It seems strange talking about the best security cameras when most of us have been forced to stay at home for over a year, but as the world begins to return to normal and more of us start travelling around, there’s a lot to be said for some extra tech-fueled piece of mind while we’re out and about.
Enter the Blink Mini — a budget indoor security camera from parent company Amazon, aimed at providing essential home security smarts without hammering your wallet. More affordable than the Ring Indoor Cam - the other home security company Amazon backs - the wired security camera that will alert you if it detects motion in its 110-degree field of viewing, allowing you to either log-in and view the camera’s live feed, or review the footage at a later date. But with stiff competition from the likes of the equally budget-friendly Wyze Cam and Eufy though, is it worthy of a space in your home?
With Full HD video, night vision, and Amazon Alexa support, there’s plenty to like at this budget sticker price. Included extras such as a built-in speaker are a nice bonus for soothing pets while you’re about and about (or, we suppose, scaring off any nefarious intruders mid-heist).
However, where it struggles to match its rivals is video storage - it comes with a free trial of its cloud storage service, which in the US lasts 30 days, while in the UK it’s available until September 2021. Once the trial expires it’ll cost you $3 / £2.50 per month if you want to review footage captured by the security camera at a later date.
There is a local storage option, but you’ll need to invest in a Blink Sync module 2, which is priced at $34.99 / £34.99, and a 256 GB USB flash drive (around $25 / £25) meaning it’s not quite as affordable.
The Blink Mini is an affordable home security camera and best suited to those that want a device that they can log-in to and view a live feed, rather than reviewing footage back at a later date.
Blink Mini price and availability
- List price $34.99 / £34.99
The Blink Mini home security camera is priced at $34.99 / £34.99, and is available directly from Amazon in both the US and the UK. You'll also find it in retailers such as Best By, Target and Lowe’s in the US, or Very, Currys and Argos in the UK.
As we’ve already mentioned, to get the most out of the home security camera you need to subscribe to it’s cloud storage plan, which is priced $3 / £2.50 per month, or invest in a Blink Sync module 2, which is priced at $34.99 / £34.99 and a 256 GB USB flash drive (around $25 / £25) to enable local storage.
- Compact size
- Sturdy build
- Long power cable
There’s nothing particularly striking about the design of the Blink Mini, and that’s perfectly okay. Security cameras aren’t exactly supposed to stand out, and the simple rounded cube shape and minimalist black and white paint job of the Mini lend it a simple, refined look that’s pleasant to look at and entirely inoffensive, which is exactly what we’d like to see in a product in this category.
At just two inches / five cm tall, the Blink Mini certainly lives up to its name. Given the price, it’s no surprise to find a primarily plastic build, minus a metal disc in the base, and there are some expected creaks and groans when adjusting the angle and position using the plastic ball and socket joint. Still, the whole package feels solid and sturdy which is all you could ask for, and the stiffness of the aforementioned joint means you can have confidence in the correct position being maintained at all times.
While it’s easy enough to mount the Blink Mini on the wall with the included screws, it’s stable enough and maneuverable enough to leave standing using the base alone, which should be more than sufficient for most people with a suitable shelf or other flat surface for it to perch on.
The long 6.5 ft / 2m Micro-USB power cable is a nice touch too, offering plenty of length away from a power outlet for most people’s needs. Given that it needs to be plugged in at all times to operate, this is a crucial factor that we’re pleased wasn’t overlooked.
Other than that, there’s little left to report on the build, save for the near-invisible infrared LEDs for night vision and a built-in mic that grace the front, with miniature speaker grilles gracing the top.
- Crisp Full HD video
- Clear night vision performance
- Excellent motion sensitivity
Despite its budget price tag, the Blink Mini serves up delightfully crisp, clear video, thanks to its Full HD resolution. Daylight images are offered in full color, while infrared vision in low light and darkness creates the usual spooky black and white effects associated with all night vision cameras. Still, performance at night remains impressive, picking up details illuminated by the built-in infrared LEDs. We tested the night performance of the Blink Mini by using it as a secondary baby monitor, and it offered superior detail and clarity compared to our dedicated monitor, providing extra peace of mind in the process.
During our testing as a security camera, we used the Blink Mini in our living room to keep an eye on our cat’s comings and goings, letting us know he’d come back in during the night instead of staying out and picking fights in random London alleyways. This particular use case shows off the impressive motion tracking smart of the Blink Mini, which alerts us each time our cat enters and leaves via the cat flap when we’re out. Arming/disarming the Mini is as easy as pressing the Arm/Disarm button which is displayed prominently in the app, though those of you who want to automate things will be disappointed to hear that this process can’t automatically take place when you’ve left or entered the house.
Amazon Echo Show device owners will be glad to hear that the Mini works flawlessly at beaming an image to your device’s screen too, with crisp sound to boot. At the time of writing, the Mini is only compatible with Alexa, as opposed to its Wyze rival which also works with Google Assistant.
- QR code setup
- Easy to use
- Paid cloud storage
The accompanying iOS and Android Blink app makes the Mini a cinch to set up, courtesy of a handy QR code on the rear of the camera, which quickly and easily links it to your Blink account, as well as letting you input your Wi-Fi password to get it connected to your network.
The app itself offers a plethora of useful features, and offers plenty to occupy tinkerers. You can, for example, get pretty granular with the motion detection activity zones. This is a useful feature which takes a snapshot of the camera’s view, before dividing it up into 25 rectangular segments, each of which can be pressed and greyed out. These deactivated segments will then ignore any motion, saving you from annoying notifications from things like passing cars, or tree branches outside a window. Sadly (though to be expected at this price point), there’s no clever person detection, which means moving subjects like pets will trigger motion detection whether you like it or not.
The Blink app also lets you adjust the motion sensitivity and re-trigger time, as well letting you adjust the recorded clip length. You can record clips up to 30 seconds in length, but after your initial 30-day trial expires, you’ll be limited to motion-activated notifications and live view streaming only - unless you pay for the subscription service.
Should I buy the Blink Mini?
Buy it if...
You’re already a Blink Plus Plan subscriber
If you’re already firmly in the Blink camp with a Plus Plan subscription then it obviously makes sense to snap up the Mini if you want to expand your Blink roster with an affordable, yet very capable option.
You have an Amazon Echo Show device
Blink’s seamless integration with Alexa and, in particular, screen-laden Echo Show devices, makes it an ideal choice for those looking to bring up a video feed instantly, with a simple command.
You’re not fussed about storing video clips
Given its excellent visual performance and easy to use app, the Blink Mini is a great choice if you want an affordable home security camera and you’re not concerned about storing saved videos.
Don't buy it if...
You don’t want to pay extra for storage space
Once the free trial expires, Blink’s cloud storage will set you back, and you’ll be forking around a further $79 / £70 for local storage too. If you don’t want to pay for storage then avoid this home security camera and opt for a model from Wyze or Eufy instead.
You want people detection
If you’d like a camera that’s smart enough to disregard the movement of pets then you’ll want to look elsewhere, or forever be pestered with alerts every time your four-legged friend wanders by.
You want to ditch the wires
Unlike alternatives like the Blink Outdoor, the Mini needs to be plugged in at all times, which might make it less flexible for your needs.
First reviewed: June 2021
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You might also want to check out the Blink vs Ring (opens in new tab) comparison.