Of all the smart home devices to enter the market in recent years, few are as ubiquitous as smart doorbells. The combination doorbell and video camera pioneered by Amazon’s Ring quickly turned into a household staple, allowing users to see who is at the door at any given time. However, the price of Ring’s doorbells can be a little steep for some. Luckily, the Blink Video Doorbell aims to narrow that budgetary gap by offering a unit priced under $100. SPY received a unit for review; here are our findings.
Blink Video Doorbell: What We Liked
Blink (which, funnily enough, is also an Amazon product) is meant to be pretty straightforward in all aspects of its use, including price, set up and installation. Upon taking the Blink out of its overall minimalist packaging, users will find the doorbell itself, a mounting plate, mounting hardware and two AA batteries. The overall look and design won’t be unfamiliar for those used to smart doorbells, with the camera at the top of the device and the bell portion in the lower third of the unit. The Blink Sync Module was also sent along for review, which you’ll need to capture and store video footage with your doorbell.
Installing the Sync Module and the Blink itself is pretty simple; the Module comes with a USB-based power cord that inserts into a standard outlet plug. Once that’s plugged in, you’ll need to download the Blink app and walk through the steps to connect the device (it took about 10 minutes altogether to set up the Module and the Blink itself). Mounting is pretty easy, use a drill to install it with the two included screws, put in the batteries, and then you’re all set to go.
Using the device will be pretty similar to what it’s like to use the Ring application; you can get a live view of your area at any time or even take a photo through the mobile app. The 1080p HD video will quickly help you identify who is at your door thanks to the 135 x 80 viewing angle and infrared HD night mode lets you figure out what’s happening, even in the dark. You can chat with people thanks to the built-in microphone and speaker through the app. If all of this sounds familiar, that’s a good thing; the Blink is meant to function as a more budget-friendly option of the Ring.
One thing we really wish Ring would steal from the Blink is its Module, as the dongle-like hub includes a USB-A drive slot for local storage of captured video and clips. That gets you out of paying extra fees for cloud storage and keeps everything localized if you’re a big privacy person. Sure, you may need a large thumb drive to store everything, but prices on external hard drives are pretty reasonable nowadays.
Blink Video Doorbell: What We Didn’t Like
If you noticed from my screenshot below, the image quality of the Blink isn’t quite as clear as I’d prefer for it to be. That’s not a deal-breaker in any way, but something we definitely wish was slightly better. Additionally, parts of the Blink application can be a little cumbersome to use; yet this comes with most smart doorbells and isn’t exclusive to Blink specifically. Once you work through those issues (I had some trouble getting the motion settings done the right way), it works pretty dang well.
Also: some of you may have raised an eyebrow at the included batteries. Blink suggests that they’ll last about two years. I have plenty of rechargeable AA batteries I already replaced the included ones with, but know that you should be okay for a while if you need to go with the included ones.
Verdict: The Blink Video Doorbell Is a Cost-Effective Smart Doorbell
Some of these smart doorbells can be quite expensive. That’s not the case with the Blink, which provides effectiveness both in price and the actual product experience. If you’re looking to find a more budget-friendly solution, yet one that includes everything you’d anticipate from a full-price option from Ring, you’re in luck with Blink.