There’s a lot to like about Amazon’s Blink Outdoor Security Camera. It’s reliable, easy to install, and is a reasonable—if not flawless—upgrade from its predecessor, the XT2. Purchased by Amazon in 2017, Blink hasn’t exactly shaken the industry with eye-popping technological innovations, but they have produced reliable home security cameras and have elbowed their way into the home automation conversation.
Who is the Blink Outdoor Camera for?
The Blink Outdoor Camera has a lot going for it, and while it’s not a massive upgrade or a particularly innovative device, it’s excellent for Alexa owners who value data privacy with a solid and reliable device. If you’re looking for a smart camera with HD resolution, long battery life, and a reasonable price tag, the Blink Outdoor Camera won’t disappoint.
The Blink Outdoor Security Camera isn’t a leap ahead of the competition, but it is a solid smart camera with an attractive price tag. With the addition of local storage and 1080p HD, it hasn’t redefined its predecessor but remains a quality buy, nonetheless.
If you own the original Blink Home Security Camera, the first thing you’ll notice is that not much has changed, albeit a change from white to black. The original Blink design, shape, and dimensions remain the same.
Out of the Single Camera Starter Kit, you’ll get the camera itself, mounting hardware, two lithium-ion batteries, the sync module (hub), and a power adapter. The packaging and item arrangement has the slick, neat feel of an Apple product (someone at Amazon is taking notes).
Thanks to Amazon’s acquisition of Blink, the Blink Outdoor Camera works seamlessly with Alexa-powered devices. This is especially true with Echo Show devices. Whenever movement triggers a notification, you can immediately view your Blink security footage on an Echo Show.
IFTTT is also an excellent addition, with hundreds—if not thousands—of automation options called “applets.” With IFTTT, you have a ton of freedom to set up Blink Outdoor Camera applets to effortlessly control how and when it records.
As a response to security cameras moving towards longer-lasting battery life, Blink will soon release its four-year battery pack addition to replace the two-year pack that comes with the camera.
Two years is a long time, and with the four-year improvement, Blink is introducing extreme longevity as an attractive feature with its Blink Outdoor Camera.
Part of Blink’s appeal is the ease of use and simple steps for installing and physically setting up the camera. The Blink Outdoor Camera is no exception.
- Start by downloading the Blink Home Monitor app—which is available on both the Google Play Store and the App Store for iOS users.
- On the back of the Sync Module is a QR code, which you’ll scan directly from the app.
- Create a name for the new sync module and plug it in to get it in pairing mode.
- From there, you’ll add the Sync Module to your Wi-Fi network, which is as simple as tapping the Sync Module when it shows up on the app.
- Once your camera is powered up, add the device by selecting the + symbol in the app, selecting your camera, scanning the QR code on the back of the camera’s battery pack, and adding it.
Installing the camera is just as simple. All of the hardware necessary for mounting the camera comes in the starter kit. Choose a spot, screw in the mounting hardware, and the Blink Outdoor Camera neatly snaps on. It has a solid connection and leaves little doubt that it will hold steady, even in inclement weather.
The biggest upgrade over the original indoor camera is the 1080p HD view. Images are sharper and well-defined, and gone is the sometimes fuzzy, outdated view of the original.
The Blink Outdoor Camera has a 110-degree viewing angle, which is more than enough to cover a targeted area. However, know that if you’re looking to view a lengthy backyard, 110 degrees may fall short.
The batteries work as advertised, giving EufyCams—known for their extremely long battery life—a run for their money.
Not a Significant Upgrade Over Previous Models
One issue that didn’t make a significant jump from the original is the low-power mode. The camera stays in this mode until movement activates it, and it takes a moment to start recording. Unfortunately, movement on the edges or something passing through quickly can be hit or miss.
Router manufacturers will either have to pack more and more Ethernet ports into their devices, or the development of smart devices will have to change. The Blink Outdoor Camera, unfortunately, requires a hub—which is fine until it isn’t.
If you own many smart devices that require hubs, the Blink Outdoor Camera may be one too many, so it’s worth considering before making a purchase.
No Support for Apple HomeKit or Google Assistant
One major disappointment is the lack of overall compatibility. Amazon Alexa is nice and works smoothly with Blink, but the lack of support for Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit is difficult to understand, even considering that Amazon owns Blink. Fortunately, IFTTT applets are compatible, which softens the blow somewhat.
Doesn’t Come with an Alarm
Also, the Blink Outdoor Camera lacks an alarm. This isn’t a huge issue, as it’s not uncommon with affordable options for outdoor security cameras, but it is a feature that’s more and more prevalent and one that should have made the final cut.
A Subscription is Required for Some Features
Another downside: users may have to purchase a subscription to access certain features with the Blink Outdoor Camera.
Can You Use the Blink Outdoor Camera without a Subscription?
You can use Blink Outdoor Cameras without a subscription, but you’ll lose the option to access cloud storage. Blink eliminated the free cloud storage that came with the XT2.
However, local storage is now an alternative for saving your camera footage. Unfortunately, that does come with a caveat: no USB Drive out of the box. If you want local storage, you’ll have to purchase a USB Drive separately.
Any device that accesses cloud storage can be hacked, and that includes the Blink Outdoor Camera. In December of 2019, Amazon had to fix its Blink cameras as several vulnerabilities were discovered.
Fortunately, the Blink Outdoor Camera comes with WPA2 encryption, and that encryption is extended to uploaded video footage. Amazon also releases frequent firmware updates designed to plug potential security vulnerabilities.
Blink started in the Semiconductor business—the company name is Immedia Semiconductor—and has only recently made strides in the smart camera business. However, those strides have been mostly positive and, with Amazon’s acquisition, has joined the list of Alexa compatible devices sold directly through Amazon.
Now that Blink cameras are integral to Amazon’s network of smart products—and seamlessly compatible with Echo devices, Alexa owners and IFTTT aficionados have an increased incentive to add Blink Outdoor Cameras to their home security network.