With the advent of the Internet, video surveillance systems took a quantum leap forward. No longer do these systems need to be tied to phone lines, which can be cut and leave the system useless. But which ones are best for your home use? This article looks at two such systems and provides an in-depth comparison of Blink vs Ring.
WHAT IS BLINK?
Blink got its initial startup money through Kickstarter. For those not familiar with that name, Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website whose stated mission is ‘to bring creative products to life.’ The response to Blink’s project was substantial. Blink was founded in 2009 (under the original name of Immedia Semiconductor).
They later pivoted into a consumer electronics company. Blink shipped their first product in 2016 and shipped 250,000 units that year. Blink was purchased by Amazon in 2017 for a reported 90 million.
When evaluating Blink vs Ring, it’s helpful to first outline what makes up a Blink system. Here’s the basics:
Blink is a home security camera system that is designed for both indoor and outdoor use. The camera is battery powered and connects via Wifi to a phone app that is available for both iOS and Android. The Blink ‘Seecurity’ system expands the capability of the basic Blink system to include advanced features and devices. We’ll be discussing more about the Seecurity system later in this review.
Blink has many valuable features, including the ones listed here. There are two types of Blink camera: Basic and XT. The Basic Blink camera is designed for indoor use, while the XT is weatherproof and can be used either indoors or outdoors. The cameras and other devices connect to the Blink synch module and from there to your home Wifi. The synch module can also link your Blink devices together so you can set up a single arm/disarm schedule for all your Blink devices.
The Blink system is completely wireless, as it connects through your house’s Wifi system. This allows great flexibility in where you can install the camera units.
Blink’s devices are all battery powered, making their placement flexible. The devices are powered by two AA lithium batteries which will last for two years. It is simple and easy to replace the batteries when the time comes.
DAY AND NIGHT VISION
When bad guys break into a home, they often do so at night. To counter this darkness threat, Blink has night vision capabilities built-in. The Blink Basic camera uses LED illumination, while the Blink XT uses an infrared sensor which converts invisible light to visible light on the Blink app.
Blink has extended its product offering with its new ‘Seecurity’ system, released in Q2 of 2017. The Seecurity system extended the functionality of the Blink cameras. It includes (for a separate expense) a 4G cellular connection with backup battery to backstop the Wifi system in the event of a power failure or your Wifi going down; a keypad for arming and disarming the system; a 105-db siren that can be activated by motion or manually; entry sensors to alarm doors and windows; and a water sensor in areas prone to flooding.
If you are a user of Amazon’s Alexa Echo and Echo Dot system, you can use voice commands to arm and disarm your system.
Assuming a normal house construction your Blink devices will have a range of approximately 100 feet.
The Blink system captures video at 1080p resolution.
MULTIPLE SYSTEM CONTROLS
The Blink app can be set up to control multiple Blink systems from a single app, without having to log in and log out. This is one of Blink’s most appealing ease-of-use features.
With the Blink ‘Seecurity’ system, users have the option to add security monitoring. There are two plans: the basic plan provides connectivity to all Blink devices and 911 alerts, while the advanced package gives users 24/7 monitoring.
Blink offers two modes of viewing. The first mode is called Alert. When the Blink camera detects motion, it starts recording for a user-determined length of time: between five seconds and 60 seconds. The longer the system records, the more drain there is on the battery, which should be a consideration in determining how long to set this feature for.
Blink allows free storage in the Cloud for these videos but is limited to two hours total. Users are responsible for deleting old video files.
The Live View mode allows the user to turn a camera on and view what the camera is seeing. However, these only last for 30 seconds. At the end of that time, a pop-up appears asking the user if he or she wants to continue to use Live View. Every 30 seconds the pop-up will appear.
Blink currently does not support recording when in the Live View mode, although the company is considering adding this functionality in a later release.
When comparing Blink vs Ring, one advantage that Ring has had for years has been a video doorbell with a two-way communication capability. This means you can both hear what someone in view of the doorbell is saying, and you can talk back to that person as well.
That capability was lacking in Blink until recently. The new XT2 Blink camera supports two-way communication. It also appears that the Blink Video Doorbell, which the company has been teasing since the Amazon acquisition, is about to become a reality.
The Blink Video Doorbell has been reported to have shown up on the FCC’s website, and it appears that a user manual has been written. That usually means that a product release is imminent.
One major concern when using today’s connected tech products is user privacy. Blink addresses this concern by ensuring that users can see when a camera is in motion sensing mode or when live viewing is enabled. This prevents users from inadvertently sending videos of their private moments to the Cloud.
IFTTT (If This, Then That) allows users to create automated links between Blink devices and other home automation products.
BLINK VS RING: HOW THEY COMPARE
We compared Blink to a similar security system: Ring.
- Extended battery life – 2 year battery life on two AA lithium batteries with a combination of two-way talk, live view, and motion recording. Double the usage of the XT on a single set of batteries when recording video.
- 2-way audio – Talk to visitors through the Blink app on your smartphone or tablet.
- Customizable motion detection – Use activity zones to choose where motion is detected so you receive the alerts that matter.
- Free cloud storage – Keep hundreds of clips stored up to a year with no monthly fees or service contract required.
- Works with Alexa – View live streams, motion clips, or arm and disarm your system through select Alexa-enabled devices.
- EASE OF INSTALLATION
- CUSTOMER SERVICE
Each device has a bar code on it. All you have to do is scan the bar code with the app and the system connects to that device. The wireless nature of the units makes them very flexible when you’re deciding where to place them, and the batteries are easy to change.
While the Seecurity module has significantly increased the capabilities of the system, there are components that increase the value, such as a glass break sensor.
Blink is exceptional in the area of connectivity. Not only can you connect via Wifi, but with the Seecurity system you also can have a 4G cellular phone connection in case the Wifi goes down or you have a power failure.
There are some limitations in performance, most notably the two-hour limit on video storage and the inability to record Live Views.
Blink has designed its product line to protect the privacy of its users.
This is an area where Blink falls behind. In our Blink vs Ring comparison, Ring consistently was rated better in customer service.
All Blink components come with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Very easy to set up and use
- Less expensive than many competitors
- IFTTT support
- Expanding product line keeps it abreast of its competitors
- Customer service is reportedly poorer than many of its competitors
- Limitation of ten cameras per synch device
- Requires some tech knowledge to integrate with other home automation devices
- Ring Alarm puts whole-home security at your fingertips. Get alerts on your smart phone when doors or windows open or motion is detected.
- Optional 24/7 professional monitoring. No long-term contracts or cancellation fees.
- Manage Ring Alarm and other Ring products—including Ring Doorbell—with the Ring app.
- Customize Ring Alarm for your needs. Add components at any time for whole home protection.
- Easily setup Ring Alarm in minutes—without tools or professional installation.
Ring is another Amazon-owned security hardware company. In our Blink vs Ring review, we looked into the history of both companies.
Ring was founded in 2013 by Jamie Siminoff. The original name of the company was Doorbot. Doorbotwas also crowdfunded. The original Doorbots first shipped in 2013. Amazon acquired the company in February 2018.
RING PRODUCT LINE
This is where the company started. It allows two-way communication, video storage and motion alerts. Ring also offers a security camera package of two cameras.
This is a recently released product which includes a base station, keypad, window and door contact station, motion detector and range extender. Ring also integrates with Alexa but lacks IFTTT capability.
- EASE OF INSTALLATION
- CUSTOMER SERVICE
In our Blink vs Ring comparison, we found that Ring’s setup is slightly more complicated than Blink’s, and their app is not as complete or easy to use.
The equipment is very good in quality and design, but the lack of integration between the Ring Alarm and the Ring Doorbell and Security Camera is a drawback.
Ring connects easily to the Internet but lacks backup 4G cell phone capability. It has great video and two-way communication and is very fast over the Internet. However, it also has serious privacy concerns, as does everything offered by Amazon.
The Ring Doorbell and other security devices come with a one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
- Customer service is better than Blink’s
- More mature product line
- 24/7 monitoring is less expensive than Blink’s
- App is not as good as Blink’s
- Privacy concerns over video access/encryption
- No integration between Ring Alarm and Ring Doorbell/Ring Security Cameras
- Security System lacks motion sensor alerts
- No integration with other home automation systems
In our Blink vs Ring comparison, we considered many factors when coming up with our overall opinion of Blink. Here are some of our conclusions:
Both companies have moved from a video surveillance platform to products and features that support more complete home security. Blink’s products have the edge in the latter category because of their ability to integrate with existing video surveillance installations. While both home security systems are fairly new, Blink appears to have given more thought to building a complete and integrated home security system.
Blink’s IFTTT capability can extend its use beyond its own product’s functional borders. Its app is more robust and easier to use than Ring’s. This integration with third-party products is an important differentiator when considering Blink vs Ring.
PEACE OF MIND
Ring’s use of unencrypted video that is available to its employees in both of its offices (particularly in the Ukraine) is problematic. Blink gets the clear nod in providing its users with comfort when using their product.
In our Blink vs Ring evaluation, customer service was the lowest-rated category for Blink. This is an area where the company clearly needs to improve.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Both of these systems are good at what they do, but in our evaluation, Blink edged out Ring for the top spot. This was not only based on the criteria we detailed above but also because we believe that Blink has a better foundation for being able to add new integrated capabilities and connectivity with outside systems.