If you’ve been searching for an inexpensive indoor/outdoor home security camera, there’s a good chance you’ve come across the Blink XT Indoor/Outdoor HD video camera. The XT is part of the overall Blink home security system, which offers users a simple camera at an affordable price ($130).
How It Works
The Blink XT comes with several parts including the camera, the Sync Module (similar in size and shape to the camera), two lithium AA batteries (with a two-year life), USB cable, power adapter, and mounting kit. Mounting the camera indoors is optional, since it will stand up on a flat surface. If you plan on using it outdoors, it’s a good idea to secure it to the side of your house or other structure.
You need a high-speed, Wi-Fi internet connection and a compatible device to run this camera. Blink XT works with both iOS 9.3 or higher and the Android app 4.4 or higher. The camera is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, enabling you to arm and disarm your camera using voice command.
The camera is very small and square in shape, and only weighs 3.3 oz. (including the 2 AA lithium batteries). Since it is wire-free, you can place the Blink anywhere there is a surface — no need to plug it in.
The camera’s Sync Module is a required accessory that communicates with Blink’s remote services to avoid draining the Blink XT battery. While the camera itself is completely wireless, the Sync Module must be plugged into an outlet and must remain relatively close to the camera in order for it to work. It should be able to communicate with the Blink XT up to 100 feet away in any direction.
Setting up the camera, Sync Module, and the app was easy. However, I should mention that I previously tested the basic Blink camera a few months ago, so I was familiar with the process. If you’re new to this system, plan on a 15- to 20-minute setup from start to finish.
The camera does have a built-in microphone, but unlike many other cameras that offer two-way talk, Blink XT 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 XT’s 1080p HD video ensures that you get a clear view with minimal distortion or blurring. This is a step up from the standard Blink, which only offers 720p HD video. The field of viewing is 110 degrees, which isn’t as wide as some competitors.
Blink XT comes with infrared LEDs for night vision — another improvement from the Blink, which uses illuminators for night vision. The images at night are clear. Since Blink XT is also an outdoor camera, it’s weatherproof and can be used in temperatures ranging from -4 to 113 F.
Each system can currently support up to a total of 10 devices. You can also use multiple Blink cameras in various locations and control the systems from within one single application.
You can download the app to iOS and Android devices. I downloaded the app on an iPhone 8. Once the app was downloaded, Wi-Fi connection 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, but it can take a few seconds to connect.
Alerts are sent to your smartphone or tablet 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. Beware: the notifications come fast and furious, so expect your phone to be buzzing constantly. There are a lot of false positive notifications with the Blink XT, which is very frustrating.
If an event is detected, it will be recorded and stored on the cloud server. The default length for video clips is 5 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 XT 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.
There is also an “arm and disarm” feature that allows you to manually control the camera. You can schedule times in advance to arm and disarm the camera so you don’t have to think about it when you leave the house.
If you have a regular schedule for when you come and go from your home, this feature works fairly well. But it should be noted that this is different than cameras that automatically arm themselves when you leave the house. The Blink XT does not sense when you leave — you have to arm or disarm manually, or by the schedule. This may not be a deal breaker for all users, but it certainly feels a step behind when stacked up against its competition.
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.
The Blink XT doesn’t have a paid subscription service or data storage charges, although there are rumors that this may be changing. If they do offer a subscription service with premium features, it will make this camera and app a better buy.
The camera has around two hours of free cloud storage. If you use Alexa, you can add the Blink for Home skill through your Amazon Alexa app and arm, disarm, and receive system information using your voice.
The camera and app are relatively easy to use, but the app is not as in-depth as other camera apps. As I was exploring the app, I kept feeling like I was missing a step, because the features are so basic. 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 an affordable camera
- Users looking for an indoor/outdoor weatherproof camera
- Users looking for a wire-free camera
- Users looking to set up multiple cameras in their house
Who It Might Not Be Good For
- 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
- Users looking to connect to the videos and app features on their computer
Blink XT is definitely an upgrade from the basic Blink camera, and if you like the Blink system, the extra $30 for the XT is justified. The camera offers basic coverage for users who are looking for a simple, portable indoor and outdoor camera. It does what it sets out to do, and offering weatherproofed outdoor capabilities is a big bonus in this price range.
However, Blink lags in other areas, including its app, and it lacks any sort of premium service. If you think your camera and app should come with more advanced features, Blink XT might not be the right choice for you.