Hands-On Review: Blink Wireless Home Security Camera

We take a peek at these pint-sized, truly wireless home security cameras.

Blink wireless security cameras

There are a lot of wireless security cameras out these days. However, most of these options aren’t truly wireless. While many of these cameras can connect to your home network using wireless technologies, most typically have at least one wire—for power.

Because most wireless security cameras need power, they also need an outlet. This is great if you want to put your camera near an outlet or don’t mind the power cord dangling. Of course, there are ways to hide those wires or you can ditch them altogether with Blink.

Blink wireless security cameras are truly, completely wireless. Each one is battery-operated and features WiFi support, so you can place them wherever you want them. Does this type of flexibility seem too good to be true? Read on for a closer peek at how this product works.

Announced back in 2014, the Blink system initially launched through Kickstarter. However, unlike a lot of crowdfunding ventures, Blink is actually delivering products to backers. That has kept them pretty busy over the past year, so Blink still isn’t available for the masses to purchase. That said, you can pre-order one-, two-, three- and five-camera packages. Now would be a really good time to do that too, since the company plans to start cranking those out at the beginning of January.

Besides the size of the system and the easy setup process (which I’ll get to in a minute), the Blink system is really affordable. A one-camera package costs a mere $79. I got the chance to check out the two-camera system, which is priced on the website for $139.

Out of the box, the Blink system is teeny-tiny. Like, these things could slip in between couch cushions and you’d never feel a thing. Each camera measures approximately 2.75-by-2.75-by-0.5 inches. That’s pretty darn small! Each Blink package also comes with the Sync Module, an equally small device that measures about 2.25-by-2.25-by-0.5 inches. This piece of the puzzle does require hardwired power, but you can stuff it anywhere you have an extra outlet.

Blink wireless security cameras

A look at the living room during daylight hours.

To start the setup process, download the Blink iOS/Android app and create a new account. This basically involves punching in an email address and password. Next, the app will walk you through the actual setup, which could not be easier.

First, plug in the Sync Module, which you’ll need to connect to your WiFi network. The app will prompt you through the entire thing. Once it’s connected, you can start adding Blink cameras. The system can support a total of 10 Blink products (not including the Sync Module).

Each camera operates using two AA batteries, so you won’t ever have to worry about cords or placement. According to Blink, you should get about a year’s worth of surveillance on those batteries. One of the things I love about these cameras (besides the size) is that you don’t even need a screwdriver to add the batteries. There’s a rear compartment that pops off, and seems pretty secure when reattached. Before you close it up though, know that you will need to punch the camera’s serial number into the app. Once you do that, the app will connect the camera and it will be ready to be placed.

The app offers options to test out the strength of your WiFi signal and the Sync Module. Blink says you’ll want a minimum of three bars for each. (I had five.) I positioned one camera to look outside, with a second focused on my living room.

The window probably wasn’t the best spot for one of my Blink cameras. It gave me a great 720p image during the day. However, at night, I got a reflection of dirty window glass and Christmas lights. Not the best combo, but certainly not the camera’s fault. Also, since the Blink detects motion based on heat moving across the camera’s field of view, it never alerted me to visitors and package deliveries—unless I was already peeking through the live view on the app.

In order to get an image at night, each Blink camera has an LED illuminator, which shines brightly in dark spaces. Users have the option to set the intensity of the light (low, medium, or high). However, my family (including the dog) seemed consistently startled by the light whenever it made an appearance.

During the day, the system’s images were quite awesome. Colors were spot-on and although the camera operates on a delay, it was always just 1-2 seconds. If you’re afraid you’ll miss something, don’t worry; if you want it to, the Blink system will make a little recording every time there’s any sort of movement.

Blink wireless security cameras

The same room, at night.

Blink also offers a variety of customization options for each camera, which are accessible through the app. Let’s run through the options, as listed:

1. Name. Yes, you can name each camera so you know which one is in the hallway and which one is in the living room.

2. Motion Detection. There are options to disable the motion detection feature, which I do recommend doing while you’re at home. Otherwise, you’ll have endless alerts and clips of you walking to the kitchen, the dog getting up on the couch, or the family eating snacks. You can also delay the time between each of those clips, between 10 and 60 seconds. If you set it to 10, the Blink system will literally create an endless amount of clips, with just 10 seconds in between them. There are also options to set the sensitivity of the motion sensor, but I found it to be pretty darn sensitive, even on the lowest setting. I don’t think this a bad thing, but may be another reason to disarm the system while you’re at home. Finally, there’s also an option to set the length of your video clips, between 1 and 10 seconds.

3. Illuminator. As mentioned, you can tweak the light on the camera for nighttime viewing. There are options to turn it on and off, as well as set it to Auto so it’s only used when needed. Users can also change the brightness level, but as I said, I always found it to be pretty bright.

4. Audio. If you disable this, you’ll create a bunch of silent video clips. I don’t see why you’d ever shut the audio off, but there’s an option to do that. If you need to view video in a quiet place, you can also use the mute button on your phone or tablet, as well as through the live video window.

5. Status. This is sort of a catch-all area for the rest of the camera’s features. It tells you the status of your WiFi strength, Sync Module strength, and even the camera’s battery life. There’s also a temperature reading because the system does have a sensor for that.

During my testing period, I occasionally encountered a little delay while checking in for a live peek on the Blink. Once in a while, the system would time out altogether. This was pretty rare and was usually remedied by closing out of the app and restarting it.

Blink wireless security cameras

A peek at the app’s home page.

Blink doesn’t offer any type of split-screen functionality, so you can’t view multiple cameras on one screen—at least not for live video. The app’s home screen does show an image (which you can change) for each camera, but you’ll need to click on each device to pull up a live view. When clicking on those cameras, it usually took a few seconds to get my live image, but once it appeared, I had no complaints. The image and the audio were always very clear. After a minute or so, the app will give you the option to keep peeking. If you don’t respond, it will go into a standby mode.

Overall, there are a lot of things to love about this little security system. Besides the size and ease of use, the Blink system is really affordable—and I’m not just talking about the actual hardware. Blink offers free alerts and free clip storage, up to 7,200 total seconds of video. If you see something worth keeping, you have the option to save or share clips from the app.

According to Blink, the motion detection works best when someone walks across the camera’s field of view. However, on more than one occasion, I did have clips that showed my dog’s little face peeking around the kitchen floor for scraps. At times, it was a bit daunting to see that I had 100+ clips waiting for me, but I can’t say that the system didn’t work properly.

Blink has a few delay quirks, but I definitely think they are on to something. After all, who doesn’t love wireless home security cameras that are cheap enough and easy enough that you can pop them in almost anywhere? The company is also planning to add on-board USB storage and an auto arm/disarm function to the cameras, as well as an optional 105db stand-alone alarm product.

To order the Blink system, check out the company’s website

Comments
  • Too bad it’s not weather resistant. I only want to deal with one mfg versus having a different set-up for internal cameras and another for external.

    Reply
  • lampstand

    Might it work OK outside under the eave of a porch as long as it is not in direct contact with weather? But temperature does get to below zero sometimes.

    Reply
  • We’ve been looking for something like for a while now. First 3-camera set was up a month ago, having one camera outside underneath the roof, works fine. Second 3-camera set installed last week in a different house, some one of the three cameras installed looking at the front door underneath a roof beside the garage, works fine. Luckily we live in souther Cal so it’s dry year-round, and never goes below subzero. I hope this helps.

    Reply
    • I have had 3 of them outside 2 under the eaves below the gutter overhang and one under the roof of my porch. I’m in ohio, so far the coldest temp since I have had them out there was about 15 degrees but I have yet to have any problems including storms and high winds.

      Make sure you screw them in outside though, I use the adhesive as a temporary solution and one of the cameras fell about 10 feet onto concrete. Put it back together it still works great.

      Reply
      • How can you connect to your camera if your not home and at work or out of town? Is that possible to view it from your phone if your far away?

        Reply
      • How can you connect to your camera if your not home and at work or out of town? Is that possible to view it from your phone if your far away?

        Reply
  • Thank you so much for all the info!! For some reason I’m having a problem connecting the cameras. It just keeps saying could not add camera. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

    Reply
  • Patrick Frost

    Bought this product only to find that they sent me defective product and so admitted it in their FAQ;There are a small number of Sync Module Power supplies that do not always power up correctly if they are plugged in with the Sync Module already connected. They will operate if they are plugged into the wall BEFORE the Sync Module is connected, so the problem may occur after the system has been set up and operating correctly if the house AC power is interrupted for any reason.

    Blink buys these supplies directly from a power module manufacturer, and the issue has been traced to a particular lot. Blink will ship a replacement supply to anyone who has been affected by this problem. Please use the Email Us link to contact customer service for a replacement.

    How to tell if you have an affected unit: Unplug the USB supply from the wall. Ensure that the SM is connected to the USB supply with the cable, then, plug the USB supply into the wall socket. Normally, the SM will flash it’s LEDs and boot up correctly. However, If the module is one of the defective lot, the SM will not boot; this state can be determined by looking at the status LEDs on the SM. If there are no LEDs on, or if a faint, rapidly blinking red LED indicator can be seen, then the power supply is defective. Note that if the supply is plugged in to the wall socket first, and then the SM is connected to the supply, it will operate correctly until the power is interrupted. Alternately, the Sync module can be powered by any standard USB 5V supply (such as a phone charger) while a replacement is being shipped to you.

    Please note that if you do find yourself in this situation that there is no risk or danger in using the existing supply, other than the sync module going off line in the event of a power failure.

    They have NO PHONE SUPPORT of any kind.

    Reply

Leave a Reply