A Blink Mini will work without a monthly subscription to Blink but it’s powers will be limited.
A Blink Mini has three levels of performance depending on what it is connected to.
Starting from worst to best those are:
- Working on its own
- Linked to a Sync Module 2 (SM2)
- Linked to a subscription plan.
What can a Blink Mini do by itself?
A Mini which isn’t linked to a SM2 or tied to a subscription plan can perform two basic tasks.
Send motion alerts
Your Blink Mini is still controlled via the Blink app and so when it detects motion it will send you a text alert. You will be told that your camera has detected some sort of motion.
This message won’t be accompanied by a motion clip- a snippet of video that potentially might show you what is in motion (because those clips are only available with a SM2 or subscription plan.)
But it does give you the opportunity to connect to your camera’s live view so that you can see for yourself.
Blink Mini’s Live View
This is the second feature of a stand alone Mini- an owner can watch a live view. Just tap on the video camera icon of your camera’s thumbnail and you can watch what is in front of your camera right now.
Well, you can until you get a blue “continue” button to press after about a minute (if you want to keep watching) and every minute after that until at 5 minutes the connection will stop!
If you were to link your Blink Mini to a SM2 you would get 5 minutes of uninterrupted streaming and paying a subscription would turn this into 90 minutes of uninterrupted viewing…
That is, of course, as long as in that moment you aren’t in a meeting or bathing the baby! Which is why this functionality is so limiting for most people because unless you are free in that moment to connect to the camera.
Manage Limited App Settings
A third feature of a stand alone Mini is that you do have control over a few important settings in that app- those relating to motion and infrared.
The motion settings are a submenu within the settings app (which can be accessed from the bottom right of the app’s homepage.) There are three important settings for you to manage.
You can turn off motion detection by tapping on the toggle switch. It might be that you need a break from the continuous bombardment of notifications to your phone or an alternative is by changing the option below.
The sensitivity scale goes from 1-9 with one being the least sensitive and 9 being the most sensitive. If you are getting too many notifications, slide the scale down. You just slide the scale up or down with your finger.
Your camera will detect motion across its whole field of vision unless you tell it not to. An activity zone forces the camera to only detect motion in a part of that field of view.
The Blink Mini has an infrared sensor next to the camera lens. This sensor creates black and white images of any object that is warm or hot. You can choose to have your sensor on, off or set to auto.
If your infrared sensors are turned off, you won’t get motion detection alerts at night or in low light conditions.
And if you connect to your camera’s live view in these conditions, you won’t see anything at all.
If they are turned on, then every time you connect to the live view the image will be black and white even during the day.
Finally, setting the infrared sensors to auto means that during the day live view footage will be in colour and at night it will be in black and white.
Blink Mini and Sync Module 2
There’s a way to get your Blink Mini to do more but in a way that still doesn’t require you to subscribe.
And that is by linking your Mini to a SM2. Or to be more precise, connecting it to a SM2 (which has a USB stick plugged into it.) An SM2 is a small black plastic box that connects to one or more of your Blink cameras. And with a USB stick, it unlocks more video features.
On top of the features listed above, a Blink Mini in combination with a SM2/ USB allows you:
Motion detection recording
Motion detection recording just means that you get a video clip that comes with any motion alerts. And these clips can be between 5 and 30 seconds in length.
Local Storage Backup
These video clips are saved onto the USB. The number of clips depends on the capacity of your USB stick with the maximum being 256 GB.
Now these clips can be viewed in the Blink app- from the clip menu on the homepage. There are limits to how many you can view in the app. You can’t view more than 1000 clips and you can’t view a clip that is older than 30 days.
But don’t worry, none of your clips are deleted but you can only view them by sticking the USB stick into your laptop!
Although you can’t share any of your videos via the Blink app, you can share them by inserting the USB stick into the laptop and sharing them like this. Each clip is saved as an MP4 and so individual clips can be shared on Facebook or emailed to friends.
As a result of being able to record video a host of additional settings are available in the app, particularly regarding motion settings. These include:
This is the length of time that the camera goes to sleep after it has detected any motion. It can be set between 10 seconds and 60 seconds.
Motion clip length
How long do you want your video clip of a motion event to be? Set it between 5 seconds and 30 seconds.
End clip early if motion stops
This setting can be toggled on or off. If it is on then a video clip will end as soon as your Blink camera detects that motion has stopped. For instance, if your motion clip length is set to 20 seconds but motion stops after 10 seconds then with this setting turned on, your video clip will be 10 seconds long.
Blink Mini and Subscription
It is only when your Mini has a Blink subscription plan that it’s full potential is realised.
It can do all of the tricks that I have outlined above and more. My three favourite additional functions or powers that a subscription gives to a Mini camera are:
Live View Recording
Not only can you connect to a camera for five minutes uninterrupted but you can record these special moments!
Extended Live View
If 5 minutes isn’t long enough to connect to your camera, a subscription plan provides you with 90 minutes of uninterrupted streaming. Unfortunately, these extended views can’t be recorded!
Video Sharing (via Blink app)
Let’s face it, unplugging a USB stick from a SM2 and then plugging it into laptop sounds like hard work, doesn’t it?
With a subscription you don’t need to do this as you can share your motion clips from the Blink app.