Indoor home security cameras have come a long way since they first hit the market several years ago — but some are more advanced than others. The Blink Indoor Camera offers users a simple camera at a very affordable price.
How It Works
Blink comes with several parts including the camera, the Sync Module (similar in size and shape to the camera), two lithium AA batteries (boasting a two-year life), USB cable, power adapter, and a stand that you have to attach to the mounting hardware before fixing it to the wall. You can skip this step if you don’t plan on mounting the camera.
You need a high-speed, Wi-Fi internet connection and a compatible device to run this camera (beware there is a bit of lag time with the video).
Blink works with both iOS 9.3 or later and Android 4.4 or later. The Blink camera is also compatible with Amazon’s smart home line, Echo.
The camera is very small and square in shape, and only weighs 3.3 oz. (including the 2 AA lithium batteries). If you’re not mounting it on a wall, you can place the Blink anywhere there is a surface — no need to plug it in.
Many users will tell you the most attractive feature of the Blink camera is the cost. Prices start at $99 for one camera plus the Sync Module, which is a required accessory that communicates with Blink’s remote services to avoid draining the Blink battery.
While the camera itself is completely wireless, the Sync Module must be plugged into the wall and remain relatively close to the camera in order for it to work. It should be able to communicate with Blink units up to 100 feet away in any direction.
The company also offers bundles of two or more cameras, which reduces the overall price. Once you buy the starter pack that comes with the Sync Module, you can purchase add-on cameras for $89.
Each system can currently support up to a total of 10 devices. You can use multiple Blink cameras in various locations and control the systems from within one single application.
Setting up the camera and app was a bit cumbersome compared to other cameras I’ve used. The process took about 20-30 minutes to unwrap the camera, install/set-up the app, and begin viewing live video on my phone (camera not mounted). There were many times I found myself going back and checking the directions to make sure I followed each step correctly. I had the Blink (camera and app) figured out in less than 30 minutes.
The camera does have a built-in microphone, but unlike many other cameras that offer two-way talk, Blink only offers one-way audio. This feature is only useful for the person who is watching the feed on their phone and wants to be able to see and hear what is going on when they are away from home.
Blink’s camera, which offers 720p HD video, ensures that you get a clear view with minimal distortion or blurring. The field of viewing is 110 degrees with passive infrared motion detection, and the night vision comes from an LED illuminator and advanced low-light performance that allows you to always see in color, rather than black and white like other cameras with night vision. While the color is good, the camera’s light is really bright — not necessarily something you want when your camera is supposed to be unassuming.
You can download the app to as may iOS and Android devices as you like. I downloaded the app on an iPhone 8. Once the app was downloaded, the Wi-Fi connection was enabled (it’s important to note that you do need a strong wireless connection), and the camera turned on, I went immediately to the home page.
The app itself is quite simple. As soon as motion is detected, HD video starts recording. If you want to just check in, the Live View mode lets you take a look right away through the Blink app.
Alerts are sent to your smartphone or tablet through the free Blink app so you can see exactly what caused the alert and decide how to respond. But, the alerts are sent after a clip is done recording. They are not instant.
If an event is detected, it will be recorded and stored on the cloud server. The default length for video clips is five seconds (note that this will use 750KB of data if you are accessing clips from a cellular network). However, you can adjust the timing for each camera to record for up to 60 seconds.
You can then download any clips you want to save onto your phone. In case you can’t get the info right away, Blink will allow you to save up to 7,200 seconds of video before it starts to delete clips.
While in Live View, you can stream 30 seconds of live video at a time. After 30 seconds, you will be prompted to click “continue” if you want to keep watching. You must do this to keep going since it will not stream continuously.
It should be noted that placing the Blink by a window will not capture images outside, as the sensor cannot detect motion through glass. But you can see images through the window if you are using the Live View option (which allows you to view a camera from the Blink app at ay time whether or not you’ve received an alert).
There is an “arm and disarm” feature that allows you to manually control the camera. You can also schedule times in advance to arm and disarm the camera so you don’t have to think about it when you leave the house.
So, if you have a regular schedule of when you come and go, this feature works fairly well. But it should be noted that this is different than other cameras that automatically arm themselves when you leave the house. The Blink does not sense when you leave — manual scheduling is required.
One feature many cameras are offering now is a temperature sensor and Blink has followed suit. The camera will monitor the temperature of the area that the camera is in, and you have the ability to access that reading on your app at all times.
In addition to having an affordable sticker price, Blink’s camera also saves users money with the services it provides. Unlike many other cameras, Blink doesn’t come with a paid subscription service or data storage charges.
Most cameras come with a basic app service that is free but then requires users to pay an additional monthly charge to access premium features. Blink doesn’t have any contracts or monthly fees.
If you use Alexa, you can add the Blink for Home skill though your Amazon Alexa app and arm, disarm, and receive system information using your voice. (Blink was acquired by Amazon in Dec. 2017.)
The camera and app are relatively easy to use once you get the system set up. However, the app is not as intuitive or in-depth as other camera apps. As I was exploring the app, I kept feeling like I was missing a step. What I found is that the features are basic and “what you see is what you get.” In other words, if you’re looking for a camera that has a lot of bells and whistles, this is not the product for you.
Who It Might Be Good For
- Users looking for a very affordable camera
- Users looking for a truly wireless camera that comes with no cords
Who It Might Not Be Good For
- Users looking for a camera with few working parts
- Users with a poor Wi-Fi connection
- Users looking for premium features that come with other cameras and apps
- Users looking to monitor an extra-large space
Blink’s camera offers basic coverage for users who are looking for a simple, portable indoor camera. It’ll also be interesting to see where the company goes in the future, considering its recent acquisition by Amazon. However, if you think your camera and app should come with premium monitoring features, the Blink Indoor Camera might not be the right choice for you.