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Blink wireless security cameras review

Blink 2 camera wireless security system

£190
8.3

Build quality

8.0/10

Design

8.5/10

Ease of use

8.5/10

Performance

8.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Wireless cameras
  • Easy set up and add cameras
  • Clear app
  • Comes with mount and batteries
  • Nice design

Cons

  • Cameras cannot be scheduled individually
  • No zoning option

blink-cameraSecurity 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?

Blink design

Each Blink system comprises of a hub (Sync Module) and one or more cameras.

blink kitThe system I was sent will probably be the most popular one. This is a two-camera set-up and they arrived in their own, individual small, square boxes.

The hub is slightly smaller than the cameras and is just a simple white square with micro USB and Ethernet ports on one edge.

blink cameras and hubBecause 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.

blink hub topOnce plugged in, the hub’s small blue light comes on, and eventually the green light right below it comes on as well, signalling the hub is ready to pair with a camera.

blink wireless camerasThe cameras are also white squares. These have transparent front and rear cases and the edges stick out which helps them stand unaided.

blink cameras front and rearEach camera does come with a small stand if you want to adjust the angle of the camera’s view. You can see the fitting on the back of the camera above.

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.

Blink performance

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.

Set up

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.

blink-wallUsing the slider on the base of the cameras, load in the bundled batteries. One-by-one, let the app discover the cameras, name them, and then you’re away.

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.

Control

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.

Apparently, Blink also works with Alexa. Unfortunately, when I have tried to add the ‘Blink for Home’ skill to my system, the search comes up empty. This is a USA-only skill at the moment.

Blink app

Blink’s Android and iOS apps put your camera feeds on the homepage.

blink appYou can see a recent image captured from each camera, and tapping on the video icon at the corner of any feed will bring you to a live stream of what’s happening in your home.

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.

blink clip rollA blue dot appears on the folder when you have new videos to review, and you can watch them directly in the Blink app. Blue dots also signify which clips you have yet to view.

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.

blink settingsHere you control retrigger times, video capture length, motion detection sensitivity and the rest.

Scheduling

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.

blink scheduling menuScheduling is accessed from the drop down menu at the top centre of the app homescreen.

Here you can see the settings for other systems that you have access to.

Recording

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.

[youtube id=”56D1U2G_ueg”]

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.

Notifications

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.

Sharing

You can easily send your captured videos via email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

blink shareAt the left of the camera icon is the Share button. I’ve tried sharing via Whatsapp but that wasn’t having it.

Just to note, you can trash the clip via the bin icon on the right-hand side.

Overall

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.

Blink wireless security cameras review

by Jay Garrett time to read: 7 min
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