Blink Indoor Camera Review
This inexpensive camera from Blink features 720p HD video and a year of free cloud storage.
Blink is a home automation company that makes smart cameras and video doorbells. Founded in 2009, they were purchased by Amazon in 2017, but still continue to work as an independent subsidiary. Rumor has it their video doorbells will be used in Amazon’s upcoming Amazon Key service.
We’ve already compared the Blink Indoor with its indoor/outdoor sister, the Blink XT, but today I want to take a closer look at the Blink Indoor itself. We’ll be discussing its video, audio, and night vision quality, its smart platform integrations, artificial intelligence features, and storage options, as well as its value, convenience, and mobile app. Let’s go!
Right off the bat, the Blink Indoor box is promising me some stuff that I like, and some stuff that I’m not so hot about:
- 720p HD video
- Free cloud storage
- Integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT
- Amazing battery life
I’m a bit surprised that the camera doesn’t have higher video quality- but let’s take the camera out of the box before we start judging.
At only a few inches across, I’m surprised at the weightiness of the Blink Indoor Camera. It’s completely wireless, and is powered by 2AA batteries with a life of two years- pretty impressive. Along with the Blink XT cameras, the Blink Indoor cameras come with sync modules, or base stations. One sync module can run up to ten cameras, so you can mix and match as you see fit. The Blink Indoor is white with a square plastic face- attractive, but not mind-blowing. Looks aside, let’s see how this thing works.
I would never review a camera without considering our Necessary Features Test. Let’s take a closer look below.
As much as I hate to start things on a negative note, I’m not exactly wowed by the Blink Indoor’s video quality. First of all, it only has 720p HD, which is way below the industry standard of 1080p HD. On top of that, the camera cannot zoom in at all, and has a pretty narrow field of view of 110 degrees. For these reasons, I could not give the Blink Indoor full marks for its video quality.
While full-color night vision might sound more appealing than black and white, it’s actually less practical because it will be obvious that you’re recording. Unlike a bright white light, infrared LED lights are completely invisible in the dark, yet they can capture awesome night vision footage. Due to its outdated night vision methods, I’m going to give the Blink Indoor half marks for this category.
Three strikes and you’re out. The Blink Indoor has no two-way audio, so while you can hear what’s going on through the camera’s microphone, you won’t be able to speak to anyone in the room you’re recording. As this feature comes in handy if, god forbid, you do have an actual intruder, I can’t give the Blind Indoor full marks for its audio.
Blink prides itself on having no monthly fees, so I’m happy to see that the camera includes both cloud and local storage. Unfortunately, the cloud storage holds only two hours of footage before it overrides itself of old clips, so definitely not the most user control I’ve ever seen. All I can say is thank god that there’s local storage available!
Smart Platform Integration
As Amazon owns Blink, it’s no surprise that the Blink Indoor integrates with Amazon Alexa. It also integrates with Google Home and IFTTT, but I’m not that thrilled because the actions are so limited. You can only use Alexa or Google Assistant to arm or disarm the entire system, not individual cameras. I’m not sure why the Blink Indoor takes such an “all-or-nothing” approach with its cameras, but I’m going to have to give it half-marks for this category despite its integrations with Amazon and Google.
Unfortunately, the Blink Indoor Camera has no artificial intelligence features. Given that the camera records when it detects motion, you can expect to get a lot of clips of stuff you don’t care about- cars driving past your window, pets walking across your living room, etc. Since I like my cameras to have person detection at the very least, I can’t give the Blink Indoor Camera full marks for artificial intelligence.
Personally, I found the Blink Indoor Camera easy to set up. It took me about 30 minutes to unpack the box, download the app, and follow its instructions. Unfortunately, I was a bit annoyed using the camera, as it only notifies you after the camera has detected motion when it begins recording. I want to be notified as soon as motion is detected. Similarly, the livestream was annoying- while I was watching it on my phone, a pop-up appeared every 30 seconds asking me if I was still there. I’M STILL HERE, Blink Indoor. Give a man the time that he needs. However, this is a relatively small issue so I’m going to give the camera full marks for its convenience.
I must say- this is one of the more affordable cameras on the market, at around $100. Despite its shortcomings in video, audio, and night vision, I think the camera is still a good buy. They even have some amazing deals (I’ve seen as much as 60% off for Black Friday) so be sure to take advantage of a discount. Full marks!
To control your camera on your smartphone, you’ll need the Blink Home Monitor app. Personally, I found the app pretty intuitive- it was easy to view my livestreams (despite the annoying pop-up), review footage, and screenshot to my liking. You can also use the app to customize your Blink Indoor’s settings, like arming or disarming or creating a schedule so you don’t have to do it manually every day. The app received a 3.5 and a 3.6 on the Apple and Google Play stores, respectively. While these aren’t fantastic ratings, they aren’t horrible either.
The Blink Indoor impresses in some aspects and disappoints in others, but how does it compare to its competitors?
Netatmo Welcome Indoor Security Camera
First, we’ll compare the Blink Indoor to the Netatmo Welcome Indoor Security Camera. Their similarities? Both are indoor cameras without two-way audio, which isn’t great. However, the Netatmo is superior to the Blink Indoor Camera in a lot of ways. First of all, it has 1080p HD video, the ability to zoom in eight times, and a field of view of 130 degrees compared to the Blink’s 110. The Netatmo also has infrared night vision, and- here’s the kicker- local and cloud storage completely free, with a microSD card included! As you’ll be storing things to your personal dropbox or hard drive, there’s no limit on storage length, so there’s great flexibility there.
While I’m disappointed that the Netatmo doesn’t have integrations with Amazon Alexa, I am pleased that it works with Apple HomeKit, Google, Assistant, and even Facebook messenger. But artificial intelligence is where the Netatmo really takes the cake. Not only does it have person and pet detection, but it also has facial recognition, so you’ll receive highly specific notifications about your loved ones (or unfamiliar faces). Despite all its great features, the Netatmo Welcome Indoor Security Camera is on the pricier side, and not all of its features work super well, so it really comes down to your personal preferences.
Arlo Pro 2
Let’s see how the Blink Indoor Camera matches up to the Arlo Pro 2. The biggest difference between the two up front is that the Arlo Pro 2 can be used indoors or outdoors. It has superior video quality to the Blink Indoor, with 1080p HD, the ability to zoom in eight times, and a field of view of 130 degrees compared to the Blink’s 110. Unfortunately, neither camera’s night vision was stellar, although the Arlo Pro 2 wins for at least having infrared LED lights. The Arlo Pro 2 also won for its two-way audio and more comprehensive smart platform integrations with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, IFTT, and Stringify.
Neither camera has artificial intelligence features, but the Arlo Pro 2 at least has person detection available through its paid monthly subscription, Arlo Smart Home. In storage, as well, the Arlo Pro 2 has better options. Not only does it have cloud and local storage like the Blink Indoor, but it gives you records for the past week, completely free! Compare that to the Blink Indoor’s two hours of free cloud storage and the winner is clear.
Clearly, the Arlo Pro 2 has superior features than the Blink Indoor, so your choice is probably going to come down to price. To learn more, check out our Arlo Pro 2 review.
The Blink Indoor Camera may be right for you if you’re looking for:
- Two-year battery life
- Cloud/ local storage
- Integrations with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT
- Easy setup
- User-friendly app
However, if the following things scare you, you might want to look elsewhere:
- 720p HD video
- No zoom
- Field of view of 100 degrees
- Illuminated night vision
- No two-way audio
- No artificial intelligence features