Blink Mini Pan-Tilt review

Amazon’s Blink Mini compact indoor camera can now turn its head, but will it turn yours?

Blink Mini Pan-Tilt review
(Image: © Adam Juniper / Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

While this is decent camera and well made, it is not especially cheap (outside Amazon promotions) and doesn’t seem to have the software to take advantage of the hardware; no waypoints or subject tracking is a bit of a let-down. We like the looks, and the camera, but wish it was smarter (and more open to non-Amazon integration).

Pros

  • +

    Remote Pan & Tilt control

  • +

    Accessibly priced

  • +

    Works with optional sync module

  • +

    Alexa integrations

  • +

    Turns silently

Cons

  • -

    Camera doesn’t follow subjects around room

  • -

    Speaker mediocre

  • -

    Turn lag

  • -

    No Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit support

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Blink is one of Amazon’s two security-focussed companies – the other is Ring – and both supply an extensive range of smart doorbells and cameras. The Blink Mini (opens in new tab) is a compact indoor camera (first seen in 2020) which is at its best using the subscription cloud service (of which you get 30 days trial). The Pan/Tilt base, new in fall 2022, is now sold with the camera (which we’re testing) or as an upgrade for the original.

As such, the camera is no different to the Blink Mini, but adding the ability to see the whole room (as well as size, weight and price). It is far from the only repositionable indoor camera on the market – the Wyze Cam Pan is on its second iteration – so have Blink done what’s needed to beat the market?

(Image credit: Adam Juniper / Digital Camera World)

Resolution: 1080P

Field of view: 110˚

Pan range: 350˚

Tilt range: 125˚

Pan Tilt + Camera dimensions: 66 x 66 x 146mm (5.75-in tall)

Weight: 246g (8.7oz) 

• See also Blink vs Ring (opens in new tab) - which Amazon security system is best?

Build and handling

Blink Mini Pan-Tilt review

(Image credit: Adam Juniper / Digital Camera World)

Since the base is available separately from the camera, the first thing you’ll need to do – whichever way you buy them – is to attach the camera to the base. That’s pretty straightforward; a short Micro USB cable protrudes from the pan/tilt base in just the right spot and a plastic clip is there too. Blink even takes the trouble to prevent the awkwardness of the one-way MicroUSB connector by giving it an enlarged cable end with strategically trimmed corners.

At the back of the pan/tilt base is a similar connector for the MicroUSB umbilical which provides the power, and a regionally appropriate power adapter is included in the box. So, in short, some but not very much assembly is required. The resulting device is a love-it-or-hate-it bit of design; the gloss plastic looks good and feels well made, but some may find it indiscreet.

Control comes from the Blink app (available on iOS or Android), while some instructions (like arming the alerts) can also be switched on and off using Alexa (but, surprise, surprise, not Google Assistant or Apple Homekit!)

Performance

Sample video from Blink Mini Pan-Tilt

We have no issues with the camera itself; the image is good and the night mode works well. In daylight it also copes well with bright windows in dim rooms, with only a little fringing. There is no zoom, as such, but pinch-zoom on the phone screen helps see further if needed. The speaker is still good, if not wonderful, while the microphone does a decent job of picking out voice for two-way-talk in a quiet room. We also love that the camera has a good range of adjustments for sensitivity, clips and re-triggering. 

 The on-screen controls have a ‘home’ to put the camera back to center (Image credit: Adam Juniper / Digital Camera World)

The pan and tilt base is smooth and virtually silent in operation, which is great. Inevitably there is a little bit of a lag – up to a couple of seconds – in operation, but given the decent field of view positioning needn’t be too accurate. We suspect the reason the camera turns quite slowly is deliberate in order to balance this effect.

Verdict

(Image credit: Adam Juniper / Digital Camera World)

The arrival of a pan/tilt base – especially one so quiet in operation and with such range of view – ends up feeling like a wasted opportunity. Yes, it is easy to open the app and turn the camera to explore the room in live view, and the usability via on-screen controls is difficult to complain about, but with the official price above that of the Wyze Cam Pan v2 we would hope to see it match the feature set, especially the ability to turn and track subjects around. It would also be cool it if could patrol the room looking for movement, but even something simple like allowing you to pre-set several positions to turn to. Sadly Blink Mini Pan/Tilt does no such thing. The app seems so sure it isn’t really a pan/tilt camera that the ability to set activity zones (to ignore certain areas) is fixed to the camera rather than the wider room. Any blocked area will turn with the lens, which doesn’t seem right.

That’s not to say this isn’t a useful device, especially if the live view is your main use – in that case you’re definitely in command of the room – but it could have offered so much more.  

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With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 


Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 


He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones (opens in new tab), The Smart Smart Home Handbook (opens in new tab), 101 Tips for DSLR Video (opens in new tab) and The Drone Pilot's Handbook (opens in new tab)