Blink Totally Wireless Camera Tested

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Feb 12, 2016

Wireless cameras almost always still need a wire for power. Given that, many argue to just used wired cameras anyway.

Now, startup Blink has released a battery powered wireless camera that needs no wires. Plus, the camera / kit sells for just ~$100 plus $60 for additional cameras, a remarkably low price.

We bought a Blink and tested the following capabilities:

  • Motion Detection
  • Wireless Range
  • Night time performance
  • Storage capabilities
  • Playback usability

Advantages

******** ******* ****** ****** still **** * **** for *****. ***** ****, many ***** ** **** used ***** ******* ******.

***, *************** ******** * ******* powered ******** ****** **** needs ** *****. ****, the ****** / *** sells *** **** ~$*** plus $** *** ********** cameras, * ********** *** price.

** ****** * ***** and ****** *** ********* capabilities:

  • ****** *********
  • ******** *****
  • ***** **** ***********
  • ******* ************
  • ******** *********

**********

[***************]

***** *** *** *** advantages **** ******* ***/**** camera *********:

  • ******** ****** *********:*****'* ***** ** *** provides **** **** ******** detection **** *** ***** motion ********* ***** ** most ****/*** *******, **** no ***** ****** ****** the ****** ** *** testing, *** **** *** missed **********.
  • **** **** ************:*****'* ******* ******* ****** allows ** ** ** mounted ******** ****** ***** of *** *** (~***' through ******** ***** ** our *******), ******* ********* an ****** ******.

************, ***** ******** ** monthly ******* *** ***** storage *** ** ** card, ***** **** ** a ******* ******* ******* premium ***********.

*************

*******, ***** *** ******** drawbacks ** **** ********, as ****:

  • ***** ***:***** **** * ***** LED *** ********* ************, clearly ******* **** ****** (in ******** ** *** dull *** **** ** IR **** **** ** most *******). **** *** be ********* ** ******** to *****, ****** ** unusable ** * **** monitor ** ** ********* where ********* ********* *** frequently **** *** ****** at *****.
  • ** ********** *********:****** **** ***** *******, there ** ** *** to ****** ************ ***** Blink. ***** *** **** live *** ** **** as **** **** (****** the *** ***** *** stream ***** ** ******* without **** *****), *** no ********* ***** ***** while **** *******, **** if ****** ******.
  • ********* ******* *******: **** * ***** of ******* *** ** provided, ** ********* ****** events, ** ***** ** not ******* ** ********* general **** (** ** marketed ** **** **** cams) ** ****** ********* recording ** **** *** wants ** ****** **** events.
  • ******* *******:*** ******* ** ********* for '*** ****' *** that ** ***** ** only ***** ** *** 5.5 ***** *** *** year, ***** ***** ** fairly ********. ** ****, even ******** ***** **** drain *** ******* ** months, ** *** *****.

************

** ******** ** *** the ***** *********** *********** for *****:

  • ** ** ******** **** considered ** ** '*****' camera, ***** *** ****** motion *********. *** *******, Blink ******* **** ** being **** ** *********** if **** *** **** from ******, *** *** testing ********* ** ***** be ****** ******** *** this.
  • *** ***** *** **** something ****** (****** *** security ** ********* *******), the ***** ** ****** easy ** ***** **** the **********, ***** *** square **** ****** *** no **** *** ***** wires.

*******, *** ***** *** will ** * ***** problem *** ***** **** monitoring (******, *******, ***., truly ****** *** * thief ***** ** ***** be ********) *** *** limited ********* **** ** an ***** *** ****. If ***** *** ******* a ****** ******* **** an ** ***, ** think ** ***** ********* expand *** ****** *********.

*******

* ***** ******* *** containing *** *** *** one ****** ***** ***$** *** ******. ********** ******* (** to ** *** ***) cost $**.

**** ** *** **** expensive **** ******* ******** models. **** **** *******, users *** ******** * three ****** ***** ****** ($220) *** **** ~$** more **** * ****** home ******, **** ** Nest, *******, ******, ***., usually ~$***.

*******, **** ** ************* more **** **** ******** cameras ***** **** ******** become *********, **** ** the$** ******* *********** **$** ** ****, ****** ***** ******* require ***** *****.

Cloud ******/*******

***** **** *** ****** any ********* **** *** cloud ******. *** ***** of ******* ** ******** for **** ****, ***** amounts ** (***) ** second *****, (****) * second *****, ***. **** that **** ** ****** between *** ******* ** the ****'* *******, *** individual ** **** ******.

**** *** ****** ** a ****'* ******* ** a **** ******, ** received ***** *** ***** from *** ******, ***** equates ** **** **** half *** ******** *******. Home ***** ****** **** receive ***** ******, ********* on ******** ***** (*** many ****** *** ** the *********, ********** *********, long ******* ** ******, etc.).

Physical ********

*** ***** ****** *** hub *** **** *******, about *.*" ******, ******* the **** ** * Nest *** ******* *** stand.

***** **** *** ****, the ******'* **** ******** its *** (******), ***** LED, *** ********* *********.

App ********

*** ***** *** ** fairly ********** ******** ** most ******** ****** ****** apps, **** *** ***** functions.

******(*) *** ********* ** the **** ****, **** users ******** *** ** begin **** ****. ***** may ***/****** **** ****** individually, ** *** ****** as * *****. *** automatic ******/********* ***** ** the ****'* ******** ** available, ****** ***** **** they **** ** ******* this ** ****** ********.

***** *****, ******* ***** the **** ******** *** of *** ***, *** displayed ** * ****** page **** ** *********** icon, *** *********** *********. Clips *** ********* ** chronological *****, **** ** way ** ********* *** a ******** **** ** time, ********* ***** ** scroll **** ******* ***** event **** ** **** a ******** ********.

***** *** ** ******** to *** ****** ****** or **** *** *****/**** message/iMessage, ***.

*************

************* ** *** ***** camera, ********* **** ******, motion *********** (********* *****), and **** ** ***** in **** *****:

White *** ***********

****** **** *******, ***** uses * ***** *********** instead ** **. **** on, ** *********** ***** like * ***** ********** shining **** *** ***** of *** ******.

***** ** ****** ***** to ***-***** ***** ****** well, *** ***** *** be ******** ** **** users *** **** *****/******** children, ******** ****** ********* or ********* *** ****** to ** ******** **** family ******* ** ****.

************, *** ***** *** prevents ***** **** ***** used ** * **** monitor, * ****** *** case *** ******** ******** models.

**** ********* ***** *** white *** ********** ** about * **' ******** from *** ******.

Wireless *****

** ****** ******** ***** between **** ****** *** camera **** ******* *** out, ********* ***** ***' in **** *****, ******** further **** *****'* ******* 100' *****.

*******, **** ******** *** achieved ******* ******** ***** stud *** ******* *****, as **** ** * 1' ***** ********. ******** testing *** **** ***.

Detection ***********

*** ** *** ***** in ***, ***** ****** very ******** ****** *********, with ** ***** ****** in *** *****, *** nearly ** ****** **********.

***** ******* ******** (* out ** *), ********* range *** ***** **' when ******** *** ****** FOV, *** ******* ** approaching ***/** ****** ******, as *** ** **' feet ** **** *****.

********** *********** ** ******* (9), ********* ***** *******, with ******** ********** ** 50' **** *** ******. In *** *****, **** at **** **** *********** setting, ** ***** *** not ******* *** ***** alerts.

*******

*** ****** ** ******* by *** ******* *********, with * ******* ******* life ** "**** * year" ***** ****** *********. We ****** ********* *** much ******* **** *** consumed **** *** ****** of *** ******* ** the *** ******** **** a ***** ******* ****, no ***** **********. ** received **** *** *****, day *** ***** **** the ****** ** * week, ** ******** ** viewing **** ***** **********, and *** ******* ********* remains ** ****.

***********, *** ** **** specification** ***** ** ********* ** ****.* ***** *** *** year (*** ******,*** *******, ***** ******* to *.* *****), ***** would ** ****** ********. As ****, **** ******** usage **** ***** *** battery** ******, ** *** weeks.

Transmission *****

***** ** * ****** delay ****** *** ***** camera ********* ****** ** the **** ******. **** allows ********* *** *** aware ** *** ****** to ******** **, **** it, *** ****** *** batteries/destroy ** ****** *** event ** ****. ************, no ***** ** **** notifying *** **** **** the ****** *** **** destroyed ** *** ********* removed. **** *********** ****** a ***** *** ***** intruder **** ***** **** no ************ ** *** presence.

** ********, **** *** end ****, ***** **** most ******** ******, **** some **** ** ************ that * ****** ** offline, ***** ** ****** not ******** ** *****.

What ** *** *****?

***** *** ********** *** disadvantages, ***** *** *** Blink ** **** ****? Tell ** *** ** why *** ** *** comments.

Comments (21)

Blink's built in PIR provides much more reliable detection than the video motion detection found in most home/DIY cameras, with no false alarms during the course of our testing, and very few missed detections.

Blink and you won't miss it!

Arlo another complete wireless solution has been out for a while now. Its a bit more expensive though

Arlo, formerly Avaak, has been around for many years.

The closest comparable from Arlo's line is the VMS3130 which is ~$170 instead of $100 but is outdoor ready and has integrated IR.

It's probably worth us doing a new test of Arlo as Netgear seems to be promoting it fairly heavily.

Btw, Nubo is shipping in Europe this month. Work with optional battery pack.

Thanks. We'll order one when it's available in the US.

Btw, 349 Euros for a single super home cam, wow... Equal to an 8 channel Hikezviz system...

$10/month for a 4G video data plan seems ok at least.

I think Panasonic is going to really push it big, based on the quality and quantity of their marketing.

Notice how it's shown everywhere, without wires or battery pack, as if it's recording.

Is Arlo (and the other competitors mentioned in the comments) completely wireless? That's a huge benefit as far as I'm concerned. I can overlook some other shortcomings in favor of the battery operation.

Yes, wireless/battery powered. We have a test of Arlo, as well.

For some time I'm looking optimal wire free home camera model and Blink was one of them, unfortunately, we can see that they has serious things to work on. About no continuous recording I even didn't thought that there isn't such basic (by my opinion) thing.

Is it possible to disable this white LED? By default, I accepted that it can be done, but now I'm not sure.

Is it possible to disable the white LED?

It's not a hopeful sign that the blue led cannot be disabled:

There is not a way to disable the blue recording LED on the front of the camera. This feature was implemented as a security measure to ensure users would know if the camera was active and capturing video.

Of course, there are a few ways of permanently 'disabling' the white or blue LEDS, but these are not with some risk, as they involve some guesswork in determining the correct bit size...

1-10-2018, I just checked the Blink website for updates and found the blue recording LED can be turned off but only on the Blink XT cameras.

"About no continuous recording I even didn't thought that there isn't such basic (by my opinion) thing."

The reason for no continuous recording is because it runs on batteries. Theoretically, it could record continuously but then you'd have to change the battery multiple times a day.

"Is it possible to disable this white LED?"

If you do that, you won't have any night time video at all. That said, as the video in the report shows, yes, you can disable it:

Is there no skepticism for the claimed battery life of 'over one year'?

Certainly at the rate of 1/2 hr of recorded video per week, which doesn't seem out of line for a family household, that's > 26 hrs of video per set of batteries! Not including the power drain of the 24/365 PIR detector.

BTW, the transmission delay is probably a result of the camera having to wake up and establish a connection with the cloud.

The reason for no offline status is similarly tied to the fact that it is normally offline to save power, therefore this state cannot be polled for from the cloud. The best that could be done is a regularly scheduled 'check-in' process, but this would be delayed and would eat into power as well.

Yes, I am skeptical.

I've added the following: "

  • Limited Battery: The battery is specified for 'one year' but that is based on only using it for 5.5 hours for the year, which would be fairly sporadic. As such, even moderate usage will drain the battery in months, if not weeks."
If it emails video clips, then your email box is your extended storage.

If it did, that would be true, if not clunky. But it doesn't email video clips. It only sends push notifications through the mobile app.

Any ideas about the chipset being used for this camera or Arlo? I would imagine it is using a low power MCU to achieve this battery life time.

Anyone have any issue with delays between pressing play and video starting? I am trying one and delays more than 5 seconds and up to 10 seconds are commonplace. I assume part of it is the cloud relay but is it also an issue with activating the camera due to its power conservation / battery approach?

I have the same problem. Also delays on the analytics triggering the recording.

Paul, thanks, somewhat happy to not be alone.

From testing their audio portion, there's only a ~2 second delay on hearing audio, so I suspect the bulk of the delay is from the connection setup. Waiting that long to get the camera feed is painful, it's like connecting to a web page over a dial up modem.

I set it to record for 15s, but sometimes it only records for 5. It also starts playback in the middle of the recording

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