I have already reviewed the original Blink indoor camera system back in January of this year, while it wasn’t quite as good as Arlo, I found it to be an excellent affordable solution and one of the few cameras on the market that can be used truly wirelessly, and use normal batteries.
Blink has now followed this up with new outdoor cameras called the Blink XT. You can buy it from Amazon for £149.99 which includes the required sync module, or if you are just extending an existing system then the Blink XT Add-On Camera costs £119.99.
Design and Build
The camera is almost identical to its indoor counterpart, the basic design is the same, but now the camera has been made waterproof. The largely seems to be done by making the backplate waterproof, it now has a rubber seal around the edges and the switch to remove the backplate is coated in rubber.
The overall build of the camera feels a little bit lightweight for something designed to be used outdoors, it is all plastic and doesn’t weigh much at all. My biggest concern is the mounting mechanism, it snaps onto the back of the camera, and the plastic for it feels a little fragile. I am sure it will be fine, however, if you are using this for security I would strongly advise having it well out of reach of any potential intruders, as it would require very little effort just to smash off.
Again, just the same as the indoor version, you can use this camera with batteries or microUSB. This, in my opinion, is the standout feature here, there really are not many truly wireless cameras on the market, with Netgear Arlo being the only main competitor. The Arlo costs £199 and you ideally need to buy the outdoor mounting kit for it. It also uses awkward CR2 sized batteries, which are very expensive.
Due to the number of deliveries I get, and couriers not showing up to pick up packages (DPD), I decided to mount my camera on the window ledge of my upstairs toilet, pointing down to my front door. This gave the camera a relatively protected position from the wind and would be impossible for any intruder to easily reach. I can also easily change the batteries from the window.
Setting up the device is quite straightforward, you need to pug the sync module into your ethernet and power it up via MicroUSB. The camera just needs you to add the batteries. Then download the app and create an account. You will need to add the sync module first which is easily done via scanning the QR code or manually typing it in. Then you need to add the camera, which is the same process.
When you add the camera, the App gives you a nice little video on how to remove the back plate etc.
I did have a few issues adding the camera, it didn’t connect at first, so I removed the batteries and started again. The second time didn’t seem to connect, but when I went back into the app the camera was there. It could have just been user error as I didn’t bother watching the video properly.
Once set up you are greeted with a blank screen for the camera. This is because it doesn’t do permeant live streaming, as this would kill the batteries quickly. You can, on demand, take a photo or load up the live stream.
There is a little toggle to arm the camera, and this will switch on the motion detection. Once this is on the camera will alert you to any motion and record a 5-second clip. Unlike other systems, the clips are kept on the device, hence the 5-second recording. This means there are no subscription fees, unlike some other systems. You can increase the clip length up to 60 seconds, but this will obviously negatively affect battery, and limit the number of clips you can store.
Within the app, you can set the various options for motion triggering. This is particularly useful for an outdoor camera as there are a lot of environmental things that can trigger alerts. In my case, I have leaves on the ground, constant rain, and even shadows will trigger alerts. So, within the settings, you can tweak things to reduce the number of false alerts.
Video Quality & Performance
The video quality is quite good, it is more than acceptable for a security camera, but at the same time, it is not the best in the world. Night-time video is a little grainy, but it the IR illumination makes it good enough if you trigger any recordings at night. In comparison to my other CCTV cameras, it is not as good as the Ezviz EZ-C3S (1080p), it is about on par with my Ezviz C3C (720p) but the night time recording is far superior to my Hikvision (1520p) which is useless at night-time.
When you get an alert, you can easily watch the video via the App, and you can then download it or share it via other mediums. The App is adequate, but as mentioned in my last review, it doesn’t compare to the Arlo. It gets the job done fine.
I did find there is a bit of a delay with motion alerts, this isn’t a huge problem really, but I was hoping to be able to use to immediately see when someone comes to the door. I would say it is only a few seconds between the trigger and alert.
Overall, just as the indoor version, this is a great affordable camera. I would say it is technically better than the indoor option, because good outdoor cameras are limited, whereas the market is a bit saturated with indoor options. Build quality is a bit of a concern for outdoor use, but I am confident it will be fine if it is not fully exposed to gale force winds or vandals/intruders.
Priced at £149.99 it is a great way to implement some basic home CCTV which is also extremely simple to install.
Blink XT Outdoor Security Camera
Product Name: Blink XT Outdoor Security Camera