Blink XT2 Smart Security Camera Review

Blink XT2 Smart Security CameraThe Blink XT2 Outdoor/Indoor Smart Security Camera is the latest entry from Blink.  Most specs are the same from the prior generation.  The introduction of two-way talk via a rear mounted speaker and enhanced recording ability set this apart from the earlier generations.

We encountered the first generation from Blink two 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 builds upon the older XT so readers shouldn’t be surprised that we like this one as well.

Software

You can access the Blink XT2 with your Apple iPhone or favorite Android smartphone.  There’s still no browser-based interface.  It seems like browser access is becoming a scarce commodity lately.

Typical of Blink, the XT is a scarcity of documentation in the box.  Not to worry, it’s not difficult to get started.  Download the Blink app, setup the sync module and start adding cameras.  Use the plus sign at the bottom of the initial screen to add your cameras.  A hint in setting up your cameras is to not put the rear cover on until you add it in as the UPC code needed for scanning is within the battery compartment.

Getting the back cover off the Blink XT2 is a bit tricky, so be sure to read the tutorial contained in our article on how to replace batteries in a Blink XT or XT2 camera.

Motion settings include sensitivity, retrigger 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 XT2.  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.

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

Can’t complain about free cloud storage, even it is limited.  Video from motion alerts is written to the cloud and you’re limited to 7,200 total seconds of storage.  It’s then overwritten.  In my particular case, with ten second clips, that’s at least 720 events.  This is the aggregate amount of storage per account, not per camera.  So if you have lots of cameras with plenty of motion events, you might find this amount to be inadequate.  If that’s the case, consider reducing the video clip length or retrigger frequency.  You can also check to end clip early if motion stops.  You can also lower the video quality as lower qualities reduce the amount of data.

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

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

Hardware

That’s a Blink XT2 in the photo that accompanies this article.  It’s a square camera and very light.  It’s quite small measuring 2.77” x 2.77” x 1.34” and weighing in at 4 oz (including 2 AA batteries).

This icamera can be used indoors or outside.  The case is rated as IP65.  That means the Blink XT2 camera is protected against low pressure water jets from all directions, limited ingress permitted.  That’s the official meaning of IP65.  So it’s ok to attach to the outside of your home and pound it with rain or snow.

No A/C power necessary for the Blink XT2 as they work on a set of AA batteries.  Blink includes two name brand AA lithium batteries with the Blink XT2.  According to Blink, these will last up to two years.  An interesting improvement over the older generation is that Blink claims these batteries are good for up to 80,000 seconds of recording.  That’s double what the older XT could handle.  When it’s time for a battery change, fear not, the Blink XT2 batteries are easy to change.

Here’s where the Blink XT2 gets a little tricky.  The cameras do not connect directly to the wireless router.  Instead each camera connects to a Sync Module.  The Sync Module connects to your wireless router.  Unlike the cameras, the Sync Module is powered by a traditional A/C adapter.  The Sync Module stays indoors located somewhere between the cameras and wireless router.  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.  The sync module can handle up to ten cameras so you will use a single sync module for one home or office.

Daytime video is excellent at 1080p.  The Blink XT2 cameras have a 110 degree wide-angle lens.  Not the greatest but sufficient to cover a lot of territory if placed in a corner or on an angle.  There is a slight lull in the video of a few seconds.

The Blink XT incorporates an 850 nm infrared lamp which is adequate for most circumstances.

There’s an integrated microphone and speaker.  The speaker is located on the back of the case and is one of the differences from the older XT which did not have a speaker.  Unfortunately, the speaker volume is weak and hard to hear unless close to the camera.

Like all other Blink cameras, all events are written to the cloud and there is no onbboard SD capability.

The Blink XT2 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.  Don’t get too caries away with it though, as the battery can drain a lot faster than the two year standard if watched for extended periods on the Echo.

Connectivity

The Blink XT2 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 Blink XT connects to the sync module, not the router.  In testing, 50 feet wasn’t an issue between the cameras and sync module.  That includes walls.

Mounts

This was a weak point in prior models from Blink.  Fortunately, they figured it out on the Blink XT2.  The mount is a swivel bolt-on variety.  It’s a huge improvement over prior Blink models.  Attach the mount to the latch area on the back of the camera and bolt it to a flat surface.  The camera can pivot up and down, left and right.  Great job by Blink on this mount.

Fun and Different

The Blink XT2 allows a much more granular activity zone selection.  Click on Activity Zones then Advanced to uncover about 300 boxes that can be deselected for activity exclusion.

Summary

This is an improvement of an already good camera.  The Blink XT2 Outdoor/Indoor Smart Security Camera is an excellent and inexpensive candidate for areas that don’t have readily accessibly power outlets.  The battery life is among the best that I have seen.  Couple this with reliable alerts, an easy to use app and simple setup and this is now one of my favorite home security cameras.

Quick Specs:

Video QualityField of ViewCloud SupportSD SupportNight VisionMobile/Web AppAlertsOutdoor
1080p110 DegreesYesNoYesYes/NoYesYes

Manufacturer Link:  Blink