With all that is going on in the world today and the fact that I have been traveling a lot for work lately I decided it might be wise to get some security cameras so that I could check on my house while I am gone. I wanted a system that could have cameras inside and outside of my house. I also wanted cameras that did not require AC power or a physical wire to operate. In addition I wanted the system to have the ability to take video or pictures at night. I had already decided that two way audio would be a nice feature but it wasn’t a deal killer if it wasn’t available.
After researching for several days I decided to buy the Blink XT2 Indoor/Outdoor Security Camera System. The XT2 has all of the features that I wanted with the exception of being accessible from a PC. It works with most smart devices though so since it checked every other box on my list it became my number one option.
I ordered it from Amazon and got it a couple of days later.
The Blink system is cloud based and is capable of working with Android and Apple smart phones and tablets. You simply install the app for your device, connect the WiFi module to the app on your device and then add cameras as needed.
I decided to go with the 3 camera system so that I could monitor the front entrance hallway, the garage entrance and the deck on the back of my house.
This package comes with a WiFi module that you connect to your home WiFi. Blink calls this the Sync Module.
This unit is the part that talks over the internet to the Blink servers in the cloud. Your cameras will connect to this module to send video, pictures and audio to the cloud so that you can access them with your smart phone or tablet. Yes, I said audio – you can talk through the cameras and you can listen through them as well!
The controller module is the only part of the Blink system that requires AC power. The cameras run off of 2 AA 1.5V non-rechargeable lithium metal batteries that are included with each camera.
Setup of the Blink XT2 system is very simple – download the app to your smart device, create a Blink account, select “Add a System” in the app, plug the Sync module in to your electric outlet and follow the in app instructions.
The Blink app will walk you through adding the device to your home WiFi system so that it has internet access, then it will locate your device and update the firmware on it if necessary. The green LED on the Sync module indicates that it is powered on and the blue LED indicates the status. It will flash while connecting to your WiFi and updating the firmware and turn to solid blue when the system is ready for use.
Once the firmware update process is done you are ready to add cameras to your app.
This picture shows how the cameras are packaged in te three camera system:
Each camera comes with 2 AA non-rechargeable lithium batteries (rated for 2 years of normal use) , mount and swivel and 2 screws for the mount. I found the mounts to be like the back cover of the camera – if used outdoors I wonder how long they will last before they become brittle and break easily. I could be wrong and they last forever. It’s just a feeling that I get whenever I use something outdoors that isn’t made of metal or at least reinforced by it.
Camera setup starts with installing the batteries, then adding the camera to your Blink Security app.
Blink Camera Setup – First you will need to remove the cover on the back side of the camera. This is done by turning the camera over, pushing down on the slide button and lifting the cover off of the camera. Blink includes a clear sticker on the back showing how to complete this process.
I found this part to be a little odd. The cover fits very tightly so I was afraid that I was going to break it since it is made of a hard plastic type shell. I did manage to get the cover off without breaking anything thankfully. Maybe it’s just me but I think the cover could become an issue if the camera is used outdoors since this type of material has been known to become brittle when exposed to the elements for a long period of time.
Once the cover is off, you will insert the 2 AA batteries, then take a picture of the QR code that is on the sticker inside of the camera. This will allow your phone to tell the app that you have this camera and would like to add it to your Blink system. You can also manually type in the camera serial number if you don’t want to or can’t use the QR code image.
After you add a camera to the app you can rename it so that it is easy to identify in the app. For example, I renamed one camera “Front Entrance”, one is called “Garage” and the third camera is simply “Deck.”
This makes it very easy to access in the app if I want to check a particular area for any reason.
You can access each camera individually for a live view, to take a picture or by pressing the “Talk” button in the app to talk to someone that is by the camera.
You can also enable motion detection for the cameras so that it will send you an alert along with a short video if there is motion in the area that the camera is monitoring. This was one of the main features on my security camera wish list.
After using the system for a while I have found one thing that I wish they would add to it (and they may have done this and I just haven’t found it yet) – I would like to be able to “Arm” each camera individually instead of the entire system being “Armed”. This feature would allow me to leave the front entrance and garage cameras armed for motion while disabling the motion detection on the deck camera if I am working in the back yard.
Like I said, they may have that feature already and I just haven’t found it. I am still learning the Blink Security Camera system, but so far I am very impressed with it.
I would definitely recommend the Blink XT2 Camera system to anyone that is looking for an inexpensive way to monitor their house or office remotely.