A solar-powered security camera for the outdoors
I’m always a bit disappointed when products are billed as wireless, and then I find that’s only partially true. Such is the case with Blink’s Outdoor + Solar Panel Charging Stand which is described as a “Wireless, Solar-Powered, Motion-Detecting HD Smart Security Camera Kit”. While the camera itself is indeed wireless, it relies on a sync module that needs to be plugged into an outlet so it can transmit videos and images to your phone.
We already have several externally mounted battery-operated truly wireless cameras from other brands that communicate directly with their respective phone apps – nothing to plug in. So discovering this on the Blink kinda let me down. But regardless, the Blink runs on solar power. Well, sort of. It comes with a battery. And when you connect the camera to the included solar panel mount, it uses the sun’s energy to continuously charge that battery. I don’t know how much sun it needs. I mounted ours to a mostly shaded fence in our backyard, and it’s still working fine after three weeks.
The camera offers HD and infrared night vision video, two-way audio, and motion detection that lets you see, hear, and speak to visitors through the Blink Home Monitor app. You can save and share clips in the cloud with an included 30-day trial of the Blink subscription plan, or locally with a Sync Module 2 and USB drive. You can easily adjust the camera angle once everything is mounted. And it seems easy enough to move the camera when needed. It generates motion detection alerts on your phone with the ability to customize motion zones in the app, so you’re only alerted when you need them. I’ve used Blink cameras before and they’re pretty good.
The setup was not intuitively easy for this, as I expected. But in about 20 minutes, I finally figured things out. And then it was cake. And by the way, you don’t need to drill holes anywhere to put this in place. But it will help stabilize things, depending on where you mount it. Because Blink has become an Amazon brand, it works with Alexa.
I like the wide angle of video coverage it offers. In our yard, I set it up to monitor both sides of our house at once due to the way I was able to mount the device and tilt the camera. And it worked solidly. I also tested two-way audio and found this to be one of the best models for this you can find. My voice was loud and clear outside, as I spoke from inside the house.
When friends ask me what home security cameras I suggest, I always ask first if they have an old phone or tablet they don’t use. Then I recommend free apps like Alfred that instantly convert this phone into a security camera. Admittedly, they wear down the phone’s battery a bit. But you can easily mount them on an exterior wall, even with double-sided tape, and then recharge the battery as needed. Still, I realize that this process can be laborious for people who just want to set it and forget it. So if you’re looking for something more permanent that works well, consider the Blink.