It seems strange to talk about the best security cameras when most of us have to stay home for over a year, but as the world returns to normal and more of us travel around, there is a lot to be said for some about additional technical security, while we’re on the move.
Step inside the Blink Mini – an affordable indoor security camera from parent company Amazon that aims to provide basic security features for your home without putting a strain on your wallet. Cheaper than the Ring Indoor Cam – the other home security company Amazon supports – the wired security camera that alerts you when it detects movement in its 110-degree field of view, so you can either log in and view the camera’s live feed , or review the footage later. But, given the stiff competition from the likes of the equally budget-friendly Wyze Cam and Eufy, is it worth a spot in your home?
With Full HD video, night vision, and Amazon Alexa support, there’s a lot to like at this affordable sticker price. Included extras like a built-in speaker are a nice bonus for keeping pets at ease while you’re out and about (or, we believe, deterring nefarious intruders in the middle of the robbery).
Where it struggles to keep up with its competitors, however, is video storage – it comes with a free trial of its cloud storage service that lasts for 30 days in the US, while it is available in the UK through September 2021 and will cost you $ 3 / £ 2 , 50 per month if you want to check the footage captured by the security camera at a later time.
There is a local storage option, but you’ll need to invest in a Blink Sync Module 2, which is $ 34.99 / $ 34.99, and a 256GB USB flash drive (around $ 25 / £ 25) which means it isn’t quite that affordable.
The Blink Mini is an affordable home surveillance camera and best for those who want a device that they can log into and view a live feed instead of reviewing the footage at a later time.
Blink Mini price and availability
- List price $ 34.99 / £ 34.99
The Blink Mini Home Security Camera is priced at $ 34.99 / £ 34.99 and is available direct from Amazon in both the US and UK. You can also find it at retailers like Best By, Target and Lowe’s in the US or Very, Currys and Argos in the UK.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to subscribe to the cloud storage plan which is $ 3 / £ 2.50 per month or invest in a Blink Sync Module 2 which comes at a price of. to get the most out of your home security camera, costs $ 34.99 / £ 34.99 and a 256GB USB flash drive (around $ 25 / £ 25) for local storage.
- Compact size
- Robust structure
- Long power cord
There’s nothing particularly noticeable about the design of the Blink Mini, and that’s perfectly fine. Surveillance cameras are not meant to stand out, and the simple rounded cube shape and minimalist black and white paintwork of the Mini give it a sleek, sophisticated look that is pleasant to look at and completely harmless, which is exactly what we would like to see in a product in this category.
With a height of only 5 cm, the Blink Mini lives up to its name. Given the price, it’s no surprise that the construction is mostly plastic, minus a metal washer in the base, and expect some creaking and groaning when adjusting the angle and position with the plastic ball joint. Still, the entire package feels solid and sturdy, which is all you could want, and the rigidity of the joint above means you can be confident that the correct position will be maintained at all times.
The Blink Mini can be easily attached to the wall with the supplied screws, but it is stable enough and manoeuvrable enough to stand alone with the stand, which is what most people with a suitable shelf or other flat surface can do with it should be more than adequate to squat.
The long 2 m long micro USB power cable is also a nice touch and offers enough length away from an electrical outlet for most people. Since it must always be plugged in to operate, this is a critical factor that has not been overlooked.
Other than that, there’s little to say about the build aside from the near-invisible infrared LEDs for night vision and a built-in microphone that graces the front, with miniature speaker grilles gracing the top.
- Razor-sharp Full HD video
- Clear night vision performance
- Excellent sensitivity to movement
Despite its low price, the Blink Mini delivers wonderfully sharp, clear videos thanks to its Full HD resolution. Daylight images are offered in full color, while infrared vision in low light and darkness creates the usual creepy black and white effects common to all night vision cameras. Still, the nighttime performance remains impressive and picks up details that are illuminated by the built-in infrared LEDs. We tested the Blink Mini’s nighttime performance by using it as a secondary baby monitor and it offers superior detail and clarity compared to our dedicated monitor for added security.
During our testing as a security camera, we used the Blink Mini in our living room to keep an eye on our cat’s comings and goings and to let us know that she would come back at night instead of staying outside and arguing in any London Alleys. This particular use case shows the impressive motion tracking smart of the Blink Mini, which warns us every time our cat goes in and out via the cat flap when we are on the move. Arming / disarming the Mini is as easy as pressing the Arm / Disarm button prominently displayed on the app, although those of you who want to automate things will be disappointed that the process cannot happen automatically when you leave or enter the house.
Owners of Amazon Echo Show devices will be happy to hear that the Mini works flawlessly even when broadcasting an image to your device’s screen, with crisp sound. At the time of writing, the Mini is only compatible with Alexa, unlike its Wyze competitor, which also works with the Google Assistant.
- QR code setup
- Easy to use
- Paid cloud storage
The included Blink app for iOS and Android makes setting up the Mini child’s play thanks to a practical QR code on the back of the camera, which quickly and easily links it to your Blink account and allows you to enter your WiFi password to access it connect to your network.
The app itself offers a wealth of useful functions and has plenty of tinkerers to deal with. For example, they can get pretty detailed using the motion detection activity zones. This is a useful feature that takes a snapshot of the camera view before dividing it into 25 rectangular segments, each of which can be pressed and grayed out. Those disabled segments then ignore any movement and save you from annoying notifications of things like passing cars or branches outside a window. Unfortunately (though to be expected at this price point) there is no clever person detection, which means moving subjects like pets will trigger motion detection whether you like them or not.
The Blink app also allows you to adjust the motion sensitivity and re-trigger time, as well as adjust the length of the recorded clip. You can record clips up to 30 seconds in length, but after your first 30-day trial expires, you will be limited to motion-activated notifications and live view streaming – unless you pay for the subscription service.
Should I buy the Blink Mini?
Buy it when …
You are already a subscriber to the Blink Plus plan
If you’re already stuck in Blink camp with a Plus Plan subscription, it obviously makes sense to grab the Mini if you want to add an affordable but very powerful option to your Blink roster.
You have an Amazon Echo Show device
Blink’s seamless integration with Alexa, and especially with screen-laden Echo Show devices, makes it an ideal choice for those who want to instantly pull up a video feed with a simple command.
You don’t have to worry about saving video clips
Because of its great visual performance and easy-to-use app, the Blink Mini is a great choice if you are looking for an affordable home security camera and don’t worry about storing saved videos.
Don’t buy it if …
You don’t want to pay extra for storage space
Once the free trial expires, Blink’s cloud storage will set you back and you will also be spending another $ 79 / £ 70 on local storage too. If you don’t want to pay for storage space, avoid this home security camera and opt for a Wyze or Eufy model instead.
You want person recognition
If you want a camera smart enough to ignore pet movement, look elsewhere or be bothered forever with warnings when your four-legged friend walks by.
You want to throw the wires away
In contrast to alternatives like the Blink Outdoor, the Mini always has to be plugged in, which may make it less flexible for your needs.
First review: June 2021
Source link : https://www.techradar.com/reviews/blink-mini/