In this connected world, it’s not uncommon for families to equipped their homes with Wi-Fi monitoring cameras. While there are indeed many choices available in the market, some are expensive, complex and cumbersome to use.
Here’s where Blink comes in. If you think the Blink camera looks familiar, you have probably seen it on Kickstarter where it raised over USD$1 million in funding way back in 2014. The camera was finally shipped end 2015 and fast forward to 2017, Aztech has finally brought the Blink into the Singapore market.
|Blink Starer Kit Package Content|
|Blink Sync Module|
|2 x AA Batteries|
|1 x USB cable|
|1 x Mounting Kit|
How is the Blink different from the other cameras out there? For one, the Blink is claiming battery life of up to 2 years on a pair of AA batteries (about 8,000 five-second events per year with Live View). Running on batteries also give it the advantage of having the flexibility of placing the camera anywhere in the house without having to worry about a power source. That means you can technically use it outside the driveway, along the corridor as long as it can receive the Wi-Fi signal and is away from the rain. A new Blink XT Outdoor Camera has also been announced at the time of writing so do check it out if you’re looking for an outdoor Wi-Fi camera.
Secondly, the Blink also provides free cloud storage of up to 7,200 seconds (or 120 mins) of video which is a paid service on some other cameras. The Blink however does not have an option for you to save the videos on a microSD card.
Setting up the camera is really simple. Simply connect the Blink Sync Module to a power source and download the Blink app (iOS / Android) to get started. If you do not yet have a Blink account, the app will prompt you to sign up for one. This account will be tied to the videos that will be stored in the cloud servers when you’re using the Blink camera.
You can install theBlink Home Monitor app to as many iOS and Android devices as you’d like, so that the entire household can receive alerts when motion is detected. However, the app only allows for one active Live View feed at any one time.
Once you’re signed in, you will have to will be asked to connect a sync module to get started. You can do so either by entering the serial number that is found on the bottom of the Sync Module or you can simply take a photo of the QR code.
After connecting the Sync Module, you will have to go to the Wi-Fi setting of your phone and connect to the Blink Sync Module.
You will only need 1 Sync Module to support up to 10 (yes, 10) Blink Cameras. Simply click on “Add a Blink camera” in the app menu to set up your camera. Likewise, you can do so either by entering the serial number that is found on the bottom of the Sync Module or you can simply take a photo of the QR code.
Honestly, it’s that simple. As long as the Blink can detect a relatively strong Wi-Fi signal, the setup is a breeze and only takes minutes.
One of the biggest strengths of the Blink Camera is how flexible it can be with its placement. As it is battery powered, there is no need for the Blink Camera to be placed near a power point, neither do you need to run a USB cable at the back of the camera to the power source.
The Blink has a flat base that also allows it to stand on its own when placed on a flat surface. You even have the option to wall mount the Blink camera with the optional wall mount that comes with the camera.
The Blink Camera also comes with a free iOS and Android Blink Home Monitor app. The app allows you to view real time footage from the camera and also to review the footages that have already been captured previously. As Blink only provides 120 minutes of free video recording on its server, once the quota is used up, new footages will automatically replace the old ones.
Under settings, you can also choose to name each individual camera (Living Room, Study Room etc) and control many other settings like the Motion Detection settings and also the intensity of the illuminator. While most other Wi-Fi cameras make use of infrared technology, Blink uses a physical light bulb that literally illuminates the dark when motion is detected at night. This could be a good deterrent to ward off intruder even before proceeding to ransack your house.
Besides motion, the Blink camera also has a temperature sensor that can you monitor at all times at each cameras location – just in case your house catches fire. The app will also alert you of any change in motion so that you can turn on the live view to see the situation at home. Each Live View session is limited to 30 seconds, after which, you will be asked to see if you would like to continue as a battery saving measure.
For the clip recording, you can select a duration from 5 – 60 seconds. You can also control the sensitivity of the motion detection and also the retrigger time on the app. While the videos are stored on Blink’s secured server, you can also choose to download the clips to your mobile devices and delete it from the server.
Do note that for motion detection to work, you would have to “arm” the camera on the app. You can also choose to schedule in advance for your Blink cameras to automatically arm or disarm for motion detection (for example arm for 8am and disarm at 9pm when you’re back from work).
As a potential IoT device, the Blink Camera is also compatible with Amazon’s Alexa where you can arm, disarm the Blink camera and receive system information simply by using your voice. You can also use it with IFTTT to integrate it with brands like SmartThings and Phillips Hue. Here are some of the cool stuff you can do with Blink and IFTTT!
The Aztech Blink camera is one of the most simple and consumer friendly Wi-Fi surveillance camera in the market. It takes minutes to set up and the fact that you do not need a dedicated power supply for each camera would definitely appeal to many. This clean and fuss-free solution also comes at a wallet friendly price of S$188 for the starter kit and S$138 for an additional add-on Blink camera. While most Wi-Fi camera only supports up to 4 cameras, the Blink’s support for 10 camera does make it a good option for owners of big private houses or small businesses.
Special thanks to Aztech Technologies Pte Ltd for the review unit.