Blink won’t miss you

Blink won’t miss you

Amazon’s budget smart camera company Blink is bringing person detection to its flagship battery-powered camera. The Blink Outdoor 4 smart security camera also comes with a new design, upgraded image quality, and improved motion detection, while keeping the brand’s signature two-year battery life on just two AA batteries.

The camera launches today, August 24th, priced at $119.99 for a one-camera system with a Sync Module 2, and $109.99 for an add-on camera. (The cameras require the module.)

Person detection on a security camera is helpful to reduce unwanted alerts by providing the option to be notified only if someone is outside your property, not just something like a cat walking past or a tree blowing in the wind.

Blink’s is powered by on-device computer vision and local processing for faster response; it requires a Blink subscription plan ($3 a month or $30 a year). That also includes 60 days of cloud-stored video, but the sync module gives you the option to record motion-activated video locally (with a USB stick) for free.

The new Blink camera has a sleeker look than previous versions.

The new Blink camera has a sleeker look than previous versions.

Image: Blink

The Blink 4 has the same 1080p video quality as the Blink 3 but “offers a more vivid experience with improved low light sensitivity and clarity, and a wider field-of-view,” Mike Harris of Blink told The Verge in an interview.

Other upgrades include dual motion zones to reduce false alerts and a design that’s similar to the Blink 3 but sleeker and more modern-looking. You can also jazz up the camera with a selection of colored silicone covers.

The Blink 4 comes with new colorful covers.

The Blink 4 comes with new colorful covers.

Image: Blink

It’s a shame not to see an improved resolution on these cameras. Wyze’s latest outdoor camera with 2K video is only $94, slightly squashing the argument that higher image quality means a more expensive device. But the Wyze Cam doesn’t offer two years of battery life; higher resolution would likely mean shorter battery life.

Battery life is one of the biggest selling points of this line. Two years on two AAs with regular use, not just “only if it picks up one motion event a day,” is impressive. I’ve had Blink cameras last up to three years on one set of AAs in low-traffic areas.

Longer battery life also means you’re less likely to need to buy accessories such as outdoor charging cables or solar panels, making these small cameras easier to install anywhere you want.

The key to this longevity is Blink’s proprietary silicon, specifically the third generation of the chip that enables new features such as advanced dual-zone motion detection.

Blink’s big selling point is much longer battery life than other security cameras

The chip debuted in Blink’s wired floodlight camera, and Harris says the company is continuing to develop its computer vision abilities and that customers can expect to see more features and capabilities. “We’ve got some neat tricks inside that chip we’ll continue to expose over time,” he says.

The small size, flexible mounting system, and relative affordability of the Blink cameras make them a good option for sticking anywhere you want to keep an eye on — I set one up inside my rabbit hutch out in the middle of my garden once.

Blink cameras work with Amazon Alexa for features like viewing live footage on an Echo Show smart display or having motion alerts announced on an Echo speaker, but there’s no integration with Google Home or other platforms.

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