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Blink Mini vs. Blink Indoor: Which should you buy?

When weighing the Blink Mini versus the Blink Indoor security cameras, you'll find two sibling designs with more in common than not. The new Blink Indoor has a two-year battery life and a mounting kit while the Mini has a Micro-USB charging cable and stand, but the specs, storage options, and even the weight are identical. While the Blink Mini costs less for nearly the same tech, the new Blink Indoor has some key improvements that may make it worth the extra cost.

Both the Blink Mini and the Blink Indoor can be mounted, but the Mini will have its power cord trailing from it to the nearest power outlet, which may look unsightly and more importantly makes it more noticeable. Conversely, both cameras can technically sit on a stand, but only the Mini ships with one, so it's simpler to stick it on a shelf without worrying about mounting it on a wall.

The new Blink Indoor has a projected two-year battery life off of two disposable lithium AA batteries, estimated to power about 98 minutes of live view, 720 minutes of motion-activated recording, and 80 minutes of two-way talk during that duration. Blink also released a Blink Camera Battery Expansion Pack that doubles the Blink Indoor's battery compartment to hold four AAs — increasing its lifespan to an alleged four years.

The Blink Mini runs off of a simple USB-A power cord that plugs into the provided wall adapter. It'll take about as much power as a phone charger, which won't add much to your electricity bill but will admittedly cost more across two years than a couple of batteries.

The positive of most plug-in cams over battery cams is that you can use high-energy activities like live view or two-way talk without worrying about them draining its energy stores prematurely. In fact, many battery cams with year-long estimates last a fraction of that time if they're placed in areas with lots of motion. However, the Blink Indoor's thrifty energy use, combined with its battery pack, makes this much less of a concern than usual.

Blink Mini Lifestyle

(Image credit: Blink)

As the spec table below will show, Blink likes to have uniform performance standards and hardware design across its cameras. Buy either model, and you'll have the same field of view, resolution, two-way speaker, temperature range, and even the same weight down to the gram.

Blink IndoorBlink Mini
Size2.8" x 2.8" x 1.4"2" x 1.9" x 1.4"
Weight1.7oz / 48g1.7oz / 48g
Temperature range32 to 95 degrees Farenheit (0 to 35 degrees Celsius)32 to 95 degrees Farenheit (0 to 35 degrees Celsius)
Available ColorsWhiteWhite
Field of view (FOV)110º diagonal110º diagonal
Frames per second (FPS)Up to 30Up to 30
Resolution1080p HD1080p HD
Battery LifeUp to 2 years on 2 AA batteries (included); upcoming option for separate Battery Extender that runs on 4 AA batteries for up to 4 yearsN/A; must be plugged in with 2m micro-USB cable and power adapter
Audio2-way with speaker2-way with speaker
Cloud storageFree through 2020, then $3/month per camera or $10/month for unlimited camerasFree through 2020, then $3/month per camera or $10/month for unlimited cameras
Local storageYes, up to 64GB using the Blink Sync Module 2Yes, up to 64GB using the Blink Sync Module 2 (must buy separately)
Motion detectionYesYes
Temperature monitoringYesNo
Privacy zonesYesNo
LED indicatorsOptional blue LED to indicate it is recording, red LED when recording in night visionOptional blue LED to indicate it is recording

The similarities extend to how Blink handles video storage for both devices. In the past, Blink offered free cloud storage for its cameras. Now, the Mini and Indoor get free cloud storage through 2020, but starting in 2021 you'll need to pay $3/month per camera or $10/month for any number of Blink cameras to have your video clips stored and accessible on the Blink Home Monitor app.

If, however, you prefer to store your footage locally — saving you money and keeping private footage of your home out of the cloud — you can use the Blink Sync Module 2 (opens in new tab) to store up to 64GB of video clips locally. The Blink Indoor Camera Kit ships with the Sync Module 2, but you'll need to buy a 64GB USB flash drive yourself. For the Blink Mini, you'll have to buy the Sync Module 2 and the thumb drive separately.

Where the Indoor Cam starts to differentiate itself is in new features found on Blink's app. To start, both cameras let you set activity zones where alerts will trigger (or won't trigger) to avoid false alarms, but the Indoor Cam now features privacy zones that will be automatically grayed out in any video clips. If you wish to monitor your kid's window at night but gray out their bed area, the Indoor Cam makes that possible.

Another improvement is that the Indoor Cam can monitor nearby temperature, notifying you if conditions for the camera are too hot or cold. This feature is more useful for the new Outdoor Cam than the Indoor Cam, however. Also, the Indoor Cam has a red LED that shines dimly when filming at night; both cameras have a blue LED that indicates filming during the day.

Blink Indoor 2020 Lifestyle

(Image credit: Blink)

The biggest factor when deciding between these two cameras is cost. The difference between one Mini and one Indoor camera is minimal when you consider the Blink Indoor comes with a $35 Sync Module 2 (opens in new tab) that you'd have to buy separately to avoid monthly cloud storage fees with the Mini. If, however, you're buying multiple cameras, choosing Blink Minis versus Blink Indoor cameras would compound your savings the more you purchase.

Second, consider where you will place these cams for the best security angle. Is there a shelf that a Mini could sit on comfortably without standing out or tripping people with its wire, or will some areas need a cam mounted high up and out of the way, necessitating a battery pack?

The Blink Indoor's privacy zones are usually more desirable if you have professional monitoring and don't want strangers having unfettered access to your private lives. Since Blink cameras are self-monitored, privacy zones are more useful in making sure private areas aren't visible in case someone hacks into your cloud storage or you want to share censored clips online.

These zones matter more as a sign of what's to come. Blink didn't give the Mini privacy modes, which either suggests that its older architecture doesn't allow them, or Blink is actively denying the Mini features so that you'll buy its more expensive indoor cam. This suggests that further Blink OS improvments may be limited to the Indoor camera in the future.

In the end, you may want to consider buying a mixture of both cameras. Buy at least one indoor cam so you get ahold of the Sync Module 2, more for any spots where battery packs make more sense than wires, then supplement them with cheaper Mini cams to guard areas of your home that don't need any privacy, such as the front doorway. Together, they hold their own against some of the best indoor cameras on the market.

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.