THUD! I shoot awake in the middle of the night. What was that? Thud thud thud. I toss the covers aside and run downstairs. I see someone outside the front door. It’s the police. That’s odd, what on earth are they doing here in the middle of the night. I open the door. The officer asks if they can look around the back of my house in my detached garage as there is a suspect that has been wandering the neighborhood. Aw man, I never lock that door. They remind me to. They find nothing. I check on my kids, and crawl back into bed with a tense uncomfortable feeling. All I have for protection is my little league bat from 1988. No security cams, no alarm system. Zip. I fall asleep, and thankfully all is well by morning.
Similar situations happen to many people, and I can think of two or three more (including local manhunts in my neighborhood) where loud thunks happened in the middle of the night leaving me to question whether I’m a fight or flight guy. Recently though, Amazon sent me a few Blink outdoor security cameras to ease my peace of mind, and thus the review begins.
One of the main reasons I go back to Amazon owned products is their ease of use and quality. Be it an Echo, a Kindle, or a Fire TV stick, Amazon creates simplicity for the end user. The Blink Outdoor camera doesn’t slack off here either. I didn’t expect to be disappointed, and I’m not. The camera arrives in a simple pull out box, and the contents within make me assume I’ll get this beast set up within 10 minutes. I’m not wrong.
I download the Blink app and create an account, plug in the hub (yes, it requires a hub or in this case a “Sync Module” which is included in the link above), scan the sync module to connect to wifi, pop batteries into the cam, and I’m setting up the cam within the app in no time. Easy as pie. The cam comes with a few screws and a simple plastic rotating mount. It isn’t cheap, just solid plastic and it’s all I need for my purposes. I screw the camera in above the door (Be sure to enable the cam in the app before connecting it to a wall/mount to save time), and I open the app. My camera is there – I call it “Front door” because I’m so stinkin’ creative. I can now see my front porch.
The Camera itself is roughly 2×2 inches and surrounded by square black plastic. It looks sleek enough and doesn’t clash terribly with the side of my house. It is incredibly lightweight and takes two AA batteries and Blink claims if they are lithium ion they will last for up to 2 years. This is heavily dependent on the length of video recordings and overall usage. The fact that this camera takes AA batteries is awesome to me, and if they only last a year I’m happy! The cam takes up to 1080p video and the image is crisp and sufficient. In order to last a full 2 years though, Blink keeps vids at 720p or the “medium” setting for quality. Recordings at 1080 may quickly eat through your storage space if you don’t have much. Thankfully, clips are easy to delete right in the app.
I have a 64 gig USB thumb drive in the sync module in order to save video (more on this later under “imperfection”). Blink also offers plans to store your video in the cloud. I have enough monthly payments as it is so I opt for a thumb drive. As of the time of this writing, it costs about $30 a year for one camera and cloud storage and about $60 a year for “all” cameras you own.
The Sync Module is a little smaller and much more lightweight than the camera. Each module can connect up to 10 cameras, so I don’t see myself needing an additional one anytime soon. The module has a USB slot for local storage as mentioned above.
The rest of the magic happens through the Blink app. The app is my best friend. This is where I set the length of recorded clips, choose to view the live feed, determine motion recording, review recordings and a host of other options. The number one feature I use on the app is simply enabling motion recording. This means whenever the camera detects motion, it will alert my phone and record. Once I receive an alert I simply click it and it will take me to the recorded clip – whether via the cloud or the USB storage.
I can “live” view the camera feed and speak through it via my phone. This means if someone runs up to snag a package sitting at my door, I can try to yell at them and get them to stop. It means if I’m not home and the neighbor stops by, I can chat with them through my phone. Pretty slick. I can pull up the feed on my Echo Show which is a really nice feature. Watching the feed through the Show takes a bit of extra setup through the Alexa app, but Amazon guides the process well.
At night, the feed comes through in a grayscale “night vision” mode. I clearly see a local cat swing by my front door about once a week in the middle of the night. I can also choose to “disarm” the system (usually during the day) which stops me from getting alerts and recordings until I arm it again. This is handy when my kids are running around the yard and I’m alerted to it 300 times.
An additional feature within the app is the ability to set specific zones to catch motion. If there is a specific area in your yard you are concerned about you can set motion capture through that specific frame in the camera. I can also set “privacy” zones in the view where the camera will not record.
Despite what may seem like plenty of options on the Blink outdoor camera, there are still some things missing. I’ve some experience with other cameras that rotate to capture motion. I wish this were a possibility, but the reality is this cam will only capture what is in its stationary frame. Motion capture delay could use improvement. It takes roughly 5 seconds or so for the capture to happen and my alert to show up. This isn’t terrible, but it did cause me to miss my cat dragging a chipmunk into my house just a tad too late. Finally, if you choose to go the USB storage route, you will not be able to record live feeds. This is fine for me, as I didn’t come across a need to record live. The USB storage will record motion and I can pull the historic clips up on the app.
All in all, the Blink Outdoor Security cam fits the bill for those wanting the option of a 720p or 1080p feed. The motion detection and recording work flawlessly, but you may want to consider a subscription for live recording. There are no wires, it is easy to set up and install, and it looks sharp once placed. The sync module allows for multiple camera connections so I can always upgrade to other camera options Blink offers or buy more of the same. Security and peace of mind for less than $100 is a nice offer too.
Thud! I shoot awake. I pick up my phone and see all is well outside my home. My cat probably knocked over my cup of water next to my bed – again. I lay my head down and fall asleep. All is well (I guess I’ll clean the water up in the morning).
Note: Our reviews are always 100% independent but Gearadical receives a small affiliate amount if you purchase the product on Amazon.