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Smart Home

This new video doorbell could be a game-changer for homeowners

A smart doorbell at half the price of the competition is something to get excited about.

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A new smart doorbell is coming to market this year that might really upset the competition. Blink, best known for their smart security cameras, unveiled their new video doorbell at CES 2018, just one month after being acquired by Amazon. The company that began as a Kickstarter startup in 2014 currently offers indoor and outdoor smart security cameras, and by the middle of this year, they’ll be selling a new, affordable smart video doorbell.

A standout product at the best price

The biggest draw of the Blink video doorbell? It’s only $99 ($129 if you also need the hub), a price you'll usually only find one older-generation models that lack features of newer generations. The best video doorbell we've tested, the Ring 2, will run you about $200, with other current-gen. models falling in the $150-$200 range as well.

While I haven’t yet had a chance to test the Blink doorbell myself, I did get to see its camera in action at CES, and the quality is on par with other cameras on the market. It’s not as sharp as Skybell’s HD 1080p feed, but it’s clear enough, day or night, to give you all the detail you need and I’d compare the quality to that of the Ring lineup. Like its competitors, Blink offers HD video, live streaming over WiFi, two-way audio, night vision, and cloud storage. Unlike many others that offer subscription-based plans, Blink’s cloud storage is also totally free.

Blink doorbell

Hard-wired or wireless, this doorbell is versatile.

Another feature you'll love? The Blink offers both wired and wireless options, making it a great choice whether you want to hook it into your home or just stick it on and avoid the hassle (hello, fellow renters) of a full install. With other battery-powered doorbells, you have to recharge them periodically, but Blink relies on two AAs that they claim will last up to two years. The only other AA-powered doorbell I’ve tested, the Remo, used four batteries that depleted noticeably over the course of a few weeks of testing. Needless to say, I’m excited about Blink’s promise here.

Why do you need a hub?

The one caveat with the Blink doorbell is that you need the Snc Module hub to use it. Admittedly, the hub was a red flag for me at first, since it's just extra hardware that others don't require. But when I inquired further, I found out it’s actually going to be quite useful. Blink is working to turn it in to a chime, as it currently already has an alarm function for the security cameras. This would just be a software update once it's ready to roll out, so if you’ve already got the hub, you won’t need any new hardware. If you hate the sound of your existing doorbell or have a large home, the hub will be the perfect thing to replace your current chime or extend its reach.

You can also connect up to 10 devices to one hub, allowing a lot of opportunity to grow your smart home. Considering Blink is also working on a full home security system (release date TBD), there’s potential here to keep all your home security tech in one family. Blink is clearly looking to compete with the likes of Samsung and Wink in providing all-in-one smart safety solutions. And honestly, your life is going to be much easier if you can check on your cameras your front door, your garage, etc. etc. all from one native app than jumping between apps or relying on a third-party hub.

Is it worth it?

I haven’t gotten to test the doorbell’s sound quality or connectivity yet, but it really does sound promising so far. If it’s remotely as good as it sounds, given the low price point, this doorbell will be a top contender. Beyond the price, I love the ability to build a smart home security system with Blink devices—it just streamlines things when everything is natively connected—and the fact that they’re going to use the required hub in such an innovative way really balances out the fact that you need a hub in the first place.

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