incredibly Limited.
At the moment it offers every user 2 hours for free.
There are paid options in the “pipeline.”
The Butterfleye and the Arlo offer a much fuller range of cloud storage options.
The Butterfleye offers 4 plans. Three plans have a monthly cost. Free. All recordings will be stored for 12 hours.
 $9.99. All recordings will be stored for 7 days.
 $19.99. All recordings will be stored for 30 days
 $29.99 All recordings will be stored for 1 year.
For any of these plans you can have an unlimited number of cameras connected.
The Arlo offers three plans, two of which have a monthly cost. Free. All recordings will be stored for seven days (up to 5 cameras.)
 $9.99. All recordings will be stored for 30 days (up to 10 cameras.)
 $14.99. All recordings will be stored for 60 days. (up to 15 cameras.)
The Reolink is the only camera that provides storage via a microSD card.
Cards up to 64GB are compatible.
the Butterfleye has up to 16 GB of internal memory.
Neither the Blink or the Arlo are compatible with micro SD cards.
The Arlo is the only camera that is compatible with USB storage.
However, this storage is only a backup of any cloud storage that you are using and so in that respect it is not a truly independent or standalone option.
The Reolink scrapes through as winner in this section.
But is is a close call as to me, there was no clear winner.
I like the fact that it uses a micro SD card for storage and its battery life seems to be very solid.
In this section I compare some of the “connection” features of these smart security cameras.
All four of these cameras will use your Wi-Fi connection in some way or other.
The Butterfleye and the Reolink cameras connect directly to your Wi-Fi network.
I won’t bore you with the exact specifications but safe to say that they will connect to the types of Wi- Fi found in most of our homes.
The Blink camera connects to its own smart hub or Sync Module (as Blink refer to it.)
The sync module connects to wi-fi and then the camera connects, in turn, to the Sync Module.
The Arlo Pro does not connect using Wi-Fi.
The only camera that uses an Ethernet cable as a connection is the Arlo.
The Arlo base station connects to a home router using an Ethernet cable.
Some manufacturers are looking at creating purpose built outdoor mounting brackets for SIM cards.
Outdoor security cameras could then connect to these.
These SIM cards would provide a more reliable signal that current wi-fi routers because they would be closer to the camera.
However, this development is still in the planning phase.
Encryption is the level of security that a camera uses when transfers video footage from a camera to the Cloud.
Butterfleye and Arlo use 128bit encryption.
This is also known as bank level, because it is the same level of security that banks use when they move sensitive data around.
I could not find any details on the encryption level that blink cameras use.
The Arlo Pro wins this “connection” section.
It is a bit of a difficult section to award to a winner to as none of the cameras has an obvious weakness.
I think its use of a smart hub is good and its 128 Bit encryption.
7. Design & Warranty
In this section I compare some of the features relating to the design and the warranties.
The Blink and the Butterfleye are available in white or black.
the Reolink and the Arlo Pro are only available in white.
However for the Reolink and the Arlo Pro, you can buy skins or covers.
These are made of silicon and in the case of the Arlo they are available in different colours including camouflage.
the Reolink has a yellow giraffe- themed skin that can be cleverly used in your nursery if you are using the camera as a baby monitor.
The Butterfleye is the only camera in this comparison that hasn’t got an IP rating although it has applied for the rating
IP stands Ingress Protection and these are standard ratings that show, in simple terms, how weather proof a device is.
Since all of these smart cameras are meant to be used outside, I would expect them all to have an IP rating.
The Blink, Reolink and Arlo Pro have an IP rating of 65.
The first number 6 means that a device is totally dustproof.
The second number, 5, means that a device has very good protection against water, such as light rain or light snow.
For it to be protected against a heavy rain or snow storm this number would need to be 6!
As well as an IP rating all of these cameras also have an operating temperature range.
The ranges are all pretty similar but the Blink has the best one as it operates between -20 to 45 °C.
All of these cameras, with a bit of confidence, can be installed by yourself.
As long as you feel confident using drill and a screwdriver these cameras come with step by step set up guides which are included in the app.
There will also be plenty of helpful installation videos for each of these cameras on YouTube.
However if you don’t feel confident installing one of these cameras or you just don’t have the time then you can employ a reliable and local builder or electrician to do the job for you.
Money Back Guarantee & Warranty
Finally in this section, let’s have a look at the warranties and money back guarantees.
The Butterfleye camera offers the best cover.
It provides a 60 day money back guarantee and a 3 year limited warranty.
The Reolink offers a 30 day money back guarantee and a 2 year limited warranty.
the Blink offers a 30 day money back guarantee and a 1 year limited warranty.
The Arlo offers a 1 year limited warranty and 90 days of free technical support.
The Butterfleye wins this section.
It has a great money back guarantee and warranty.
However, it is a bit of a weakness that it does have an IP rating as yet.
8. Remote Access
In this section I compare the remote access capabilities of these cameras.
Remote access is the ability to control a device without physically touching it.
It is one of the most desirable features of any smart device.
It gives an owner to control a device from the other side of the room or the other side of the world.
Most smart devices have iOS and Android apps that enable remote access: the top devices also enable remote access via the main web browsers.
The Butterfleye and the Arlo both require iOS 9 or later.
The Blink XT requires version 9.3 or later whereas the Reolink just requires version 8.
The surprising feature here is that the Butterfleye does not yet have an app for any Android device, although it is meant to be ready soon.
The Reolink camera just needs an Android device to be running version 3 or later of the software.
The Arlo requires a device to be running 4.1 or later and the Blink needs version 4.4 or later.
Windows 10 Mobile
None of these devices has a specific app for the Windows 10 mobile platform because there are so few devices using it
The Blink and the Butterfleye cameras do not allow access via a web browser, but the Arlo and the Reolink do.
I think that the ability to use a web browser as well as an app to control a device is a very useful feature for the huge number of people who work on laptops and desktops throughout their work day, because sometimes using a keyboard is faster than interacting with a touch screen and having a larger screen to look at is easier.
The Reolink wins this section because it offers an iOS and an Android app as well as allowing access via a web browser.
The Arlo Pro comes a close second beaten only because the Reolink’s iOS app can run on older iPads.
9. Home Automation
In this section I compare the home automation aspects of these smart cameras.
Home automation is the technical term used to describe the technology that powers smart homes.
It is the ability of smart devices to connect to and interact with each other.
There are a number of different languages or systems that devices can use to do this.
Top selling smart cameras interact with a few different systems but the only camera in this comparison to do that is the Arlo.
This is a big weakness that the other cameras have.
IFTTT (IF This Then That) is an app that allows devices to respond and interact with one another automatically via “applets”.
An applet contains a set of instructions or rules that outline the circumstances under which two or more devices respond.
Only the Arlo has official applets on IFTTT.
By official I mean that there are applets that have been created by the manufacturer themselves- as opposed to applets that are created by enthusiasts.
A bigger surprise is that only two of these devices work directly with Amazon Alexa, a digital assistant that enables devices to respond to voice commands via interactive speakers, such as the Echo.
The cameras are the Blink XT and the Arlo.
Alexa is rapidly evolving into an important “smart hub” from which many devices can be controlled using your voice.
None of these devices are compatible with Apple’s smart home system, HomeKit.
None of these devices are compatible with Google Home which is Google’s equivalent to Amazon’s Echo.
I think that this shows how much Google Home needs to catch up with Echo.
Wink is one of the biggest smart home systems out there and only the Arlo is compatible with it.
And, it is the same for SmartThings, Samsung’s system. Only the Arlo works with it.
The Arlo Pro is the run away winner in this section as it’s compatibility with smart home systems is better by far than the other cameras in this comparison.
10. Overall Winner
And so in this smart camera comparison, who are the winners and losers?
In my opinion, the winner and Gold medallist is the Arlo Pro.
In second place with a Silver medal is the Reolink Argus.
And in the bronze medal position in this comparison is the Blink XT.
However, it is a close run thing with the Butterfleye camera.