Since their acquisition by e-commerce behemoth Amazon in 2017, Blink has experienced skyrocketing success as a brand of compact HD cameras that make self-monitoring and installation a breeze for almost anyone.
With their latest releases1 – Blink Outdoor, Blink Indoor, and Blink Mini – the brand proves they’re here to stay, remaining a popular pick for low-maintenance home security and energy efficiency.
It’s nice to see that in 2021, Blink is still putting out solid battery-operated cameras that provide up to two years of continuous use and affordable video storage, keeping both up-front and monthly costs low. They’ve also added a few neat upgrades over their previously released XT2 indoor/outdoor camera to round out the system, which I’ll dig into shortly.
I took Blink’s three cameras for a spin recently, noting how they worked in the nooks and crannies of a modest single-family home. You’ll learn whether this system is as dependable as other leading camera brands in capturing potential danger in the nick of time – arguably the most vital function of any home security device. And, as always, I’ll share any drawbacks worth noting in a full suite of Blink cams. And for more money-saving tips, check out our full guide to choosing home security cameras.
That said, let’s take a deeper look at all that a Blink system has to offer.
With equipment that’s ready to use practically right out of the box, it was evident that Blink wasn’t going to be a difficult installation. I opened the three Blink boxes that round out the system to find a very simple configuration: one camera, one sync module (this is required in every Blink camera except the Blink Mini), two screws for mounting, one plastic mount, and a handy battery replacement tool to open and close the back of the camera.
Not handy around the house? No problem. Like a multitude of DIY cameras in this market, the Blink cameras follow an intuitive setup that mostly consists of scanning a QR code, naming the cameras, and following in-app instructions to sync the camera to your smartphone via the Blink Home Monitoring app.
The only cameras I can recall that had an easier setup were from Wyze Cams. If you’re into simple wireless tech, you’ll appreciate Blink and Wyze. Not only do they resemble each other somewhat in appearance, the cameras also cost less than much of the competition. You can find much more on Wyze in my hands-on Wyze Cam review.
But as far as setting up a Blink camera, it’s pretty hard to mess this part up, since you’re talking about a relatively simple piece of tech and an equally simple, intuitive app (see more Blink app images below). But I do think it’s worth emphasizing not to rush through this process. The setup process is a really good time to get to know your camera and make it work for your space, so take your time and have patience here.
It’s not just about entering Wi-Fi passwords and allowing your phone (or Alexa device) to pair with the cameras; I’m talking about things like motion sensitivity, which is a key tool in making sure you don’t get false or unwanted alerts; or adjusting the infrared LEDs to make sure the camera’s night vision is clear and glare-free.
Those are adjustments you generally won’t know you need to make until you’ve set up the whole system and have made your way through the app. But once you do, you’ll see a much better performing camera system, and more insightful alerts.
As for installing Blink, the cameras all echoed pretty much the same installation and setup process. The only exception is the Blink Mini, which is essentially a miniature of the Blink Indoor but with wired installation instead of a battery. You’ll learn more about each camera’s nuances and quirks in just a moment, but for now, let’s just say this: It’s not every day you can say you installed a whole system of security cameras in under 30 minutes.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for home security with a lot of customization, Blink might not be the best fit. Instead, Vivint, a professionally monitored system, might suit you better. Check out our hands-on Vivint system review.
Next, we’ll dive into the Blink system a bit more, camera by camera.
But first, here’s a brief look at Blink’s stats, including how we review them:
|No. of Cameras||3|
|Best Asset||Easy Installation|
|Video Resolution||1080p HD|
With that, we’ll begin our hands-on experience with the smallest in the bunch: Blink Mini.
It might not look like much, but Blink Mini is a powerful tool in any home security toolbox. It did a great job taking care of the basics, and all in all, you can’t really expect more than the basics out of a camera that’s only $35.
My tests of Blink Mini centered around home entryways. Like all Blink cams, Blink Mini runs on fluid video, meaning it regularly fluctuates from higher (1080p) to lower video resolutions to allow it to run more smoothly and without gaps in your timeline. So the first thing to note: You won’t find much to gripe about in terms of video quality. This camera won’t let you down there.
As you’ll learn in my in-depth Blink Mini camera review, the sensitivity slider in the Blink app will be your friend. Here, you can choose a lower setting to reduce the barrage of alerts you might be getting in the initial experience. This is a good time to decide if you’d rather avoid getting alerts when, say, a car shines its headlights through your front door window. Those are generally a nuisance, you’ll notice, and tend to detract from the real reason you added cameras in the first place: to keep your home safe.
That’s one thing to remember about Blink cameras: They’re quite sensitive compared to their peers. In a recent review of Canary cameras, for instance, I actually had to turn the sensitivity up in the Canary app to start getting any alerts at all. Clearly, a little tweaking goes a long way in these cameras.
Self-monitoring is a breeze with Blink Mini thanks to the app, so you can easily jump between checking live view and looking back at footage history. And, you don’t even need the Blink sync module to control the Blink Mini via your phone; this one works just fine directly over the internet.
FYI: Blink Mini is a great pick for those who just need add-on equipment for an existing Blink system. But keep in mind, this also means you’ll have to re-enter your Wi-Fi credentials if you want to move the Blink Mini to a different location.
The only gripe I had about Blink Mini, for the most part, is that it’s wired. But that’s also why it’s a cheaper camera than its siblings. To avoid a hassle, just plan on displaying it close to a wall outlet. You know, instead of standing on a ladder yelling, “Anyone got an extension cord?” for 10 minutes until someone answers. (We’ve all been there, right?)
Here’s the bottom line on Blink Mini: While it might be small and limited in features, it still packs the power and convenience of Blink’s other two devices thanks to a strong and intuitive app. That makes it a pretty worthwhile addition to the system.
That said, if you’re looking for slick features like activity zones, person detection, and motion tracking, my Google Nest Cam review is another great place to look. Sure, those are considerably pricier cameras, but you’re getting much more in features and tech. You’ll even get AI-powered facial recognition if you upgrade to the Nest Cam IQ devices. Just something to consider.
At less than 3 inches tall, Blink Indoor is as modest as it is discreet. But with the convenience of wire-free setup, you’re also getting more flexibility than you’d get from Ring Indoor, another Amazon-branded camera. Read my full Ring Indoor camera review for more.
This security camera also made a great hallway monitor when I tested the Blink Indoor camera. The HD video quality and motion detection were top-notch; night vision, however, isn’t as strong in Blink cameras as those in an Arlo camera system with full color night vision. Arlo cameras are some of the best in the biz, but I’ve found that this feature isn’t quite as important in indoor cameras as outdoor ones.
There is one thing lacking in Blink cameras, and that’s field of view. At 110 degrees, Blink Indoor’s viewing angle is somewhat narrower than other cameras. By now, it’s more common to see cameras that stretch out up to 160 degrees, as noted in my full unpacking of the Arlo Pro 3 cameras.
Now, as helpful as such an upgrade might be, we do want to Now, as helpful as such an upgrade might be, I do want to point out that a wider field of view isn’t always better. You’re more likely to find pros and cons for each configuration. Since Blink uses narrow-angle lenses in their cameras, they’re best suited for monitoring specific targets, such as doorways and entrances, because objects will appear larger and more detailed within the image. In cameras with wide-angle lenses,3 objects appear smaller, and you might see some occasional distortions along the edges of the frame during recording.
That said, if a wide-angle lens camera sounds appealing to you, take a peek at my Amcrest camera review, where you’ll learn about a pair of solid devices with wider viewing angles, and better night vision, too.
Moving over to the camera’s video history, you’ll like how Blink automatically produces a highlight reel of each day’s activity; this is really helpful in a pinch. You can sit down at the end of the day and, rather than poring through hours of footage you missed when you were out of the house, you can pull up one of these highlight reels to get a frame-by-frame overview of the day.
This clip above is an example of Blink’s highlight reel. I see this is another effort on Blink’s part to make their cameras as convenient as possible – and an impressive addition, considering the low price.
And in another nod to Blink’s energy efficiency, the Blink Indoor has a low-power mode to conserve battery life. The only difference in using this mode, in my tests, was about 3-5 seconds of delay from the time motion began to the time the camera began recording. By and large, that’s a negligible delay.
At $79, Blink Indoor is priced competitively, especially when you consider all that’s included in a kit: One Blink Indoor camera, one Blink Sync Module 2, durable mounting hardware, and four long-lasting AA batteries.
It’s a generous package, and with everything Blink has to offer, the camera still handles exceptionally well.
Turning to Blink’s dedicated outdoor camera, it’s evident immediately that this one was built to be discreet. It only comes in all-black, as opposed to the black-and-white indoor cam. As far as aesthetics, it’s got a sleek finish and takes the same minimalistic cues as Indoor. In fact, you’re talking about the same camera, essentially, as Indoor, only with a tougher (IP65) weather rating.
At the risk of rehashing old grievances, night vision was pretty weak in my hands-on Blink Outdoor camera experience. In an outdoor camera, this is a bit of a letdown.
You’ll find better night vision in one of the Ezviz cameras I reviewed recently, but generally, a camera with exceptional night vision needs some integrated lighting feature to do its best work. (Visit my Reolink Argus 3 Pro review for a really stellar night vision experience.)
Folks with smart home devices might be somewhat disappointed by the options Blink offers to integrate their cameras with non-Amazon devices. Since it’s an Amazon brand, Blink doesn’t integrate quite as seamlessly with Google Home devices, so you won’t be able to say, “OK Google, show me my patio” and similar voice commands to control the cameras.
Amazon Alexa users, on the other hand, should be pretty delighted. If you’re taking an impromptu trip out of state in the near future, you can use the Alexa app to check the temperature in your home (via a Nest thermostat) and, at the same time, peek into the Blink Indoor camera to make sure the dog sitter has shown up. Actions like this are a quick, efficient way to get peace of mind when you can’t be home.
Of course, you’ve got plenty of other choices if you’re looking for cameras that do integrate with multiple platforms in addition to Alexa, like Google Home, IFTTT, and Samsung SmartThings. In my latest review of Reolink’s cameras, integrations were a bit easier thanks to a smart home tab in their mobile app. This way, almost every camera Reolink makes (and there are many) can be fed into a smart home ecosystem with little fuss, with plenty of cross-platform functionality to boot.
FYI: Affordable and simple as they may be, Blink cameras are pretty weak when it comes to automating with non-Amazon devices. Some brands don’t always play nice with each other; read our comprehensive home automation guide to learn more.
Smart home challenges aside, Blink Outdoor redeems itself in other areas, exhibiting the same strengths that made me a fan of the brand in the first place: Fluid video resolution at up to 1080p; seamless two-way talk; customizable motion detection; and that easy installation Blink is famous for.
Before Blink Indoor and Outdoor, there was Blink XT2, a camera kit that goes indoors or out. The brand has discontinued it and considers the two offshoots a suitable replacement. It looks, feels, and works just like the former two, which means you’ll have no trouble getting it up and running and putting it through all sorts of tests and simulations. But these days, you might have trouble finding one in stock anywhere. You’re better off taking a look at the latest releases in Blink’s inventory instead.
Before pivoting into pricing and storage options on Blink, I think it’s worth pointing out that these cameras are not ideal as pet monitors. While they’re pretty sensitive to most types of motion out of the box, in my tests, none of the Blink cameras were triggered by the family dog, as wiggly and rambunctious as he is. It could be that more fine-tuning in the app is needed to remedy this, but it could also be that this $80 camera just isn’t strong in this way, and that’s totally okay.
Fortunately, there’s a camera or two out there that handles this much better. As noted when I tested and reviewed YI’s Home 3 camera, the camera seemed to enjoy sending entertaining recordings of said pup in all sorts of precarious positions – no app tinkering needed. Keep in mind, too, this camera costs $20, so there isn’t much tinkering to be done, anyway.
Who knows, maybe the dog ate jumping beans that day. But it’s just something you might pick up from time to time when comparing home security companies. Motion sensors sometimes work in mysterious ways.
When comparing pricing in security cameras, I always like to start with a disclaimer: You do get what you pay for, so choose wisely. Blink is far from the cheapest camera brand you’ll find out there, as the industry is brimming with low-cost cameras these days. Some folks might bristle at paying $100 for a Blink camera, but keep in mind that this is a solid battery-powered camera, the likes of which usually isn’t available for under $100.
Of course, you could always go with the Blink Mini if you’d rather save on equipment costs – for $35, Mini is an all-around good camera.
Below is a snapshot of pricing for Blink cameras, keeping in mind that the cameras also come in 2-, 3-, and 5-pack systems, if you choose. Feel free to check out my Blink Camera pricing page for more info, and while you’re at it, head over to the latest rundown of Blink Prime Day deals and discounts.
Since Blink has discontinued their free cloud storage option, you’re now left with two options to store video history with Blink: A basic plan, for $3 per month, and a premium option for $10 per month.
These costs are pretty well aligned with Blink’s close competitors. Swann’s $5-per-month plan, for example, offers basic storage but not too many of the extras Blink includes in their subscriptions. With everything you’ll get in an affordable Blink system, I don’t think paying $3 per month to store videos (or $30 for the whole year) is stretching it.
Here’s a breakdown of Blink’s storage costs, keeping in mind that you also have the option to attach a hard drive to your Blink sync module to store video on your own:
|Video History||60 Days||60 Days|
|10% off Blink Products||No||Yes|
|Warranty||1 year||As long as subscription is active|
|Number of Cameras||1||Unlimited|
|Price||$3 per month||$10 per month|
With Blink, you’re promised a hassle-free experience, and you’ll get one. Indeed, these cameras are nothing if not consistent. For folks who don’t feel comfortable around security equipment or just don’t have the time to learn and interact with technology, Blink is a consistent leader.
As a basic system for video surveillance, Blink handles like a charm, delivering the kind of low-maintenance experience more and more users crave. I enjoyed the no-frills approach, and having lots of flexibility to adjust and tweak settings to conform the cameras to their surroundings. It’s clear to me that Blink understands this, but with a limited viewing angle and poor night vision, it’s still worth remembering that these are “budget” cameras. (That’s not a bad thing, though. Check out our best cheap security camera roundup for more on that.)
That said, Blink cameras still get my two thumbs up as an ideal pick for the tech-averse crowd.
With the extended-life batteries included in every Blink camera (except Blink Mini), you’ll get about two years of battery life with typical use. From what I’ve seen, that’s a whole lot of battery life in one charge.
Since they’re owned by the same company, Blink and Alexa play well together. You can set up your Blink cameras to use voice commands through an Amazon Echo. It does not work as smoothly with Google Assistant, though.
No. Blink cameras use standard infrared night vision that is not colorized, so you’ll get a pretty grainy picture at night.
Yes. The cameras have USB ports, and a power cord is included in the box, in case you’d rather wire the cameras for continuous use.
While not the cheapest camera on the market, Blink is generally considered an affordable brand. Their most expensive camera is $100, which isn’t bad for a battery-powered camera.
The Sync Module is a small, shallow box that comes with the Blink Indoor and Blink Outdoor cameras. The module receives information from Blink servers through your home Wi-Fi, and sends notifications to our phone. Cameras receive information from the Sync Module, then send images and notifications through your Wi-Fi. You can also use the Sync Module to attach an external hard drive via USB.
Amazon. (2020, Sept. 2). Amazon’s Blink Unveils New Wireless Security Cameras with HD Video, Flexible Storage Options, and New Battery Expansion Pack.
Video Surveillance. (2021). What is High Definition?
Lorex Technology. (2021). Guide to Field of View & Lens Types.
Jaime Fraze is an experienced digital editor in the tech, business and food spaces, having produced content for clients ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to fledgling nonprofits for more than 15 years. As a wife, mother and homeowner, she understands that buying home security products can be confusing and overwhelming. That’s why Jaime has constantly strived to ensure that every piece of content she produces has met SafeHome.org’s rigorous standards, and that her readers come away with the power to make better, smarter decisions. Learn more about Jaime here