Blink XT Camera Review
Blink's original outdoor camera is battery-powered and intended for outdoor use, all for a low price of $119.99.
Looking for an indoor/outdoor camera but not sure which one to choose? You should consider the Blink XT. Blink Home was founded in 2009 and was bought by Amazon in 2017. They make smart home security products like security cameras and video doorbells. Blink XT is their indoor/ outdoor option known for its 1080p HD video display, two-year battery life, and night vision. I’m ready to see how the Blink XT stacks up to its competition.
In this review, I’ll go over the camera’s video, audio, night vision, storage, smart platform integrations, and artificial intelligence capabilities. Then, I’ll review the Blink app, and compare the Blink XT to its competitors. Let’s get started!
You know how they say to never judge a book by its cover? I think the same is true for security cameras. On the Amazon website, it says that the Blink XT has:
- Two-year battery life
- HD video
- Free cloud storage
- Integrations with Amazon Alexa
- Motion detection
- Infrared night vision
Although I’m excited by what I read about the Blink XT camera, I know I need to test it out myself. The first step? Opening the box.
At only a few inches across, the Blink XT is surprisingly weighty, despite its plastic encasing. I like this camera specifically because it doesn’t look like a camera. The rounded square shape is definitely unexpected, as most cameras are plain circles, and it’s certainly sleek in all black. I do wish the camera came with a ball mount so it could pan.
Both the Blink Indoor camera and the Blink XT come with sync modules.
As you can see, the Blink XT’s sync module is black to match the camera and is also very small and unobtrusive. I like the camera’s design, and also the fact that it has a rating of IP65. What does that mean? It means that the camera is completely impenetrable by solids, including dust. It also means that it can handle water projected in powerful jets without breaking. Now, you probably aren’t gonna hose down your camera anytime soon, but just in case there is a crazy rainstorm, you can rest assured that the Blink XT will keep on keeping on.
I’m going to put the Blink XT through our Necessary Features Test, which makes sure that cameras are up to snuff in terms of video, audio, and more.
With 1080p HD video, a field of view of 110 degrees and a field of zoom of three times, I’m pretty impressed by the Blink XT’s video quality. Although I wish the camera’s field of view was a bit wider, I still give the Blink XT high ratings for its video.
The Blink XT has infrared night vision, which is my preference. Even though I’m clearly being recorded in this screenshot, I wasn’t able to see the camera at all. Whereas color night vision from a bright white light is completely visible, infrared night vision is much more inconspicuous, a great quality for your home’s security.
Unfortunately, the Blink XT lacks two-way audio, which means that I can’t speak to whoever the camera is recording. That’s a shame because I know that two-way audio can be used to stop robbers in their tracks. Think about it: wouldn’t you be scared if a voice came out of nowhere telling you to get out of their house?
Although I’m disappointed that the Blink XT does not have local storage, I am pleased that they give you free cloud storage. Here’s how it works- when it detects motion, your Blink XT will start recording for anywhere from five seconds to one minute (you’ll be able to set this up in your app). The footage automatically uploads into the cloud. Once your cloud storage has reached two hours worth of footage, the footage will begin rewriting itself. Two hours may not seem like a lot of storage, but considering your clips will be at most a minute long, this could last you a long period of time.
Smart Platform Integration
As Amazon owns Blink, it’s not surprising that the Blink XT pairs with Amazon Alexa. You can vocally command Alexa to turn off your entire system of cameras. Unfortunately, you can only turn off the entire system at once, and not individual cameras, which is annoying. I’m also not thrilled that the camera doesn’t pair with Google Assistant, Alexa’s biggest competitors. For these reasons I have to ding the Blink XT when it comes to smart platform integration.
Artificial intelligence may sound like something of the future, but many security cameras today feature artificial intelligence capabilities like person detection and facial recognition. These skills can lead to more specific notifications, like that your husband is home or that your babysitter left the house. Unfortunately, the Blink XT does not have any artificial intelligence properties, so you can expect to get some irrelevant notifications from inanimate moving objects. I wouldn’t recommend the Blink XT to people with pets, as they can easily trigger the camera to record.
Setting up the Blink XT was a breeze. First, I synced my module to my router and from there, the process took about 15 minutes. Remember that you can pair up to 10 cameras on a single module, which is nice. As the camera is wireless, this made installation a breeze. I simply placed it on a flat surface, got it hooked up with the module and router and voila- instant home security.
Overall, the Blink Xt is definitely a camera worth buying, despite its shortcomings in two-way audio, smart platform integration, and artificial intelligence. At less than $120, the camera is reasonably priced and even comes with a one year warranty. If video quality, night vision, and storage are important to you, the Blink XT could be a great indoor/ outdoor camera for you.
Along with motion detection, the Blink XT can detect temperature, which is a strange but nice feature.
Personally, I didn’t love the Blink Home Monitor app, mainly because it kept asking me if I wanted to continue livestreaming my footage every 30 seconds. Can’t a man monitor his house in peace? When I checked out customer reviews, I wasn’t terribly surprised to see a 3.5 rating from the Apple Store and a 3.6 rating from the Google store. Not awful, but not great either. From the app, you’ll be able to livestream your footage, arm and disarm your cameras, and create schedules for your cameras to arm and disarm automatically. Keep in mind that there will be a delay between the app and the camera, as the footage has to be immediately uploaded to the cloud.
I’m comparing the Blink XT to two other awesome indoor/ outdoor cameras, the Arlo Pro 2 and the Canary Flex. Sure, the Blink XT has some great features. But how does it look when we match it up with its competitors?
Arlo Pro 2
Both the Arlo Pro 2 and the Blink XT have 1080p vision, but the Arlo Pro 2 has a wider field of view of 130 degrees, compared to the XT’s 110, and can zoom in eight times, five more times than the XT. The Arlo Pro 2 also features two-way audio, which the XT lacks, and local storage. While the Blink XT only allows you two hours of cloud footage, the Arlo Pro 2 will give you a week to hold your footage, no subscription needed. The Arlo Pro 2 also wins when it comes to smart platform integrations. You can link it not only with Amazon Alexa, like the Blink XT, but also with Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, and Stringify. Neither camera has artificial intelligence built-in, although you can purchase person detection for your Arlo Pro 2 through Arlo Smart Home.
The only category in which the Blink XT beats the Arlo Pro 2 is night vision, but only by a hair. Keep in mind that the Arlo Pro 2 is $100 more than the Blink XT, but you definitely get a lot of bang for your buck. Overall, I would purchase the Arlo Pro 2 over the Blink XT because of its superior video, audio, storage, and smart platform integrations.
To learn more, read our full review of the Arlo Pro 2.
Both the Canary Flex and the Blink XT camera have 1080p HD video display, but the Flex often defaults to 720p HD. However, its field of view is six degrees wider than that of the Blink XT at 116 degrees, so I’m going to call it a draw for video. Both of the cameras have good infrared night vision, but that is where the similarities end.
Like the Blink XT, the Canary Flex doesn’t come with two-way audio, but it can be purchased with a Canary membership for $9.99 a month. The membership also includes 30 days of cloud storage, unlimited video downloads, and more. Without the membership, you won’t have any local storage and will only have 24 hours of free storage, so it’s definitely worth doing the membership. Plus, the Flex integrates with both Alexa and Google Assistant, while the Blink XT is consigned to Alexa. Finally, while the Blink XT does not have any A.I capabilities, the Canary Flex comes with person detection. I think the Canary Flex, at about $50 more than the Blink XT, is a better camera, especially if you do the Canary membership.
For more information, check out our full review of the Canary Flex.
I’ve thrown a lot of information your way, so let’s do a quick summary of the Blink XT camera before we get going.
The Blink XT’s best features are its:
- 1080p HD video display
- Ability to zoom in three times
- Infrared night vision
- Two hours worth of free cloud storage
- Integrations with Amazon Alexa
- Easy setup
- Reasonable price
And its worst features are its:
- 110-degree field of view
- No two-way audio
- No local storage
- No integrations with Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, etc.
- Must turn on entire systems at once
- No artificial intelligence
- Mediocre app