What is Blink XT?
Most outdoor security cameras require some level of DIY knowledge to get going, but waterproof Blink XT cameras run on AA batteries, can be placed on any flat surface, and are controlled only through a smart phone
As such, you can have a device running in a matter of minutes. In fact, since they are also available in packages of two, three and five, the configuration of several units will not take much longer.
The following review covers the two-camera package, which comes with the Synchronization Module needed to beam your Wi-Fi network. If you want to add more cameras at a later date, you can buy them without Sync for £ 120 to pop.
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Blink XT – Design and construction
With its hard black plastic housing, the Blink XT camera feels suitably resilient. He feels like a GoPro who has retired from all those reckless things, and gains a little weight as a result.
Connecting each unit to your Wi-Fi is just a matter of plugging in the Sync Module and using your phone to scan the QR code under the back panel of the camera. My camera required a firmware update, but it still took only a couple of minutes to be ready to work.
To work, each camera must be within range of the Synchronization Module, which in turn must be in a good range of your router to maintain a constant signal from one end of the chain to the other. This means that it is very unlikely that you can place your Blink camera right at the end of the garden, even though its shape is entirely adequate for that.
Accessories and accessories are limited, but each camera comes with a basic plastic mounting bracket that easily adjusts to the back of the device and allows you to tilt the camera.
However, keep in mind that you can not rotate it. Fortunately, the 110-degree wide-angle lens means that this should not be necessary. The stand does not feel particularly strong, but once it is in position, you should not need to touch the camera.
Wherever you place your camera, it's probably best to use the stand to hold it to something; the camera does not feel heavy enough to withstand strong winds, especially if it has been placed in an exposed area. The clip's nature of the device also means that it is not particularly resistant to theft, although the theft of security cameras seems to be an unnecessarily high-risk crime.
Blink XT – Features
Blink XT cameras are activated by motion and up to one minute of video is recorded at a time, although the duration and quality can be modified in the accompanying application. If you want to check in at any point, there is also a Live View feature, and at night the cameras use infrared to see in the dark.
You can adjust the movement sensitivity, but there is no option to set specific detection zones. The XT also strives to differentiate between an animal and a person, so be prepared to familiarize yourself with the local wildlife (a secondary benefit of the undisclosed property if you ask me).
This is because Blink XT uses a PIR Motion Sensor, instead of detecting movement in video. The benefit is that a PIR sensor uses little battery.
Once motion has been detected and a video clip recorded, the camera will send a notification to any phone that has the Blink application installed and logged in. to his account.
It is a pity that it is not possible to have different profiles for different users, but at least the interface based on the calendar facilitates the configuration of programs.
Blink recognizes that he can record 10 five -second clips per day with each camera, with the batteries lasting two years. As such, if your cameras are positioned somewhere that sees less traffic than that, you should not need to buy new AAs for a long time.
He did not cry so much during the trial period, but my neighbor jet-washed his fences. As a result, one of the cameras took a good drink, but escaped unharmed. In fact, I even got a good footage.
The Blink XT does not employ a particularly sophisticated waterproofing system; just press the camera firmly when you put the back panel to make sure it forms a seal. However, it seems to be effective.
Blink XT – Performance
If you already have a Blink indoor camera network, you can add the outdoor units to the same Sync Module, but this means that you can only turn them all on or turn them off at the same time.
If you want to control your outdoor cameras and indoor units independently, you will need two synchronization modules (each can handle up to 10 cameras). The synchronization modules do not need a direct connection to your router, only Wi-Fi, so they simply occupy a socket. Being able to run more than one network of cameras from a single bridge would be a more orderly solution.
Once we went to monitor things, the cameras seemed to be quite reliable, although, of course, there is no way to know if they missed anything.
The biggest problem with Blink's XT cameras was that they often started recording too late or stopped recording prematurely. Many of the captured videos begin with the subject that is already in the center of the box, instead of entering it; They end before the subject has left.
A setting that you can activate will turn off the cameras if the movement stops before the clip's assigned duration is reached, but it was not 100% reliable in the tests. This will not be a problem if the video is only necessary to prove the presence of someone (or something), but if you need to catch someone (or something) on the spot, then you must make sure that your camera records every affair.
Occasionally, the cameras were also disconnected for no apparent reason: you are notified through an insertion notification, but would usually reconnect after a short time if they were not left alone. This is almost certainly due to a rather weak connection between the cameras and the Synchronization Module in my configuration, so if your Wi-Fi is weak outside your home, you may find your location options limited.
However, most problems are restricted to the application with errors. Sometimes, he claimed that the devices had not been armed when they obviously had it, and I discovered that the application was prone to fail after watching the video live.
However, these problems seem to be limited to the application itself, not to the functionality of the cameras and does not seem to affect its operation.
Blink XT – Video Quality
The video quality of the XT is better than the Blink indoor cameras, with 1080p available in the & # 39; Enhanced & # 39; configuration. Do not expect HDR, but even in medium HD mode it's still good enough to recognize faces, while microphones absorb a lot of ambient noise.
The audio is only one way, however, you can not tell intruders that they will be on their way if they are caught nosing around their containers.
The frame rate of video can take half a second to catch up and, thanks to the wide-angle lens, there is some distortion around the edges of the frame. However, in the important areas of the center, the footage is clear and clear with many details.
The colors may look a bit worn in some conditions, and I discovered that the camera was struggling to expose the bright skies. However, unless the intruders are attacking by parachute, this should not be a problem. In addition, the XT is not here to score points based on artistic merit.
At night, the details have an impact, since the camera changes to monochrome. It also loses a bit of range, but there is still a lot to see in each clip.
Each Blink camera comes with free cloud storage, with a maximum total capacity of two hours of video. With the default duration of the video set in 5 seconds, that's a lot of footage. In addition, since it automatically overwrites the oldest things when there is no free space, you will never have to worry about running out.
Anything you want to keep can be saved on your phone through the application.
Blink XT – IFTTT and Voice Assistants
You can add functionality to your Flashing configuration using the IFTTT channel. For example, it can be activated or deactivated by means of a Nest thermostat or via GPS using the IFTTT application. I tried the latter and it worked perfectly.
You can also use IFTTT to work with Google Home, and since Alexa support is integrated, you only need to activate the skill and log in to your account. That bit is simple, but I could only get it to disarm using Alexa, not with the arm, and the command that you have to use is a bit cumbersome. Until it gets better, it's probably not something that many people will bother using.
Why buy the Blink XT?
There are two main reasons to buy a Blink XT system: price and convenience. However, both mean making sacrifices, and it is not different with the XT.
While it is difficult to criticize the simplicity of the system or the quality of the video captured by the camera, I would not call it 100% reliable.
The Netgear Arlo Pro is more expensive, but this wireless system is accompanied by a better application. Or, if you can connect it, the new Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has the best image quality.
If you're looking for affordable deterrence that's easy to install and operate, then there's a lot to like about Blink's XT cameras: just keep in mind that there may be gaps in your evidence.
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As long as you know your limitations, the Blink XT is a simple and affordable introduction to home surveillance.