Blink Cameras Review
Blink entered the home security camera playing field in 2016 with sleekly designed indoor and outdoor cameras. While the cameras have a range of great features, free data storage, and a completely wireless design, they’re missing a few key aspects we’re used to seeing.
For example, the indoor camera is missing night vision and the free data storage is only good for up to two hours of footage. That’s not enough to cover a whole night, let alone a weekend trip out of town.
However, if you only need video surveillance, Blink’s basic features perform admirably, so it’s a good choice for basic home security. And it’s pretty cheap. For the price of one home DNA kit, you can get one Blink indoor camera and a sync module (you’ll need this in order to use your camera).
We’ll help you decide whether a Blink camera is right for you.
What Blink and Blink XT do
Blink and Blink XT cameras provide basic, easy-to-use video monitoring with no subscription or monthly fees.
|Model||Blink (indoor)||Blink XT (outdoor)|
|Resolution||1280 x 720||1280 x 720|
|Field of view||110°||110°|
|Night vision||No||Up to 20 ft.|
|Motion detection||Up to 20 ft.||Up to 20 ft.|
|Learn more||View on Amazon||View on Amazon|
Right now, Blink offers two cameras: Blink and Blink XT. The Blink is an indoor-only camera, so its features are more basic—but the XT is weatherproof, so you can use it inside or outside. (Plus, it has infrared night vision. Pretty handy for spotting real intruders or just those pesky raccoons . . . again.)
Both the Blink and Blink XT use the same sync module. What that means is fewer devices you have to connect to your router. What that really means is that your internet won’t slow down because your security cameras are pulling all the bandwidth.
- No data storage charges or subscription fees
- Infrared night vision up to 20 feet (Blink XT only)
- Easy DIY setup
- Only 60 seconds of recording after motion is detected
- No on-demand recording when in live view mode
What we like
No recurring monthly fees
Blink doesn’t charge any data fees to store your footage in the cloud, but it only lets you store up to two hours. That’s not very much—Arlo and Nest Cam both offer more—but depending on how much activity takes place in your home, you may be content with this amount.
We like that Blink offers its services without a subscription, but we wish it offered paid options to get more than two hours of storage.
Motion alerts to your phone
When the motion detector is triggered, the camera starts recording. You can set it to record anywhere from 5 to 60 seconds at a time, but not more (unfortunately).
Those video clips will get saved to the cloud and you can view them through the app. But free storage is limited, so make sure you review your clips and download the important ones on a regular basis.
What we don’t like
Limited on-demand livestream
Blink offers a livestream feature, but it has some limitations compared to other cameras on the market.
The app allows you to view live footage at any time, even if you haven’t received an alert. That’s pretty nice, but it’s only useful for quick check-ins, not long-term monitoring, since you’ll get a pop-up every 30 seconds asking if you’d like to continue. (Gross.)
As far as app-monitored cameras go, Blink and Blink XT are some of the easiest to set up and use. (Plus they have a decent app!)
These wireless cameras fit in the palm of your hand and can be set up just about anywhere. Seriously. Mount them on the wall or set them inconspicuously on a bookshelf. They’re pretty versatile. We do wish it had pan, tilt, and zoom options and a wider field of view, but it’ll get the job done for most spaces.
Blink Home Monitor app
If you get a Blink camera, you’ll want the app too—it’s where you customize your settings for each camera, including clip length, motion detection, and scheduling. From there, you can also review and download clips or check in with your livestream.
It’s available for free in the iTunes and Google Play stores, and both iOS and Android users report that the app’s interface is easy to use and it’s more reliable than a lot of other smart device apps.
Compatible with Amazon Alexa
Blink was purchased by Amazon shortly after its original release, so it works with Alexa-enabled devices like the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Spot.
If Alexa already runs your house and you prefer homemade recipes, Blink’s got you covered. It also plays well with your other IFTTT devices, so you can create customizable rules to turn on lights when motion is detected.
If you have Google Home, though, you’re out of luck: Blink doesn’t integrate with Google Home or Samsung Smarthings. Sigh. Maybe one day.
If you’re looking for more features and different smart home integration systems, well, you have a few choices.
Nest Cam IQ Indoor
If you like the idea behind the Blink cameras, but fall more in the Google Home camp than the Amazon Alexa camp, the Nest Cam IQ is worth checking out.
Not only does it have similar night vision to the Blink XT, but it’s also loaded with additional features, including familiar face recognition. If you’re more worried about burglars than checking in on your cats, the Nest Cam IQ may be worth the extra money.
You don’t need a monthly subscription to use the basic features of the Nest Cam IQ, but if you want access to its top features—including familiar face recognition—you’ll need to shell out an additional $5 to $30 every month.
Fits these needs:
- Pan, tilt, and zoom
- 2-way audio
- Familiar face recognition
- Subscription options for additional cloud storage
- Google Home integration
Like the Blink cameras, the Arlo Q indoor camera is easy to set up and use, but it has more integration options and upgraded features than Blink that may make it worth the extra $50.
The Arlo Q also comes with some free cloud storage (7 days or 1GB, whichever comes first), but has additional storage service plans available for $9.99 to $14.99 per month. If you’re looking for integrations beyond just Amazon Alexa or IFTTT, the Arlo Q is also compatible with Google Home and Samsung Smartthings.
Fits these needs:
- 2-way audio
- 25-foot night vision
- Google Home and Samsung Smartthings integration
The bottom line
We don’t think Blink cameras are the best security cameras out there, but they’re a good option if you’re looking for a basic, affordable security camera.
We’re impressed with Blink’s free data storage, wireless design, and small size. However, other security cameras have had a few more years of experience, so they have the features we’ve come to expect from a security camera.
Blink is still in its infancy, so we’re looking forward to more features being added over time. In the future, we’d like to see pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities, more data and streaming options, and finally see the release of the long-promised doorbell camera.
If you’ve used Blink cameras, we’d love to hear about your experience! Tell us all about it in the comment section below.