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ByAnne Dennon Technology and Finance Writer

Anne has written for Reviews.com for two years. She's interested in the digital transformations of home and money and in tech ethics.

Blink XT2 Review

The second generation of 2016’s Blink XT camera, the XT2 offers two-way talk, elongated battery life, and improved motion detection. It also actually costs less than its first-generation counterpart, which is no longer available in stores. Amazon bought Blink in 2017, adding to the retail giant’s growing list of smart home brands.

Blink, already IFTTT compatible, is now integrated with Amazon Alexa. The indoor/outdoor XT2 camera works with tons of popular smart home devices and offers a seamless control experience with Alexa. While its video clarity, motion detection smarts, and storage capacity aren’t industry-best, this is a solid security camera that provides a high-tech experience without the need to hardwire the device or pay for monthly cloud storage.

The Claim

Two-way audio. Two-year battery life. Easy setup.

Is it true?

Yes, but any battery life claim comes with a caveat: It depends on your usage. The camera starts recording when the motion detector picks up on action in its range of vision. You can adjust the duration of its recording from five seconds up to 60 seconds. The longer and more frequent your videos, the more battery will be taxed. With average use, the included AA lithium batteries should last for two years.

Two-way audio is a big step up from the original Blink XT camera, allowing it to compete with abilities of smart video doorbells. If a delivery person or a neighbor stops by and you can’t come to the door, you’ll be able to identify the individual via live streaming on your Alexa device, then communicate with them.

Thanks to those long-lasting batteries, setup of a Blink XT2 should be a breeze. No wiring means you don’t have to retrofit your camera to existing power lines. The camera’s weather-resistant construction means that you don’t have to restrict placement to protected zones. Easily install the Blink XT2 wherever it will give you the best view of relevant movement.

Product Overview

Best for

Those looking for a customizable, go-anywhere security camera without monthly fees.

Not for

Google users, or those who are unwilling to troubleshoot software glitches.

Features

Price $100
Standout features Long battery life
Free cloud storage
Indoor/outdoor use
Night vision
Ratings Device:
3.4/5 stars on Amazon
4.1/5 stars on Best Buy

App:
3.4/5 on iTunes
3.9/5 on Google Play
Warranty One-year limited warranty, service included
Trial period 30 days
Also included Sync module
AA 1.5V lithium batteries
Mounting kit
User guide
USB cable
Power adapter
Compatibility Amazon Alexa
IFTTT

Amazon Alexa integration

Five little words — “Alexa, show me the Blink camera” — pulls up a live feed on your Amazon Echo Spot, Echo Show, or Fire TV device. This integration allows you to monitor your home, communicate with visitors, and even catch intruders in the act. For similar capabilities with a home security system, you’re looking at a monthly bill of around $40. Now, a complete home security system offers a lot of protection that a surveillance camera can’t. Professional monitoring is the big one. But for the peace of mind that comes through being able to keep an eye on your property and retrieve footage of anything you missed, zero dollars per month is hard to beat.

Energy-efficient technology

Amazon acquired Blink primarily to get ahold of its energy-efficient chip technology, according to Reuters. The long battery life that this exclusive tech supports may prove a key differentiator amongst smart home device options. It’s hard to deny the appeal of not having to swap out batteries for two whole years. If the thought of adding further energy- and data-sucking devices into your home has caused you to hit pause on your home automation goals, Blink XT2 may just incite you to press play: The cost of operating the camera equals the price of two AA lithium batteries every other year.

Extensive setting options

A camera that monitors movement, automatically records, and sends you alerts has the potential to be a major annoyance. Enter: device settings. Blink XT2 offers an impressive spread of controls, including the ability to designate activity zones (where meaningful movement is most likely to take place), set retrigger time, finetune sensitivity, and adjust clip length and video quality. The ability to dictate the devices functionality improves user experience, and potentially battery life.

Possible Drawbacks

Early issues following release

Shortly after the launch of Blink XT2 in late spring 2019, Amazon temporarily halted sales in response to buggy performance. Irate consumers noted software issues and glitches with motion detection, but Blink made direct contact with customers and assured them that the problems were in the process of being remedied. Amazon reviewers commended the Blink team for their fast response, with one writing that their “flurry of software updates have resolved pretty much every issue I have had.”

Doesn’t work with rechargeable batteries

You can only use lithium batteries in a Blink XT2 camera — not alkaline, and not rechargeable. Rechargeable batteries are popular because they cut down on toxic waste and save money. While the XT2’s dependence on lithium isn’t as eco-friendly, it at least diminishes the amount of batteries you’d be throwing away. And while more flexibility when it comes to battery compatibility would be a boost, it’s hard to complain when you only have to switch out the batteries every two years.

The Competition

Blink XT2
Google Nest Cam Indoor
Google Nest Cam Outdoor
Wyze Cam
Price
$100
$128
$199
$30
Resolution
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
Field of view
110 degrees
130 degrees
130 degrees
360 degrees
Two-way talk
Amazon Alexa, IFTTT
Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT
Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT
Amazon Alexa, IFTTT
Free storage
2 hours
3 hours
3 hours
14 days hours

Blink XT2 vs. Google Nest Cam Indoor

Nest is a top-of-the-line camera brand, with exceptional image quality and vast integrations, including both Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The addition of Google compatibility is a big step up between Blink and Nest, as is Nest’s strong security protocol. But the Google Nest Cam is indoor-only, requires wiring, and levies a monthly fee for video storage.

Blink XT2 vs. Google Nest Cam Outdoor

While the previous Nest competitor is restricted to indoor placement, this one — with its rugged construction and thick wiring — is restricted to exterior use. Again, strong image quality and security are pluses, as is Google integration. But you’ll pay an extra $100 for the outdoor Google Nest Cam as well as monthly cloud storage fees.

Blink XT2 vs. Wyze Cam

Looking for a good deal? Wyze dramatically undercuts the competition with its $30 price tag. It also offers three times the field of view of other security cameras with a horizontal 360 degree view.

Blink FAQ

Why was Blink XT2 unavailable?

Amazon briefly pulled Blink XT2 from sales on Amazon and Best Buy soon after its release in the first half of 2019. Early purchasers had experienced a flurry of software glitches, including problems getting service to installed devices, and trouble controlling the motion detector’s sensitivity. Blink responded with a series of fast software updates and the Blink XT2 camera is once again available.

How do you mount Blink XT2 outside?

Before hauling out your toolbox, experiment with where you want to place your Blink XT2 camera. Hold the camera in a few different locations and check out the Live View in the Blink app or on your Alexa device. When you’ve found a spot with clear view (and good signal strength), you’ll screw the mount (with optional riser attached) into the wall, then affix the camera to the mount. For more information, check out Blink’s installation guide.

Will Blink XT2 work with Blink XT?

Yes. Both the original Blink XT camera and the second-generation upgrade work on the IFTTT platform, meaning they will sync with each other and with any other compatible devices you have installed in your home.

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of home security cameras out there competing for your attention. And more and more, those independent names like Blink, Ring, and Nest are being snapped up by the major tech players, notably Amazon and Google. In this field of massive movement and fast innovation, it can be tough to tell which cameras stand out above the rest. The Blink XT2 hits all the must-have stats for a great surveillance camera, including voice control, integration, and two-way talk. The ability to install indoor or outdoor — then forget about it because that super long battery life won’t be demanding your attention any time soon — makes the Blink XT2 a solid choice for those looking for versatile, low-maintenance home automation gadgets.

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