Blink Outdoor Security Camera Changes Things a Bit

Blink Security CameraThe Blink Outdoor Security Camera just came out.  There’s a minor improvement on the hardware specs from the XT2.  There is a significant change in how the video history is stored.  Along with that change is a new Blink sync module.  These last two changes go together in purposeful strategy which we will discuss a little later.

We encountered the first generation from Blink over three years ago.  The Blink Home Security System was a decent wireless camera but was still a work in progress.  Seeing the opportunity for an outdoor model, the Blink XT was introduced and we liked this a lot.  The Blink XT2 built upon the older XT and had improved specifications over its predecessor.

Then came the Blink Outdoor Security Camera.

Software

You can access the Blink Outdoor Security Camera with your iPhone or Android smartphone.  A web based interface is unavailable.

Like previous Blink generations before it, there is very little documentation in the box.  Download the Blink app, scan the UPC and follow the prompts in the app.

Surprisingly, this is where I encountered an issue.  Thought I would start out by adding it to an already established sync module.  It added fine but when I went to view video, it came back with a connectivity issue.  I tried removing batteries without success.  I then realized none of the cameras could be viewed.  Unplugging the sync module did not help.  I then restarted my entire mesh network, plugged the sync module back in and all was fixed.

So let’s move on.

Motion settings include sensitivity, re-trigger time and clip length.  There is also a toggle to end the clip early if motion stops.  This helps to save on battery and recording space.

Activity zones are supported on the Blink Outdoor Security Camera.  Activity zones will help eliminate false motion alerts.  Select the areas where valid motion will likely appear and deselect the places where invalid motion might be encountered.  Useful applications of activity zones can exclude things like leaves on a tree from creating motion alerts.  The camera also introduces a feature called Privacy Zones explained under the New and Different section later in this review.

I find that a clip length of 10 seconds suffices for ordinary monitoring and like to use a 20 second re-trigger time.  A sensitivity of 7 is used to capture all motion events although you can probably get away with a 5.

Three video qualities are presented which can be selected called Saver, Best and Enhanced.  The top delivering 1080p.

New to the Blink Outdoor Security Camera is the ability to turn the status LED off via the app.  This is far superior to the older cameras where there was a switch within the case that needed to be manually toggled.

Battery status is shown however it’s not displayed as a percentage.  It’s going to say OK or Replace.

And I saved this one for last.  No more free cloud storage (although there is a free trial with a newly purchased camera).  Video history is either saved to an external thumb drive attached to the sync module 2 or cloud plan subscription.  A major negative for those wanting a camera with free cloud.

Hardware

That’s a Blink Outdoor Security Camera in the photo that accompanies this article.  It’s a square camera just like the older generations.  It’s quite small measuring 2.8” x 2.8” x 1.4” and weighing in at 4 ounces.

This camera can be used indoors or outside.  The case is rated IP-65 so it can withstand being hit with water from the rain and snow.

No A/C power necessary for the Blink Outdoor Security Camera as they work on a set of AA batteries.  Blink includes two name brand AA lithium batteries with the camera.  According to Blink, these will last up to two years with standard use.

It just got a whole lot easier to change your batteries with the Blink Outdoor Security Camera.  The older generations used a non-intuituve locking mechanism.  It was so complicated, we had to post an article on how to open a Blink XT or Blink XT2 camera.  That locking mechanism has been replaced by a screw that’s covered by a rubber cover.  Use a coin to turn the screw counter-clockwise then pop off the rear cover.  Great design change.

Like prior Blink generations, the Blink Outdoor Security Camera attaches via Blink Protocol to a sync module.  The Sync Module stays indoors located somewhere between the cameras and wireless router via 2.4 MHz 802.11 b/g/n.  We discuss how to best position the Blink Sync Module on our site as it’s a bit of an arts and crafts project to get the best signal.

While you can purchase one of these cameras to attach to an older sync module, these come with the new Blink Sync Module 2.  As discussed in the software section, this module has a USB port that will handle up to a 256 GB thumb drive to store video history.

The Blink Outdoor Security Camera features a 110 degree field of vision at 1080p.  Place the camera in a corner and that will cover a large swath of territory.

The Blink Outdoor Security Camera incorporates an 850 nm infrared lamp which is adequate for most night situations.

There’s an integrated microphone and speaker.  The speaker is located on the front of the case.  Volume is just ok and that’s typical for most of these cameras.

The camera works with IFTTT.  You can do some basic automation including arming, disarming and alert notifications.  The camera also integrates with Alexa so you can watch it on an Echo Show or Echo Spot.  Remember not to go crazy with this option as your viewing activity will directly effect the battery life.

Connectivity

The Blink Outdoor Security Camera sync module connects to the router at 2.4GHz using 802.11 b/g/n.  This is connectivity between the sync module and wireless router.  Remember that the camera connects to the sync module, not the router.  I have used these outdoors 50 feet from the sync module without a problem.

Mounts

Blink has come a long way with the mounts.  They include a decent swivel mount that can bolt to a wall.  They now include a supplemental bracket that snaps onto the back of the camera then snaps onto the swivel mount so that you can also mount this to ceiling.  That was a glaring issue with the prior generation mounts.

Fun and Different

There is a new feature called privacy zones.  Using the app, mark the zones where you don’t want video recorded or motion detected.  When you look at video with privacy zones detected, you will see a gray square.

Another new feature is called Photo Capture.  Enabling Photo Capture will take a photo hourly and have it appear in the Clip Roll.

Summary

Is the Blink Outdoor Security Camera an improvement over the XT2?  There are several enhancements that have been discussed including software toggle of the status light, privacy zones, photo capture and the external USB drive on the sync module 2.  No more free cloud storage but it’s still a great camera at a reasonable price.

Quick Specs:

Video QualityField of ViewCloud SupportSD SupportNight VisionMobile/Web AppAlertsOutdoor
1080p110 DegreesYesYes (via sync module 2)YesYes/NoYesYes

Manufacturer Link:  Blink