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I Used a Blink Outdoor Camera for 2 Years: And Loved It!

Blink Outdoor Camera

I Used a Blink Outdoor Camera for 2 Years: And Loved It!

Key Points

  • The Blink Outdoor Camera is a wireless, weather-resistant HD security camera that offers a basic camera system for home security at an affordable price.
  • The camera has a sturdy and inconspicuous design, making it easy to mount outside without drawing attention.
  • It has a long battery life, with no need to change the batteries for up to two years.

When I first heard of the Blink Outdoor Camera system, I didn’t expect much. After using the same old hardwired security camera setup in my business for almost eight years, I knew I needed something better. Shopping around on Amazon and checking out a handful of reviews led me to buy a three-pack of these unassuming little cameras. 

In today’s review, I’m going to break down its features, specs, and what I love or hate about it. While it might be suspiciously cheap, its flaws are not big enough to run away from it. So, let’s get started!

Running 100+ feet of ethernet cable to different parts of my office and hooking everything up to a POE switch still gives me nightmares. Not that it was difficult, just that it was so time-consuming. As I slowly watched different nodes of my old camera system fail, whether from wires coming unplugged or cameras just mysteriously dying, I knew the day would soon come for me to replace it.

When I stumbled on the Blink Outdoor Camera, you could picture my surprise when I realized how much security camera systems had advanced over the past decade. Instead of having to fuss with all these wires and switches, I could just throw a camera up on the wall with some batteries and call it a day.

But wireless cameras are nothing impressive, right? Wrong! Let’s look at the individual aspects of this system a little more closely, starting with the design.

Design

When it comes to cameras, you don’t want them to look like cameras. A conspicuous camera bolted to the side of your house is a dead giveaway that your place is under surveillance, which is fine if you are trying to make a deterrent. But if you want to catch someone in the act, you want your camera to go unnoticed. The Blink Outdoor Camera definitely goes unnoticed.

The design of this camera is as basic as you can get. It is just a plain black box. It fits in the palm of your hand — completely square and unassuming. The super compact design means your house won’t be looking like you’re trying too hard. It is subtle.

Since it runs off of a couple of batteries, you don’t have to worry about routing a power cable or an ethernet cable for signal. It is completely wireless. You sync it via WiFi, and that is it. No routing cables, no drilling holes, nothing like that. It is dead simple. That’s what I like about it.

Blink Outdoor camera design
The Blink Outdoor camera is small and unassuming — you can fit it in the palm of your hand.

Battery Life

You might be wondering about how good the battery life could possibly be. Since it only uses two standard 1.5V AA batteries, I was a little skeptical myself. But surprisingly, I haven’t had to replace the batteries even once yet — in the entire time I’ve owned it!

Changing the batteries is super simple. You can unscrew the back of the camera to access them. And since you won’t need to worry about changing them for two years, it isn’t even a chore. The sync module is the only part of the system that needs to be plugged in, but you’ll need this placed near your WiFi router anyway. So it isn’t a huge hassle.

Blink Outdoor camera open
The Blink Outdoor Camera has a slot for two AA batteries, which will keep the camera running for a whopping two years.

Picture and Sound Quality

As for the picture quality, you can’t expect much from such a compact, low-energy device. But the Blink Outdoor Camera exceeds your expectations. It records in 1080p, and you can zoom in on your phone to see details close up. You won’t be able to pick up text or any tiny details from far away, but it is more than enough.

The frame rate is decent, at 30 FPS, which is more than enough for simply viewing on your phone. Being an outdoor camera, you also get night vision, which is pretty handy for checking up on your camera feed around the clock.

The Blink Outdoor Camera also comes with a built-in microphone and speaker. But neither of them is really impressive. The speaker sounds super tinny and doesn’t get very loud. The microphone is even worse. Trying to listen in on what is happening through the app is downright terrible. 

Besides that, the audio is also delayed. So, if you are trying to have any kind of conversation, such as with someone waiting at your front door, you’ll need to tap the button, speak, and wait for a response — all while hoping the other person doesn’t start speaking too soon. It is a janky audio experience overall. But it gets the job done.

Blink Outdoor camera back
The Blink Outdoor Camera opens with one turn of a screw, which you can turn easily with a penny.

Mounting and Setting Up The Outdoor Camera

If you want to use this camera outdoors, you’ll need to buy the mount, which comes separately. It isn’t a huge expense, but you’ll need to splurge by about $10 if you want to make it easy and buy the official mount. 

You don’t have to mount it, which is great if you just want to place it in the corner or if you want to stick it to something else. But it is nice that the mounting bracket is an option. That being said, I never purchased the mounting bracket myself. I prefer the more inconspicuous option of just placing it in a hard-to-see spot.

Setting up the Blink Outdoor Camera is pretty straightforward, too. You get a sync module, which you’ll need to pair with your WiFi router. From there, you simply scan the QR code on the back of each camera to add it to the system.

Blink Outdoor Camera app
The Blink Outdoor Camera app is super easy to set up and use, and you can view your camera feed in real time.

The Blink Outdoor Camera is nothing without the accompanying app. And what makes this app special is that you don’t have to pay any extra fees to use it, unless you want storage. I’ve had bad experiences with similar technology in the past that relied on an accompanying app, which soon stopped working or demanded payment. 

The Blink app has been free for as long as I have used it. Hopefully, this will continue for the foreseeable future. All you need to do is download the Blink app on your phone and sync each camera to it over your WiFi network. Once you do that, you can see your camera feed from anywhere in the world. As someone who uses their computer much more than their phone, I only wish there was a desktop client, too. Many other camera systems offer desktop access, so this is a bit of a disappointment.

One thing that isn’t great about this software is that you will have to pay for cloud storage if you want to save your camera footage. This is fine for casual users who don’t want to go through existing footage. But let’s face it, what good are these if you can’t view previous events? 

Another thing that I don’t like is the response time. If you’re set up to receive push notifications when an event triggers the camera, you don’t get the notification until well after the tripping event happens.

Pros:

  • Sturdy, versatile design
  • Long battery life
  • Wide field of view with night vision
  • Easy to set up with included iPhone/Android app

Cons:

  • Slow response times
  • The microphone and speaker are lousy
  • Need to pay for cloud storage

So, now that you know a little more about the Blink Outdoor Camera and how it stacks up against the competition and its previous generations, should you buy it? 

Buy it if…

…You want a basic camera system for home security that won’t break the bank. The Blink Outdoor Camera is very inexpensive. Compared to more pricey cameras or professional options, these are a bargain.

But I’m not saying the main selling point of this camera is the low price. It has a lot going for it in other departments. 

If you want an inconspicuous camera to mount outside, away from prying eyes, this camera’s design lends itself perfectly to that. You can buy a separate mount to make it easier to attach to a fixed point, plus you can even find a solar-powered mount. This way, you never have to worry about changing the batteries. Which brings me to my next point.

If you want a camera with excellent battery life, definitely consider this one. I have owned this system for two years, and in that whole time, I haven’t changed the batteries once. It’s probably getting close to needing new batteries at this point, but either way, I’m impressed.

Don’t buy it if…

…You want a more robust camera that will better withstand the elements and provide you with a more seamless experience when it comes to playback and audio. These cameras are fairly small and feel cheap. Although they work well, they might not stand the test of time if you get a lot of harsh weather. Plus, the audio experience is not great, especially compared to something like a Ring camera system.

If you want something with more options for interacting with your camera feed, you might want to look into a camera system with a desktop application. As someone who prefers to use their computer for most tasks, this is one of my biggest gripes. Additionally, since cloud storage costs money (and who can blame them — it shouldn’t be free), you might want to consider alternatives with better storage options.

Plus, since I bought this camera system, Blink has released a new generation, which is mostly the same. But it comes with minor upgrades to the motion detection system and night vision. It is too new to tell if it is significantly better. But you might want to hold off until more user reviews come in, especially if you want to have the latest and greatest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Blink Outdoor Camera have a monthly fee?

You can use the Blink app for free, but if you want to take advantage of cloud storage, you’ll need to pay. At the time of this writing, the cost for a subscription is $3 per month per camera, or $10 per month for unlimited cameras.

How do I watch Blink Outdoor Camera live?

Just open the Blink app on your smartphone and click on the feed for the particular camera you want to view.

Do Blink Outdoor Cameras require a Sync module?

Yes, you will need a sync module to use these cameras. Make sure it is included in the bundle you purchase, or get one separately.

What is the recording distance on a Blink Outdoor Camera? 

The field of view is 110 degrees, which is pretty wide. They can also detect motion up to 30 feet away, although they work best at detecting events much closer, within 7 to 19 feet.

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