As time has gone on, I have become more interested in my security. I believe that part of my role as father and husband is to protect my family, and there are several ways to do this. One such way is to be connected to what is going on around the house. I was looking at several home security products on the market and the push for a smart home really deterred me from a few. Other issues were cost, and subscription fees. I think I have found a nice mesh with the Blink Home Security System by Amazon.
Blink Security System
When I was looking into a security system I knew what I wanted. Something low maintenance, with good connectivity, potential alerting, and the ability to review footage from at least the last 7 days. I had shopped around and looked at several other systems that are all owned by Amazon now, and they were interesting products but had a subscription based model. I really didn’t want to pay a monthly fee to record security footage. I also recently purchased a home from the 1980’s which is not wired for ethernet and therefore I didn’t want to bust holes in the walls, ceilings and floors to run cables for a new security system.
I purchased these on Prime day back in July and installed them promptly. They were well packaged and compact enough that my wife didn’t know where I had put them. They require both a wifi connection and a sync module (which connects them together). Setup took about 5 minutes per camera. They come with brackets, and hardware to mount. I have one mounted on a tree and the rest on door frames around the entrances to the house. Each camera is about 2″x 2″x 1.5″ without the bracket and take two Lithium AA batteries.
There are different features and settings that you need to look at when setting up the system including night vision, sensitivity, and duration. Each of these will have a dramatic impact on the life of the batteries. Blink claimes a 2 year battery life with these AA batteries, but I highly doubt that it will last that long. But we do have an abnormally high usage on some cameras because of placement and lifestyle. You would need to take this into consideration
Features and Warnings
The system touts at being completely wireless and offer a long battery life. And it does. However that is under certain loads. You will have to reduce your duration of recording for high traffic areas and decrease sensitivity to enable the motion detection. This has to be tested and adjusted properly… there is no point in a security camera that can’t capture the data you need.
Adjusting how bright the infrared works is important for low light. Note also that in low light, there is a red glow on the camera when it is recording with IR. This typically is undetectable unless the camer is looked at in the dark, which may give it away and cause someone to grab it off the mount.
Being a true wireless system is fantastic! Being small is a plus for hiding the system. However it makes it very easy for someone to grab the camera and remove it before it has the chance to gather any identifiable information that could be used by police.
Being that it is a wireless system, they are subject to interference. I had several times where the cameras failed to record at all. One time It recorded a split second, just enough for me to see an unclear figure take a step towards the front door when we were not home. The camera was then occupied so I was unable to look at the camera live to see who it was. Lucky for me, my parents stopped back by later and I found out it was them seeing if we were home.
Overall I have had only 2 or 3 problems with the camera since I made my purchase. One was the issue with not recording properly (that was handled by rebooting the system) and the other was running out of space on the server.
Blink uses a free cloud server to store the videos. Which means that you do not have control over who can see your data. Keep your clothes on. It also means you have limited storage space. Set your retention to something manageable to review and delete clips that are not needed. It is best to keep your clips to a minimum so you can find what you need in the event of pulling videos.
Setup and Install
The setup was rather easy and we were up and running in less than an hour. As simple as putting in the batteries, configuring them to the receiver by scanning the QR code on the back with the serial number and then mounting. The bracket that comes with it is a bit limiting for directions and angles, but not bad. There are aftermarket parts that can help in these areas. I think the place that the Blink shines is the free cloud service. I get motion alerts on the phone and can even do a live view of any camera. It doesn’t have two way audio, but does record sound. Be sure to turn it off during high traffic times.
Night vision is pretty good, but make sure that sources of light are limited. If there is too much light, you may need to adjust the sensitivity or reduce the ambient lighting. The idea is to be able to capture identifying information and characteristics of a potential break in for evidence. You need to see a face.
You are able to share videos easily using the app. You can email them, text them or even save them to the phone. Which is a pretty cool feature for submitting evidence. Day light is very clear.
The Blink Home App
The app is very simple. The main interface is the view of your camera systems. You are able to label each camera with a specific name, and take a cover photo. You can adjust the settings for each camera and see the live view all from the main screen. At the bottom, you are able to enable or disable the entire system, great for turning it off when you get home and turning it on when you leave. It also interfaces with IFTTT so you can automate arming and disarming based on certain scenarios.
The app is pretty responsive and has a good set of features. I like knowing whats going on around the house when I am not home, and Blink allows me to do that.
Overall I feel that my use case for the Blink Home Security system is well justified. Though I have had a few hiccups along the way, nothing major and all was quick to be resolved. The biggest question is will it work when you need it. I believe that it will at a lower price point than the competitors. It has plenty of features to make it competitive on the market such as interfacing with Alexa (something I don’t need). The Blink system seems to be a easy, solution for any family that has wireless connectivity to their home.