Just over a year ago we had some pretty cheap but decent cameras in the kids rooms, these were your £30 wireless cams with a very sketchy/unfinished/not very user-friendly app to control them with. Nothing wrong with them on the whole but with the introduction of the Amazon Blink Camera products, well, put it this way, we don’t use them anymore.
What is a Blink Camera?
Blink and You’ll Miss It! Blink is Amazons range of indoor and outdoor security cameras, offered at a very competitive price. We have a couple of indoor cameras and we also have an outdoor camera that is situated on the front of the house overlooking the drive.
The outdoor camera is usually priced at £99.99 but has been known to sell at £69.99 during certain times of the year. Your indoor cameras are slightly cheaper, and you are looking at £79.99 for the usual price but they have been known to sell at £59.99 during sales.
There is also one other camera that has recently hit the market, the Blink Mini. Again, this camera retails at £35 but can be purchased for as low as £25. This one we don’t have, but is on my Christmas list!
What Are The Benefits of Blink?
The cameras are all 1080P and wireless, so straight away these two factors become an incredible temptation for people who want a decent quality camera but don’t have the know-how or money to get a camera wired up to the outside of a house.
Each camera, both indoor and outdoor have motion detection so you can set boundaries and sensitivity options within the app (which we will come onto later), and they also work with your Alexa devices.
The outdoor cameras are weather-resistant and have up to a two-year battery life.
I can certainly vouch for the weather-resistant aspect as we’ve had our camera up outside for the best part of 18 months now and it has gone through snow, strong winds, hot sun, and all that the great British weather can throw at it. And, it still works like a dream.
Battery life however, we get around 6 months from it, but we do use the recording and live views a lot and our sensitivity settings are high, plus Amazon recommends using AA Lithium batteries.
How Does The App Work?
Setting up the Amazon Blink Camera is fairly straight-forward, it comes with its own sync module that you plug in and connect to your router. The app can be downloaded on Google play or the Apple Store and works in a similar way to the Ring Doorbell app we wrote about last week. You add a camera in the app and then scan a QR code either on the sync module first (if you haven’t setup a camera yet), or on the back of the camera (if you already have a sync module setup).
Note, if this is the first time you are setting up you will need to set the sync module up by scanning the QR code on the back first, and then on the camera after.
Once setup you can ‘arm’ your camera and then dig deeper into further settings as well as test the live view stream to see if your camera is positioned to where you are happy with it.
Blink Camera Settings
There are a host of different settings that can be applied to the camera, as well as some useful stats such as the state of the battery and the temperature of the device (ideal for your outdoor cameras). You can also set a certain temperature level alert for cold or hot conditions so you can take action.
Some of the key settings include:
- Night Vision Options
- Audio Options
- Video Quality
- Motion Detection
Generally speaking, on the outdoor camera, we turn off the sound, and keep video settings at ‘saver’ to help battery life. Motion detection will vary between cameras and where you have them setup.
The next part of the app is the little video icon at the bottom which shows you all the videos that have been saved by the camera when it has detected motion, or if you have perhaps saved a live stream. Again, depending on usage, you can set these to delete after 3, 7, 14 or 30 days and they are all stored in the cloud using your Blink Subscription Plan.
What is Blink Storage?
Every new device comes with a free trial of Blink Cloud Storage and enable you to store motion clips and Live View sessions to the cloud account. There are basic and plus options, and if you have more than one camera you are most likely going to benefit from the Plus plan unless you aren’t fussed about some cameras saving footage. Again, for the outdoor camera, and as this is a huge security feature, I would recommend you at least sign up to the Basic plan which allows one camera.
It happens to also be really, really cheap and will set you back £24.99 for the year or £2.50 per month.
Using Blink With Alexa
With all of the Smart Devices that we have covered over the last few months, they have one main thing in common and that is they all work with Alexa. The same goes with our final device of the series, the Blink camera. Simply search your Alexa app for the skill ‘Blink’ and then activate it.
You will then be able to ask Alexa Echo Show to ‘show me the front door camera’, or whatever you have labelled or wherever you have placed your camera(s).
This brings our series of turning your home into Smart Home to an end. We hope you have enjoyed the weekly reads and have learnt about or been inspired to add a few gadgets or security devices to your home.
Craig Timmins is a blogger who enjoys to cover topics that encompass all things that are iOS and Android related. He can be found on Twitter most days, so if you have any questions – ask away!