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Blink Video Doorbell review: An affordable starting point

The Blink Video Doorbell is an affordable option for home security.
Blink Video Doorbell
MSRP $50.00
“The Blink Video Doorbell is a low-priced video doorbell with moderate specs that provides reliable home security, even without the bells and whistles.”
Pros
  • Affordably priced
  • Connects with Alexa
  • Offers local and cloud storage
  • Works with Ring Neighbors app
Cons
  • Not many features
  • Only 1080p

Video doorbells can be the first line of defense for your home security system. They can show you who’s at the door, any deliveries that have been dropped off, and even greet visitors if you have the right doorbell — but they’re also expensive, with most starting around a three-digit price point and requiring a subscription to be worthwhile.

The Blink Video Doorbell is the opposite of that. For only $50 and without requiring a subscription, the Blink Video Doorbell provides reliable home security at an affordable price, even for apartment dwellers. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does a great job of alerting you to visitors at the door.

The Blink Video Doorbell is an affordable option for home security.
Blink

Setup and installation

The Blink Video Doorbell was easy to set up and install at every step. I’ve set up a lot of these devices, and many have strange requirements that needlessly obfuscate the process. The Blink Video Doorbell has one strange component: A “key” to disconnect the backplate and access the battery.

This key is roughly an inch long and a few millimeters wide. Stick it in a safe place or you will lose it; fortunately, a butter knife will serve the same purpose. Spoiler alert: It’s less of a key and more of a tiny pry bar.

The Blink Video Doorbell takes two AA batteries and estimates up to two years of life. Of course, it can be hardwired too. The flexibility is one of the selling points of this device. As someone who lives in an apartment, I appreciate that I can power it through batteries — but if I lived in a home, the set-it-and-forget-it nature of wiring the doorbell also holds some appeal.

The Blink Video Doorbell mounted on the door.
The doorbell is slightly scuffed but still intact after a fall. Digital Trends

You can screw it into the door with the backplate or mount it with an adhesive strip. If you choose to go the adhesive route, Command Strips aren’t the best option — after a few times of closing the door, the doorbell will fall off. Use a thin strip that holds it tight against the door instead and you’ll have better results.

Daily use and security

The Blink App offered a pleasant surprise. It’s sensitive. Unlike other doorbells I’ve used, it alerts at the first hint of motion and opens quickly. I can bring up an activity alert and see what’s happening outside my door without waiting for 10 to 15 seconds for the app to load.

The same holds true for historical alerts. It doesn’t have to buffer a video; I can tap an alert from two hours ago and immediately see who walked in front of my door. Two-way audio makes it easy to have a chat with any visitor. While the sound quality isn’t the best, it’s perfectly adequate for my needs.

There is one thing to keep in mind. The Blink Video Doorbell will only alert you to motion when it’s armed. If you disarm it because you’re home, you won’t receive motion alerts. There isn’t any kind of onboarding that explains this, either. I figured it out quickly thanks to past experience with this kind of device, but I think there should be a “Welcome to the app” section that explains how everything works.

You can adjust your notification settings within the app. It even monitors temperature, so you can choose to receive alerts if the temperature goes above or below a certain range. It’s not the main feature, but it’s an interesting addition nonetheless.

There are optional alerts available to you, too. You can receive an alert if the batteries are low, if the camera usage is outside a certain threshold that will lower battery life, and whether or not the camera is offline. You can also receive alerts if the Blink Sync Module 2 loses connection to the cloud.

Moderate — but sufficient — specs

I harp on the “good enough” aspect of this device for many reasons. It’s not a top-of-the-line doorbell, but it isn’t designed to be. It’s a budget-friendly option for someone that wants to add another level of security to their home without breaking the bank. All of Blink’s devices fall into that range, and, honestly? For the average homeowner, Blink is all they need. The average person doesn’t need 4K, cloud-connected, heat-and-infrared-sensing devices throughout their home.

After all, a security system is a deterrent. The cloud connection means all footage is available to you anywhere, even if the worst happens and someone does break in.

The Blink Video Doorbell streams and records video at 1080p and has infrared night vision. You can choose to store clips on the cloud through the Blink Subscription Plan (of which you receive a 30-day trial when you set up the doorbell), or you can use the Sync Module 2 and a USB drive to store it locally. The Sync Module 2 is an optional accessory, but it does add more functionality that the base doorbell doesn’t have.

The doorbell has a lot of customization options. You can adjust its retrigger time, the sensitivity of the camera itself, how long each clip is (between five and 30 seconds), and even whether night vision is on, off, or automatic. You can control the intensity of the infrared light, too. All of these options are surprising, especially when you consider that many higher-end models lack this level of customization.

As long as you have the Sync Module 2, the Blink Video Doorbell will connect to Alexa. You can use Alexa to announce motion alerts and display the livestream of the doorbell on an Echo Show, but you don’t get access to features like Alexa Greetings.

Welcome to the Neighborhood

One additional interesting feature of this video doorbell is the inclusion of the Ring Neighbors App. You can access it through the Blink app and gain access to a lot of features, including community alerts about suspicious activity.

You can also upload footage captured by your Blink camera to the Neighbors app. If you catch a package thief in action (or just see a runaway pet), you can let your neighbors know with a few taps of a button.

Our take

The Blink Video Doorbell is a fantastic option for someone’s first video doorbell. The budget-friendly nature makes it a low-risk investment, and the number of customization options, combined with the respectable video and sound quality, provide more than enough security for the average person.

Is there a better alternative?

At this price point, you won’t find another doorbell with the same level of features. The next lowest-priced model you’re likely to find would be a Ring Video Doorbell 2 for around $100, or even $50 if you purchase a refurbished model.

How long will it last?

The Blink Video Doorbell has a temperature tolerance of less than zero, all the way up to 113-degrees. Though the plastic doesn’t feel the sturdiest, it has quite a firm build. I mentioned earlier that Command Strips don’t work for mounting; I know this because I launched it off the door onto the concrete below, and it survived with nary a scratch. If it is damaged somehow, Blink provides a one-year limited warranty.

Should you buy it?

Absolutely. If you already have another video doorbell you like, the Blink Video Doorbell is a great addition for the back door or another door — but if you have no video doorbell at all, the low price point makes it a great entry point into the world of smart doorbells.

Patrick Hearn
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Patrick Hearn writes about smart home technology like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, smart light bulbs, and more. If it's a…
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