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. That's why it's one of the best outdoor security cameras for those on a budget, and why we recognized it in the 2021 Tom's Guide Awards for Smart Home.
Blink Outdoor camera: Price and availability
The Blink Outdoor camera first went on sale in the fall of 2020, when this review was originally published. An individual camera plus its base station costs $99.99. If you want more than one camera, a two-camera kit costs $179.99, a three-camera kit is $249.99, and a five-camera kit is $329.99. Add-on cameras are $89 each.
Blink Outdoor camera review: Design
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.
The Blink Outdoor’s base station, called the Blink Sync Module 2, connects the camera to your home Wi-Fi network.
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. The Wyze Cam Outdoor uses a similar setup, though its base station (and camera) are much bulkier.
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.
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.
Blink Outdoor Camera review: Price and availability
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.
Blink Outdoor Camera review: Video and audio quality
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.
Blink Outdoor Camera review: App
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.
There is one weird quirk to Blink's cameras; if you have multiple cameras connected to one sync module, you can't set custom schedules for each. You can only create one schedule for all of the cameras connected to that module, which is a pain.
Blink Outdoor Camera review: Subscription costs
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's cameras work with Alexa, but not Google Home or HomeKit. If you're looking for a fully wireless outdoor security camera that is compatible with more smart home platforms, check out our EufyCam 2 review. It's a bit more expensive, though.
Blink Outdoor Camera review: Verdict
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 one of the best home security cameras that's weatherproof, wireless, and costs less than $100, the Blink Outdoor camera is the one to get.