Thu. Jun 8th, 2023

I’m always a little disappointed when products are billed as wireless, and then find out that’s only partially true. Such is the case with Blink’s Outdoor + Solar Panel Charging Mount that’s described as a “wireless, HD smart security camera, solar-powered, motion detection” camera kit. While the camera itself is indeed wire-free, it relies on a sync module that needs to be plugged into an outlet so that it can transmit videos and images to your phone.

At our home, we already have several battery-operated, truly wireless cameras mounted outside from other brands that communicate directly with their respective phone apps – nothing to plug in. So finding this out about the Blink let me down a bit. But regardless, the Blink is solar-powered. Well, sort of. It comes with a battery. And when you connect the camera to the included solar panel mount, it uses power from the sun to continuously charge that battery. I’m not sure how much sun it needs. I mounted ours to a mostly shaded fence in our backyard, and it’s still working fine after three weeks.

The camera offers HD day and infrared night vision video, two-way audio, and motion detection that lets you see, hear, and speak to visitors through the Blink Home Monitor app. You can save and share clips in the cloud with an included 30-day trial of the Blink Subscription Plan or locally with a Sync Module 2 and USB drive. You can easily adjust the camera angle once it’s all mounted. And it seems fairly easy to move the camera around when needed. It generates motion detection alerts on your phone with the option to customize motion zones in the app, so you’re only alerted when you need to be. I’ve used Blink cameras before and they’re pretty good.

Set-up wasn’t intuitively easy for this, as I was hoping. But within about 20 minutes, I finally figured things out. And then it was a piece of cake. And by the way, you don’t need to drill holes anywhere to set this up. But that will help stabilize things, depending on where you mount it. Because Blink has become an Amazon brand, it works with Alexa.

I love the wide angle of video coverage it provides. In our yard, I have it set up to watch two sides of our home at one because of the way I was able to mount the unit and tilt the camera. And it’s worked solidly. I also tested out the two-way audio and found it to be one of the better models for this that you can find. My voice came through loud-and-clear outside, when I was speaking from inside the house.

What do you think?

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When friends ask me what home security cameras I suggest, I always ask first if they have an old phone or tablet they’re not using. Then I recommend free apps like Alfred that instantly convert that phone into a security camera. True, they wear down the phone’s battery a bit. But you can easily mount them to an exterior wall – even with two-sided tape – and then just charge the battery as needed. Yet I realize this process can be laborious for people who just want to set it and forget it. So if you’re looking for something more permanent that works well, give the Blink some consideration.

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