A vast number of security cameras nowadays are capable enough to meet most people’s home security needs. But with so many options out there, choosing the right security products can seem like an uphill battle. This can be especially stressful if you’re on a budget.
Enter Blink, a great entry-level option from the fine folks at Amazon that provides flexible video monitoring and motion detection for the relatively low price of $35. We caught wind of Blink when Amazon bought them back in 20171 and have been fans ever since, as we discuss in our hands-on review of Blink cameras.
But today, we’re thinking a bit smaller as we delve into Blink’s smallest, cheapest offering: the Blink Mini. We spent several days testing the device, and we have to say, this inexpensive, pint-sized camera makes a fine addition to any Blink camera system. We also think it’s a viable camera option for apartment dwellers and renters. In terms of advanced technology and everyday use, however, Blink Mini has some work to do.
Read on for more of our insights into Blink Mini; but first, here are a few key pros and cons we picked up in our experience:
We’ve found that cameras that are out-of-the-box ready to install and set up are becoming increasingly popular in this market. With Blink Mini, this meant we had little more to do than connect the USB cable, plug it in, and begin the setup process via the Blink Home Monitoring app and the camera’s voice prompts. No complicated assembly + no manual labor = 2 very happy homeowners. And all the instructions were in-app, allowing us to sail smoothly through setup.
Like the majority of DIY cameras, this one synced with our phone via a QR code stuck to the back of the camera. From there, the camera spent a few minutes updating its firmware, and that was pretty much it.
All told, you’re looking at about an 8-10 minute sync process from start to finish, which is fairly average for DIY cameras. For us, it took just a tad longer than it took the Ring Indoor camera to pair with our phone (see our deep-dive review of the Ring Indoor Cam).
We didn’t need anything beyond a single screw and a screwdriver to mount our Blink Mini onto our foyer wall. And note that it comes with a durable ball-socket mount that can be attached to the camera either in the back or the bottom, depending on how you’d like to display it.
At less than 2 inches tall, this camera is not going to make a huge splash. When we reviewed the Wyze Cams, we noted the small stature of their $20 cube-shaped indoor camera and how, like our Blink Mini, it could be used to fit into small spaces or be displayed discreetly. In the case of these two cameras, smaller really is better – and the low prices don’t hurt, either.
Unlike its battery-powered siblings, Mini has to be plugged in to work, so keep that in mind when you’re thinking about where to mount it. But beyond possibly having to use an extension cord in addition to the 7-foot cord, you’re not going to run into much trouble getting Blink Mini up and running. We found the DIY setup and installation to be fast and easy.
Pro Tip: Plug-in cameras are easy to use, but they’re not always nice to look at. Wire-free cameras, such as the Argus 3 from Reolink, allow for greater flexibility and don’t require unsightly wires, though they tend to cost more than simple plug-in cams. If you’re interested, you can learn more about Reolink in our hands-on review.
If you’re as enamored with “mini” tech as we are, we think you’ll love Blink Mini, with its lightweight, attractive body, simple and crisp white finish. It can sit freely on a surface or be easily mounted on a wall, which made us feel like we were playing with Legos as we bent the base around to our liking, popping it in and out of place to move the camera around our home.
We’re not talking about fancy bells and whistles with this one; this tiny camera gave us a reliable 1080p HD live video feed and delivered alerts smoothly and efficiently via our smartphone, both of which are huge priorities when it comes to securing our home.
As we mentioned briefly earlier, the original Wyze Cam2 has been compared to Blink Mini both in equipment design and affordability many times over. But facts are facts: we found Wyze Cam to be $15 cheaper than the Mini, and it offers a basic cloud storage option for free, whereas Blink Mini’s free option has been discontinued. (We’ll take you through all of Blink’s video storage options in just a bit.)
That’s one word of caution we can impart from testing the Blink Mini: There are cameras out there that do more than Blink Mini for the price. But in our view, Mini is still a solid indoor camera in its own right. Let’s jump into the features and tech, and you’ll see what we mean.
The primary job of a home security camera, from the top performers in the industry to the lesser-known outliers, is to record good-quality video. By all accounts, Blink Mini handled this well, keeping an eye on anyone who was entering or leaving our home for a solid week without missing a beat.
As an entryway camera, Blink Mini yielded good, not great, results with image quality. Like all Blink cams, Blink Mini’s resolution maxes out at 1080p,3 the standard for HD, and can fluctuate depending on Wi-Fi speed. While this allowed for smoother communication between the camera and our phone, it did mean that we had rare occasions where our footage was slightly poorer quality than 1080p. Those issues only occurred when our home’s Wi-Fi network was especially crowded, though; we still got a decent picture no matter what.
Pro Tip: While 1080p is the most common benchmark for security cameras, it’s also possible to secure your home with 2K and even 4K cameras. Arlo Pro 3 and Arlo Ultra are great examples of this; we recommend checking out our full review of Arlo cameras for more insights.
Though it’s pretty barebones on its own, the good thing about Blink Mini is that it gets to harness the power of its siblings. When we reviewed Blink Outdoor, the customization options we had via the Blink Home Monitor app made for a much richer experience. And even though it’s a smaller, simpler camera, we like that Mini gives us this leeway, too.
Why is this a good thing? Because as you might recall in our side-by-side comparison between Blink and Ring, Blink has tons of customization, letting us fine-tune our recordings down to the second – literally. Take a look at the Blink app’s settings menu:
For starters, we were really glad to find a sensitivity slider here. That’s because, frankly, this camera is very sensitive. In our initial run-throughs with Blink Mini, it was sending alerts to our smartphone at a breakneck pace. We had the same minor trip-up when we reviewed Blink’s Indoor camera, so we knew it wouldn’t be difficult to fix.
Just for context, we did look back at the footage and saw why the alert was triggered: in a few instances, it was detecting sound from another room in the house. Clearly, this is not the kind of insight we would consider “smart.”
Turning down that sensitivity slider instantly helped to reduce those “nuisance alerts.” We think you’ll find the slider to be a great tool to enhance the camera’s motion sensor. Note that it’s also a pretty common feature in DIY cameras across the board, as we noted in our Ring camera review.
Blink also let us adjust the running time of our playback clips, which is one of our favorite features of this camera (and the Blink brand as a whole). We imagine you’re busy like us, so you don’t want to spend the time rifling through hours of recordings you might have missed after an eight-hour workday. Being able to set those recordings to activate for 5 or 10 seconds, for example, instead of 30 seconds, was a great help to this end.
In our home, Blink Mini helped us with everyday household tasks, like making sure our weekly meal kit arrived on time and our dog stayed out of trouble while we were out of the house.
And those tasks were made easier thanks to built-in two-way talk on the Blink Mini. While we don’t find two-way talk on every camera we review, we do think it’s becoming more common in the industry. And rightly so, as two-way talk can be crucial in actively “spooking” would-be burglars. It’s especially key in outdoor cameras, where said burglars might be lurking. In our look at the Ring Spotlight camera, for instance, we loved having direct communication with the delivery driver dropping off our groceries during an especially hectic week.
It certainly doesn’t hurt to have this feature in an indoor camera, either. And in our tests, two-way talk through the Blink Mini held its own, save for a second-or-two audio lag.
Pairing the Blink Mini with our smart home devices was a snap. Thanks to a skill built into Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem, we were able to get our Alexa smart display, the Echo Show, to pull up the live feed of our Blink Mini within seconds.
This is a great feature if you’re not always anchored to your smartphone, or if you’re in a pinch and need a quick look at the scenery.
For monitoring guests entering and leaving your home, we think you’ll appreciate having quick access like this. But it’s Amazon, after all; we’ve come to expect Amazon-branded products to communicate well with one another, and they did so just fine here.
Now, it’s worth mentioning that Blink Mini doesn’t support the Google Assistant or the IFTTT4 smart home ecosystem, which is a bit disappointing. Clearly brand loyalty still wins the day here. We’re hoping Blink decides to expand their automation capabilities at some point in the near future.
As an alternative, take a look at our breakdown of Ring’s home automation options, which include support for Google, Amazon, Apple HomeKit, and IFTTT.
As a solid indoor camera, Blink Mini easily justifies its $35 price tag. It’s still Amazon’s cheapest security camera, which is appealing for Amazon loyalists. And, as we touched on earlier, it’s pretty cheap compared with non-Amazon brands, too; we’ve seen cameras entering the market for as low as $19.99, but not with the power of a behemoth like Amazon behind them.
There are other costs to consider with this camera beyond upfront purchases, though. Similar to what we found in our SimpliCam from SimpliSafe review, Blink Mini is one of those cameras that doesn’t house any internal storage, so if you want a large amount of storage for your recordings (beyond 64 GB), you’re going to have to shell out a small monthly payment for a cloud plan. We’ll touch more on this in just a bit.
Did You Know: SimpliSafe’s basic 720p security camera did a decent job in our tests, but we didn’t care for the $99 price tag (it’s free if you buy a SimpliSafe kit, though). They do have generous professional monitoring5 plans on the cheap, which you can read about in our full SimpliSafe system review.
In addition to Blink Mini, here’s a brief look at equipment pricing across the brand. We encourage you to check out our in-depth Blink pricing page for more cost information as well.
The true cost of owning home security cameras can often last far beyond the initial equipment. And in the case of the Blink Mini, we want to be very clear: This camera costs $35, but its “true cost” will ultimately be higher if you want to store your video history.
To do this, Blink gave us a few choices. The first was to attach an external hard drive or flash drive to the USB port in our Blink Sync Module 2 and pair it with our Blink Mini. (That’s why we recommend this camera for existing Blink users; it does make for a more seamless experience.) But bear in mind that the Sync Module only supports 64 GB of extra storage, so you still might need to add more storage eventually.
That said, $3 per month to store video is still an economical way to secure your home as a supplement to local storage. We chose the basic cloud plan for our Blink tests, and it had everything we needed. But if you’re really hoping to buy a few cameras without a long-term financial commitment, Blink might not be the way to go. Instead, consider steering yourself toward Lorex. As you’ll learn in our comprehensive Lorex review, those cameras connect directly to Wi-Fi and can be monitored strictly through internal storage.
Check out updated pricing for Blink’s subscription plans below. And don’t forget to check out our rundown of deals, sales, and discounts on Blink cameras throughout the year.
|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|
Blink Mini was Amazon’s official introduction into the budget camera space, and we think they’ve done well with this compact, cubic device that fits into the palm of our hands.
After using the camera extensively in our home, we can say without a doubt that Blink Mini met our expectations. We observed clear, noise-free images, even when the threat of a fast-moving canine crossed the camera’s path.
Indeed, a well-working motion sensor is the cornerstone of any good security system, as we mentioned in our rundown of the best motion detection security cameras. With Blink Mini, we were able to customize motion detection so we’d get smart, intuitive alerts. For folks like us who don’t have a lot of time to spend monitoring multiple cameras, this is much appreciated!
That said, you’re not going to find features like A.I. person detection or pan and tilt capabilities with Blink; that’s simply not what this brand is about. And as a standalone camera, we think you’ll find Blink Mini somewhat lacking for the simple fact that it requires a separate Blink Sync Module 2 to work.
But as a low-cost, low-maintenance Wi-Fi camera with reliable technology, Blink is still a worthy gadget that does its best work as part of a larger Blink home security system. All in all, if you’re a current Blink user, we think the Mini is a great buy at only $35.
Yes. You can schedule the camera to record motion at certain times of the day under motion detection settings in the Blink Home Monitoring app. You can also adjust the frequency of your motion alerts and block out activity zones within your feed.
You can run up to 10 Blink cameras on one Blink Sync Module. It’s Blink’s way of making it easy for customers to outfit their entire homes with Blink cameras.
Like all Blink cameras, night vision is standard infrared. Without a built-in spotlight supplementing the lens, night vision images tend to be blurry and grainy. But individual shapes and objects are still distinguishable from one another.
No. You can plug in an external hard drive to your Blink Sync Module to store your video history, avoiding the need to pay for a monthly cloud storage subscription.
At $35, it’s Amazon’s least expensive security camera, so we consider the Blink Mini to be cheap. There are less expensive cameras out there, but it’s always wise to be wary of “cheap” cameras that boast tons of advanced features, as they might not deliver on all of their promises.
Balakrishnan, A. and Hazelton, T. (2017, Dec. 22). Amazon acquires smart-home startup Blink, deepening its rivalry with Google. CNBC.com.
Atallah, J. et al. (2018, April 23). How a tiny camera startup is taking on Amazon and Google. Business Insider.
How Stuff Works. (2020). What does 1080p mean?
Sowers, P. (2017, May 24). IFTTT now lets any developer build and publish applets for others to use. VentureBeat.
SimpliSafe. (2020). What does Professional Monitoring protect against? What happens during an alarm?