Yi Outdoor Cam vs. Blink Outdoor: Which should you buy?

Yi Outdoor Camera Raining 4x
Yi Outdoor Camera Raining 4x (Image credit: Yi Technology)

Yi Outdoor Cam

Yi Outdoor Cam

The Yi Outdoor Cam carries the company's pedigree of quality, inexpensive cameras that offer amazing features. 24/7 recording, easy local storage, night vision, two-way audio, and weather resistance are all wrapped into this $40 package.

Yi Outdoor Cam

Plug it in, see any time

Super affordable
24/7 recording with local storage
Built-in alarm
Alexa support
Needs hardwire power
Included cable is very short
Only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks

Blink Outdoor 2020 Crop

Blink has specialized in long-lasting cameras since the first, and the third-generation Blink Outdoor camera is better than ever. Two-year battery life on two AA batteries, or four-year battery life with the Blink battery pack. If you need wireless, you need Blink.

Far-reaching wireless views

Two-year battery life
Optional four-year battery pack
Local storage via Blink hub
Alexa support
Requires hub to work
Buggy software
Only records when motion is detected
Only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks

Blink and Yi are two companies that regularly undercut the competition with super low prices, all without skimping on the quality of the products. These two cameras are less expensive than the competition, but there's still a pretty wide price gulf between the two. The key to choosing between them isn't just the price alone — it's also whether or not you'll need to put your cameras in hard-to-reach spots. Blink Outdoor is a great solution for small totally wireless cameras, while the Yi Outdoor Cam offers more features for less money, at the expense of having to keep it plugged into power at all times.

Blink Outdoor Camera Hero

Source: Blink (Image credit: Source: Blink)

Right off the bat, you're sure to notice the huge price dichotomy between these two cameras. Blink Outdoor is more than twice the price of the Yi Outdoor Cam, and much of that is because the Blink Outdoor is a fully wireless camera. Utilizing two AA batteries, the Blink Outdoor can be placed anywhere within the wireless range of the Blink Sync Module 2. It's also rated to last a whopping two years before needing a battery change, which is more than double what most wireless cameras boast.

The Yi Outdoor Cam has no internal battery and must be hard-wired via the included 10-foot USB cable. If the power goes out, the Yi Outdoor Cam stops working. Being wireless and (of course) battery-powered gives Blink Outdoor a huge advantage. It can also likely be placed in far more difficult-to-reach spots than the Yi Outdoor Cam thanks to its wireless range.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Yi Outdoor CamBlink Outdoor
Dimensions7" x 7" x 4"2.8" x 2.8" x 1.2"
Camera Quality1080p @ 20FPS1080p @ 30FPS
Field of View110°110°
Operating Temperature5°F to 122°F-4°F to 113°F
Water ResistanceIP65IP65
Two-way AudioYesYes
Night VisionYes, InfraredYes, Infrared
Motion SensingYesYes
Person AlertsNoNo
Warranty1 year1 year

Blink Outdoor is also a smaller, lighter, and less obtrusive-looking device, as well. Blink has tweaked its trademark rounded-off-square design to make it sleeker than ever, and the company's history for making some of the best accessories means you're getting an incredibly versatile camera system that can be easily customized to your personal needs.

Yi Outdoor Cam 24/7 recording

While being battery-powered is a huge convenience, one shortcoming is that Blink Outdoor is only made to record video when it detects motion. You can view the live video at any time with either camera, but regular access to the live feed will lower the battery life of Blink Outdoor significantly. Cameras like Blink Outdoor can sometimes take a second or two to wake up from the low power state, which could mean that recordings start a bit late and miss the beginning of the motion event.

That's where the Yi Outdoor Cam comes in. Since it needs to be hard-wired with the included USB cable for power, that means it can stay on all the time. Yi utilizes a super handy recording timeline within the Yi app that highlights areas where motion was detected, but you can scrub through the timeline and watch anything that happened at any time. Recording isn't tied to motion at all, and you can scrub back as far as you want to get a better context of what's going on.

Both devices support local and cloud recording, but the Yi Outdoor Cam's 24/7 recording makes this local storage option even more useful than Blink's. Aside from the reasons already described, Yi cameras can record everything to an SD card, which can be saved for archiving, if you so choose.

Yi Outdoor Camera Vs Blink Sync Module Storage

Source: Android Central / Yi Technology (Image credit: Source: Android Central / Yi Technology)

While the form-factor, price, and method of power for these two cameras might be wildly different, there are many traits that both share. No matter which camera you choose, you're going to be getting 1080p video with clean infrared night vision. Both cameras also support Amazon Alexa's video casting abilities, so you can ask Alexa to see the camera's video right on your Alexa-enabled Echo Show.

Both cameras feature IP65 water and dust resistance rating, but there's a notable difference in the operating temperature range. The Yi Outdoor Cam is able to withstand slightly hotter environments, like the Southwestern U.S., with a maximum operating temperature of 122 degrees Fahnreheit compared with Blink's 113-degree Fahnreheit maximum temperature.

Conversely, Blink Outdoor is better built for colder conditions, with a minimum operating temperature of -4 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with Yi's 5-degree Fahrenheit minimum. Depending on where you live, those differences could make the decision between these two outdoor cameras easier.

Yi Outdoor Cam wins out as an unbelievable value

Yi Outdoor Camera Brick

Source: Yi Technology (Image credit: Source: Yi Technology)

Yi has pioneered quality, low-priced cameras for many years now, and the Yi Outdoor Cam fits right in with the company's pedigree. For less than half the price of Blink Outdoor, the Yi Outdoor Cam offers 24/7 recording, easy access to any recorded events (and anything that happened before or after), and quality 1080p video day or night. While the requirement to wire it up will definitely make installation more difficult, the cost savings paired with the added features is definitely worth it if you can find the right space.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu