Thursday, September 29, 2016

Blink Wireless Security Cameras Run for Two Years on a Pair of AA Batteries

Over the last year or so we’ve seen an uptick in availability of small and relatively cheap wireless security cameras. I mean truly wireless, using Wi-Fi to transmit data and batteries to provide power. That magical combination of features allows this new breed of cameras to be placed almost anywhere in, or around, a home. So I jumped at the chance when Immedia’s Blink offered to send me a couple of the tiny cameras we first previewed at CES in January.

Blink cameras are sold as one ($99), two ($169), three ($229), or five ($349) camera systems, with each additional camera costing $75. The camera itself shoots 720p video and features a microphone, temperature sensor, and an adjustable LED lamp that can easily illuminate an entire room when the camera’s motion sensor is tripped. Every camera system ships with a small sync module that joins your local Wi-Fi and then acts as a communication hub for the Blink cameras. The camera itself is small, about two-thirds the size of a deck of cards and weighing barely more than the two AA batteries you slot into the back. And after a Wednesday firmware update, Blink cameras can now function for more than two years before requiring a battery change based upon typical usage.

I’ve been living for a few weeks with two Blink systems. A three-camera system installed in my home and a one-camera system in a little one-room surf shack I make use of when conditions allow. Both were dead simple to set up from my iPhone (there’s also an Android app), taking less than five minutes to go from unboxing to seeing live video. In daily usage, the cameras do exactly what they’re supposed to do. My home system is set up to automatically arm itself every night and to disarm itself in the morning before the house begins to stir. Conversely, I manually arm the beach house whenever I’m not there. While the systems haven’t caught any criminals, the home Blink did alert me when my son came home after I had been unable to reach him for several hours (dead phone) one night; and the beach Blink confirmed my suspicions that the guy who sold me the shack was showing it off to perspective buyers without my permission.

by Thomas Ricker, The Verge | Read more:
Image: Thomas Ricker