When the Blink XT wireless security camera debuted, we praised it for its low price, ease of use and free cloud storage. Since then, Amazon acquired the company, which has come out with a successor: the Blink XT2. This camera, which now works both indoors and out, costs less than $100, has full 1080p resolution and double the battery life of its predecessor. While it lacks several features found in other security cameras, the Blink XT2 is the best home security camera for the outdoors for less than $100.
Unlike most security cameras, which have circular designs, the XT2 is square, with rounded edges. At 2.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 inches, it's about the size of a coaster and should be pretty inconspicuous wherever you decide to mount it. The XT2's Blink Sync module, needed to connect the camera to your Wi-Fi network, is roughly the same size and shape.
The XT2's flat sides and bottom also mean you can rest it on a shelf easily. Included with the camera are a mounting kit and screws, so you can attach the camera to the side of your house. However, there's no way to secure the XT2 against theft; it's best to just mount it up high.
The XT2 is rated for outdoor use and has an IP65 rating, which means it should stand up to rain, hail and snowstorms. The camera I set up on the outside of my house made it through a number of pretty intense thunderstorms without a problem.
Similar to Arlo's security cameras, the Blink XT does not connect directly to your home Wi-Fi network. Rather, it communicates via a proprietary wireless link to the Blink Sync module, which connects to your Wi-Fi. That way, the Blink XT camera can run on battery power; the Sync module needs to be plugged into an outlet.
Blink says that the XT2, which runs on two AA batteries, can last up to two years without replacement batteries. This estimate assumes that you use the camera for roughly 900 minutes of video events, including Live View, motion-activated recording and two-way talk. The more the camera records video, and the more you use two-way talk and live video, the less uptime the camera will have.
Fortunately, the Blink XT2 kit comes with both the camera and the sync module; extra cameras cost $89 each.
Setup takes about 20 minutes. You have to first connect the sync module to your Wi-Fi and then connect the camera to the sync module. Blink makes this easy. From within the Blink app (Android and iOS), you scan a QR code on the back of each device to link it to your account.
The biggest decision you'll have to make is where to mount the camera, which you can do with the included mounting bracket and two screws.
Video and audio quality
The XT2's 1080p camera has a 110-degree field of view, the same as the Wyze Cam but narrower than the 145-degree FOV of the Samsung SmartThings Cam and the 130 degrees for the Arlo Q. Still, neither of those cameras is designed to be used outdoors, and when I mounted the XT2 on the side of my house, its view was wide enough that I could see most of my backyard.
While not as crisp as Arlo's cameras, the XT2's had good enough quality that I could make out individual faces and details in both day and night videos. While the yellow fur of a Labrador retriever looked blotchy, the colors of a green shirt and red dog bowl were accurate.
Also, the Blink XT2's microphone was sensitive enough to pick up the sounds of crickets chirping at night. In fact, they were surprisingly loud when I reviewed the video.
Blink's app has a good, but not great set of features, including customizable activity zones, motion sensitivity and video quality. The app also lets you set the length of each recording (from 15 to 60 seconds), as well as how long the camera's motion sensor should wait before reactivating.
Activity zones are set by selecting squares on a grid. The basic grid is 5 x 5, while an advanced setting divides each square into a 4 x 3 grid, giving you 300 squares in total. It's pretty easy to set up.
Less intuitive is the camera's scheduling feature. You can set the XT2 to arm and disarm multiple times per day, and you can set custom schedules for each day. But the method to add or change these settings is confusing, requiring you to go back and forth between two screens, one showing a clock with the days of the week below and one showing a grid of the entire week. It would be far easier to simply drag your finger over the time(s) when you want the camera to be armed.
The camera has a built-in thermometer, too, so the device can alert you if the temperature falls below or exceeds thresholds you set. You can also schedule times for when motion detection is activated.
Unlike with other security cameras, including the $20 Wyze Cam, you can't set the Blink XT2 to recognize only people, so you'll get alerts for any motion it senses, from any source.
Because Amazon owns both Blink and Ring, you can also link the XT2 to the Ring app to use its Neighborhood Watch feature. This shows you police, fire and other incidents from Ring cameras (from those who opt in) around your area.
Free cloud storage
One of the best things about Blink's cameras is that there's no fee for storing videos. That said, you have only a limited amount of cloud storage, about 2 hours in total, and clip length is limited to 60 seconds.
The Wyze Cam also limits you to 14 days of free cloud storage (and 14-second clips), but you can insert a microSD card into the camera should you want continuous recording and longer clips. However, I wouldn't expect continuous recording with the XT2, as that feature would drain the camera's batteries in no time. Blink does not offer any paid storage plans either.
Not surprisingly, the Amazon-owned Blink XT2 works with Amazon's virtual assistant, Alexa. If you have a Fire TV device or an Alexa-enabled display, you can ask the voice assistant to show you a live view from the camera. You can also ask Alexa to arm and disarm the XT2's monitoring. However, you currently can't incorporate the XT2 into any Alexa routines, which is unfortunate.
The XT2 also works with IFTTT, which allows you to set up functions such as geofencing and disarming via Google Home, two features not natively supported by the camera.
While plenty of indoor security cameras sell for under $100, there are relatively few that are both wireless and rated for outdoor use. The Canary Flex ($138) is probably the closest competitor. That camera has a slightly wider field of view, as well as person detection, and works with both Alexa and Google Assistant. The Flex comes with 24 hours of rolling storage and the option for 30 days of cloud storage. Furthermore, it connects directly to your Wi-Fi, without the need for a bridge.
But if you're looking for a truly wireless and weatherproof camera for less than $100, you'll be hard-pressed to find something as good as the Blink XT2.