Review: the Amazon Blink home security camera

Checking up on your home while you are away just got a lot easier (and cheaper)

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Looking for new smart home technology? With everything from smart doorbells to motion sensor security lights with built in alarms, keeping your home secure and checking up things when you’re away has been getting a lot easier, and cheaper, in recent years.

Installing security cameras and connecting them to a home monitoring system used to be a major task, with IP skullduggery and the joys of hardwiring an existing house to cope with.

Blink, recently acquired by Amazon, have been at the forefront of this democratisation of home security. The promise is a simple, wireless set up, fast and easy connectivity and long-life battery operation – a completely hassle-free home security network. Jason Orme, homes, construction and interiors expert and writer has been testing their system for the best part of a year; here’s the reality.

Blink smart home security camera

(Image: © Blink)

I set up a four-camera system on a relatively large detached house. The Sync module is the heart of the system and needs to be connected into a wall socket, where it picks up the home Wi-Fi network. Once initialised (it took less than a couple of minutes) you can start adding cameras. I chose my locations (two inside, two outside, for which I used the weatherproof XT cameras which come complete with night vision) and set them up one at a time. 

Again, the simple four-step process took less than five minutes. You can mechanically fix the cameras to the wall (best for external cameras) but we found internal cameras were best left completely unfixed, so they could move around as required. All in all, within 30 minutes all four cameras were set up.

Blink’s system runs off a simple app, and once installed and logged in, it allows me to see all four cameras in a single view.

Once set up, the individual HD cameras can be armed or disarmed with a simple slide button from the app. If an armed camera detects movement, it sends a notification to the user’s phone, and records the relevant snippet for immediate viewing. 

As the app develops and becomes more sophisticated, it allows you to control variables such as sensitivity to movement, which would be perfect for families with pets who don’t want to be informed every time the dog moves. 

There are two main ways in which we have found the Blink system useful. Firstly, to give us peace of mind while away from the house for any length of time (no notification, no problem). More relevantly for us, it has allowed us to check in on the house if we’re away – Blink is a perfect solution for families looking to be able to keep an eye on the dog while at work, or the teenager while away for the weekend. 

The system offers exceptional value for money compared to the more traditional security set ups, and compares favourably to the other brands, offering similar wire-free installations. A three camera system costs £269.99 with additional external cameras at £119.99.

The external cameras are great, but need to be discreetly placed (as they are clearly a bit of a flight risk if spotted by passers-by) and they also need to operate within the confines of the home’s Wi-Fi range. This limits the options for external positioning, although we found no problem placing them on the front and side of the house.

The battery life is a real plus point for these cameras. A set of two AA batteries will need replacing on average every two years – brilliant efficiency considering the benefits over hard-wiring.

If they’re not fixed, the internal cameras can easily get moved or knocked and put out of position. So best to hide them away from the high traffic areas of the house.

The whole system, from set up to the use through the app is brilliantly simple and easy to operate. It has become a useful part of our lives – not just in terms of giving video protection of the home in our absence, but for ensuring that grandparents really are looking after the children in the way they claim…

It would be very difficult to find a better value, simple to install and use system elsewhere on the market.

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