Hands on the $35 Blink Mini Video Camera

In something of a pivot, the smart home company known for inexpensive, battery-powered video cams has gone alternating current with the $35 Blink Mini. And, I gotta tell ya, it’s a cute little bugger. The camera anyway, if not the mount.

In this space, the Blink Mini’s nearest competitor is the $26 Wyze Cam v2. Whereas Wyze drops customized software upon recycled hardware (with unwitting beta testers, producing mixed results), the Blink Mini is purpose-built – the Amazon smart home subsidiary controls both the horizontal and the vertical, for whatever that’s worth… and isn’t distracted by scales.

Having just received the cam, I can’t yet provide a detailed comparison beyond mentioning Blink’s daylight video quality appears superior for those extra nine bucks – with presumably tighter current and upcoming Amazon and/or Ring integration (yes, you can already ask Alexa to stream video via Echo Show… as Wyze similarly enables).

On the functionality front, Blink and Wyze present a somewhat differing feature set that could drive one’s purchase. For example, I know many Wyze owners appreciate being able to disable IR for nighttime viewing through a window but Blink doesn’t suuply that toggle (although, unlike Wyze, they do sell an outdoor camera). Likewise, Wyze’s alert/notification options are also (currently) superior. On the flip side, Blink allows customization of clip length up to 30s (free cloud recording, for now) and provides the ability to adjust the motion retrigger threshold. Both are powered by microUSB, yet Wyze has a built-in microSD slot for optional, local recording (that I’ve never used) while Blink will be releasing a network accessory to tackle similar.

The Blink Mini looks to be a promising entrant, but the budget camera market is exploding. Despite ecobee sitting it out ($179, haha), we’ve got all sorts of stellar options like the the capable Ring Indoor ($60), a Wyze Cam v3 waiting in the wings, and sales of the HomeKit-endowed Eufy Cam 2K ($40) opening this week.

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  • For cheapskates like me, who don't want to pay for cloud storage, and who aren't interested in using up the monthly data allowance Comcast allocates, the local storage on the microSD card is fantastic. It may be the biggest reason I bought the Wyze cams. It provides the best of both worlds. The 12 second alert clips don't use up too much bandwidth, and the local storage allows me to record and see any moment I want. All without a monthly charge.

  • Mike, I posted five pictures, mostly UI, here:

    https://twitter.com/davezatz/status/1250555286466842624

    As implied in the tweet, I suspect it's mostly a direct feature port from battery-powered devices at this point (other than native WiFi) but expect they've got items on the road map to leverage continuous power and they surely know what Wyze does and could see them working to close the gap on a few things.

    If time permits over the next several days, I'll capture some video clips and insert them into a YouTube overview. Although LifeHackster will probably beat me and do much better. :)

    Dave, believe it or not I've never tried a memory card in my Wyze. I should probably check that out. :)

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Dave Zatz