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Review Blink Video Doorbell Budget Price & No Subscription Needed


hey everybody it’s lan seidman we’re taking a look today at the blank doorbell now this is a very affordable video doorbell product and this is a continuation of some other blink products that we’ve looked at in the past now one of my big gripes about these camera products is that you often get pestered into getting a subscription and if you stop paying for the subscription you lose a lot of the features of the product this one is the exception to that rule in that you can use it without a subscription and keep almost all of the features provided you pair up the doorbell with one of their sync modules but all in this is still a very affordable solution and we’re going to take a look at what this doorbell is all about in just a second but i do want to let you know in the interest the full disclosure that i paid for this with my own funds all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own no one is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this doorbell is all about now the price point at the moment for the camera is 35 but i guess it’s normally 50 when it’s not on sale and they sell a sync

module camera bundle right now for about 60 and its normal price is 85 this is an amazon owned company it’s kind of the lower end version of ring so you will see prices fluctuate quite a bit depending on different sales events and that sort of thing the camera like other blank cameras that we’ve talked about in the past is a very simple device in fact blink had been working on this prior to amazon acquiring them it disappeared for a couple of years then it just popped back up out of nowhere now it is powered as you can see here by a pair of double a batteries like the other blink cameras that i’ve reviewed the outdoor and the indoor camera you do need to use these lithium batteries versus rechargeables but the batteries last a really long time on these now the doorbell here though can also get wired into your doorbell voltage if you have that and it will also work with your doorbell chime from a traditional doorbell and if you go that route you don’t need the batteries at all battery life on this will vary based on how often the camera goes off and to give you some context here i had a blink camera on my front vestibule and we would get deliveries and stuff happening throughout the day so that battery would typically get replaced every two or three months the camera that i have pointing in my backyard lasted almost two years on the same set of batteries so it’s really going to vary based on activity that you have at your house but if you wire it into your

doorbell doorbell voltage you’ll be able to use it without having to take it off and charge it now you’ll find that mine is open in the back here and that’s because the mounting bracket is already on my front door as you can see here this has a nice strong gasket on it this is ip65 rated so it can be rained on and i found that it doesn’t click in though when you install it it does hold itself on there very securely you can’t just take it off unless you apply a lot of force to it but it doesn’t give you anything to indicate that you’ve got it snapped correctly into place and when you need to take it off to change the batteries there is a little tool they give you here for popping it out you basically just insert the tool at the bottom of the doorbell here and pry it off the mount that’s on your door and my only concern is that you might lose this thing but you can use a flathead screwdriver with a similar width to it to get it off the door now the camera has a 110 degree field of view this is what it looks like mounted flat to the right hand side of my door if i wanted to angle it a little bit differently i would need to pick up an optional angled bracket or corner bracket and you’ll have to determine

what will work best in your scenario but for me i think it looks fine mounted flat like you see there now it’s important to note here is that these blank devices are largely notification cameras versus a 24 7 surveillance system so what will happen is if somebody walks in front of the camera or pushes the doorbell button you’ll get pushed a notification and you’ll get a short video clip delivered to your phone one of the things that i like about it is that i get these notifications on my watch so wherever i am in the house if somebody comes up to the door i know somebody’s around and that’s been really useful for me but you’re not going to get a constant stream of video recorded with this device even if it is wired into your home doorbell wires now the camera does have a two-way audio system so you can have a conversation with somebody at your door and you can do that even if you’re not at home over the internet now the reason why you might want the sync module is that you can with the sync module access the camera’s live video anytime you want if you don’t have the sync module and you have the camera go directly to wi-fi the only time you can watch video from it is when somebody pushes the button or walks in front of it so the sync module gives you some more flexibility that way another important feature of the sync module though is the usb port on board and what you do here is pop in a usb memory stick and when that stick is attached any clip that the camera records will get saved to the memory stick inside the sync module which lives inside of your home and you can access that clip just like you

would if you were a cloud subscriber so if you are looking to avoid the fees this is definitely the way to go keep that usb stick plugged in and the camera will largely have the same functionality as it would if you were relying on their cloud storage you can have 10 cameras connected to this module at a time so you don’t need to buy a separate module for each camera although i found the range on these things is not great so if you got a big home you might need two or three of these modules to make it all work and we’ve covered some of the nuances of the blink system and some of my other blank videos now there are three features that you don’t get if you opt out of the subscription the first is that the subscription plan gives you what they call rapid video access basically access to the clip the minute it is done recording it might take a few seconds more off of the internal storage on here when you’re trying to browse something remotely so that’s the first one the second one is that you can record with the subscription plan live video from the camera while you’re monitoring it you cannot do that if you are not a cloud subscriber and the third feature involves an automatic photo that the camera will take every hour that it’s armed and when it’s armed it’s looking for motion and if those three things are not that important to you you could probably opt out of the subscription plan and not miss much now one more thing before we take a look at the

camera in action if you owned a blink camera before april 15 of 2020 and used it you will get 7 200 seconds of storage per sync module in the blink cloud for free but new customers will have to choose between the usb storage or the subscription so now let’s put this thing back on my door and see how it performs so now that we’ve got the doorbell on the door listen to how loud the chime is on this thing it is so loud that you can hear it inside which is a good thing because they don’t offer any chime accessories for this device like they do for the more expensive ring doorbell but you can use of course amazon echo devices as chimes either the echo shows with the screen or the regular echoes with just the speaker in either case you will get an audible notification when someone comes to the door like this someone is at the front doorbell now you won’t get live video delivered to the echo show when somebody pushes the button you can monitor the camera though if you ask for the echo to show it to you and that will bring the image up and you’re also able to communicate with people at the door by tapping on the microphone button and the same functionality will follow with any other echo device that has a screen that includes the fire tv and the fire tablets now unfortunately because this is an amazon product it doesn’t play very well with other home assistants so for example i have google home here loaded up and if i go in and look for blink on their list of supported hardware you won’t find it it also doesn’t work directly with apple homekit either so you will have to use some kind of intermediary like ifttt in order to get this blank system working with some of your other home

assistants now the video quality on the camera is pretty much on par with the other blank cameras i have tested in the past it shoots 1080p between 15 and 30 frames per second as you’ll see here you do get a lot of compression artifacts so the video isn’t spectacular but it covers the area adequately enough i think for the purposes of the camera here and it’s properly exposing the right parts of the image this is a shot i did in total darkness and i used its built-in night vision to do this part it’ll automatically switch between day and night and as you can see it has an infrared illuminator here that doesn’t blow out the subject so you have a chance of recognizing people now the microphone on it is adequate to have a conversation with somebody i’m going to play the clip for you in a second now remember the camera will start recording if there’s motion in front of it or if somebody pushes the button when they push the button it mutes the microphone and you hear the chime on the recording have a listen i’m ringing the doorbell i want to see what happens after i ring it thank you goodbye so as you can hear you do hear some of the road noise and stuff but again you can hear the person’s voice here’s another clip i shot of somebody standing a little farther back all right i’m testing the doorbell to see what happens when i stand in front of it this is a test so overall good enough i think to hear people who are near or at your door and the person standing at the door will also be able to hear you quite clearly have a listen

hey get off my front porch i don’t want any now this is the blink app and this is what you use to set up the camera and monitor things and as you can see right now we’ve got my front doorbell here front and center but if i had other blink cameras and other sync modules i could navigate between them on the home screen here now you’ll notice that my image is of a night shot here and that’s because i don’t have the subscription active and it’s not updating that image like it would if i did have the subscription but i can hit the photo button here and that will give us a current view of what’s happening at my front door it takes it a second for it to come down and you can do this of course from anywhere what i can also do from anywhere is hit the live button here and that will pull up a live video feed from the camera now remember if you want to pull this up on demand you need the sync module you can hear the audio playing there as well and if i rotate the screen i can get a full screen view if i tap the microphone i can start talking to the person that might be at the door and it will prompt you after a few seconds if you want to keep going because this does consume the battery faster if you’re constantly checking the camera to see what is going on now the camera will record motion events and doorbell pushes but it will only do the motion events if it is armed so if you have it in the disarm setting it will

not give you those notifications when somebody walks by but you will get notified when someone pushes the doorbell button likewise if you have multiple cameras on a single sync module it can take up to ten you can disable the motion tracking on individual cameras just by hitting this little motion icon there so the system is armed for other cameras that i might have on the module but this camera when that little guy is dimmed out will not be tracking motion now if you want to go in and look at your prior events you can hit the little playback button here at the bottom and it’ll give you a running log of every type of event that happened and you can see it’ll differentiate between a doorbell push and a motion event so here’s a motion event here and it’s playing back that for me so i didn’t ring the doorbell before i came in but you can see it picked up the motion just fine and here my wife hit the doorbell there to test it a little bit earlier and that was a shot i did accidentally here in the studio and this gives you an idea as to how that works but you’ll always hear that doorbell chime audibly whenever you play back one of these things now you’ll notice here my storage is at a hundred percent and that’s because i am an existing blink customer and i have some cloud storage what will happen as the storage fills up is that it will erase the oldest files and so if you are on the subscription plan you get 60 days of storage so on day 61 if you don’t save the clip it will remove it from your library so my advice would be to hit that share button right there and get the file saved somewhere you can save it

onto your phone you can email it to yourself whatever you want to do that button will pull up your phone’s sharing interface to get that file into a secure spot now if you are using the sync module storage it can take up to a 256 gigabyte usb storage stick and because these files are generally around one or two megabytes apiece you can store months of video on the usb but again it’s always good to just do a backup so you have it the sync module will record the files directly onto the usb so you can just pull it out of there and plug it into a computer but either way if you’ve got some funny business going on around your home make a couple of copies just to be safe now you also have some settings that you can adjust on here by clicking on that icon you can rename the camera and check its battery life you can also work on some of its motion detection sensitivity and zones and this might be important if you get a lot of false alarms these cameras don’t have all the fancy ai that you’ll see on some of the other cameras out there that might cost more so it’s possible you might get some false alarms if you’ve got a driveway or a street where you’re getting a lot of pedestrian or vehicular traffic going by and so what you can do is eliminate certain sections of the image by tapping on these boxes here and you can also get a little more granular by clicking advanced and going in a little bit deeper there so that works pretty well at limiting some of the false alarms that you might get i have found with these cameras that they’re pretty good about not giving you too many false alarms but if you’re having issues definitely

drop into that zone section and make some adjustments they also have something here called privacy zones and what you can do is draw a little box on screen and what that will do is not only exclude that box from motion detection but also not record it and if you’re curious as to what that looks like here’s a shot i did a little bit earlier where it puts a big old square in front of a window for example so you don’t see what’s going on inside of the home it actually just blocks the image completely on the recording and again will not use that for motion detection so if you have something very sensitive that you don’t want to show up on the recording you can just block it out and then of course i can reset it here and put it back to normal now because this is a battery driven camera every time a recording gets triggered it’s going to consume some power out of those batteries and you can make some adjustments here as to how much power it consumes when it does detect something uh so the first option here you’re going to see is re-trigger time so basically what happens here is that if it records a clip it will save that clip and then will rest a certain length of time before it starts recording again if the motion is still active so right now mine is set to 10 seconds which means that it’s going to record it’ll stop and then it’s going to wait 10 seconds before it records again even if there’s motion in the scene and if you move that further along here towards 60 it can wait up to a minute before it starts recording again i have mine set at 10 right now we’ll see how that works on my front door for battery life sensitivity is for the

sensitivity of the motion detection how much motion does it need to see before it starts recording clip length is how many seconds of recording it makes off of a motion event right now mine is set to 10 seconds so it’s going to record for 10 seconds stop wait for the retrigger time and then start recording again at which point it’s going to give me another 10 seconds and i might want to go a little bit longer on that maybe go to 15 you’ll see that it’s going to warn me about the battery life now what i can also do is enable this option here to have the clip end early if the motion stops so if it’s only five seconds of motion it’ll record for five or six seconds and then stop and then wait to re-trigger time now earlier you saw that the camera does have night vision capabilities and you can adjust that here as well so right now i have it set to auto so it will automatically switch from day to night but you can have it stay on all the time or turn it off completely if you have an adequately lit area you can also set the intensity of the infrared light that it uses to illuminate in night vision mode now you saw what low looked like which is the default setting and that’s probably where i would leave it especially if you’re using this as a doorbell camera because if you have it on high and somebody’s very close to that infrared light it’s going to blow out their facial features and you may not be able to get a recognizable image off of the video you can also disable the audio recording here by tapping that off you can adjust the speaker volume of the device and the ringer volume here as well and it’s surprising because that speaker is pretty loud and it’s not even at its full levels here so you do have some ability to go further if it isn’t loud enough and then you can disable the event recording if you want so you’ll still get the notification it just won’t do the recording i have the video set at its standard mode now which is more than fine best

looks a little bit better than standard but not significantly so and you get larger file sizes too so i would just say leave it in standard mode it’s good enough last thing here is the chime type if you had this wired into your doorbell system you can select between a mechanical or an electronic doorbell chime and each one uses a different level of power so you can specify that there but because i have not wired mine in i don’t have that option one setting that is missing is the thermometer that you can find on the other blink camera the outdoor one but beyond that this behaves very similarly to the other blink cameras in the line so that’s going to do it for this look at the blink doorbell and this is exactly what i was expecting from blink something simple like their other cameras something affordable like their other cameras but also something that doesn’t require an ongoing subscription to use and i like that there is a choice as to whether or not you have an ongoing cost or not and that’s why i am very comfortable recommending this one if you’re looking for a simple doorbell notification camera that’s going to do it for now until next time this is london thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the london tv supporters including gold level supporters hot sauce and video games brian parker chris allegretta tom albrecht thomas anfang jim tannis and handheld obsession if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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