Security cameras are now fairly common. The odd thing is that most Wi-Fi cameras aren’t wireless. They need to be plugged in. The Blink system is totally wireless and, in most cases, cheaper than its tethered competitors.
As all GadgetyNews readers are good boys and girls, I am sure you got quite the tech haul over Christmas. Unfortunately, there are ne’er-do-wells out there who would happily take that stuff from you.
When I was first introduced to Blink what struck me was its apparent simplicity. This system allows for multiple smart cameras to connect via a hub and makes all of them controllable via a single mobile app.
That’s all very impressive, but does it actually work?
Each Blink system comprises of a hub (Sync Module) and one or more cameras.
The hub is slightly smaller than the cameras and is just a simple white square with micro USB and Ethernet ports on one edge.
Because you can connect the hub via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, you can place it anywhere in your home. Thankfully, I have a network switch behind my A/V rig so I can give the Sync Module a wired connection. I do like the option for it to be wireless though.
The micro USB port is for power, so you’ll need an outlet for it to work. Don’t worry though, this is the only bit that requires a cable.
They also come with two AA batteries too!
This leads me on to how the Blink cameras are wireless. This is because they run on a pair of batteries. That does mean that you are free to place them wherever you want in your home (waterproof outdoors versions are on their way). On the other-hand, you will have to replace the batteries eventually.
Blink claims the batteries will last a couple of years before you need to change them and, considering the cameras don’t continuously record (they only capture and save video when motion is detected), that could well be the case.
Up until now I have had my Arlo Q camera positioned to cover most of the living room.
Having a pair of cameras naturally means I can cover the entire room, or have one upstairs and one downstairs. I did have one in the kitchen window, which is at the front of my house, to cover my car and the front door but it seemed to have issues with reflections.
This was a simple affair. All you need to do is download the companion app and plug in the Sync Module and then it’s on to the cameras.
Positioning the cameras is also easy as the app allows you to see a live view of the video the camera is taking so you can aim the lens perfectly.
After setup, the Blink system can be left alone to monitor your home, just like most security cameras.
You can schedule when the cameras are armed via the app. You can also just go live and see what’s happening right now, either through video or a quick snap.
Blink’s Android and iOS apps put your camera feeds on the homepage.
There’s also an image capture icon that takes a photo of the current happenings if you’d rather just see a still image.
When running a live feed there is a speaker on/off icon at the top left of the screen.
It is a shame that you are unable to record video clips or snap photos while viewing the feed though.
In the top-right corner of the Blink app homepage is a folder icon. This is where you’ll find all of Blink’s recorded clips.
You can download videos to your smartphone’s camera roll so they don’t get deleted when you run out of space should you need to.
What really is a feather in Blink’s cap is that there is no paid subscription service. Once you run out of your allocated space the new videos push out the old ones.
That’s fair enough really as why would you want to store video clips of you opening the curtains?
Your camera settings are accessed by the cogs opposite the camera’s name.
The scheduler not only allows you to set the days and times, but enables you to set multiple start times for armed and disarmed periods on as many days of the week as you want.
Each time one of those periods starts, the Blink system sends an alert to your smartphone letting you know it was “successful.”
It is perhaps to best to point out that all of the cameras on your system will follow the same schedule. So, when the one in your living room comes on at night, so will the one in your bedroom.
Here you can see the settings for other systems that you have access to.
When a camera is triggered through motion detection, you are pinged a smartphone alert.
Blink cameras only detect and alert you to motion, not noises (like the Arlo). They do record audio though, so all your clips will have sound.
The video they record is 720, not 1080p like some of its competitors. Saying that though, both audio and video quality of recorded clips are good enough for you to see and hear what’s happening in your home. Also, 1080p would take up more space too.
The camera that’s capturing the moment will display a blue LED. The cameras record clips from five to 60 seconds in length, and you can watch clips in the app.
If the cause of the motion continues to move around, the cameras will record multiple clips. There is a bit of lag between clips but the point of the capture is just to a) alert you that something/someone is moving around your home and b) to snatch a glimpse of the perp to hand to the rozzers/po-po/5-0/police.
Night-vision comes by way of a very bright LED. Not the subtle combination of infrared lights and/or discrete LEDs.
Creeping in to the kitchen for a sneaky snack I was surprised by the bright, what I thought was a torch, light. If I were a burglar, I would have known instantly that someone was watching me. Hopefully this would act as a deterrent rather than simply, covertly capturing a crime.
You get a notification every time your system is triggered. This can be annoying if your flatmate/other half is still at home when your system goes live but you can easily disarm it remotely.
What I have found on my mobile (Nexus 6P running Android 7.1.1 Nougat) is that, upon tapping my notification, when the Blink app opens I just get a black screen.
I am assuming this is because the camera is still capturing. However, when I go to the filed videos, I can view the stored version without issue.
You can easily send your captured videos via email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Just to note, you can trash the clip via the bin icon on the right-hand side.
The app is basic, but in all the right ways. Most people looking for such a system will be wanting ‘simple yet effective’, and the Blink is certainly that.
It has all the necessary bases covered. Can it capture clear video? Yes. Can you make multiple schedules throughout the day? Yes. Does it store captured footage? Yes. Are you able to view the areas live? Yes. Can you take a live snapshot? Yes.
Most importantly is that you are not constrained by where your power points are.
Blink wireless camera review conclusion
Blink makes monitoring the rooms in your home much easier than similar systems I have tried.
I like the fact that you can keep on adding cameras to your network easily and without breaking the bank.
I would like to be able to schedule cameras to activate at different times though. If/when the external Blink cameras join the ranks, I would assume people would monitor the outside of their homes in a different way to the inside.
Also being able to ‘draw’ active zones would be a neat addition, especially if your camera(s) have a window in their field of view.
I guess having a separate ‘System’ would enable this but that would involve another hub as well as camera.
60 seconds of video capture is plenty and the fact you don’t have to pay for storage is a bonus.
If you’re looking for a great multi-camera security system, I can happily recommend Blink for ease and value. I look forward to Alexa integration making its way to the UK too!
Blink wireless camera system price and availability
The systems start at £110 for a single camera kit which includes the Sync Module and batteries. Extra cameras can be added at £90 each.
The two camera system as reviewed is £190.