Full Review Blink Mini Security Camera

hey everybody its LAN Simon and I’ve been a big fan of the blank security system these are cameras that I’ve been using in and around my house for a number of years now and I was excited to see if they have a new camera in their lineup here called the blink mini unlike the other blink cameras like this one here the new mini is not battery-powered it is plugged in to power all the time so you don’t have to do much maintenance on it and it’s a neat little device that integrates nicely with the rest of my blink camera system but they are changing the deal related to cloud video and we’re going to cover that in this review as we get into things now I do suggest you check out a previous video that I did on the blink system to get a better idea as to exactly what it is and isn’t in a nutshell the blink system is very good for getting notified about things that happen around your home but it’s not a very good 24/7 surveillance tool I like it because it tells me when somebody’s at the door or if somebody is walking around in the yard or something that is kind of a rare event but if you’re looking for more robust surveillance these cameras are not for you but there are a lot of folks that really find a lot of value with these and we’re going to see exactly how this new camera fits into that mix in this video now I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that I paid for this camera with my own funds all of the opinions are about two here are my own nobody is paying for this review nor is anyone reviewing it or approving it before it gets uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this is all about so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware at the time I’m recording this video the camera costs about $35 they’re selling a pack of 2 which saves you a little bit of money as well if you want to get a couple of them the hardware here is pretty

simple it’s just got a single USB power connector here on the back they give you a AC adapter for the wall but you could plug it into pretty much any USB power source so if you wanted to you could probably run it off a battery like one of those big lithium-ion batteries but generally it really wants to be plugged in all the time and remember that this camera needs to be inside because it is not weatherproof now the camera records in-stream at 1080p it will also do night vision and if you saw my review of the original indoor blink camera here these did not have night vision they actually have a little flashlight that lights up and gives you some illumination so this will have a built-in infrared illuminator the outdoor blink cameras do have the similar night vision capabilities but the colder indoor camera does not there is a motion detection built into this and it also supports two-way communication will test all of those things in a few minutes here now the camera comes with a little base on it and there are some things that you can do with this base that go beyond the obvious the first is that you can pop off this little plastic ring here and screw it on to a wall if you want they give you some screws in the box for that it looks like there might be some cable management built into this as well if you want to make the cable a little less conspicuous the other thing that is neat about this is that you can pull the

base off completely it just kind of snaps off like that even though it sounds pretty bad is it is perfectly fine and you can have the camera kind of work as a little cube but what I also found is that the little connector on the base here is the same as the other blink camera so I can snap this base into the old camera and it attaches up just fine so all of the third-party mounts that are out there that use this little circular snap in thing that blinks been using will also work here and I think that’s a really cool feature because there are a lot of third-party mounting options available throughout Amazon for this camera and that might be something that makes this an attractive option and the camera has two mount points on it so we’ve got it right now on the lower one so it can kind of stand up on the desk here but if you wanted to do the wall mount thing you can pop it off the bottom and put it on the back here and that would give you a better way to mount it to a wall or ceiling so lots of options here pretty flexible to work with now the one confusing part of this new camera is the cloud storage component so this new one does not come with free cloud storage you will get a trial to the cloud storage that they’re offering but you will eventually have to pay to store video from this camera the existing battery-powered blink cameras are still running under a different deal that do give you some degree of cloud storage all the motion events are sent up to the cloud you can store a certain amount up there and then they will erase the older clips as it kind of loops through this one will have none of that if you don’t pay the

subscription after your trial is over it records nothing in the cloud the cost is going to be three dollars per camera per month or you can do a plan at $30 a year per camera but you can also pay 10 bucks a month and get unlimited cameras and that is also available on an annual plan for $100 and I think it stores about two months of video up there as part of that subscription deal so it’s kind of confusing they’ve kind of bifurcated out how they’re doing the cloud storage on these cameras but there’s going to be another option where you can record your own storage and have it available to you through the internet they’re going to come out with a new base module for blink that will store video onto an SD card on that module and that’s not yet available at the time I’m recording this video we’ll cover it when it does come out so there will be a free option but you’re going to have to host the video yourself on-premises now the setup process for the camera was relatively easy you download the blink app to your phone it runs on iOS or Android it was a very easy setup process the camera connects directly to your Wi-Fi and then it will show up in the app and you can start doing some of the configuration here it is in my blink system and of course I’ve got the existing blink outdoor cameras running and I was able to choose what zone I could put it into which was nice to see now as far as how the camera works it feels very similar to the other blink cameras it does not have a temperature sensor though so if we jump into the app here and look at my outdoor camera if I click on its settings you’ll see that there is a temperature feature where it tells me the outside temperature the other blink cameras actually can set alerts for particular temperatures so if you are concerned

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about pipes freezing or something it will tell you that this one unfortunately does not have that temperature feature when you jump into its settings they’re just not there because it doesn’t have it but the motion control and all the triggering and things seem to work very similar to how the other blink cameras work so I have enabled motion detection on the camera I can go into the activity zones here and gray out sections that I wanted to ignore for that motion detection one thing the blink cameras don’t do at the moment that I’m starting to see on other low-cost cameras is the ability to detect people there’s some AI that a lot of these companies are bringing to bear on these low-cost cameras to try to cut down on false alarms these don’t have that so anything that happens within this motion zone is going to set the camera off now what will happen here when we have a motion event if I’ll rub my hand in front of it here and just see what happens is that the cameras motion light here will go off there it goes and then will get pushed a notification to the phone it’ll send that notification and that video clip out after it is done recording and pushing it up to the cloud so generally it’s not an immediate response but it will happen a few seconds after the actual event takes place now there is a new feature here that they’re operating with which will give you an instant alert that’s in beta at the time I’m recording this video if you have that disabled which is the default what will happen here is that you will have to wait for the clip to get uploaded but the good news is at least if you’re using the cloud is that the clips are uploaded so if somebody were to walk off with the camera the footage will still get to the final destination there there are a few other things to think

about though one is clip length and sensitivity and re trigger time so what happens on these blink cameras is that they were designed to be battery cameras and the longer you record for the the less battery life you get now this camera of course is plugged in all the time but the same features here as far as camera recording are concerned are being carried over unfortunately so on this camera you might want to go for a longer clip length because there is no battery penalty you might want to keep that trigger time down as low as possible what’ll happen though is that it’s going to record under this setting here for 30 seconds and then it’s going to wait 10 seconds and then record again and that’s the sort of thing that I would have liked to have seen done a little differently here given the fact that we don’t have that power penalty and we could actually record for longer and have a shorter retrigger time but at the moment that’s how they have this camera configured now here’s the catch if you are not subscribed to the cloud service you don’t get those recordings available to you after the fact if you don’t react to the notification when it comes in and tune in live you won’t have any idea as to what happened you’ll just have a notification that somebody stopped by but no recorded video and that’s a big change for the blink camera because before you would never have to pay for a cloud subscription with their other cameras this one’s going to require it and once that free trial ends the functionality of this camera goes down quite a bit and that’s one thing that I’m not crazy about here that they’re kind of adopting the ring model for how these cameras work and it

really I think kills one of the best differentiating features of the blink camera system now another thing you can do with the camera beyond looking at live clips is live streaming so if that notification comes in and you want to see what’s going on you can pop into the camera here and get a live view with audio as to what is taking place in front of the camera you’ll notice here that there’s an option to save and what this will do is save the stream to the cloud as it happens unfortunately at least at the time I’m recording this video it will not save the video at all if you don’t have that cloud subscription now you’re also going to notice down here it just popped up a thing that says continue and what that is going to do is stop the recording right now because I didn’t tap the button now this was an important feature on the battery cameras because that live streaming activity really kills the battery but this camera doesn’t have any batteries it is plugged in all the time but it’s being put under the same limitations that their battery cameras are this is something I would expect to change in future software iterations so it’s possible you might be seeing this video a year from now and they’ve fixed all this stuff but at the time I’m recording this it’s acting very much the same as the other blink cameras that do have more power restrictions than this one does now the videos of course live in the cloud and if you want to get them out you have to manually download them to your device so here on the iPhone if I click on a particular video I have to go and just tap on that video to pull up some of the other options here and what you want to do is go to share and then go ahead and save the video and that will drop that

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video into your photo album the quality isn’t bad it’s about on par with other sub $40 cameras out there so you will see a lot of compression artifacts with it but it is clear and crisp for the most part and probably enough to identify a face provided they are close enough to what’s going on there now the night vision seems to work pretty nicely on the camera it doesn’t blow out faces at least in my testing I was using it in my back room over there that is completely dark and it was able to illuminate that area fairly well and it will automatically switch out of night vision mode when the lights come back on so it seems to be doing well in both good and bad lighting conditions now the camera also has two-way communication so if you are looking at the live image coming out of the camera there is a button here that you can tap to talk it is a tap to talk system so right now all of the audio that’s coming out of my mouth is getting picked up by its microphone I’m able to hear that on the phone and if I want to talk back I can just hold down the talk button hello and it’s echoing back just because it is right next to me here but it’s pretty loud the speaker at least on the cameras I don’t think anyone’s going to have a hard time hearing you if you are talking to them through the camera the audio quality on the microphone on the camera for what you might hear on your phone isn’t great but it’s probably going to be good enough have a listen across the room right now and this

let the audio sounds like but when you’re in front of the camera like this it’s a little bit louder but it doesn’t necessarily sound any better there’s a lot of audio compression at work here but it’s enough to understand what the person is saying to you on the other end so there you go you’ve got two way communication back and forth to this camera they’re newer outdoor cameras also support that feature now because this is an Amazon device it will work with Amazon voice controls like you might use on an echo device here or one of their tablets or the fire TV and you’re able to get the cameras video up with a voice command now I have changed the trigger word on my echo show here so it hopefully won’t trigger your devices in your home and I’m going to ask it Amazon show me the minicam and what it’s going to do now is connect up to the blink system it’s going to turn the volume down because it does pass the audio through and as you can see here it is now giving us a live view of our camera and this would work even if your echo device is somewhere else in the world it connects over the internet and allows you to stream your camera out that way and you can ask for any of your blink cameras like this so I could easily go to the front door or some other room just by asking for the specific camera and of course that integration is a really cool thing to have and it works very nicely here now this also works with IFTTT and we covered this in a little bit more detail in my other blink videos I use this for a couple of different things one is that when I leave my house I have it automatically armed the motion sensors on the cameras because sometimes I forget to do that so when I leave it just

automatically does it for me you could do some other stuff like having to keep a log of every motion event that happens in Google Spreadsheets I also been messing around with having it work with my door lock so if I unlock the door successfully I have a disarm the system so I don’t get motion events when I walk in the door there’s a lot of different things you can do with IFTTT that work really well with these cameras here now although I am a big fan of blink cameras I am not so crazy about the direction they’re going with this new one the camera itself for the price is fine it works very well with my other blink cameras and no issues there but the big problem is the fact that you lose a lot of functionality if you don’t pay for the subscription after the trial ends that’s not how blink cameras have worked in the past and if you came in with that expectation that hey this is a cool new device I can very inexpensively link in with the rest of my system you’re not going to be pleased because at some point you’re going to have an ongoing cost of ownership for this low-priced camera and I don’t like that that’s not what blink has been about and now it looks like Amazon is looking to change the business model to make this work more like their ring cameras do and that to me is really a bad deal for people that are fans of the blink platform if you are getting into these things for the first time and looking at other alternative cameras likewise I think the wise cameras offer a lot more value they’ve got a camera that offers pretty much the same visual and audio quality yet it has free cloud storage at least for notifications it has the option for local storage with just an SD card not another piece of hardware that you have to buy later and it works just as

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well as this one does but it doesn’t have the ongoing cost of ownership and I think if you are again in the market for some of these inexpensive cameras for the first time I would look at wise or Yi before you start looking at this indoor blink camera at the moment it looks like the existing outdoor cameras and even these older indoor cameras don’t have the same subscription requirements that this new blink camera does I don’t know when they’re going to try to shift everything over to the same model amazon has promised those of us who bought blink earlier that we’re not going to be forced upon this new subscription model but nonetheless it really is unfortunate and disappointing that the blink system is going to lose a lot of the value that it had so again I would say if you were looking for something at this price range the wise camera is probably the better choice if you are an existing blink user it’s a nice addition to your system just know though that the free ride is over and you’re going to have to pay to own it if you want to get the full feature set and as such I’m a bit disappointed by this for all that’s gonna do it for now let me know what you thought down in the comments below and until next time this is line and Simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold level supporters the four guys with quarters podcasts Tom Albrecht Rick vez to do’ chris Allegretto Callie an Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to land TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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