ADT Blue Wireless Outdoor Camera review: Most security cams require a subscription to get the detection features that are standard on this model


The Blue Outdoor Camera is a chunky, battery-operated security camera that’s part of the Blue by ADT do-it-yourself home security system.

The camera offers a 130-degree field of view and 1080p high-definition video. Custom motion zones, and facial recognition, and two-way talk at no additional cost. With many cameras, if those first two features are offered at all, cost extra in the form of subscription plans.

You can use the camera on its own or with the excellent ADT Blue Indoor Camera and ADT Blue Doorbell camera we’re reviewed previously. It can also be incorporated into a broader home security system with a base unit, keypad, and a variety of sensors from ADT’s DIY division, Lifeshield. If you go the latter route, professional monitoring is available on a month-to-month basis at $l9.95. This option also increases video storage in the cloud from one day to 30 days.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best home security cameras, where you’ll find reviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping.

If all you want is increased video storage, you can take advantage of microSD card slot. It can accommodate cards with up to 128GB of storage and is doubly useful on occasions where your connection to the internet fails. The downside of relying on local storage, however, is that if a thief steals the camera, the forensic evidence of the crime goes with the camera.

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The ADT Blue Outdoor Camera is equipped with a weather-protected microSD card slot that can accomodate up to a 128GB memory card.

Installation

Getting the camera up and running was easy. The first job is to charge its battery via a USB charger. The cable connector isn’t waterproof so it isn’t suitable for permanent connection unless the camera will be installed somewhere dry. Currently, there is no provision for connecting a solar panel that can trickle charge the battery when the sun is out. Battery power, on the other hand, gives you lots of flexibility when it comes to mounting the camera. And thanks to the ball mount on which the camera sits, it can even be mounted upside-down from a ceiling or rafter. If you do that, software in the app can be set to flip the image so everything appears the right way up.

Connecting to Wi-Fi is also simple. The companion smartphone app generates a QR code that encodes the network login details. You simply put the code in front of the camera, and it recognizes it, decodes it, and connects to your home network.

In Use

The image from the camera was sharp and I had no complaints. In good light, the high-definition picture really shows. At nighttime, the infrared picture was sufficient, but not as good as the daytime.

200317 blue adt 11 Martyn Williams / IDG

A daytime view from the ADT Blue Outdoor Camera.

One of the biggest problems I usually face with security cameras is constant triggering as cars drive up and down the street in front of my house. The Blue Outdoor’s custom motion detection zones really helped here, allowing me to draw a custom area with the motion sensor’s 5-meter (16.4-foot) range that excluded the street, so that the camera was only triggered when movement occurred within the defined area. In my case, this was my front yard.



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