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Blink Outdoor camera review

The Blink Outdoor camera is the best weatherproof, wireless home security camera under $100

Blink Outdoor camera review
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Our Verdict

Get the Blink Outdoor if you’re looking for a home security camera under $100 that can withstand the elements.

For

  • Inexpensive
  • Records good quality audio and video
  • Can store video locally
  • Long battery life

Against

  • No person/package detection
Blink Outdoor Camera review: Specs

Field of view: 110 degrees
Resolution: 1080p/30 fps
Power: Two AA batteries
Size: 2.8 x 2.8 x 1 inches
Works with: Alexa

The Blink XT2 was one of the best home security cameras for those who wanted an outdoor camera for less than $100. Its successor, the Blink Outdoor, improves on its successor with a better camera and the ability to save videos locally rather than just in the cloud. 

You’ll find in this Blink Outdoor review that everything that made the XT2 great is still here — and that the camera is still a bargain.

Blink’s new outdoor camera is more or less the same size as the XT2 (a small square measuring 2.8 x 2.8 x 1.2 inches), but has a few refinements.

Blink XT2 (left) and Blink Outdoor (right) (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Blink Outdoor’s base station, called the Blink Sync Module 2, connects the camera to your home Wi-Fi network.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Sync Module 2 is the same size as the XT2’s, but the newer one will let you plug in a USB stick and use it as local storage for up to 10 cameras. You can pair older Blink cameras with the base station too.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I set up both the Blink Outdoor and the Blink XT2 by my compost pit, about 100 feet away from the base station. Both were able to connect, but the XT2 struggled with the range; the newer Blink Outdoor had no trouble. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Like its predecessor, the Blink Outdoor is weather-resistant and powered by two AA lithium batteries, which should last up to two years on a charge. I’ve had the XT2 for more than a year and it and its batteries are still going strong. 

The Blink Outdoor Camera went on sale in September 2020. A kit that includes the camera and the base station costs $99; a two-camera kit is $179, and a three-camera kit is $249. Additional cameras are $89 each.

While not a huge improvement over the XT2, the 1080p camera on the Blink Outdoor did seem a bit better when compared side by side. 

For one, the camera lens is now flat and recessed, rather than bubble-shaped as on the XT2. I found this helped eliminate lens flare when the sun was shining directly at the camera. Colors are a bit richer, too.

Nighttime video was very good. I set up the Blink Outdoor next to my compost pit, threw in some fresh watermelon rinds and let nature take its course. Over the next two weeks, the compost pit was visited by a large rat, a young opossum, and a portly raccoon. You can clearly make out individual hairs on the raccoon as well as the stripes on his plush, furry tail. 

Only once did an animal take an interest in the camera. The raccoon sniffed it once, but went back to munching on scraps. The next week, he brought a friend.

The Blink Outdoor’s microphones were very sensitive, too, picking up all the cricket noises at night. 

Among budget home security cameras, Blink’s app offers plenty of customization options. You can create both motion and privacy zones and adjust the length of clips (from 5 to 60 seconds), the sensitivity of the camera, how long the camera should wait before starting a new recording and more. 

Because the camera has a thermometer in it, you can even get temperature readings as well as notifications if the temperature goes above or below a certain threshold.

However, there are a few caveats: There’s no way to record a motion event for its duration — you’re limited to a max of 60 seconds. Also, Blink’s cameras can’t detect people as many other security cameras can.

Blink’s cloud-storage plan is similar to that of Ring’s, which is not surprising considering both companies are owned by Amazon. The Basic plan, which costs $3/month or $30/year, gets you 60 days of rolling cloud storage for a single camera, though it’s limited to 120 minutes total. The Plus plan, which is $10/month or $100/year, gets you the same amount of storage for an unlimited number of cameras at a single location. 

If you purchase a new camera, Blink is waiving its subscription fees through the end of 2020. Also, if you created a Blink account before April 15, 2020, you’ll continue to receive free cloud storage for any new Blink camera you purchase.

Of course, if you don’t want to pay for a subscription, you can plug a USB drive (not included) into the Sync Module 2 and use that as local storage.

If you have an older Blink XT2, you get free cloud storage in perpetuity, no matter when you purchased the camera. However, you can’t save video locally on the Blink Outdoor base station. 

Blink made only modest improvements with the Blink Outdoor camera, but they’re enough to have it maintain its title as one of the best outdoor home security cameras you can get for less than $100. It’s small and inconspicuous, and records good-quality audio and video. 

While it is true that new customers won’t get the free cloud storage that came with the Blink XT2, it’s less of an issue now that you can store video files locally, so you don’t have to pay for a subscription if you don’t want to. 

If you’re looking for a great, fully wireless, weatherproof home security camera for less than $100, the Blink Outdoor camera is the one to get.

  • Jay_Z
    Thanks for the review! I have been trying to decide on some outdoor security cameras. Tried the Blink XT (for the price, I had to try!). It's ok, so far.

    Were these sample videos from the Blink Outdoor Camera in High or Standard quality? These are good for night shots - I'd be ok with those.
    How does this compare to the Arlo 2 Pro - your outdoor security camera top pick? (Aside from price!) Arlo 2 Pro still a clear winner?
    I have a lot of area to cover - wireless is best, if Blink is good for the money, I'd do that. Otherwise, I'll do an upgrade to another system like the Arlo 2 with 4-6 cameras.

    So many cameras in this area and just not a clear winner yet, in my mind! So, I appreciate the valuable review!
    Reply
  • mprospero
    @Jay_Z Thanks for the comment! These were in high quality, though there's not much a drop off to standard. I've used the Blink XT2 as well, and the boost when it comes to video quality isn't huge between the two (the most significant thing is that you can have local storage and I think the wireless range is a bit better). The Arlo's quality is a bit better and has a wider field of view, and if you pay for a subscription, the Arlo app lets you set motion filters for people, animals, and vehicles, and can also detect packages. However, the Arlo's batteries will have to be recharged more often. Both are quite good, so you won't go wrong with either.
    Reply