When it comes to choosing a home security brand, I’m a guy who likes to have choices.
I like to mix and match my devices — have them all paired up, synced and integrated. It just makes life easier.
There’s nothing is more frustrating than a company that creates a single, stand-alone security camera that doesn’t work with any other technology. Luckily nowadays, there are plenty of companies that are creating systems where I can pick from a variety of devices and create the system that fits my specific needs.
That’s why I wanted to check out Blink Home (now an Amazon Company) and their surveillance systems. Right now I’m going to do a deep dive on the original Blink Indoor Camera and the Blink XT Indoor/Outdoor Camera. From what I’ve read so far, these cameras can pair up together and create quite a comprehensive home security system.
But let’s discover all their features and test them out before we give them a pass.
The Blink XT is a great indoor/ outdoor camera with 1080p HD video, awesome night vision, and free cloud storage.
The Blink Indoor Camera includes 720p HD video, free cloud storage, and integrations with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT.
Let’s be honest: we’re living in a material world. I don’t want some big, clunky camera that’s going to distract my guests from the charming aesthetic of my living room. I want something cute, compact, something that won’t be noticed- especially by an intruder.
Blink XT Design
I’m liking the look of the Blink XT. It’s only a few inches wide, so it definitely won’t make a statement, and the all-black will help it to blend in nicely. I do wish the camera came on a ball mount so I could rotate it around, especially considering its field of view is a bit narrow at 110 degrees, but overall I’m into it.
Blink Indoor Camera Design
The Blink Indoor is basically the Blink XT camera but in white- aesthetically, at least. One thing that I’m impressed with about both cameras is their two-year battery life. First of all, I love any wireless camera because I don’t want to be tripping over something that’s supposed to keep me safe. Second of all, this is a very long battery life- I only hope that this number is right, because I’ve heard some dissenting voices online.
What do the Blink indoor camera and the Blink XT have in common?
Neither Blink camera has local storage, which is a bummer for us control freaks. Both cameras will only hold two hours worth of footage in a cloud before new footage will begin to override it. Accordingly, neither camera received full marks for storage.
In the same vein, neither camera has two-way audio. That’s a bummer because two-way audio is really useful, not only in communicating with people from afar but also in scaring away intruders. I’ve been video after video of robbers running out of homes they’ve intruded, scared that they’ve been caught. After all, there’s nothing comforting about a homeowner’s voice popping out of nowhere and telling you to leave immediately.
Both the Blink Indoor camera and the Blink XT lack artificial intelligence features. That means that they won’t be able to tell the difference between people, pets, cars, shadows- any moving objects will register exactly the same to the Blink cameras. With either camera, you can expect notifications that aren’t exactly relevant to your home’s safety.
I’ll admit it- the Blink indoor camera and the Blink XT are seriously lacking when it comes to audio, smart platform integration, and artificial intelligence. However, I do think the indoor camera and the XT are worth buying, at only $99 and $119.99, respectively.
Both cameras were easy to set up- all I had to do was sync up the modules with the routers. As neither camera has wires, mounting the cameras was as easy as placing them on a flat surface, and the entire process took about 15 minutes for each camera. I also love that you can pair up to 10 cameras with a single module.
What are the biggest differences between the Blink cameras?
Although both cameras have slightly narrow fields of view at 110 degrees, the Blink XT has superior video quality overall. It has 1080p HD display, as opposed to the indoor camera’s 720p HD, plus, the XT allows you to zoom in three times while the indoor camera cannot zoom at all.
Both cameras have infrared night vision, but I must say that like the video, the Blink XT has super night vision.
Smart Platform Integration
Both cameras integrate with Amazon Alexa, which makes sense as Amazon has owned Blink since 2017. The Blink Indoor, on top of that, integrates with Google Home and IFTTT. What remains the same, however, is that you’re only able to arm or disarm entire systems and not individual cameras. Why this is is a mystery to me.
Speaking of app, let’s see what the Blink Home Monitor app has going for it.
You can download it for iOS and Android from the Apple and Google Play Stores, respectively. From what I’ve read, it seems to have gotten decent ratings from Apple and Android users — about 3.5 stars out of five.
I think I would give the Blink App about a three because while it was really intuitive to use, there were some things that did bug me about it.
When I first opened the app, everything seemed pretty straight-forward. The design was simple and easy to read. Right on the dashboard you can see two screenshots that while lead you to live streams from your cameras if you click on them. I loved the fact that I could name each camera, too. I named my original Blink “Baron Spy” while I dubbed my XT “Baron Spymaster” just for kicks … and maybe in the name of brand awareness. (I’m allowed a few plugs, right?)
Anyway, at the bottom of my dashboard I can click a button to check if my cameras are online, change my settings (like adjusting motion detection sensitivity, infrared light brightness and alert schedule).
Once I’m in the livestream, I can take screenshots and save them on my phone. But I don’t like how I can’t record on demand from my phone. These cameras only record and save footage when they are triggered my motion.
The other pain about the app is that when I was watching the livestream, the video kept stopping and a “Continue?” prompt would pop up on my screen. I’d tap it and the livestream would continue on without a problem. But having to keep tap, tap, tapping away every 30 seconds was really annoying.
Can you imagine watching your favorite show online and having Netflix poking you every minute?
“Are you still watching?”
“Are you still watching now?”
You probably wouldn’t even finish watching your show.
When it comes to watching footage from a security camera, I want to be able to watch the livestream without any interruptions. Again, we are trying to achieve peace of mind here. Not find some annoying reasons to chuck my phone out the window.
Want to learn more? Read our review of the best home security cameras.
So which one is the right camera for you? Let’s recap.
The Blink XT is superior for its:
- Indoor/ outdoor capabilities
- Night vision
While the Blink Indoor wins for its:
- Smart platform integration