What if you could take the Arlo Pro 2 1080p cameras, run on standard AA batteries instead of proprietary, significantly lower the price of entry, and potentially have a 2-year camera charge? You’d have the new Blink XT2! At least that’s the Blink sales pitch — and it could be close.
Amazon-owned Blink announced the new indoor/outdoor Blink XT2 camera back in early May, the successor to the XT. The XT2 has now been released and is available for purchase and I was able to snag one at our local Best Buy. I’ve never used the Blink camera system, so this is installation and configuration feedback of their newest camera from a first-time user vs a full-on Blink XT2 review.
Packaging for the Blink XT camera is minimal. It comes in a compact box containing the camera, Blink Sync module, mounting hardware, and power cables. Setup consists of using the Blink app to connect the Sync module to your WiFi network by scanning a QR code and then the app asking it to join my current network. The Sync module required a firmware update to allow the new XT2 to connect. What’s nice about the Blink system is that the Sync module can be used by any of the Blink cameras.
After the Sync module connected to my network, I was able to add the XT2 camera by using the same QR scanning method. Both the Sync module and the XT2 camera connected without issue. It seems that they both use a wireless network as eero informed me that 2 devices connected. Once the XT2 was connected, I was able to start a live stream immediately to the camera from my iPhone. Connection took about 5 seconds to start which is not bad. If I selected a notification from the Blink app, the app opened immediately to that video and it was very fast.
After adding the camera, I started to dig into the different settings. When looking at the XT2 settings, there is a lot to digest. Starting from the top of the monitoring section, you can look at your battery status. There is not a lot there, and we’ll see how long the batteries last over time… including winter. Related, the XT2 also shows the temperature. Selecting the temp, you can then actually set alerts based on heat and cold which is kind of cool, especially if using this as an indoor camera.
Next is the motion detection section. You are able to enable or disable from here. You can also specify activity zones which allows the XT2 to only record based upon the zones you select. The app also allows you to set a retrigger time, sensitivity, and clip length, and video quality. Adjusting any of these can affect the battery life of the camera itself and the app notifies you of this. Testing the motion, the camera was very responsive at the mid setting (5 of 10). Once the camera detects motion, a blue LED will light up indicating that it is recording.
One other nice feature is scheduling. From the main page, you can select your residence and a drop down will appear to allow for scheduling arm and disarm periods. But I’d like to see Blink also add native arm/disarm via geolocation. This can be accomplished via IFTTT, but I’d rather have it directly from the app.
Overall, I’m impressed with the Blink XT2 system. Having used multiple security cameras over the years, this was by far one of the easiest to setup with no issues. What’s also nice is that there is already a skill for Alexa so connecting your Blink account allows you to stream a camera feed to an Echo device.
I did notice at the top of the main screen of the app a “crime alert” section. Clicking this actually opens up the Ring app (also owned by Amazon). I suspect that if I didn’t have the Ring app installed, and only the Neighbors app, it would have opened that instead. Tt’d be nice to be able to hide this section, but there’s no option. And it leaves me wondering if eventually the Blink system will just be rolled into Ring.