Home security cameras have become much more popular in recent years. You can say that this is because of lower prices, and how these cameras work well in conjunction with smartphones. The higher demand has of course increased the number of available home security camera models, but for some the Blink XT Home Security Camera System made for outdoor use is a good option.
The XT is a bit more expensive than the Blink Indoor 1 Camera System, which is meant for indoor use. However, these two share many common features. The XT however is for the outdoors, which is why it has weatherproofing and it has infrared night vision.
The entire unit is square with rounded edges, with each side measuring just 71mm (2.8 inches). It’s not all that thick either at 34mm (1.33 inches). This size makes it rather inconspicuous if that’s what you’re after. In fact, it’s rather hard to make this stand out since it’s only available in black. It’s also doesn’t weigh much at 0.119kg (4.2 ounces).
Included in the box are 2 AA lithium batteries, a mounting kit, a quick start guide, a sync module, a USB cable, and a power adapter.
You can get a single camera or a system with 2, 3, or 5 cameras. Your Blink Sync module can handle up to 10 Blink cameras.
Obviously this is its most important component in the Blink XT Home Security Camera System, so let’s start with a closer look here. The camera offers high definition resolution at 1080p, and it records videos at a frame rate of 30 fps. It sees with a field of view of 110 degrees, which isn’t actually too narrow.
Of course the entire unit isn’t just about the camera:
- It has a motion sensor that detects movement, which then causes the camera to send you an alert as well as a short clip of the event.
- This has a built-in microphone, so your video has audio too.
- The casing is weatherproof with an IP65 rating. This means it’s also dustproof.
- It has infrared capabilities too.
- You can use this with its app, which works for iPhones (iOS 10 or higher) or Android smartphones (5.0 Lollipop or higher).
- However, this has also been certified to work with Amazon Alexa, so you can use voice commands to control it.
- The Wi-Fi connectivity feature lets you connect this to your Wi-Fi or home automation system.
- This even has temperature sensors which measure ambient temperatures. This may send you alerts for temperatures that are too high (is there a fire?) or too low (your pipes may be freezing).
First make sure you install it properly after also downloading the app. Your mobile device or smartphone must be connected to your network through 2.4 GHz. If you’re using 5GHZ, the app won’t work.
Then make sure you have new batteries, which should last you about 2 years of use. This depends on how you use the camera, but 2 years of service are expected when the camera records 10-second clips 10 times a day.
You can also power this using the USB cable, but that’s not really advisable when you use it outdoors. That’s because using the USB cable opens a port and the unit is no longer weatherproof.
This comes with a separate sync module that you definitely should put indoors. It’s powered by a 40-inch cord that you plug into a mini USB port on the side and into a USB port on the power adapter. This can be as far as 100 feet away from the camera, and it will still remain connected even with walls in between.
Once you’ve set it up with Alexa or with the app, you should then be able to set it up. You can get alerts when motion is detected, along with a 10-second video of what happened. You may see live feeds too. The app lets you schedule the camera’s monitoring activities as well.
The motion detector can send push notifications very quickly, so of you do have an intruder you’ll know right away. However, to counter tendency of motion sensors to send false alarms, you can adjust the sensitivity level of the motion sensors, so that you don’t get alerts simply because the leaves are moving.
The app also lets you determine the length of the recorded clip, so they can be just 5 seconds or 60 seconds. In addition, you can set the re-trigger time. This is the time after a video has been recorded, when the camera starts recording another one. This can be just 10 seconds or 60 seconds.
You can also schedule when the camera will be armed or disarmed. This section of the app isn’t always easy to find as it’s separate from the camera settings. But when you do find it, you’ll find it smart and accessible to use. You can then have as many “arm” and “disarm” segments in a day, or have it armed or disarmed for several days at a time.
Yes, this has HD 1080p definition, though some may think the 110-degree field of vision may be a bit on the narrow side. But how do the recorded videos look? What about the live feed? All these depend on the conditions when the videos and live feed are taken.
During the day, the videos are nice when they’re taken indoors. They’re bright and clean and offer clear details. You’ll certainly recognize someone in the video if it’s someone you actually know.
Outdoor videos aren’t as good, although they’re still acceptable. You do need to realize that you may have problems with backlighting, and the shadows may hide details.
What about at night? The Blink XT has an infrared light emitter and indoors it works great. For outdoor use, it’s not so great. The only way you can see what’s happening at night is if you have good ambient lighting.
The good news is that your videos are stored in a cloud, and storage is free for up to 2 hours’ worth of videos. There’s no subscription fee to worry about even after 30 or 60 days.
Smart Home Compatibility
If you have a Wi-Fi network at home, then there’s really no problem. The Blink XT Home Security Camera System is just another smart device you add to your system.
But this also works with Alexa devices. With Alexa, you can now use voice commands to control your home security camera.
- The batteries last for a very long time. You won’t have to change the batteries for about 2 years.
- The installation is fairly easy, as the app tells you what to do to get it connected to your Wi-Fi system or Alexa. The quick star manual also offers clear direction on installing the camera and the sync module.
- This is nicely waterproof, so you really can use it outdoors. You don’t have to make sure you got a roof over its head to protect it from the rain.
- Using this is very easy too. Even without Alexa, the app is very accessible and intuitive so you can make adjustments and schedule changes quickly.
- It’s also great that it’s small and inconspicuous. While some security cameras are purposely large to deter amateurs, some burglars may instead just avoid or move these cameras instead. Its small size makes it great for indoor use, so that your new nanny isn’t insulted when you monitor what’s happening at home with your security camera. But when you place it outside, its small size also doesn’t negatively affect the look of your home.
- It sends alerts quickly when it detects motion. Some cameras aren’t as quick to react, so people may get an alert when the burglars have already come and gone inside the house. But when you get your alerts quickly, you can take fast action and call the police or the neighbors.
- It’s very reliable. There’s no worry about whether it works or not. You can depend on it to work as it’s relatively bug-free.
- The free video storage is terrific. Lots of people find it annoying to have to pay monthly subscriptions for cloud storage.
- The quality of the outdoor videos at night isn’t all that great. The audio isn’t all that great either, as you may not hear what people are saying from about 8 feet away.
- There aren’t as many features here as you may find on other smart home security cameras.
- If your smartphone isn’t working, there’s no web portal for you to use.
- The unit also lacks a speaker, so you can’t use this for 2-way communication.
The Blink XT Home Security Camera System offers you the minimum requirements for a good home security camera system. You can buy more cameras too to increase your surveillance coverage. For many, this is more than enough to offer security for the home.
Do other cameras offer more features? Many of them do, but they tend to cost a lot more. The Blink XT is reasonably-priced, and you get a lot of value for your money.