ADT has been in the home security industry now for about a hundred years. That’s literally true and not an exaggeration. So these guys have made a good reputation for themselves to have survived this long. They’re one of the pioneers of the home security systems with cameras working with smartphones and cloud storage for videos.
Their cameras are very basic, however. That’s simply the truth. The ADT advantage is really in the overall security plan, when you sign up for their monthly service. Professionals will install the system for you and then they will even pick the best spot for your cameras.
However, these cameras are also available outside the ADT plan, and we will cover that aspect as well. The point is that when you buy these as standalone products, they’re generally additional components for your ADT security system.
Design and Features
As a standalone product, the best thing you can say for the ADT outdoor camera is that it’s not really bad. That’s probably damning with faint praise. But the reality is that its most impressive feature is that it works with the other ADT components and with the overall ADT plan.
This is a squarish camera that measures 3.9” X 5.3” X 7.3”. It only weighs 0.95 pounds and it comes with a bracket for wall mounting. This does have an IP66 weather-resistance rating. This means it’s sealed tightly and will work even if you subject it to a heavy jet of water. That means rain won’t damage it at all. It’s even tightly sealed against dust in case you live in a dusty area.
This even has a built-in heater, which makes it able to work in temperatures down to minus 40 degrees F.
ADT System Setup
With a pro setting this up, you don’t need to worry. It adds about $99 to your ADT plan, but at least you have experts setting up everything and for all cameras. They even know where to place the cameras for the most effective coverage. It offers a viewing angle of 95 degrees, which isn’t all that bad. Angled properly, you can see a good deal.
Here’s the deal; you need the ADT Pulse System with video for these cameras to work. It’s that simple. Which means you may as well contact ADT to have their pros install these things for you.
The video camera quality is 720p; On the face of it, that’s not really bad. Plenty of DVDs offer that kind of resolution. But it seems almost obsolete when you realize that many of the newer home security cameras today offer 4K resolution. That’s 3840 x 2160p. Even smartphone cameras these days offer 1080p resolution as standard, and that’s 1920 x 1080p.
In contrast, 720p is 1280 x 720p; what this means is that you end up with comparatively fuzzy images. In fact, it’s very possible that the resulting videos you get won’t be enough to positively identify bad guys.
It’s true that you have IR capabilities with this camera. You can see in the dark with your night vision effective up to 6 meters. That’s almost 20 feet. But with the 720p resolution, you really don’t get a nice picture that can put bad guys away.
Track and Zoom
This doesn’t have pan and tilt capabilities, it comes with a 95-degree viewing angle. Yes, you do have zoom if you have the ADT plan and the app. But then zooming on a 720p image just gives you a fuzzier result.
Still, you do have good enough clarity when viewing the videos on your smartphone. You can probably recognize people you know on the videos, based on their general features.
The ADT system does not record the audio. That makes sense, since the audio can add to the size of the video file considerably. But it would have been nice to have that option.
You also don’t have a 2-way audio system here like other cameras offer. It’s available in the ADT doorbell camera, but here you don’t have the ability to have a conversation with the person in front of the camera.
Motion and Sound Detection
As you may have realized by now, there’s no sound detection here. But you do have motion detection. When motion is detected, the ADT system begins recording while you’re alerted by the ADT app on your smartphone.
Cloud Storage Costs
This is a bit fuzzy as well. ADT pricing isn’t really transparent. The ADT pros will take a look at your home, and then propose a system for you for a certain price. That’s just for the equipment. You then have to pay a certain amount (about $28 to $60 per month) depending on the plan you choose.
You do get unlimited cloud storage at no additional cost. The catch is that these clips are only 30 seconds long.
Smart Home Compatibility
Here’s where ADT really works well. The ADT cameras work in conjunction with your other smart home devices. This means you can make it work with the Ring video doorbell or even the Nest thermostat. You can find a list of smart devices that are compatible with ADT here.
Its great compatibility with other home automation technologies is the reason some people just get everything from ADT.
This app is quite good and it is proven technology. It tells you when your ADT system is armed or not. You get instant alerts when the camera starts recording or even if a door that is opened or unlocked. In fact, you can use this to lock the doors that are part of the ADT system. You can check out a live stream of what the cameras see, and you can pick the camera to see from.
This can even control the smart lights, and adjust your smart thermostat. It’s a versatile app that’s very easy to use.
You can find the apps here:
So can I buy this separately?
Sure, you can. But it won’t work without the ADT system that includes the recorder and the ADT app.
How do I configure remote video monitoring?
You start with the ADT Pulse page. You can then set up your various automation, preferences, and options.
How much does ADT installation cost?
It will cost you $99 extra.
How will this affect my Wi-Fi network?
This actually uses a different wireless protocol than regular Wi-Fi. ADT doesn’t access your home Wi-Fi network at all. They’re separate systems.
So should you buy this? That depends. Are you going with the ADT Pulse plan? If you are, then you do need this camera for your system. It’s guaranteed to work with the ADT network and with the rest of the ADT smart devices.
But if you’re planning to buy this separately, it’s just not a good idea. That’s because it won’t work at all without the ADT network. That’s the main reason and the only reason you need. If you don’t have the ADT network, this ADT camera won’t work. Other security cameras these days work with your smartphone, lets you save videos on hard disks, and won’t require a monthly fee.
In fact, you may want to check out if you can use a different camera with the ADT system rather than this one. The 720p resolution is just no longer good enough compared to the 4K options available in other cameras. With night vision, you end up with videos that won’t let you identify who tried to cone into your home or who vandalized your car. The lack of pan and tilt isn’t good either.
All these lead us to the natural question—are you sure you even want to use ADT and pay their monthly fees in the first place?