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If you’ve ever thought of adding security cameras to your home, now is a good time to consider it. There’s a wide array of inexpensive options that are simple and cheap. The Amazon’s Blink camera line is popular and a good choice as are Wyse cameras. I chose the Blink Outdoor that can be used both indoors […]
If you’ve ever thought of adding security cameras to your home, now is a good time to consider it. There’s a wide array of inexpensive options that are simple and cheap.
The Amazon’s Blink camera line is popular and a good choice as are Wyse cameras. I chose the Blink Outdoor that can be used both indoors and out, and has recently dropped in price from $99 to just $59 or three for $140. Because they are so inexpensive, they’re not near the level of quality you’ll find on more professional units that an alarm company might install. They’re less sharp, have trouble capturing a high contrast scene, and are much less robust. Nevertheless, the Blink is a good way to get started and to provide some home security when you’re away. They are also designed to record the images out of the cameras, so even if one is intentionally damaged, your images are safe.
The product is almost toylike in appearance. It’s a very lightweight black plastic box with a screw-on back cover and a lens and IR window in the front. There’s no off-on switch. I purchased a 3-camera kit for $140 which came with the cameras, another unit called the Synch Module 2, its power adapter, three snap-on camera mounts, and 3 sets of AA lithium batteries. The cameras are completely wireless, allowing them to be mounted anywhere indoors or out, as long as they are within the range of your WiFi (50 to 100 feet).
Installation is simple. Download the app, plug-in the Sync Module, and follow instructions that include entering your WiFi password. The Sync Module acts as an intermediary between the cameras and your home internet and should be located indoors approximately equidistant from the cameras. It also has a port that you can use for a USB memory card to save your images.
Optionally, you can subscribe to Blink’s cloud service to save your images in the cloud. Unfortunately you’re automatically registered in this service for a free 30-day trial and then need to cancel if you don’t want to pay.
It was not clear from the website whether the Sync Module was actually included, but it was in the box. The site reads, “Save events locally to the Blink Sync Module 2 via a USB flash drive (sold separately).” It’s the USB flash drive that’s sold separately, not the Sync Module, and nowhere is it mention that the module is included as part of the kit.
Next chose “add a device” and add each of the three cameras by scanning its QR code. The software was then automatically updated in each unit, and a couple of minutes later the cameras were active.
The app lets you view live action or stills from any of the three cameras. You can add additional cameras and all view them from the app. You have the option of turning on motion detection, which sends you a notification when motion is detected.
The image quality is 1080 pixels, about twice the quality of a notebook camera. How sharp is that? From across a 15 foot room you can count the books on a bookshelf but not read the titles. When positioned in a room, it can provide a good image of the room, but the outdoors is often washed out.
My biggest complaint is that the mounts that allow you to attach the camera to a wall are difficult to attach and easily become detached. That explains a huge aftermarket for better mounts that can be found on Amazon. Many will just place the camera on a bookshelf or counter without using a bracket.
I’ve used other cameras from time to time and have found them useful for checking my home when traveling, checking pets and just providing reassurance that my home was still intact. With the cost of these cameras now so low and setup so easy, adding security cameras is a no-brainer.