Blink Video Doorbelll Review: A Reliable $50 Doorbell That Doesn’t Require A Subscription

Blink Video Doorbelll Review: A Reliable $50 Doorbell That Doesn’t Require A Subscription

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Home security and video doorbells are a convenient, but often expensive means to add a sense of security to your home. Blink, the Amazon-owned brand, has been beating that drum with cameras for years and now they’re making a $50 video doorbell. you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on it.

That’s not a typo — it really is $50 as long as you already have a Blink Sync Module 2. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending $85 all-in for the doorbell and module.

Still, not a bad deal, right? Well, to figure that out, we spent a week testing the Blink Video Doorbell to see if it punches above or below its price. And, for the most part, we’ve come away impressed.

A $50 video doorbell

The Blink Video Doorbell has a couple of shortcomings, but is a respectable video doorbell for just $50. The option to store your clips locally is an added bonus for those who don’t want to pay for another subscription.

The who, what and how Who this is for: The Blink Video Doorbell is perfect for someone who wants to add security to their home, but doesn’t want to spend a lot of money. You can forgo complicated installation since AA batteries can power it up to two years.

What you need to know: The Blink Video Doorbell’s overall camera quality is just okay, but it’s good enough to give you a good overall picture of what’s happening. The companion app looks and feels very basic, but the more you dig around, the more features and capabilities you’ll find.

How it compares: At $85 total cost, you’re saving a lot of money with the Blink Video Doorbell compared to something like Ring’s $250 Video Doorbell Pro 2 which has far better video quality and 3D Motion Detection, but that’s expected. The $20 Kangaroo Doorbell doesn’t capture any video clips at all, but instead sends animated images stitched together from a series of pictures — and they’re often dark and grainy. The Blink Video Doorbell certainly bests the Kangaroo in providing an affordable option without too many sacrifices.

Jason Cipriani/CNNBlink Video Doorbell

It has to be a video doorbell, right? Right. There’s nothing groundbreaking about the design of the Blink Video Doorbell. It’s available in black or white — we tested the black version — and has a single button that’s encircled by a blue light near the bottom of the housing. The camera is located near the top.

Included along with the doorbell is a mounting plate, mounting hardware, and two AA batteries. That’s right, this video doorbell is powered by standard AA batteries that should provide enough power for two years of use. Obviously, we haven’t had the doorbell long enough to test that claim, but this is a staple feature across all of Blink’s lineup. Kangaroo’s Doorbell Camera is powered by AA batteries as well, with stated battery life of up to 18 months. Ring’s battery-powered Video Doorbells don’t last nearly as long, topping out at a few months depending on your device settings before they need to be charged.

Initial setup took us about 5 minutes to install the Blink app, set up the Sync Module 2 which needs to be plugged in, ideally, as close as possible to the Video Doorbell. After the module was added, we placed the batteries in the video and followed a few additional prompts to get it connected to our home’s Wi-Fi network and added to our Blink account.

If you are replacing your existing doorbell with the Blink Video Doorbell and using it in a wired fashion, you absolutely can. It takes a few extra taps within the app, and once you’re done it’ll test your chime to make sure it’s being triggered and that the doorbell is getting enough power to keep it powered.

Battery life is the reason Blink requires a Sync Module for any of its cameras. In essence, the sync module acts as a pathway for your camera to connect to the internet. When the camera isn’t actively recording or detecting motion, it’s effectively in a low power state. Meanwhile, the module is on and in frequent communication with Blink servers and handling any requests from the mobile app, like starting a live stream.

Once the camera wakes up and is streaming or detecting motion, it will connect directly to your Wi-Fi network. But the key piece of this is how much power it’s saving when sitting idle — which, again, is what Blink’s devices are known for, and why the Sync Module 2 is required.

Glad you asked. And the answer is — it’s mixed. To be clear, the camera’s quality is sufficient, but not as sharp as what we’ve seen by the likes of Ring or Arlo. You’ll have no issues seeing who is at your door both during the day, and at night. Let’s go over some of the finer details.

The Blink Video Doorbell’s camera captures 1080p HD video, with a 135-degree horizontal and 80-degree vertical viewing angle. That means the picture is wider than it is tall, and isn’t quite enough to give you the same head-to-toe view that higher-end doorbells do. It can also capture 640 x 360 pictures, which adon’t look great. It’s equipped with an infrared HD night vision so it can record and stream video at night as well.

Two-way audio is made

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