The Full Blink XT Review: Another Cheap Knockoff?

The Blink XT system has two components: the camera and the sync module.  The sync module acts as the base station, or the brains of the system.   

The Blink XT camera system is weather-proof.  You could place the cameras outdoors and it would be safe from the elements.  It could withstand the intense heat of the sun, as well as being rained on.  Or you could just place it indoors.  In short, you can put it just about anywhere!  

Unlike other security cameras, Blink XT is powered by batteries, making it very flexible when it comes to placement.  Find the best location for your Blink XT and you do not have to worry about wiring it!

And the good news is that the long-lasting battery gives your camera two years of running time.  You do not have to replace the batteries frequently!

First Look: The Blink XT Camera 

 

The Blink XT has motion and temperature detection, allowing the system to record a snapshot of what was happening when the sensor was triggered.  It could then send an alert to your smartphone with the video and audio attached.   

Live high-definition video.  The Blink XT delivers live videos in high definition.  The company says that the camera is configurable to 1080 pixels. 

Infrared night vision.  The Blink XT camera also uses night vision to help it record clear videos even when it is dark. 

Blink Integrations 

 

Blink XT works with Amazon Alexa, enabling you to arm or disarm your camera using voice command.

What’s more, if you do disarm your camera using Amazon Alexa, it will ask you for a four-digit PIN to ensure that no outsider would be able to disarm your camera fraudulently.  Blink XT also works with IFTTT recipes.   

Blink vs Blink XT: Improvements Over the Original

Blink XT is the second-generation security camera from the same company.

Blink XT is $30 more expensive than the original Blink, but it does possess some features that are improved.

For one, the original camera’s resolution is rated at 720 pixels, but the Blink XT is 1080p capable.

Blink XT is also weather-proof and waterproof, so you can place it outside.

The first-generation Blink is only good for indoor use.

The night vision on the Blink XT has also been improved; it now uses infrared LEDs instead of the illuminator used in the earlier version.  

Both versions of the Blink camera have a rated two-year battery life, both use motion and temperature sensors to detect movement, and both have a field of view of 110 degrees. 

  Blink Blink XT
Kit Price  $99.00 (For the latest prices check here) $129.99 (For the latest prices check here)
Resolution  720p  720p, 1080p Capable 
Night Vision  Illuminator  IR LEDs 
Field of View  110°  110° 
Indoor use  Yes  Yes 
Outdoor use  No  Yes 
Promised Battery Life  2 Years  2 Years 
Sensors  Motion and Temperature  Motion and Temperature 
Color  White  Black 

Pros of the Blink XT 

 

Security cameras are very useful in helping you keep an eye on your house and everything around it.  However, some security camera systems are easily defeated by burglars.

They can cut the power and render the camera useless.  With Blink XT, you would not have to worry about that because it runs on batteries and there are no wires to cut. 

The motion detector is highly customizable.  Using the mobile Blink app, you can enable or disable the motion detector, and then change the re-trigger time as well as change the sensitivity level.

You can also change the length of the recorded clip from as brief as 5 seconds to as long as a minute.  You can also specify that the recording stops when the movement stops. 

Another plus for the Blink XT is that the motion sensor is always on, which means that it is triggered once it detects motion and the scene is immediately recorded.

Other cameras have motion sensors that sleep when a certain period of time passes without any movement detected in order to save battery power.  This, however, means that the first few seconds of the action is missed.  And this is an important plus point for Blink XT.

If the trigger is a passing car, the Blink XT would be able to record a video of the car passing by, while other cameras that put its motion detector to sleep would only be able to catch the car’s back bumper in the recording. 

You can keep 7,200 seconds worth of videos on Blink’s server.  If you set your Blink XT to record a minute of video every time the motion sensors are tripped, that is still enough for 120 videos.  The older videos are automatically written over if you exceed your 7,200-second allocation. 

Cons to Consider: What Could be Better?

While it is true that the Blink XT is able to record videos in HD, take note that the camera used here has a resolution of 720 pixels, but it is capable of shooting or recording at a higher resolution of 1080 pixels.   

If you are looking for a security camera that works with professional monitoring, you might want to look elsewhere.  For now, Blink does not offer professional monitoring.   

There is no way for you to record when you want to.  You can watch a live stream on the mobile app but you would have to wait for something to move in order for the camera to record it.  There is also no two-way audio, which means that you would not be able to talk to whoever is out there.   

Moreover, you are notified when the camera detects movement but it is only after the camera has finished recording rather than instantaneously. 

You can also set schedules that would enable or disable the motion sensors, which is helpful if you live in a high traffic area where there are a lot of movements in the morning.  The schedule would allow you to set the motion sensor on only at certain hours where there should be no movements. 

However, one schedule would arm or disarm all of your cameras.  This means that if you create a schedule only for a few hours at night, all of your cameras will only be armed within that few hours.

If you want one camera to be armed round the clock, you would have to arm all of your cameras round the clock.  There is no way for you to set different schedules for each camera you have. 

Lastly, there are reports that the battery does not really last the two years that the company advertises.  At the most, it could last for three to four months. 

Blink Security Options

There are plans to roll out the Blink Security, which will expand the capabilities of the Blink XT.  The planned offerings under these are as follows: 

  Free  $9.99/month  $19.99/month 
Battery Backup  Yes  Yes  Yes 
WiFi Connection  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Cellular/4G Backup  No  Yes  Yes 
Support for Siren, Keypad, Motion Sensors, Water Sensor  Panic Siren Only  Yes  Yes 
Monitoring  Self  Self  24/7 Third-Party Professional Monitoring 
Live Streaming  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Motion Alerts  PIR Motion Detection  PIR & Advanced Cloud-Based Motion Analytics  PIR & Advanced Cloud-Based Motion Analytics 
Notifications  Push, IFTTT  Push, IFTTT  Push & Calls via Monitoring Center, IFTTT 
Manual and Scheduled Arming/Disarming  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Geofencing  via IFTTT Only  Yes  Yes 
Cloud Storage  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Alexa Integration  Yes  Yes  Yes 
IFTTT Integration  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Camera Support  Up to 10 Cameras  Up to 10 Cameras  Up to 10 Cameras 
Multi-tier User Accounts  No  Yes  Yes 
Local 9-1-1 Alerts  No  Yes  Yes 
Contract  No-Contract  No-Contract  No-Contract 
Compatible With  Old and New Sync Module  New Sync Module  New Sync Module 

You should, however, know that this does not only include the Blink XT.  The security system would include the Blink XT Camera, the Blink Camera, a Keypad, the 4G cellular sync module, siren, water sensor, and entry sensor.

Most probably, the company would do it the same way that other DIY smart security systems are sold on the market: Blink would probably offer all of these with a starter kit, allowing you to add more cameras and sensors as you need them. 

If these planned offerings do push through, it would help your home become better protected.  Your Blink XT camera would gain 4G cellular backup, allowing it to continue recording videos and then sending these to the cloud even when there is a power outage or when your Wi-Fi connection is out. 

Alternatives to Blink XT – The Competitive Landscape

Clearly Blink XT isn’t the only smart cam / security cam system on the market. In fact, it’s quite the competitive space these days. The following are some other options (some of which we have written about!) available today:

  • Arlo Cam / Arlo Q: Arlo is another of my favorite options. While they have a few generations on the market, the most comparable to the Blink XT is probably the Arlo Q 1080p. I previously did a full Arlo Q review and found it to be one of the better smart cameras on the market. It’s just a great “all around” smart cam system.
  • Nest Cam: No discussion of smart cameras is complete without discussing the Nest Cam. At the very least, it’s worth considering. As the market leader, there is some peace of mind in knowing that Nest is building a giant ecosystem and constantly working on their products. Overall, it’s very similar to Blink but definitely more expensive (in general).
  • Canary Cam: Canary is another alternative to the cams mentioned above. It’s quite comparable to the XT, but has 147 degrees of tilt / rotation. My full Canary review has additional details.

NOTE: There are also some other top smart home cameras worth checking out (not specifically mentioned above).

Blink XT Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some common questions we get about the Blink XT:

Question: What is the resolution of the camera?
Answer: It’s 720p

Question: How many Blink devices can you sync together?
Answer: Blink can support up to 10 cams at once. Note: you have to use the sync setting to get them all linked up together.

Question: How far does the Blink XT night vision see?
Answer: In my experience I’d estimate about 20 feet.

Question: Can I add other cameras to the network (non-Blink)?
Answer: No, you have to use Blink devices exclusively, at least for now.

Final say about the Blink XT 

 

At its list price of $130 (for the latest prices check here), Blink XT gives you a motion-sensing outdoor camera that runs on batteries you do not need to replace for two years.  The Blink XT might have some trade-offs, however.

For instance, it does not have two-way audio, and it has a narrower field of view at only 110 degrees.  It also has around two hours of free cloud storage and local storage is still not available.  There are a lot of plans for Blink XT that would make it a better-featured security camera, but these are not yet available today. 

Nevertheless, the Blink XT does its job rather well and is a solid step up over older Blink cameras.  If you want a budget security camera that has the basics down pat, then Blink XT is a good choice.   

Where to Buy the Blink XT

There are a few different options available to purchase online, but these are the ones I prefer: