A few months ago, the Blink Mini was announced. This small security camera stands out because of the low price of 39.99 euros and still seems to offer a complete package. In this review we take a closer look at the Blink Mini.
What is it?
In 2017, Amazon took the start-up Blink on . Blink was known for its camera and security systems at the time and was created through a Kickstarter campaign for a smart security camera with a built-in motion sensor. The campaign was a great success and the company raised more than a million dollars. Amazon’s interest was aroused and the superpower subsequently took over Blink. Despite the takeover, Blink is still largely independent. They have their own app and also use the brand name Blink, although the addition ‘An Amazon company’ should not be missed. The latest product in the range is the Blink Mini.
The Blink Mini is a compact security camera that films in 1080p, has night vision, motion detection and two-way communication. You use the Blink Home Monitor app and upon purchase (in the Netherlands) you receive the Blink Plus subscription for free until March 31, 2021. This package ensures that recordings from the camera are stored in the cloud, so that you can store them on can review and manage at any time. Local storage isn’t available at the moment, but that’s about to change. From March 31, 2021 you have the choice to continue with the subscription (3 euros per month or 30 euros per year) or to purchase a Blink Sync Module 2. This small device ensures that you can store images locally. The Blink Sync Module 2 should appear on the market later this year with a suggested retail price of 39.99 euros and can store video images from up to ten Blink Mini cameras.
Design of the Blink Mini
For less than 40 euros, there must of course be cut back on something and that is largely done on the build quality. In terms of design, there is nothing wrong with the Blink Mini. The compact camera is a small and unobtrusive cube. So you can easily place the camera somewhere where it will not stand out in your interior. You can also use the foot under the camera. This allows you to manually change the angle of the camera in 360 degrees, but the whole is twice as large.
The box also includes a UK and EU plug with cable and screws to hang the camera somewhere. The camera must therefore be plugged in to work. Fortunately, the cable is quite long, so you can be fairly flexible in the placement of this model. The camera does not look bad, but in terms of materials, hard plastic has been chosen. The camera itself is still quite solid in terms of build quality, but the supplied base is of lesser quality. It’s cheap plastic and creaks with every touch. This is not noticeable from a distance, but it is clear that this price has been chosen to cut back on the build quality. That is of course okay, as long as the functions of the camera are complete. And fortunately, for the most part, that’s the case.
Installation and the Blink Home Monitor app
To install, download the Blink Home Monitor app from the App Store or Google Play Store. You create an account, scan the QR code on the back of the camera, plug the camera into the socket, enter your WiFi password and you’re done. From that moment on you can choose from the main screen to activate (Armed) or deactivate (Disarmed) the security function. Within a minute I found all the options and made any changes I wanted. The app is very simple, but therefore very clear. You will not find any unnecessary functions here so that you can no longer see the forest for the trees. Within a minute it is clear which option you can find where and that is a great compliment to Blink. Anyone can get started with this.
If you start the app, you will see the image of the camera in the middle with the button for Live view on the left of the window and the option to take a photo on the right. Below that you will find the buttons for Disarmed and Armed. When you leave the house, press Armed to activate the security function. When you come home, press Disarmed to turn it off. You will also find a button at the bottom for all recordings made and also a button for Settings related to your account.
On the home dashboard you will find another button at the top for settings of the camera itself. Here you can give your camera a unique name, turn motion detection, audio and night vision on or off, set how long should be recorded per video clip and the sensitivity for motion detection and IR can be set. The option for motion zones is very extensive. You can turn the motion detection on or off using 25 different planes of the image your camera sees. This way you can easily ignore passing pets, while the camera will continue to respond to people.
Blink Mini in use
If you leave the house, press the ‘Armed’ button to turn on the security function. Based on your chosen settings, the camera will send a notification to your smartphone if something is wrong. As soon as you receive a notification and you click on it, the Blink Home Monitor app will open. It is then a strange choice that you are brought to the screen of recordings, where you can immediately replay the video you just recorded. A better option would be to go to the Live view, so that you can immediately watch what is going on live while the camera itself saves the images in the meantime.
Another strange choice is the fact that you only get a notification when the video recording has been completely recorded. Suppose you have set that a recording of twenty seconds must be made in case of calamities. The camera reacts quickly and directly to movement and records immediately as soon as someone enters the picture. Then the video recording of twenty seconds will be recorded and only then will you receive a notification. The screen of the recordings will then open, so you first have to click back to your home screen and then click Live view to see live images.
Apparently, Blink has also found out that this is not entirely logical. That’s why a new option has appeared in the app called ‘Early Notification’. This means you will immediately receive a notification in case of calamities and not only after the admission has been completed. However, the feature is still in beta, but I didn’t experience any issues with this feature. So make sure you activate this option in the settings of the camera.
However, if you look at Live images from the camera, you can see that the quality of the images is all right. The fish-eye lens has a wide viewing angle, allowing you to see a large area of the room. The images are also clear with night vision. Plus point also goes out to the audio, because the sound can be heard very well in two-way communication on both the smartphone and the camera.
Blink has made some strange choices when it comes to the app. Fortunately, the function for direct notification is now included, but you will still be taken to the recording first instead of to the Live view. If you can live with this, the Blink Mini will deliver good quality. You can adjust many options, image and sound is good and the app is also very clear. Ultimately, this is a security camera that records intruders and sends you a notification. There is no alarm and you cannot set default flashing lights when detecting motion. Fortunately, IFTTT offers a solution.
Amazon Alexa and IFTTT
Blink is part of Amazon, which means that Amazon Alexa is also supported. The Google Assistant is of course also missing. Why is IFTTT supported. This allows you to create useful extra options. At the moment there are already several applets available. So you can geofencing enable. The camera will automatically turn on the security function as soon as you leave the house and turn off the security when you get home. This works via the GPS on your smartphone. You can also set this when your own WiFi network is no longer found or when you lock your August Smart Lock. In the latter case, the Blink Mini will automatically ‘Disarm’ again as soon as you unlock the smart lock again. You can also connect the Blink Mini to your Philips Hue lights via IFTTT (to make the lights flash when detecting movement) and you can even use Google Assistant via an IFTTT applet to enable the security function on the camera. Of course you can also get started to make your own applets.
Blink Mini – Conclusion
The Blink Mini is an affordable and surprisingly good camera. For only 39.99 you get a security camera that has many different options. The camera has clear images, good night vision and excellent two-way communication. The adjustable motion zones, reliable recordings and the very clear app also contribute to this positive assessment. It is only a strange choice that when you receive a notification you are sent to the recording that has been taken and not to the Live view. Fortunately, you can still achieve this with a few clicks. The added ‘Early Notification’ function ensures that you also receive a notification quickly and immediately if something is wrong at home. And via IFTTT you can get started to expand further possibilities.
- Good picture and sound quality
- Very affordable
- Adjustable movement zones
- IFTTT expands the possibilities
- Build quality of the foot in particular could be better
- Notification sends you to the recording and not to Live view