Review Blink XT2 Security Camera and Blink System Long Term Review

hey everybody its Lance I’ve been and we’re doing an update today on the blink home security system I first looked at this about two years ago or so and I’ve been using these cameras ever since what I like about them is that they’re very inexpensive you can get started with two of their outdoor cameras here along with their sync module for a hundred and eighty dollars and then you can add additional cameras down the road they’re fully battery-powered in fact this one is still running on the same set of batteries that I got with it two years ago so there’s a lot to like with these things and the best part is they don’t charge you a monthly fee for storing video in the cloud once you buy them you’re done paying for them and that’s one of the things I’m always looking for with these home security products because everybody’s got a subscription to maintain a lot of the features that they’re selling to you that is not the case here so what we’re gonna do in this video is explore some of the new features of the XT 2 camera here which is their newest products but also just give you a general update about how the system is working for me it’s not a perfect system you sometimes do get what you pay for but for my purposes it’s been very good and it’s

something that I think might be of use to others out there who are looking for a lower cost solution to keeping an eye on things around their property now I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that blink about two and a half years ago did send me a couple of these cameras along with some of their sync modules free of charge but I did buy a number of other cameras after that this camera I paid for with my own funds as well all the opinions are about two here are my own nobody is paying for this review nor is anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into an out and see what these products are all about so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware this is the original camera that we looked at back in 2017 these were rated for indoor use only and did not have night vision they have a little light here that lights up for when it is in the dark the outdoor camera here does have night vision along with an infrared illuminator and it is waterproof if you take a look inside here as I pop open the back of the case you can see it’s got a nice thick gasket here that seals the battery and the electronics in better than the indoor camera does and I use the prior version of the outdoor camera outside for the better part of a year and a half it has been rained on it’s been through super cold winters and snow wind you name it that camera has survived and I really had no problems with it it’s still working right the second looking over the backyard I’ve got another one out over my

driveway as well the battery life on these is pretty remarkable but it will vary based on how much activity the camera is getting so they run on double A’s but they recommend you use lithium double A’s only which will provide more longevity these are a little more expensive than your traditional double A batteries it won’t work with rechargeables but generally you’ll get about two years out of them for a low your kind of a low volume area so this camera my floater which isn’t used all that often is still running off its first set my backdoor camera went the better part of a year on a set of batteries but my driveway camera which gets a ton of activity I’m swapping out the batteries every four or six months so just be aware of that if you are monitoring a front door or some place where your camera is going to be continually coming on and recording and transmitting video those are areas that will really eat down those batteries pretty quickly and you’ll be looking at months and not years as they’re indicating in their product marketing so it’s again one of those things where your mileage is going to vary now these cameras will not work on their own you do need the blink sync module and you can see what my previous generation sync module looks like here the good news is is that if you bought these a while ago and have the original version of the sync module the new cameras work with the old modules and you’ll see also that old module has an Ethernet jack on it the new ones don’t it is strictly working over Wi-Fi and one thing to keep in mind with the sync modules is that the sync module needs to get in range of the camera and your Wi-Fi and likewise the camera needs to be in range of the Wi-Fi as well now even though the sync module will support 10 cameras you

might find yourself having to buy more sync modules based on where you’re setting things up so I have to sync modules in my house because I couldn’t get all of my cameras in range of a sync module to the other so I’ve got one sink module on this end of the house and another one on the other side of the house and those sink modules cost about $50 apiece so just be aware of that so you got to have Wi-Fi to the camera you need to have the camera connected to the sink module and the sink module also needs Wi-Fi they do give you some signal guides on the app to better get things situated but just be prepared you might have to buy a second sink module and they have a nice mounting bracket with the new XT 2 camera just screws into your door frame or whatever else you’re trying to monitor the camera will snap onto that mount and you can easily take it back off again to swap out the batteries and the cameras will also stand up on their own so what I use this white camera for here is kind of a floater so I want to make sure the kids aren’t getting into something that they shouldn’t I can just set the camera up by placing it down on a desk like this and it will do what it does and likewise you can do the same here with the outdoor camera so you can very easily relocate them so long as they are within

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range of their sink module so let’s take a look here at the app what you’ll notice at the top here is the ring neighbor’s icon and the reason why it’s got some ring branded stuff on it is because amazon acquired blink a little while back and brought them into the same home security umbrella as some of their other products like the ring doorbell and cameras that they offer now as I mentioned I have two different sync modules here to connect up my cameras so my front door in my driveway are on one sync module and then the backyard and some of the studio stuff here is on another sync module and that’s something again you’ve got to keep in mind and you will be separating out your cameras based on which sync module they are attached to now you have the option to take a quick photograph to see what’s going on in the yard so if I hit the photo icon here my first generation outdoor camera here will take a picture and it will update the thumbnail here that you see you also notice it does take a while for those images to get updated it’s not a very quick process here and what I can also do is hit the video icon here which will monitor what’s going on outside in real time and what I can even do here is flip my phone around and you can get a better sense of the image so this is a live view coming off of that front camera and what will happen is is that after maybe ten or fifteen or twenty seconds or so it’ll ask me if I want to maybe stop watching it and the reason is is that this is

consuming a lot of battery life when it’s doing that sort of thing now one thing they added with the new outdoor camera is that you can now record what you were monitoring live so if I go over to the front door which has the new second-generation outdoor camera and I go to monitor the outdoor video like I was a second ago on the other camera you’ll notice here I have the option to save what’s happening here and I also have the ability to push a button here to talk to somebody outside this is a push-to-talk scenario here so you push down the button to talk and let go and then you can listen to what the person says to you but it’s not a two-way conversation and then when I’m done watching this here I can click close and that entire transaction now will be available to me in the saved recordings folder which we’ll take a look at here in just a second now the audio quality from the speaker on the camera is not terribly loud but it’s adequate you can hear what it sounds like here so it’s enough to have a conversation with somebody when they step up to the door and the cameras can be triggered by motion so that you’ll know somebody is there and we’ll get into that here in just a second as well now you’ll notice in my home group right now that the cameras are disarmed but if I check off this little box here what you will see is that the cameras will activate their motion detection which is indicated by the little man running here now right now if either one of these cameras detects motion I will get pushed a notification and it will send it

recording up to the blink cloud so if I click on that notification on the phone it will take me over to that recording so I can see what’s going on so it records first and then uploads and there’s some ways you can configure that recording which I’ll show you in a second but if you don’t want all of the cameras in the group to detect motion you can turn them off individually so right now the driveway and the front door are activated but if I tap on the little man icon here that will disable the motion tracking just on the driveway camera so you do have some degree of adjustability here so it’s not an all-or-nothing kind of scenario there’s also some scheduling that I’ll show you in a minute now if we click on the little Settings icon here that will bring us to another screen where we get a little more detail as to what we can configure so one of the nice things about the cameras is that they have thermometers on them so if you had a camera in a home that you’re not always occupying you can have it set a an alert so that if you get below a certain temperature you’ll know that you’ve got a problem likewise you can also set a heat alert so if you’re going above 90 or 95 degrees you know you might have some other issues to deal with as well so you do have some ability to go beyond just basic motion tracking there motion detection as you can see on this camera is enabled they also have activity zones and

then on the newer cameras you can get even more granular with your settings here so if I go to advanced you can see that it zooms in and I can set sub zones inside of those motion detection zones as well so if there was a tree moving in one spot that’s setting off your camera quite a bit you can get in a little bit finer detail there in disabling some areas and you can see right now the areas that are not gray in this photo are what it’s detecting and I disabled a small portion of the upper portion of the porch there but not the entire thing so you can really get in there and start doing some very granular stuff now reach rigor time is how often the camera will reach trigger after it goes off so for example if my camera were to detect some motion at the moment it’ll record it will shut off after doing that recording and then it’s going to wait a certain amount of time before it starts recording again so right now the camera is on its default setting of 10 seconds but you can have it go up to 60 seconds but there is still a reit rigger time that will happen here I can also set a clip length right now the clip length is at its default of 5 seconds but I could maybe make that go to 10 or so and you can see it’s pushing an alert to say that if you do record 10 seconds that will impact the battery a bit you have some sensitivity for the motion detection you have to adjust that to get it to where you maybe don’t

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get as many false alarms and then another option here to consider is having it end the clip early if the motion stops so for example if a little bird flies by the camera and then that motion stops it won’t give me a ten-second clip here just as much as what it saw when the bird flew by and that might be again helpful for controlling the overall battery life you do have some control over the IR illuminator and last night with the new camera I went outside to see how it worked and I found that on a door that illuminator was really blowing me out completely so I ended up turning it down to low so that when it does kick on it will at least try to make out some facial features I was having some difficulty getting it to adjust on the person versus the background and you’ll need to adjust that a little bit one thing you could do with these cameras is set an Alexa routine or set up some kind of IFTTT thing to maybe turn on a light so that you don’t have to use the night vision at all but I did find the IR illuminator was really blowing out the nearby subject so I could hear them but I couldn’t really see what I was looking at unfortunately and you can see what that image looked like here is rolling some b-roll over it you also have the ability of course to record audio you could turn that off if you want and then you also have a speaker control here this is a test of what the audio sounds like at the door I found even at the highest setting it’s not all that loud but it’s good enough I had the video quality right now set to best you can go to enhance which will look a little

bit better maybe a little less compressed but overall you’re not going to get great video out of these cameras no matter what you do they do record at 1080p but the visual qualities you can see here just isn’t all that great but for me it’s good enough to get a notification and see what’s going on but it’s not going to rival a more expensive security system with HD cameras that is recording all the time and then at the lower portion here you do have an indicator as to how good the signal strength is so you can see how good I’m connecting up to Wi-Fi along with how good I am connecting up to my sync module and that is pretty much it now remember these cameras are not always recording they are only looking for motion events and they will record very briefly when those Benj trigger off but they won’t be getting a lot of the detail and if you need that level of security you’re going to need something a lot more robust than these now if I want to switch to another module I can click on the home thing here and you can see I’ve got my studio sync module here that comes up next so you can switch between your sync modules pretty easily also in this screen you have the ability to schedule arming so for example I’ve got my home system here scheduled to arm every day at 8:00 p.m.

Just in case I turned it off and forgot to do it one thing though is that this arming is for the entire sink module all the cameras on that sink module and you can’t control cameras individually so right now for example we have the driveway disarmed but the front door armed and of course the sink module is armed as well if I were to turn it off now and wait till 8 o’clock when it rearm Zitz only going to turn on the front camera here because that’s where I last left it you can’t arm an individual camera and that’s one of the biggest shortfalls of this system and something that continually drives me crazy that you can’t go in and armed an individual camera at specific times it’s all or nothing or you have to remember to manually jump in and turn that camera back on now it stores all of your footage on the cloud they give you two hours of cloud storage and what you do is click on that little folder icon here in the upper right hand corner of the screen to review what you’ve got when you hit the two hours like I have it will delete the oldest clip and replace it with a new one if you have the XT two camera because you can do manual recordings that will differentiate manual versus what was a motion trigger here and then to watch something you just tap on it and it will start playing back now if you want to save a clip for posterity you can click on share and that will pull up the file share dialog box this will be similar on Android as well so I can put it into my photo library I could email it to myself I could airdrop it and then on Android of course you can do very similar things with the clips but if you don’t copy the clip off and you hit that two-hour limit and that becomes the oldest clip it’s gone forever so you’ll definitely want to go in and download whatever is important to you because there is no local storage with this system at all and then you could also do some filtering here so I can filter it by whether it’s a triggered event or a manual event and I can also look at a specific camera for example so if I just want to see what happened in the backyard here I can select backyard you can see the backyard is very uneventful here so maybe I want to look at the driveway now and click done here and you can see what’s going on on the driveway only so pretty easy to get around here again very bare-bones

but I think given the price point here and the fact that there’s no subscription fee this is probably adequate for just again getting some situational awareness as to what’s going on in your home and what may be triggered something but for a more robust system you’ll need to spend a lot more money to get constant recordings in a lot more detail to them now given that these are Amazon own products that also works with Amazon’s echo and other devices that support the a-word so if we ask our friend here show me the backyard okay will now see an image out of my blink camera here in the backyard what I’m noticing though with this is that while the old versions of the cameras work fine the new version doesn’t seem to be working at the time I’m recording this video I tried to use it both with this echo device along with my fire TV all of my older cameras sprung up just fine but the newer camera would only send over audio so there’s still some glitchy things going on here but it does integrate into the Amazon echo ecosystem so if you do have a fire TV a fire tablet or something else that supports the a-word with visual feedback you can be able to just pull up your camera’s by voice likewise you can also integrate things into Alexa’s

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system for routines so if the camera picks up some motion you can have it trigger a light bulb for example you can also use it with IFTTT let’s take a look and see what I’m doing with that now blink at the moment only provides one trigger for IFTTT which is motion but for example you can’t have a motion event I trigger off a light bulb going on or ensuring that your doors are locked or something like that what I’m using with my though is the arming feature so if we jump back out of here you can see that right now I have it set to disarm my blink system when I get home when my phone is in proximity of the house and then as I’m leaving the house it will armed it automatically in case I turned it off and forgot to turn it back on again I also have a couple of push-button things set up so if I’m out and about I can actually armed it from my watch using the IFTTT Apple watch for example but again you can’t armed a camera individually only all of the cameras on an individual sync module so that’s again my big frustration here is that there’s not enough granularity to the syncing here but you do have the ability to do some pretty cool stuff with blink here I’ve been also

experimenting with my door locks here because I do have people who have authorization to use my smart lock come in and what I’ve done with the system is turned off the camera I’m using here in the studio when somebody has been authorized on that lock and unlocks it and then it rearmed it after they lock it again so there’s a lot of stuff that you can play around here with IFTTT and blink seems to integrate pretty nicely with it so that’s gonna do it for this look at the blank security system this is not the best system on the market by far but it’s the one that I use the most after looking at these things for the last six years primarily because it’s very simple to set up there’s no wiring to run the batteries last a good long time on these cameras again this one’s still going after two years and I get everything I need without having to spend a monthly fee to get it so when the UPS guy pulls up in the driveway I know he’s here I know who’s at the

door I can now talk to who’s at the door I can even unlock the door with my other a door lock thing and let them put a package in sign and then relock it all through a communication through the camera and I’m doing all of that without having to incur any expense to do so and that to me is a big plus and makes up for a lot of the shortcomings that this product has but if you do need something more robust you probably should look at getting something installed that can record 24/7 there are some great security systems out there that will cost significantly more than this but if you just need the basics with some notifications and a little short clip every once in a while I think these things are definitely worth take look at they’ve worked very well for me over the last two years until next time this is LAN Simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold level supporters the four guys with Porter’s podcast Chris ala Greta Tom Albrecht Mike Talbert Brian Parker in Kellyanne 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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