At that time, we hadn’t seen many battery-powered models with free cloud storage, especially at such a reasonable price; one Blink cam plus the required plug-in Sync Module hub costs just $79/£55/AU$112 (the price will increase to $99/£69/AU$140 on February 1 and international shipping is scheduled to launch in the second quarter). It’s been over a year since we first covered the Blink crowdfunding campaign, though, and many of its features aren’t that unique anymore.
Cord-free, battery-reliant models like Netgear’s Arlo and Homeboy are fairly common nowadays — and an increasing number of brands are adding free cloud storage to their list of features. You’ll also find a larger number of lower-priced DIY cameras available now, like Guardzilla, the Ezviz Mini and the iSmartAlarm Spot — all of which cost $100 or less.
Blink is also missing a lot of other features, from two-way talk, to audio alerts, environmental sensors that alert you to changes in temperature, on-demand video recording, in-app rules and integration with products from other manufacturers either via IFTTT or another third-party service. And, while the Wi-Fi connection at the CNET Smart Home was solid during testing, the app was often laggy and said, “System is busy, please wait.”
Immedia does have plans to add some of these options in the future, but Blink just doesn’t offer enough to make it worthwhile today.
Getting to know Blink
Blink is a small squarish camera with rounded edges that measures 2.77 inches by 2.77 inches. Out of the box, you get the camera, two lithium AA batteries, a separate stand that you have to attach yourself and mounting hardware. Most of the cameras I’ve reviewed come with preattached stands.
That means an extra step for you if you want to install your Blink camera in a fixed spot or simply position it to hit an optimal angle using the stand. And, you also don’t have the added benefit of a magnetic base like Nest Cam, Netgear Arlo or the Ezviz Mini, which makes installation on any obliging magnetic surface a snap.
Blink also doesn’t feel particularly durable. It isn’t designed for outdoor use, so that isn’t a concern, but it definitely has the look and feel of a plasticky smart-home hub or other bland accessory. And, removing the camera’s back panel to replace the AA batteries isn’t all that simple. The side of the camera has a sliding mechanism that makes it easier, but I still felt like I was going to break it every time I tried to open (or close) it.
The camera is equipped with a 720p 110-degree field of view lens, a motion sensor, an infrared LED for night vision and a Micro-USB slot, presumably to allow for future updates.
In addition to the camera itself, your purchase also includes a Sync Module. This required accessory is also a basic white plastic square that’s a little smaller than the Blink cam at about 2 inches by 2 inches.
The Sync Module has an included power adapter and it performs a variety of functions — it communicates with Blink’s remote servers to avoid draining the Blink battery; it talks to the cameras via a low-power radio channel to “wake them up” whenever you want to pull up the live video stream; it has a a built-in USB port to facilitate future updates and it is an integral part of the initial setup and configuration process via the related Blink Android and iOS apps.