Blink (owned by Amazon) specializes in entrylevel security cameras. His latest $59.99 Blink Video Doorbell wireless video intercom is one of the most affordable on the market. But at such a low price, can it do what is expected of a modern video doorbell? It really depends on what you expect from her…
People who don’t want to invest a lot of money on a video doorbell probably don’t want to spend a lot of time installing it either. Blink has made it as easy as possible: just attach a plastic plate to your chosen location and hang your doorbell on it. The latter is powered by two AA batteries included in the mounting kit. It took only 5 minutes from unpacking to launch.
Once the doorbell is set up, as soon as someone rings the bell or even walks past their lens, the Blink app pops up a notification. We can then use the twoway communication to communicate with the visitor or delivery person. In our test, these notifications were fast and accurate. The only issue we encountered was the delay between the first motion detection and the display of the live feed on the phone. Quite a short delay, which is typical for video intercoms.
The main disadvantage of this Blink video doorbell is the fact that you cannot access the live video feed without first getting a motion alert or pressing the bell button. The advantage of this feature is that it consumes less power. Blink claims that two AA batteries can last up to two years, but of course we can’t verify this.
To compensate for the limitations of live video streaming, Blink offers two alternatives. First, the doorbell takes a medium resolution photo every hour. Second, you can buy the Blink Sync 2 module ($35, not yet available in France), which allows you to watch live streaming and enjoy local backup. Neither of these two solutions suits us, but they exist.
Blink video intercom has 1080p resolution, wide angle view and night vision. The horizontal viewing angle is 135 degrees, and the vertical is only 80 degrees. A 1:1 aspect ratio that provides good headtotoe coverage is becoming more common, even in entrylevel doorbells, so we deplore the narrow vertical viewing angle.
Another issue we ran into is the lack of dynamic range. When we placed the doorbell in a place with no shadow, the images were clear. When we set it up on the porch, which had a shaded area of about five meters directly in front of the camera in front of the full sun behind the steps, things got complicated. The foreground was too dark and the background was completely out of focus. The visitors who came to the door were often just silhouettes and could only be recognized when they were right in front of the doorbell. However, if you install the doorbell in a completely sunny or shady location, the resolution is impressive.
All in all, the Blink Video Doorbell is a pretty attractive product. Sure, it won’t be as good a security device as a more complete product, but if you’re only looking for basic features, this is a solid product at an almost unbeatable price. Competitors do offer much more expensive products like the Arlo Video doorbell or the Google Nest doorbell.
While most buyers are likely to enjoy the pricier but smarter wireless alternative, Blink has tried to hit the ultracheap segment with this video intercom.
CNET.com article adapted from CNETFrance / Image: Chris Monroe/CNET