Blink Indoor Camera Review
This inexpensive camera from Blink features 720p HD video and a year of free cloud storage.
Blink, an Amazon company, is a newer player on the security camera market; but with strong products at an affordable price point and no subscriptions required, it’s no surprise that the company has quickly gained traction. In this review, we’ll be taking a look at their newest addition, the updated Blink Indoor Camera. From battery life to field of view to the mobile app, we’ve dug into all you need to know about the Blink Indoor Camera.
Want to see what the Blink Indoor Camera looks like up close and personal? Watch us test it out in our video review.
Setting Up the Blink Indoor Camera
We found the process for setting up the Blink Indoor Camera to be pretty straightforward. It came equipped with the camera itself, two AA lithium batteries, a tool to open the back of the camera, mounting hardware, a USB cable, a power adapter, the Sync Module, and a manual. We didn’t need anything else for setup. Since we didn’t have an account with the Blink Home Monitor app yet, we started there. The app had a built-in scanner that identified the Sync Module and allowed us to connect to our Wi-Fi. From there we just had to set up the camera. We opened the back easily for battery installation with the included tool. From there, it was just a matter of scanning a camera on the QR code, and voila! We were good to go.
Luckily, we thought the actual installation of the camera was just as easy and required no special tools or expertise. The camera could either be mounted on the wall with the included kit or it could just be placed on top of some furniture. We liked that this flexibility made it possible to play around and see what worked best, and ended up keeping it on top of a bookshelf (looking for ideas? Check out our tips for placing a security camera). But it was nice to know that even if we do decide to mount it in the future, we won’t have to worry about taking it down to change the batteries very often. That’s because the batteries are meant to last up to two years, and Blink sells a battery expansion pack that brings it up to four.
FYI: We’ve found that we get the widest field of view when we install our indoor camera in a corner above eye level.
Our Experience with the Blink Indoor Camera
The Blink Indoor Camera, like the rest of the Blink system, is clearly geared toward a new security camera audience that places a lot of value on a strong technical experience and less on external support—not surprising considering that the smart home security camera market is expected to grow at a 15.7 percent year over year until 2027.1
While the camera itself doesn’t break new ground in terms of style, it’s sleek, attractive, and unobtrusive—it’s certainly not an eyesore in our home, which we think is especially important in an indoor camera. And, like other Blink devices, its functionality is similarly sleek and effective. If you want to read more about how this camera fits into that ecosystem, be sure to read our review of Blink cameras.
We were initially concerned about the fact that the Blink Indoor Camera can’t be linked to a professional monitoring system. Instead, we set up alerts within the app that let us know when motion set off the camera’s sensors and allowed us to stream what the camera could see at any time. We were frustrated to find out that this camera did not allow continuous live streaming of the feed. Rather, its Live View mode prompted us to choose to continue every 30 seconds until we reached a limit of five minutes. Live View closed out after that. We opened a new session right away, but it felt like unnecessary frustration and we wished that Blink had made that battery-saving feature optional, because it made speaking through two-way audio much more annoying. How are we supposed to talk to a friend staying at our house when we have to keep clicking continue?
While the video was set to 720p HD out of the box, we configured it to 1080p HD and we found it clear and sharp—we could identify faces at 30 feet away, though the infrared night vision mode left something to be desired. The recording light, which is lit blue for normal recording and red for night mode, can be turned off, but we left it on. While the camera didn’t have an optical zoom, the four times digital zoom feature gave us all that we needed. The 110-degree field of view was a bit narrow, though, and we were disappointed that once we placed the camera, we couldn’t tilt or pan it.
The camera couldn’t tell whether the motion in our apartment was caused by people or pets, but we were impressed by the customization options and the fact that the 25-foot range was more than enough for our apartment. We didn’t want motion detected everywhere—for one, we didn’t need it beeping at us when we snuck to the fridge for a midnight snack—but we were able to set up zones for the detector to skip, which worked well and saved our pride. When the motion detector was activated in the areas we did want to be covered, the app immediately alerted us and sent a video. We could even adjust the sensitivity. Best of all, the motion-triggered recording is designed to have almost no lag, so we didn’t miss the action that set it off.
It was easy to save up to 60 seconds of live footage in the app and return to it from the app’s timeline. Since that timeline can get long quickly, we found it helpful that each clip had a thumbnail and an indicator that showed us whether or not we’d already viewed it. Downloading and sharing the clips was just as simple. The clips aren’t the longest on the market, but in most cases, they did the trick.
Tip: We had some trouble with false motion alerts at first, especially when our dog walked by. We found that both adjusting the motion detector’s sensitivity and tweaking the area it scans to just above dog height helped reduce false alerts significantly.
Unlike previous versions, the current Blink Indoor Camera supports local storage through its Sync Module using a 256 GB USB drive, which we purchased separately. The app automatically downloaded the motion clips and live-action clips we recorded daily. We’re glad to see this option, which is perfect for users like us who don’t want to get sucked into yet another subscription service. But for people who prefer having footage on the cloud, monthly fees remain low.
|Local Storage||Cloud Storage Basic||Cloud Storage Plus|
|Monthly Price||$0.00 (using own USB drive)||$3||$10|
|Devices Supported||10 per Sync Module 2||1||Unlimited cameras at one location|
|Storage Limit||256 GB (on USB drive)||7200 seconds (2 hours) of footage||7200 seconds (2 hours) of footage|
|Clip Storage Time||Dependent on USB space||60 days||60 days|
We preferred the local storage option because by transferring the files from the USB drive to our computer, we could keep them indefinitely, while the cloud plans only offered two hours of footage. Motion-activated and manually saved clips downloaded from the Sync Module 2 to our app once a day automatically, which we found was all we needed. We also appreciated that the storage type didn’t affect any of the camera’s features.
Blink Home Monitor App
Think of the Blink Home Monitor app as a hub for Blink devices. We adjusted all of our camera’s settings from our phones, where we also had access to HD live streams and motion-triggered recordings. If we decided to buy additional cameras, we could have linked them to the same account, even if they were placed on different properties, which would make it a strong option if we wanted to keep an eye on an older family member’s place or had a second home.
We were impressed by the amount of features and customizations available from just the app, even from far away. After we left for a weekend trip we realized we’d forgotten to turn up the sensitivity on the motion detector, so we did so from our phone (as soon as we found service at our campsite, that is). And since the two-way audio works through the app, when we’d installed it at our front door we could talk to friends and delivery people straight from our phones. Based on our experience, it’s no surprise the app has decent user ratings, a 3.3 in the Apple store and a 3.5 in the Google Play store. Our only complaint was the continue button during the live stream, which we detailed above.
Amazon Alexa Integration
Since Blink is an Amazon company, it’s not surprising that the camera system is only compatible with Amazon Alexa devices, which may be bad news for Google Home users. But since we’re already Alexa users, though, we found the integration helpful and user-friendly. Currently, about 70% of American smart speaker owners use an Amazon Echo, so a lot of people are likely to agree with us.2
We viewed and recorded clips using our Echo Show, and enabled the Blink SmartHome Alexa Skill. Built-in commands allowed us to ask Alexa to arm and disarm the system, to show us live video, to let us know when the motion detector had been set off last, and more. We could also ask Alexa to confirm the arm/disarm status and get details about alerts we’d missed. Blink also worked with one of Alexa’s newest features, Routine Triggers, which allowed us to build patterns of actions by smart devices that are triggered by time or by a user action. For example, we set it up so that when the motion detector over our apartment entryway went off, the lights (connected to a smart switch) went on. Since just turning on the lights might scare away an intruder, this feature made us feel safer at night.
So, Should You Buy It?
Overall, the Blink Indoor Camera is a solid choice for someone who doesn’t need a live monitoring service and is looking for an affordable, high-quality camera. The camera offers enough customization options to work in nearly any home, and its local storage capability means no subscriptions are necessary. While it offers most of the same features as other Ring security cameras (another Amazon company), the Blink Indoor offers local storage without a subscription, while Ring requires a monthly fee to save video. Alexa fans and users who don’t want to fuss with wires or batteries will want to give the new Blink Indoor a try.
Grand View Research. (2020). Smart Home Security Cameras Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product (Wired, Wireless), By Application (Doorbell Camera, Indoor Camera, Outdoor Camera), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2020 – 2027.
eMarketer. (2020). Amazon Maintains Convincing Lead in US Smart Speaker Market.