– August 11, 2020
I pre-ordered 4 cameras without any reviews having been posted, so I hope that this helps someone. First off, the cameras are pretty nice, very easy to setup and get connected and the price is just about perfect. The app is where things start to fall apart. It clearly was created for the other Blink cameras that are battery dependent, so most of the quirks/problems I found are probably necessary for battery savings on the other Blink cameras. I have had cameras for well over ten years and have gone through several different apps/programs to access and store the video but I have never had an app that did NOT allow me to view all of my cameras at the same time. This one requires you to select a single camera and activate it individually to view real time video. I assume that this was designed for battery savings, but since these cameras are always on, it now serves no purpose. Additionally, not having the ability to view all of my cameras, while activated in a single 4 pane window seems a step in the wrong direction. For years I have been able to see live feeds in a multi-pane format and select the camera I want to zoom in on that one, not with this app.
Second, tech support is, at best, not good. I contacted them regarding the IR light that apparently can NOT be turned off (although you can turn it off via the app for the other Blink cameras?!) and the support tech actually stated that he did not know anything about these cameras and had to ask someone else. That was a first for me. The IR light is probably not a big deal for most, but I have for years had an indoor camera pointed out a window since my front yard is pretty well lit at night and the IR light stuck in the ON position make that impossible.
I never review anything, but I wanted to get the word out on this. I suspect that these cameras were kind of rushed and the app just re-purposed, so it my sincere hope that they will address the live view concerns in future app updates specific to Blink Mini owners. Soon I hope!!!! Here’s to hoping!
Update: I was contacted by Blink following regarding my review. They indicated that multiple people had voiced similar concerns about the apps real-time capabilities and they made it sound like they were developing an update to the app to address this. They also offered to send me an additional camera (an older model) that does allow you to turn off the IR at no charge. I asked directly if this would be in exchange for changing my review and they specifically did NOT ask me to amend this review. If nothing else, that is GREAT customer service.
– August 17, 2020
I bought this to use as a baby monitor, thinking if the quality was good I would end up purchasing an outdoor set as well. I got it in this afternoon, and set up was super easy. The picture quality is excellent for the price point.
The main issue for me is that there is no option for continuous viewing. The live view from the app will automatically shut off after 30 seconds if you don’t tap the “continue?” prompt. If I had known this ahead of time, I would have never purchased a Blink camera. I watch my daughter on a Fire tablet while I work at night, and it’s really not feasible to stop typing every 30 seconds to press a button.
Maybe it’s my fault for not realizing it, but I don’t remember reading any information about the length of viewing time, so I assumed it would be like the Foscam I had sought to replace. If Blink ever adds an update for continuous viewing, I would repurchase in a heartbeat, but for now, I’m sending it back.
– August 31, 2020
UPDATED: When I saw these smaller cameras announced I was excited and looked forward to adding them to my existing 5 camera Blink system. I figured these would be a great replacement for the XT/XT2 cameras that I had inside my house so I could then re-purpose those for additional outdoor locations. I thought this was a brilliant addition to the Blink camera ecosystem, adding a lower cost camera for indoor applications like mine where the benefits of the battery power and weather-proofness would be overkill. Soon as they were released I ordered up a two-pack to add to my system. I installed one of the them and found that the picture quality right out of the box wasn’t the best but once you change the video quality setting to “Enhanced” it’s right up there with the XT2 quality. The motion detection is a little spotty, as they use a new digital method of detecting motion (AI compares one frame to the next to check for changes). Some very subtle movement will show up, like a shadow moving across the viewing area, but then actually walking across it won’t (sometimes). A rep I spoke with said that they are working on an update to improve the consistency of that feature, which will be available as an over-the-air update since it is a digital-based feature, which I think is pretty cool. So originally my poor review was based around the cloud storage feature on these cameras. After I purchased these cameras I looked into the cloud storage feature as all of the literature I found on them stated that a subscription would be required. Since this is different than the previous XT & XT2 systems I was not pleased about this. After I posted my original review a rep from Blink reached out to clarify the cloud storage situation. So here is what I learned: If you already have an XT or XT2 system, then you can add these cameras to it without having to get a paid subscription. If you do not have a Blink system at all, and these cameras are the first ones you get, then you get a free subscription until December 31st, 2020; then you will pay $3/month per camera after that. By then though, they plan to have released a new sync module with an SD card slot so that you can locally store video clips without having to pay for a subscription at all. Personally I don’t think they intend to have too many people on the subscription plan, I think they see the SD card functionality being more of a selling point but they had to piggy-back the first adopters of these Mini cameras onto the cloud storage until the new sync module gets released. Maybe they had delays in getting the new sync module released at the same time as the Mini due to factory closings around the world right now. I am much happier after this getting cleared up, but hope that they update the cloud storage & subscription info on the product pages to make it much clearer how this all works. Had I looked at all of the available info before buying these, then I probably would not have purchased them based on the unclear info that’s out there. In the end, the savior of the situation was the rep that contacted me from Blink. He clarified all of my concerns, gave me a great amount of info on the product, and answered all of my questions (I had lot of them). To be clear, the rep did not once ask me to change my review, take it down, or in any way artificially influence me to do any of those things. The great job he did led to me to change this of my own accord, as they really took care of my concerns. One star deducted for the confusion but three added back in for the great CS experience. Good product can get you a buyer, but good service gets you a customer for life. Blink has done a fantastic job turning a disappointed (and misinformed) buyer into a satisfied customer. So to recap, if you have an existing Blink system, buy these and use ‘em where you don’t need the wireless ones. If you are looking to get these as your first Blink setup, get them knowing you will have the option of paying for a subscription starting in 2021 or a one-time purchase of a sync module with SD card slot to store your video clips.
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