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Home News Blink Video Doorbell: Security meets budget-friendly

Blink Video Doorbell: Security meets budget-friendly

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CNN
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Amazon announced on Tuesday, Sept. 28, that it is expanding the Blink line of home security cameras — indoor and outdoor — with three new gadgets.

We’re most excited by the Blink Video Doorbell ($49.99; amazon.com), a comparatively low-cost option that undercuts Ring’s cheapest doorbell by $10. Blink’s Video Doorbell is up for preorder now.

It’s launching alongside a battery-powered Floodlight Camera, an LED mount for the Blink Outdoor camera and a Solar Power Mount, which aims to keep the Outdoor camera powered at all times. Like the Floodlight, it’s a mounting solution for the outdoor camera.

Here’s what to know about the new Blink products.

Blink’s Video Doorbell can either be hardwired if you have an existing doorbell or powered with two AA batteries. Blink is promising two years of battery life with the included batteries, when it is hardwired or when paired with a Sync Module 2. That’s pretty impressive, but it clearly depends on your usage and settings for saving footage. Ring Video Doorbells in a wired solution always have power, but wire-free you can expect three to four weeks, depending on how many alerts you receive.

The Blink Video Doorbell will capture whatever is at your door — people, pets, package deliveries — in 1080p. The doorbell features infrared night vision, which helps in lower-light settings. This is in line with competing options, like Ring’s $59.99 Video Doorbell Wired, which also captures in 1080p and features night vision.

All of this is housed in a pretty thin design that looks like most other doorbells. It will be available in your choice of black or white, with the camera up top and the ringer button on the bottom. Blink also says the video doorbell is “built to withstand the elements” but didn’t share a specific rating or resistance. Interestingly, Ring doesn’t specify a rating either, but during our hands-on testing, a Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 did survive Hurricane Ida, while a Ring Video Doorbell 3 still functions after being underwater. Most doorbells are able to handle rain, wind and snow as well as intense temperatures. On the latter, Amazon claims the Blink Outdoor Camera can operate in temperatures 4 below zero. The doorbell also features a microphone and speaker, enabling two-way communication via the Blink app.

And like any other device made by Blink, you’ll need an account and the companion app (available for Android or iOS) to use the Video Doorbell. You’ll have the option to set alerts and customize notifications from the start, and have two options for saving videos captured on the device.

You can sign up for a Blink Subscription Plan, which will let you save events to the cloud such as a person ringing the doorbell or a package being dropped off. Or you can get the Blink Sync Module and a USB flash drive to create a mini server on your network to save these files locally. Essentially it acts as a network storage drive for saving your files and syncs within the Blink app. Either way, you’ll be able to save footage and share important events with other family or home members.

If you want a live view of what’s happening at your door, though, you’ll need to hardwire the doorbell or use a Blink Sync Module ($34.99; amazon.com) to have those features. Most other doorbells don’t require this, but streaming live will likely tax the battery here. We’ll report back after we’ve gone hands-on and installed the Blink Video Doorbell.

Like other Blink cameras, the video doorbell will work with Alexa and Echo devices. You can hear a notification (like a custom Blink chime) on an Echo speaker, smart display or even a Fire TV device when someone is at your door.

Blink’s Video Doorbell is up for preorder now at $49.99 and will begin shipping in the coming weeks. You’ll also score a 30-day free trial to Blink Subscription Plus with the purchase. We imagine the view will be pretty clear based on our experience with other Blink products, but the application can be a little clunky at times.

AMAZON

Unlike the Video Doorbell, which is a new device from Blink, the Floodlight Camera and Solar Panel Mount are two accessories to get more out of the existing Blink Outdoor camera.

Blink Outdoor is a square-shaped camera with rounded corners that can withstand a plethora of outdoor elements. The key feature is a wide-angle 1080p lens that lets you see a lot more than a standard lens, even though it’s just placed in one spot. In our testing, it offers a clear view during the day and ample amount of details to see who or what might be in the shot. Like the Video Doorbell, it works with the Blink Sync Module, or it can sync footage with the cloud if you’re on Blink Subscription Plus. It’s also powered by two AA batteries.

The Floodlight Camera is a battery-powered LED mount in which a Blink Outdoor camera can sit. If the camera detects motion, the floodlight functionality will engage with 700 lumens of force. That’s pretty bright but does fall behind a full-feature floodlight like Ring’s, which features two bright LEDs and up to 2,000 lumens. We’ve reached out to Blink for an estimate on how well this can light a space. We’ll of course put it to the test as well. Blink will offer the Floodlight Camera on its own for $39.99 or bundled with an outdoor camera for $139.98.

AMAZON

Blink’s Solar Panel Mount aims to solve the issue of the Blink Outdoor camera eventually running out of battery. It uses a built-in solar array to keep the Outdoor camera constantly powered. We’re assuming that it will use the built-in battery for overnight hours, which will get a recharge the next time the sun is out. Blink’s Solar Panel Mount is up for order in a bundle along with an Outdoor camera for $129.98. We’ve reached out to Blink to ask if it will be sold separately, but we imagine this includes a specialized Outdoor camera with rechargeable batteries. When and if we hear back, we’ll update this story.

The Floodlight Camera (alone or in a bundle) and the Solar Panel Mount are up for preorder now. They’re expected to start shipping in the coming weeks.

Blink’s entry into the video doorbell space isn’t necessarily a shocker, but it is a surprise since it’s likely competing directly with Ring — a brand also owned by Amazon. We’re eager to go hands-on and test the Blink Video Doorbell, but it seems pretty good on paper as an affordable solution. For those who care about Alexa integration, it certainly has that covered as well. And we found Blink’s $34.99 Mini camera to be pretty impressive with a clear view from its 1080p lens.

The Floodlight Camera and Solar Panel Mount are expected offerings for the popular Outdoor camera that are finally coming to fruition. The Floodlight option makes it more functional as a security camera and could help deter unwanted people or animals on your property. And the Solar Panel Mount solves the battery life problem, and we’re eager to see how it performs in the real world.

All three of these are up for preorder now and will begin shipping in the coming weeks. Blink’s Sync Module 2 is available now for $34.99 as well.

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