Blink Wire-Free HD Home Monitor & Security Systemstars4Rating 4.0 Reviewed by Paul
The Blink HD Wireless Home Monitoring Camera is currently being released and is one of the few monitoring cameras that is completely wireless, Having said that you do have to have a Sync module (that is included in the price of the first camera) which needs to be plugged into the house supply.

It does look like a useful camera to have, giving you the option to put it where you want rather than having to worry about where you place it. But although this is great to have you still want it to be able to give you a clear video (day and night) for live and recording, notify you of incidents and record them properly,

This is whether you are using it for security purposes or more generally for seeing what is happening at home or your vacation home when you aren’t there. Otherwise it is just a nice gimmick to have.

Another feature is the low price which also makes it attractive. But do you just get what you pay for!

And on that note, let’s see how it measures up, starting off with getting it up and working.

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Installation

The set up and installation is quick and simple to do.

You are required to have 2.4 GHz 802.11n WiFi with a minimum bandwidth of 1.5 mb/s, Android (4.4 kitkat or higher)or IOS (version 5 or higher) device, high speed internet connection and a valid email address to complete the set up and use.

You’ll need your WiFi password handy.

The set up cam all be done in minutes by plugging in the sync module, downloading the App and following along to instructions to set up the moduleand adding the cameras.

The sync module should be installed close to your WiFi for best results to prevent it dropping out from interference.

The cameras can be put anywhere you want to get the view of the room or area you want to monitor. They can be installed on your walls using the mounting kit and angled for the best view.

To attach to the wall you can use the double sided tape or the screws provided. But you can just put them on a shelf or cabinet too.

Contract

There is no contract to sign nor any monthly fees to monitor the camera or store video on the company’s servers.

At the moment there are no add on services to the package. Although nothing has been announced as yet, I’m think they will move to this pricing model in the future as have previous start ups where you pay for added features such as longer video storage.

Support

Blink Wire-Free HD Home Monitor & Security System priceAs this is a new product and the company doesn’t have a track record so it is difficult to assess how good they are at customer service

As seems to be the norm with these type of Kickstarter projects they did fall behind on their delivery promises and currently seem to be struggling with their delivery program.

From the responses on their Kickstarter page they are being as proactive as they can be in answering peoples questions and helping with problems. Although they are struggling to keep up with it.

They don’t have any phone support or live chat. Currently the only way to contact them is by email.

When I contacted them for more information on this review they responded quickly and with good answers during the time they had just started shipping which was sure to have been keeping them busy. This makes me think they’ll do a good job supporting after the initial launch is over.

The system has a 1 year limited warranty.

Cameras

Blink Wire-Free HD Home Monitor & Security System cameraThe quality of the 720 HD camera is clear giving you the ability to see a person’s face clearly up to 20 feet and up to 32 feet you can see a person but not clearly but you would recognize someone you know.

After 32 feet it will start to be blurring and will depend on light conditions. It is a good clear picture in IOS however there is an issue at present with some Android phones where the image is green which is to be fixed by an app update.

When in good lighting the cameral captures video at 30 fps and at low light conditions 7 fps to make the most of the light available to get the most clear possible using the Illuminator – it doesn’t brighten the room up enough to see what is happening by the naked eye but is enough for the camera to see and record clearly.

However, when recording or on live view using night vision the illuminator turns on (unless disabled) to give the camera more light to give a clearer pictures. The Illuminator is very bright when looking straight at it, it will be noticed by anyone in the room. It will draw a person’s attention to it. It is someone there looking to commit a crime it may deter them and cause them to leave or it may draw their attention and they then destroy it. Although the captured video would be store online currently.

Although easier to see then infra red (which are faint red spots) it does give you a much clearer color picture and not grainy blurry black and white video you see with infra red at night.

The camera has a 110 degree view, if you want to cover a room you may want to place in a corner to get an entire view of the room., anywhere else it will have blind spots.

There is blue LED light at the front of camera that comes on when the camera is recording. It can’t be switched off, so it may draw the attention of the intruder to the camera during the day, however it does mean you can see when it is recording when you are at home.

The camera has a fixed view so there is no ability to pan, tilt or zoom remotely. It does come with night vision and motion detection capability. When it detects motion it can be set to record a 1 to 10 second clip that is recorded to the company servers.

It is possible to zoom using a pinch zoom on the recordings and live feed to get a closer view, this is a digital zoom only and not from the lens.

During the live view it is not possible to record what you are seeing. Motion recording on that camera is turned off on that camera but the others continue to motion record.

The camera can’t be used outdoors as it is not waterproof nor have the company yet tested at what temperature range it can operate at. if using it through a window the motion sensor won’t work and at night it is likely to be too much reflection for the illuminator to work you would need to use another way to illuminate the area you want to monitor for a live view.

The camera has a microphone for listening to what is happening or being said at your home. It comes through clearly making easy to hear what is happening. It doesn’t come with a speaker so you can’t speak to people where you are monitoring. You can’t then have a conversation with your children or tell your dog or cat to get off the couch or soothe them.

On the front of the camera in the center is the motion detector, above that is the illuminator and up from that is the lens of the camera. At the back of the camera is a micro-usb port that can be used for powering the camera instead of batteries.

Video Storage

Currently video can only be stored onto the company’s servers but they have said coming soon you’ll be able to record direct to a USB stick that you insert into the Sync module.

Accessing videos is done by clicking on the file icon on the home screen of the App which lists all the videos in order of time from latest to oldest. The clips you’ve not viewed have a blue dot next to them.

You can store up to 2 hours of video on the company’s servers. When that limit is reached the next video is recorded over the oldest video.

Recorded video can be downloaded to your phone for permanent storage or sharing with others or anything else you might want to do with it.

Alarms

There is no audible siren for the camera today. The company is promising one to be available soon that will be battery powered. This will be 105 decibels loud. This will be loud enough to alert you and should scare most intruders away. It is unlikely to be noticed by your neighbors when mounted inside unless you are living in an apartment.

The monitoring system does not have entry sensors, so it is only once the intruder is in the house the camera’s motion sensor will detect them.

For a more complete security there are couple of options that you could use to provide that.

There is the korner home security that have entry sensors that work by detecting vibration on the doors or windows that it has been placed. It doesn’t have an alarm but it is economical. It is also internet based but it does require an annual fee of $39 for 3 sensors. Read the full review here.

Alternatively to give full coverage of your home you can install a wireless DIY wireless home security system – these don’t require professional installation or running cables through your home. Here you can go with a more traditional system with the Fortress GSM-08 or Pisector GS08-M where you can get notifications either through the landline and/or cellular network. Neither have an app, but do have a siren.

A more modern system is the Scout Alarm System which uses the internet for monitoring and notifying via its App you when someone has broken in to your house. Read the complete review here.

These systems don’t have cameras which is how Blink can work together with them. When you are notified by them you can check what is happening at home with the camera before taking the next step to notify police or other as necessary.

Blink Wire-Free HD Home Monitor & Security System Notification

You can get notifications by push notification and/or email when the camera detects motion with a link to the video clip. There is only a delay of a few seconds between motion being detected and you receiving the notification on your phone.

As many people as you want can download the App and get access to camera for notifications and remote monitoring. This helps out to ensure someone can take action if there is an emergency if you can’t use your phone such as when at work in a meeting.

However, only one person can view the Live Feed at a time which could restrict viewing . You can only have a live feed of one camera at a time.

Remote Monitoring

Blink Wire-Free HD Home Monitor & Security System installedIt is important to note that when you access a 5 second motion clip it uses up to 750 kb of data particularly when you accessing the clips over a cellular network.

So far people are finding using the App to be easy to use for watching live video and recordings, arming/disarming and downloading recordings

It’s easy to navigate but there isn’t that much to it at the moment that can be done (Setting the camera for more details).

Watching a live view is straight forward you click on the camera you want to watch and it takes you straight to live view. To hear sound you click on the speaker icon. Viewing works smoothly and there is no stop/start in the feed when you’ve got a good signal to your phone.

To watch more than one camera during live feed is not possible, you have toggle between them coming off one before starting watching the next one, which can make it difficult to follow when people are moving around your house to see exactly what is happening.

While in live view you’ll be asked every 30 seconds whether you want to continue viewing to help in preserving the battery life.

Each person who has access to the camera has the same level of access so you do need to be sure who you give access to is a trustworthy person or you may run into issues. The only way to block access would be to change the password to your camera.

Battery

Each camera uses 2 AA lithium batteries. The company expects the camera to last 1 year with normal usage. This is estimated to be about 4000 5 second clips per year. The batteries come with the camera. There is not a feature to be able to recharge them while they are in the unit.

The sync module uses the house supply for power and doesn’t come with back up batteries.

The siren/alarm when it is released will work on 1 lithium AA battery.

Sensors/Detection

It uses a Passive Infra Red sensor to detect movement which detects changes in heat as movement. THis has a field of view of 110 degrees and a range of 20 feet.

You do need to careful where you point it to prevent false alerts as it can pick up false readings from warm air heating when it comes on and blows warm air into the room.

If you have pets it is possible to adjust the sensitivity of sensor to prevent getting alerts when they move around the house. It is on a sliding scale so you will need to find the setting by trial and error that ignores your pets but will pick up something larger.

When it detects motion you can set that it records a video between 1 second and 10 seconds. It won’t record again for 10 to 60 seconds depending on what you’ve set the camera to. It does mean you can miss important events while the camera is off. It does help to preserve the life of the camera and stop you getting too many alerts to your phone especially during times when you’d expect motion such as when you are home.

The delay between detection and the camera starting to record is a fraction of a second which should be quick enough to catch someone in the field of view of the camera.

Setting The Camera

In setting up the camera you are given a number of choices that can be changed easily through the App. It is all on one screen. It starts with giving the camera a name to make it easier to identify which camera to choose when looking at a live feed/recording or to know which one sent a notification.

Next are the functions for motion detection which includes whether you want the camera to detect motion when you arm the system, delay between video recordings between one stopping and the next one starting, how sensitive the motion sensor is, how long the motion clip is (1 to 10 seconds).

Next down is the illuminator section for night vision. You can set this to never come on, always be on or only when the light is poor when camera is active. You can also set it to low medium or high. Without the illuminator your night vision is much reduced – you can just see what is happening but won’t recognize anyone. It does stop someone from being notified they are being recorded. You can’t toggle the illuminator on/off when in live view mode.

The illuminator is bright enough that it might disturb sleeping children so is not a good option for this and not having it on may reduce vision enough that you can’t see what caused an alert or see what is happening when in live view.

Next is audio where you can turn it off/on depending on whether you want it when viewing live or when it is being recorded.

Finally there is the status section which lets you know the temperature, battery charge and signal strength for the WiFi and Sync Module. And there is also the option to delete the camera.

You can arm/disarm the camera(s) manually using the App. There is no scheduling or automatic turning on and off when you leave or arrive home. It does mean it is up to you to remember to do this, you can’t set it up around your personal schedule.

On the monitoring screen of your App is where you can arm the system by toggling the button at the from disarm to arm. it is fairly simple and effective. If you don’t want a camera armed you click the moving person and it grays out to indicate it is no longer detecting motion. If you are at home you might want to arm the cameras detecting motion on the doors to be on but the ones for internal rooms or hallways you may not want on to prevent you getting lots of notifications as you and your family move around the home.

Sync Module

Blink Wire-Free HD Home Monitor & Security System sync moduleEach sync module can control up to 10 devices. A device is a camera or an alarm. This controls and communicates with the cameras. It sends the notifications through the internet to your phone and vice versa from your phone to the cameras.

It is a small white unit. On the front are 2 LED lights at the top right that let you know the status of the unit whether it is powered up properly and connected to the WiFi.

Underneath there is an Ethernet port that can be used to connect with your router but it does still need WiFi to work. Next to this is the micro-USB post that you plug in the cord to connect to the house supply.

At the side is the USB port where the USB storage can plug in for storing locally when this functionality has been enabled.

Protection Against It Being Switched Off

The Sync module uses your home power which does mean you won’t get recorded or live view when there is no power. This is the same if there is no internet

The video storage in the cloud does mean that if a criminal takes your camera or destroys it the video is safely out of harm’s way and can be used to help the police with their inquiries.

You can set the system to send a notification to you when the WiFi/internet connection is lost at home.

Coverage

The distance that the cameras can be up to a 100 yards away from the Sync Module. Currently there is no way to boost the distance but the coverage should be enough for most homes. If you have a separate garage or rooms the signal probably won’t make it that far. The only way to extend this would be to have another Sync Module which does create 2 systems but both could be accessed using the same App account.

Wireless or Wired

The cameras are completely wireless not requiring wires to communicate or for power. However, the sync module that communicates wirelessly with the cameras is plugged into the power supply. Communication is done using WiFi and low frequency radio signal.

Zones

Camera’s can’t be grouped into zones to allow you to arm/disarm a zone at a time. You can arm the system as a whole and disarm cameras individually.

Dimensions

Sync Module 58 by 58 by 18 mm.

Camera 68 by 68 by 34 mm

Features

Included in the camera box are:
Camera
2 X AA Batteries
Set Up Manual
Mounting kit, screw and double back tape.

With the Sync Module box are:
Sync module
Power Adaptor – type is based on country you ordered from
Cord for connecting sync module to adaptor
Set Up Manual

Accessories

Currently there are no accessories or add-ons to the system (a siren is coming soon).
It is not work compatible with any other systems. It currently does not work with IFTT (stands for “if this then that” – where you can integrate through the internet with other smart things and more) this may come soon.

Pros

This is a very well priced camera for home monitoring

The battery powered cameras can be put where you want them, you aren’t limited by access to power points

The AA batteries are expected to last for 1 year under normal circumstances.

Can view your camera and receive notifications anywhere you can access the internet

Set up is quick and easy

Can have multiple people to view the camera and receive notifications

Small compact cameras

Good images during the day and night

App is easy to use

Receive notifications and monitor cameras from anywhere you have a signal with IOS and Android devices

Cons

Isn’t compatible with other home automation devices or controllers

Does not work when there is a power or internet outage.

No scheduling or automated turning on/off dependent on your location (scheduling has been promised)

You can’t speak to people or pets from the App as camera doesn’t have a speaker

Can’t store video locally (will be able to do this soon the company has promised)

You can’t view using a PC or a Windows or Blackberry

You are reliant on the company’s servers being up to receive notifications and view video clips

It is new so there will be bugs that need to be ironed out which can be frustrating but worse mean that the camera does it work as it should when you need it.

Anyone added to system has the same rights as everyone else

Limited to a maximum of 10 seconds for motion recordings

Can’t record a live feed

Can only see one camera at a time in live view

Only one person at at time can access live view at a time

Blink Wire-Free HD Home Monitor & Security System Consumer Ratings

Blink Wire-Free HD Home Monitor & Security System ReviewAs this is a new product that is just shipping to backers there isn’t a huge amount of customer reviews online.

Looking at responses in the comments over at their kickstarter page there are some reviews. There are a number of positive one with people stating how quick and easy it was to set up and being pleased with the quality of the video. They do want a longer recording time and to be able to record locally (to come soon).

However, there are some issues for some people not being able to set up the system and a very green view in recording and live feed. The company has responded that they are working on a fix. The issues seems to be for some Android devices only and doesn’t affect IOS at all.

Blink Wire-Free HD Home Monitor & Security System Price

At present this is a very affordable wireless camera with discounts for when you buy more than one. It compares very favorably with the Arlo (another wireless camera), it does have the advantage that it can also be installed outdoors.

For latest pricing click here:

Blink Wire-Free HD Home Monitor & Security System

Summary

This is a new system and in what seems to be the norm there are a few bugs that need to be ironed out with the pre-release orders with some having difficulty in adding cameras to sync module and a very green/dark video images when using certain Android devices.

This being the initial release of the camera is probably the biggest drawback at present with the system.

Hopefully, they’ll get the current issues sorted soon. They do appear to be proactive with this.

The next concern is that it doesn’t work with other smart home devices if you are looking to include this with your home automation – again they promise more to come soon.

At present this is home monitoring solution not a home security system but it may evolve into that in time.

Still, as a home monitoring camera Blink have come up with something pretty good already. You can keep a check on pets, children, workers in your home and elderly parents from anywhere in the world you can connect to the internet with your phone. Also get security alerts on unauthorized movement with recordings up to 10 seconds.

For now you get a camera that has a clear image (on IOS at least) that is wireless, free 2 hours of cloud storage, a long battery life and at a good price. If you are prepared to experience some issues with bugs and work through them with the company this camera is worth checking out.

Filed under: Reviews

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