Blink Video Doorbell Review
A super-cheap video doorbell
An impressively cheap video doorbell, the Blink Video Doorbell can be hardwired or can work via battery. With a Sync Module it can save video offline, so you don’t incur any ongoing costs for cloud storage. Performance is great as a doorbell, although video quality is a little lacking, particularly at night. The main drawback here is that motion detection options are quite basic.
- Great value
- Offline storage via Sync Module
- Responds fast
- Weak video quality
- Basic app
- UKRRP: £49.99
- USARRP: $47.99
- TypeThis is a battey-powered video doorbell, although it is possible to wire it into an existing transformer
- Recording optionThis camera can record to the cloud or, if you have the Sync Module, a USB drive
One of the cheapest video doorbells around, the Blink Video Doorbell can be battery-powered or hardwired, offering offline recording via the Sync Module.
It’s pretty reliable, but it lacks some of the features of more expensive models. Nevertheless, if you want a cheap video doorbell then this is a good choice.
Design and Installation
- Battery- or mains-powered
- Simple to fit
- Two versions of the doorbell available
The Blink Video Doorbell is available in a Standard edition for just £49.99, which includes the doorbell only, or the more expensive “Full System” version that also ships with the Sync Module.
The advantage of the latter is that you can save video to a USB drive that plugs into the Sync Module, avoiding having to pay for cloud storage. If you already have a Sync Module connected to your Blink cameras, for example, then you can just use this for the doorbell as well.
As with other Blink cameras, the Video Doorbell is powered by two AA batteries. In this case, you have to use lithium units, and two are supplied in the box.
Amazon says that they should last for up to two years, but ultimately their life will depend on how often your doorbell is used. Replacements cost around £14 for a pair. I’d like to see a rechargeable battery pack as an option.
Alternatively, the Blink Video Doorbell can be powered by an existing doorbell transformer, in which case it will also ring an internal chime. This is my preferred method of installation, since I won’t ever have to worry about the doorbell running out of power. Plus, the internal chime makes it easier to hear. Still, it’s nice to have the option of battery-only power.
Blink also provides a mounting plate and angle plate in the box. Given that this doorbell isn’t too wide, it should fit onto the majority of door frames without issue.
- Arms and disarms with cameras
- Privacy zones and activity zones
- Cloud-free recording an option
Fire up the Blink app and you’ll see a thumbnail view of the camera. There’s no dedicated live view option; instead, I had to tap the video camera icon. This starts a live stream, but sets the default recording option to discard the clip. There is an option to save the video, if you prefer. In this live view, you can turn on the microphone or mute the audio, but that’s about it.
Since a video doorbell is effectively also a security camera, some settings control how and when the camera can record. The interface is a little clunky, but the main options are present, including activity zones.
By tapping on the areas of the picture that you don’t want to monitor (this feels backwards; most cameras let you select the areas you do want to focus on), I found that I could cut down on the number of alerts I received.
In addition, Privacy Zones let you block out parts of the picture, also turning off motion detection – this is similar to the feature on the Ring Video Doorbell 4. Unfortunately, this camera doesn’t feature a human-only detection mode, which is a shame, since this can significantly reduce the number of notifications sent.
Along with Motion Detection, it’s possible to adjust the Retrigger time (how long after an event before the camera will record another one). The default is set to 10 seconds, but you can adjust it up to 60 seconds. Be careful, though: if this interval is set too long, you may miss an important event that occurs just after an unimportant one.
Motion sensitivity can also be adjusted. It’s worth experimenting with this option to see what works best for where you live. If you do live close to a busy street, you may want to consider disabling motion detection altogether.
Motion detection can be controlled through a schedule and by arming and disarming your system via the app or using your voice with Alexa.
Video appears in the Video section of the app. This doorbell comes with a free trial of the cloud service until January 2023. After that, you can subscribe to Blink Plus for one camera for £2.50 a month (£24.99 for a year) to get 30 days of event history; for unlimited cameras, it’s a reasonable £8 a month (£80 for a year).
Alternatively, you can just attach USB storage into the back of the Sync Module and save video offline. Since the footage will be located in your house, you’ll be able to view what happened even in the event that someone steals the doorbell.
- Basic day video
- Night video is quite poor
- Responds to alerts fast
As a video doorbell, the Blink Video Doorbell does a good job. Doorbell pushes came through to my phone in a matter of seconds, regardless of whether I was on Wi-Fi or a mobile network. It’s also quick to send chimes through to an Alexa smart speaker. Unlike Ring doorbells, you can’t answer the Blink Video Doorbell from an Amazon Echo Show, which is a shame.
Thanks to the camera’s field of view (135 degrees horizontal, 85 degrees vertical), the camera captures a lot of what’s going on outside of your door. People calling are easy to see, clear to hear, and they could understand my responses without issue.
In terms of video quality, footage is rather basic. Despite including a 1080p sensor, image quality wasn’t very good. During the day, footage was well exposed, but the picture was a touch soft.
At night, the IR lights aren’t particularly powerful, so anything happening more than a couple of feet away can be difficult to see. In the sample shot below, the camera was triggered by badgers walking past the door, but they’re really hard to make out.
Should you buy it?
If you’re looking for a cheap but reliable video doorbell, this Blink model is great value and offers offline recording.
If you want more control over motion detection or higher-resolution video, look for an alternative video doorbell.
It’s a little basic, but the Blink Video Doorbell offers exceptionally good value, particularly if you already have a Sync Module for offline recording. If you don’t, then the competition is tough: the Ring Video Doorbell Wired has a few more features but requires a cloud subscription, while the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K costs a fair bit more but offers higher-resolution video and offline recording. Alternatively, check out my guide to the best video doorbells.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every security camera we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main security camera for the review period
We test compatibility with the main smart systems (HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, IFTTT and more) to see how easy each camera is to automate.
We take samples during the day and night to see how clear each camera’s video is.
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Yes, it can. If you have an existing normal doorbell, the Blink Video Doorbell can replace it.
No, you can’t. The doorbell can make your Echo devices play a sound, but you can only answer using the Blink app.
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