For years, I have wished for an easier way to install home security camera. The major hurdle is the wiring. Despite the advent of Wi-Fi, security cameras still require wires to power up the devices.
Blink has solved this problem. Its security camera solution is completely no-wires, because it runs on 2 AA lithium batteries that can last up to 2 years before replacing.
Blink and Aztech
Blink is a successful kickstarter project back in 2014 and has been on sale globally for over a year. Aztech has been the equipment manufacturer of the Blink product line, and from December 2016, Aztech co-branded to distribute the product in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Other than the packaging, all the hardware and software are identical to the global Blink products.
Even though this Blink product is more than a year old, it remains relevant and one-of-a-kind solution.
Motion Detection Security
How can Blink cameras run on batteries for 2 years and yet no other security cameras can achieve? First of all, Blink is not a full-fledged surveillance camera. Those normal IP cameras are supposed to be running 24/7, recording and saving video footages, allowing remote monitoring of live video feeds.
Blink works in a more primitive, but still effective way. It only triggers a recording when motion is detected using passive infra-red sensors (it does not work through glass) and alerts you within seconds on your smartphone. The recording duration can be defined, or can be auto-stopped if no motion is detected. To prevent continuously repetitive triggers, it is possible to set an interval, e.g. 60 seconds in between sessions. Recording resolution is limited to HD (720p).
Blink also supports live streaming, but connecting to the camera is slow and the feed is delayed by about 5 seconds. This is definitely not a key feature for Blink, since regular streaming will drain the battery.
Blink is not intend to operate in stealth. When it detects motion and starts recording, a blue LED will light up. There is no infra-red light for recording in the dark, and instead, Blink throws a bright white LED light (like smartphones) to illuminate the recording area, which will startle the subject being recorded.
It is possible to set schedule to activate the motion detection of the Blink camera, for instance, trigger only during the day when no one is at home. This would help to prevent false triggers when people are at home.
Blink Sync Module
The Blink camera does not work alone. It requires a sync module of similar size as the camera, and this module requires power. The good thing is that it only requires 1A of USB power, so I just connected the sync module via normal USB cable to my Wi-Fi router’s USB port to get power instead of using the included power adapter.
The purpose of the sync module is not exactly documented, but I guess it is the brain power of the Blink system, for instance, communicating to the camera(s), processing and uploading the video footages to the server. Each Blink account can store up to 7200 seconds (2 hours) of footage on the Blink server, so there is no memory card required to function. If you prefer to keep the footages in local storage instead of cloud, this might be a concern, though future updates may be possible to support this capability. Note that while the sync module has an Ethernet port and full-sized USB port, their functions are not specified, but future updates might make them useful.
Locate and Relocate Anytime, Anyhow
Over the past weeks, I have placed the Blink camera pointing towards the main door of the house. It serves as an excellent solution to monitor traffic. Whenever I receive a motion detection alarm, I could access the footage to see who has left the house or has entered the house.
Relocating the camera is so convenient, because there are no wires to bother. The camera is so small, I can place anywhere I like. For instance, I moved it into my study room to catch my daughter sneaking in to play with the tablet. The Blink Camera is so easy to deploy, just place it at locations where you want to monitor movements. Say, position it towards the fridge to monitor how many times your family members accessed the fridge. If you stay at landed house, you can even use it to catch pests scurrying around the house.
Eventually, I intend to attach the camera outside the main door so that it can notify me of people approaching the door. Thanks to Blink, it can stay there for 2 years without worrying about changing battery too often, and when battery is low, the Blink app will prompt.
Blink Aztech starter kit retails at S$188, with additional camera at $138 each. I love the idea that I can position the small cameras anywhere without the worry of power plugs. The Blink system is the perfect and affordable solution to alert you of any movements or intrusions, for any ad-hoc situation or regularly move around to various locations as and when required.
Zit Seng, another blogger who lives and breathes tech more than me (he manages a data centre so his knowledge in computer networking shall be unquestionable), also received a review unit from Aztech Singapore, and has written a more detailed article on the works of Blink, so click over to his article to read it.
- Dimensions: 71 x 71 x 30 mm
- Battery: 2 AA lithium batteries
- Battery Life: 2 years under normal operation (defined as 40,000 total seconds of video over this 2-year period)
- Video Resolution: 720P HD
- Video Format: H.264
- Imaging: Full color, auto white balance, auto exposure
- Field of View: 110°
- Night Vision: visible white LED
- Motion Detection: passive infrared (PIR)
- Dimensions: 62 x 59 x 18 mm
- Power: 100-220V AC to 5V DC converter included
- Wireless: 2.4 GHz 802.11n
Official product sites