Top critical review
Not without it's issues. More of a toy than a bona-fide security camera.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 May 2020
UPDATED JUNE (1 MONTH POST PURCHASE)
I had originally reviewed this at three stars, but after a month of usage, I have reduced to two stars.
The issue with live video stalling appeared to resolve itself after a day or two, so that is not of concern.
However, the camera has a MAJOR flaw switching between day mode, and night vision. Most mornings, the camera still has the red light lit, meaning night vision is on. The camera does not capture any of my movements during this time. The only way I have found to fix it is to enter live view, you hear the audible click as night vision shuts off, and then it will start to record motion clips again. Unless I remember to do this every morning, there's a chance the camera won't catch that vital piece of footage. In fact, while writing this review at 3pm on a sunny afternoon, I've just gone downstairs to check, and found the camera with the red light on. Last motion was captured 00:38 this morning, when I went to bed.
I've seen other reviews mentioning similar. I've attached a photo, showing the camera in night vision mode during the day. Despite standing in front of it, it did not record any motion.
For me, this makes the camera absolutely useless for it's primary function. If you want to use it purely for live view, it would be fine, but I could have been burgled a dozen times with this camera running, and it would have captured nothing. For this reason, I've chosen to unplug and replace with a higher end camera.
This is a Day One review and I will update as applicable with further use.
In Summary :
Clunky, unintuitive and slightly buggy app
Good video and sound quality, but records in very short bursts
No geofencing function, and scheduling will be unideal for most
Best treated as a toy/gimmick/casual monitor than a serious home security system
Excellent pricepoint but beware upcoming storage costs
I've had this on order for a while now, so I was more than pleased when it finally arrived today, but significantly less pleased after a few hours of testing and fiddling.
As with most amazon products, it arrived neatly packaged in a single box, with compartments for camera, cable, and plug. The camera itself looks very neat, a smaller form factor than I expected, and comes installed on a stand, with screws which can be used to attach to the ceiling or walls. The instructions are printed on the lid of the box, and are as simple as Download App, Plug in Camera, Follow in app instructions. To be fair, the setup was an absolute breeze and I was up and running within a couple of minutes.
First port of call; lets get a look at the live video and see what it looks like. On the homepage, you are greeted with a plain grey box, with a video icon bottom left, and a camera icon bottom right. It's not immediately apparently where everything is in the app, despite small tutorial bubbles on first load. They video quality to Blink's credit is very good, and exactly what you need from a security camera. This aspect of it won't let you down.
My major irritant with this app is that when trying to view live video, I occasionally got stuck with a loading wheel. Then, when I go back to try again, I get an error that "Live video is currently playing" or "Live view failed", with the only apparent resolution being to close the app and open it again. Also some reason, the box on the home screen only actually updates when you take a new photo. It doesn't even show you the last motion recording which seems like it would be the sensible thing to do.
Which brings me to motion alerts. After getting about two dozen in the first half hour setting up the camera, I turned these off. The default frequency is set to 10s, which you can adjust, but of course you want it as frequent as possible to capture any intruders. You can set a schedule to only send alerts at certain times of the day, but for anyone with an irregular schedule, or who lives in a multi person household, that is going to be an issue. Placing it in my living room, I was also recording a lot of motion so the the lack of geofencing (the ability to only receive notifications when your phone is away from your home) is a bit of a dealbreaker for me. Due to the number of motion alerts, I filled about 15% of my storage allowance in a few hours. Further to this, the motion alerts are only captured once movement is recorded, and for short bursts. I was able to move past the camera without my face being captured a few times.
The sound on videos is good. Not exceptional but more than good enough for a home camera. The talk back function is actually quite loud and clear. One thing I did note on the sound was I got a lot of feedback when it was near my IT equipment, so you might want to be careful where you place it in a home office.
What shouldn't be forgotten is that this is a £35 camera, which is a great price for someone who's not taking it too seriously as a home security device. However what should also not be forgotten is that come March 2021, you're going to have to sign up to a subscription plan to keep storing videos, which will set you back £2.50 a month - almost the cost of the camera for a year.
If you're buying this camera as a vehicle to watch your dog jump on the couch while you're at work, or to keep an eye on the house when you're off on holiday, I'd suggest you'll be more than satisfied. If you're looking at this with a view to serious home security, spend a few more pounds and look at some of the bigger hitters on the market.